The difference between “atheism+” and humanism


I am an atheist.  I am also a humanist.  Being a humanist is actually far more important to my worldview than being an atheist is.  In fact, the reason I care about religion and atheism is because I am a humanist.  In my opinion, organized religion is responsible for many evils in the world, a lot of which come down to human nature and the nature of large organizations, but many of which are made far worse by the nature of religion itself.  I support gay rights, I am a feminist, I am against the drug war, I am for social support systems and changing the way the world treats the poor — all of these things I am because I live my life from a humanist perspective.  Imperfectly, no doubt, but that is where I am coming from.

And yet, if asked how I define myself, I say “atheist” rather than “humanist”.  Why would I choose to define myself as part of this newly christened “atheist+” movement rather than the “humanist” movement?

It’s a completely legitimate question — if you go look at the American Humanist Association, you’ll see a group that does almost everything I could want a movement to do (and I support the AHA gladly and whole-heartedly).  It’s just that it doesn’t do one thing that is really important to me: make it clear that I am an atheist.

I guess it could be a small thing for some people, but it’s not for me, because where I am from, being an atheist is not really OK.  People face serious discrimination, people in my local atheist groups fear for their jobs if they come out.  The emails from the local atheist billboard campaign were truly horrific.  And what many atheists face from their families, even families who aren’t extremely religious, it painful and can lead to lifelong rifts.

As a longtime participant in the gay rights movement, I have been taught that self-definition is incredibly important; it matters a great deal that you should be able to label yourself as gay or straight, male or female, somewhere in between, or to eschew labels altogether.  When those labels automatically mean you are going to be treated badly, it becomes an important political act to stand up and insist that you are not undeserving of equal treatment just because you don’t identify with a different label.  I am an atheist because I don’t believe in gods, but I call myself an atheist because being an atheist means I get treated like shit by some people and that is not OK.

The desire to hold on to “atheism” rather than use the term “humanism” isn’t from a fundamental difference of goals and beliefs, but from a difference of self-definition. I personally like “atheism+” because it’s more confrontational, embraces a minority position that is loathed by many, and it is more transparent about the belief that religion is one of the root causes of many social injustices.  My humanism is more than just secular, it is anti-religion.

Beyond that, the social justice issues that “atheism+” care about include issues specifically about atheists as a group.  We are committed to is the pursuit of equality for atheists, a public acknowledgement of our existence, and a political voice for the godless. It’s not that humanism doesn’t believe in equality for atheists, of course it does, but that’s not the focus.  “Atheism+” is not my favorite of titles, I’d have gone with Atheist Humanism, but I don’t think that humanism, secular humanism, and “atheism+” are the same thing. Huge overlaps? Yes, absolutely.  But so long as I’m going to be treated as a social pariah for being a non-believer, I feel it is important for me to not be afraid to be out of the closet and loud about that label.

There is a difference between a self-defined humanist doing something good for mankind and a self-defined atheist doing it, simply because of the massive amount of stigma associated with atheism.  Proving that atheists care about other people and making the world a better place is important.  I think that “atheism+” is a way to bring the philosophy of humanism more strongly to the fight for atheist equality, and vice versa.

Calling myself part of the atheist — +, humanist, or otherwise — movement is a meaningful political act, and one not worth dropping to join something incredibly similar, but different.

Comments

  1. jamessweet says

    Yep, somewhere back in the early days of my blog, I made a similar point that I embrace the term “atheist” exactly because it has become a dirty word — even though, all other things being equal, it would probably not be my preferred term.

  2. says

    I think there is a distinction as well. I have long argued that while I tend to agree with humanists, I tend to not want to be a part of a lot of what humanism does. In my experience, humanism often gets stuck in many of the trappings of religion, just by trying to call it secular. The history of religion has stained many cultural traditions too much to simply create humanist events and say that all of the theological infestation is gone.

    I wrote this piece a while ago, and you may (or may not) find it interesting:

    http://polyskeptic.com/2011/07/20/atheism-over-humanism-why-we-must-philosophize-with-a-hammer/

    Shaun

  3. 'Tis Himself says

    While I like humanist ideas, I have a major problem with humanism, at least organized humanism. I see humanist groups attempting to set up humanist churches with gods as an option. The Harvard Humanists, led by a Humanist Chaplain (official title), have this as a goal. So I’ll remain an anti-religious, progressive atheist and watch the humanists imitate the Universal Unitarians without my participation.

