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What is Humanism?

Humanist organizations are found in all parts of the world, and encompass almost five million people worldwide.

The first ethical society along these lines in Britain was founded in 1886. By 1910 there were over fifty societies in Great Britain. The Union of Ethical Societies would later rename itself the British Humanist Association.

Humanist Canada

Humanist Canada, also known as the Humanist Association of Canada, or HAC, is a national not-for-profit organization that promotes the separation of religion from public policy, and fosters the development of reason, compassion and critical thinking for all Canadians through secular education and community support.

Humanist Canada has its roots in the former Humanist Fellowship of Montreal, founded in 1954. Lord Bertrand Russell, celebrated British mathematician and philosopher, and Dr. Brock Chisholm from Oakville, Ontario, were its first patrons.

Founded in 1968, Humanist Canada is an associate member organization of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Humanist Canada's first president was Dr. Henry Morgentaler, an active crusader for women's right to reproductive choice.

In 1996, Humanist Canada was granted the authority by the Registrar General to certify humanist officiants to solemnize marriages in Ontario. The organization has numerous officiants who perform non-religious ceremonies including marriages, funerals, memorials and baby namings.

In Canada the estimate for 2017 is ten million non-religious people, about 28% of the population.   

The philosophy of Humanism embraces human reason, ethics, and social justice. In addition, Humanism rejects religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making. Human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god.

An essential part of Humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy.

Eminent Humanists

Famous Humanists include Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Katharine Hepburn, John Lennon, Seth McFarlane, Bill Maher, actress Ellen Page, Neil Peart of Rush, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Nicola Tesla, Roger Ebert, and Frank Zappa.

Since 1953, many interesting recipients have been named Humanist of the Year. For example, Dr. Brock Chisholm, Benjamin Spock, Jonas Salk, Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye, Gloria Steinem, Lawrence Krauss, and Jared Diamond. 

 

 

   

 

The Happy Human is the official
symbol of the
International Humanist
and Ethical Union
(IHEU), based
on a 1965 design by Denis Barrington.

 
   

 

Jim McDonald, BA, BEd

jim.mcdonald@rogers.com

www.happy-together.ca

(905) 855-2484