A Neo-Humanist Statement
Irecently drafted, with the help of many secular humanists and scientists, a “Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values.” At latest count, some one hundred distinguished public intellectuals worldwide have endorsed it. Since we do not have space to run the entire statement in this issue, I am running a brief excerpt of its contents.
Our planetary community is facing serious problems that can only be solved by cooperative global action. Fresh thinking is required. Humanity needs to reconstruct human values in the light of scientific knowledge. We introduce the term Neo-Humanism to present a daring new approach.
The Next Step Forward:
There are various forms of religious and nonreligious beliefs in the world. On one end of the spectrum are traditional religious beliefs; on the other “the new atheism.” Not enough attention is paid to humanism as an alternative. This statement advocates nonreligious secular Neo-Humanism.
- Aspire to be more inclusive by appealing to both nonreligious and religious humanists and to religious believers who share common goals
- Are critical of theism
- Are best defined by what they are for, not what they are against
- Wish to use critical thinking, evidence, and reason to evaluate claims to knowledge
- Apply similar considerations to ethics and values
- Are committed to a key set of values: happiness, creative actualization, reason in harmony with emotion, quality, and excellence
- Emphasize moral growth (particularly for children), empathy, and responsibility
- Advocate the right to privacy
- Support the democratic way of life, tolerance, and fairness
- Recognize the importance of personal morality, goodwill, and a positive attitude toward life
- Accept responsibility for the well-being of society, guaranteeing various rights, including those of women, racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities and supporting education, health care, gainful employment, and other social benefits;
- Support a green economy
- Advocate population restraint, environmental protection, and the protection of other species
- Recognize the need for Neo-humanists to engage actively in politics
- Take progressive positions on the economy
- Hold that humanity needs to move beyond egocentric individualism and chauvinistic nationalism to develop transnational planetary institutions to cope with global problems—such efforts include a strengthened World Court, an eventual world parliament, and a planetary environmental monitoring agency that would set standards for controlling global warming and ecology