  4. 'Tis Himself says

    I see shaunphilly has similar thoughts to mine and posted them sooner. That’s what I get for not refreshing before posting.

  5. says

    Well said, Ashley. Another important point worth mentioning, too, is that humanism does not necessarily imply SECULAR humanism — there are very many humanists who identify as religious, and even among the secular ones (who define secularism as wanting only the separation of church and state, not of the primacy of secular matters over religious e.g. nonsense ones.).

    I’m thinking specifically of the word “catholic” — which, before the religion co-opted the word, meant “of human matters”.

  6. BugLuv says

    re: “Proving that atheists care about other people and making the world a better place is important.”

    But the term “atheist” doesn’t imply anything about caring about other people and making the world a better place. All it means is that you don’t believe in a deity. I know a lot of atheists who definitely don’t care about others or making the world a better place for anyone but themselves. For example, there is a big movement of rabid Ayn Rand followers, many of them are atheist, as she was. I don’t think the word should be re-defined because your description does not apply to every non-believer.

  7. Ashley F. Miller says

    To other people, the term atheist means “necessarily doesn’t care about other people”, which is untrue. Of course, if every atheist did care, there’d be no need to define atheist humanists as a separate thing.

  8. Greta Christina says

    But the term “atheist” doesn’t imply anything about caring about other people and making the world a better place. All it means is that you don’t believe in a deity. I know a lot of atheists who definitely don’t care about others or making the world a better place for anyone but themselves. For example, there is a big movement of rabid Ayn Rand followers, many of them are atheist, as she was. I don’t think the word should be re-defined because your description does not apply to every non-believer.

    For the eighty hundredth millionth billionth trillionth time: We are not trying to “redefine atheism.” We are coming up with something new: atheism plus. Atheism, just by itself, means not believing in any gods. Atheism plus means not believing in any gods, plus caring about and working towards social justice.

  9. BugLuv says

    I know. I get tired of “atheist” being equated with “Satanist.” But then again, I don’t want to be lumped in with the Ayn Rand people either. Personally, I’m fine with “atheist humanist.” And you are right, would be nice if we all cared!

  10. says

    Always happy to embrace and use the term ‘atheist’ for these very reasons even as some of those around me argue I shouldn’t. Expressing opposition to living a life dictated by religious dogma is important even as we go about doing activities to make life better for the world in general.

  11. Robert (SeraphymC) says

    Sigh… of course atheism just means no belief in a god, that’s why they’ve added the plus. It’s really simple, and the people who keep harping on it seem to be deliberately obtuse.

    I’m in love with the label myself, as I think it’s an incredibly succinct way of expressing the social justice side that I care about.

  12. says

    I’ve been feeling for awhile now that skeptical and humanist groups are willing and even sometimes eager to throw atheists and atheism under the bus to be more accommodating to theists, which is why I’m happy to call myself an atheist and throw myself behind the “atheism+” idea.

  13. says

    I see humanist groups attempting to set up humanist churches with gods as an option. The Harvard Humanists, led by a Humanist Chaplain (official title), have this as a goal.

    This is not true, as you have been told many times.

  14. says

    “It’s just that it doesn’t do one thing that is really important to me: make it clear that I am an atheist.”

    The AHA isn’t remotely unclear about the fact that they don’t believe in gods, on their front page the first thing you see is “Advocating progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, and freethinkers.” Now this sounds *exactly* like A+ to me, but I may be missing out on some nuanced differences.

    Perhaps the difference is that “atheist” is a dirty word in the U.S. whereas “freethinker” and “humanist” are slightly more euphemistic? If so, I’m not sure if this is a distinction that makes a difference. Lord knows how many times I’ve had to explain myself after using the euphemistic labels, only to see people react in the same horrified way, “Oh, you’re an ATHEIST!”

  15. says

    No, the root of the word catholic means ‘universal or general’ not ‘relating to humans’. I would personally argue that humanism. i.e. a philosophy concerned with human needs and capacities, is intrinsically secular. Functionally, humanism requires secularism, and prohibits religious decision making processes, because that’s what works to promote human flourishing. It’s possible to be both humanist and religious only in the same sense that it’s possible to be a scientist and religious: Massive compartmentalization will allow you to ignore your humanist/scientific values while you are actively engaged in religious behaviors and vice versa.

  16. InvincibleIronyMan says

    What’s wrong with “atheist humanist”? I was already quite happily identifying as one of those.

  17. Ashley F. Miller says

    Humanist sound euphemistic to me, though it really is a *different* thing entirely. Like saying you’re for marriage equality rather than saying you’re for gay marriage. The AHA is very careful to emphasize that it’s not just atheists, but other non-theists and agnostics and freethinkers and naturalists and secularists. It’s not that I don’t want to be part of a humanist movement, it’s just that I want to be part of a movement about *atheism* (not non-theism) too.

  18. says

    There would be no humanism without atheism. Atheism shot first.

    As I wrote at James Croft’s Facebook page…

    Dogma is someone sitting on your chest. Atheism is that person getting off your chest. Humanism is a breath of fresh air.

    One leads to the other. You cannot get to humanism without atheism. And consider the two mutually exclusive, like the labels “democrat” and “politician.” Every politician has the capacity to be a democrat, just like every atheist has the capacity to be a humanist. Every democrat is a politician, just like every humanist is an atheist. And I think that putting “humanist” on all the stationery pushes some atheists out of the picture, whereas Atheism+ is inclusive, an umbrella term. It even includes agnostics, because agnostics have agreed to not question the idea of gods and live accordingly. If you have no divine rulebook that provides all of your opinions, welcome to Atheism+.

  19. says

    I’ll be very happy to see this Atheism Plus idea die an early death. Humanism IS Atheism Plus. Except no-one else knows what Atheism Plus is. Splintering the movement for the sake of it is just stupid. Re some points made in the comments:

    1. In 2012, Humanism is a non-religious lifestance. Period. A few people might want to call themselves “religious humanists” but who cares? Whatever floats their boat.

    2. Humanist groups are NOT churches. Some people want non-religious namings, weddings and funerals, and we help to provide them. These are human events. Just because churches do them too doesn’t make them religious activities per se. You have to be pretty dumb not to understand that. Not to mention an intolerant ass if you think atheists shouldn’t do any of those things.

    3. Humanist organisations campaign for progress and equality. They are non-religious but tend not to be anti-religious. Nine times out of ten, positive campaigning is more effective than negative campaigning. Tell people what you want, not what you don’t want, and they’re more likely to see reason.

    4. There’s really nothing wrong with working with moderate religious people to further our aims. They’re nice people, and many of them will eventually lose their faith.

    We’ve been here before. Every now and again a new word pops up. A few years ago it was “Bright” – a silly name and few adherents. Then came “Skeptic” – a good name and many adherents but, like “Atheist” a negative term and no social values.

    It’s no surprise that a lot of people who become more active in Skeptic or Atheist groups find them lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, nor is it a surprise that some of those people decide to set up new organisations. After all, atheists tend to be individualists, and suspicious of organisations set up by previous generations. But, guys, the Humanist organisations have always been there for you, and it’s a damn shame if you won’t be there for them.

  20. says

    This triumphalism of Gnu Atheism, including this latest rebranding, is precisely why, contra you and Greta Christina, I identify first as a secular humanist.

    Also, let me add that atheism is not the same thing as irreligion. Hundreds of millions of Buddhists who are atheists know that. (So do philosophers who are careful about verbiage.)

    Anyway, thanks for the two of you giving me thoughts for a blog post.

  21. says

    And, secular humanism has already done that … without the confrontation.

    Actually, I see this as kind of like Dennett with his “brights,” with the inference being if you’re not an “atheist +” (and what will Google say!) then you’re “just an atheist.”

    I’m crushed.

    (Oh, that was sarcasm, in case it wasn’t clear.)

  22. F says

    I’ll just go ahead and identify as atheist+ because it also seems to annoy atheist/humanist pointless whiners.

  23. says

    Dalillama: I stand corrected, though I must note that it is “universal” in the sense of “of interest to all”, which is where my “of human affairs / relevance” internalized definition evidently came from. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=catholic

    I strongly disagree that humanism requires atheism — it requires only that a person prioritize human needs and humanitarian issues over supernatural ones with regard to what one puts effort into. Yes, secular humanism is significantly better than straight humanism, but Atheism Plus (if this is indeed the name we’re definitely going with) is significantly different. It describes the subset of atheists who care about the same things that humanists care about, while requiring that they are also free of dogmatic religion.

    I don’t understand this pushback against creating a label to describe a specific and well-delineated overlap in a Venn diagram of atheism and humanism. It shouldn’t be that difficult to get people on board here — humans LOVE creating categories and labels for things. Is it just that people dislike RE-categorizing?

  24. says

    I really like this post. I think it gets to why I haven’t particularly identified with the humanists before. I see too many humanists talking about being nice and respectful to the religious, and criticizing atheists for speaking up too forcefully. But I definitely want to be speaking up forcefully in favor of atheism.
    But I do also care about social justice. I think it would be a better society for all of us to pay more attention to that, based on attempting to turn a skeptical eye on what we know of culture and society.

  25. jhendrix says

    I like the ideals behind “Atheism +”, since I stand on those sides of the issues that Jen and others are talking about. I do kind of think its reallly like saying youre a humanist, the differences do seem pretty minor.

    The only thing I don’t like about it is the name. “Atheist +” may sound and look great online, but if someone asks me what I am, saying “Atheist Plus” as a response sounds stupid.

  26. roggg says

    This idea is all kinds of cringe worthy. First, the self congratulatory silliness of calling ones movement “A+” feels a lot like the “Bright” fiasco. Second, atheist-humanist covers it nicely and are known terms that have communicative powers. Third “+” is too small a thing…and add on for all the wonderful things it represents. Finally “+” could be any add-on to atheism without adequate explanation.

    Very bad idea. I expect it has almost no chance of catching on, and I suspect many early adopters will someday feel a little embarrassed about it a little later on.

  27. Ashley F. Miller says

    Allowing people to define themselves or their organizations is not the same thing as splintering the movement. Did the FFRF splinter the movement? Did American Atheists? Did the SCA? All of these things have different goals and different self-definitions, but they also have the ability to work together on common goals. Giving people the ability to define themselves in a way they find appealing isn’t somehow inherently evil. Did lesbians making lesbian-specific groups with the word “lesbian” in them splinter the gay rights movement?

    Obviously, you disagree with the approach of being open about your dislike of religion and don’t think that belongs in humanism. Which is really a perfect illustration of why people who want to be loud about their dislike of religion don’t feel like “humanism” is quite the right label for them.

  28. says

    Hundreds of millions of Buddhists aren’t atheists. Maybe a couple of million, especially those of the California Zen type and some of the Japanese. But the vast majority of Buddhists worldwide pray to assorted spirits, and the wheel of reincarnations includes gods and demons, heavens and hells.

  29. says

    As I said above, humanistic decision making is inherently incompatible with religious decision making. While it is possible to compartmentalize to the point of avoiding cognitive dissonance, that’s not the same thing as being intellectually honest, anymore than e.g. physicist Charles Hard Townes is being intellectually honest when he prays to an entity that any physicist knows cannot exist.

  30. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    You need to read a few of the responses on Jen’s post that kick-started the whole business – there are plenty of comments there that makes it look more like it’s changing the minds of people who weren’t previously weren’t interested in being involved.

    I’m all for avoiding what happened with ‘Brights’, but I think this is a little different; that seemed to be more about being an ‘out’ atheist; this is more about connecting atheists who are specifically interested in social justice.

  31. markelamb says

    This is getting very interesting.

    A+ seems like a decent name – but the concept is great. Atheism that includes social justice and equality is worth promoting and embracing – this branding could be a key step in generating momentum. That momentum could do wonderful things.

    Reason enough in my book. At the very least it gets people talking about secular humanism, ethics and other great stuff – as well as how best to differentiate the intolerant and bigoted, and how to deal with them.

  32. David Hart says

    “this newly christened “atheist+” movement”

    I spy a hostage to quote-mining:-)

    Sorry; someone had to say it.

  33. 'Tis Himself says

    Croft, I’m merely describing what your own propaganda says. Sorry if reality doesn’t match your wishful thinking.

  34. 'Tis Himself says

    Humanist groups are NOT churches. Some people want non-religious namings, weddings and funerals, and we help to provide them. These are human events. Just because churches do them too doesn’t make them religious activities per se. You have to be pretty dumb not to understand that. Not to mention an intolerant ass if you think atheists shouldn’t do any of those things.

    In other words, you want all the trappings of religion only without gods. The Unitarian Universalists already fill the godless religion niche. Plus you want to sneer at those of us who recognize your hankering for religiosity.

  35. Corvus illustris says

    What ‘Tis misses is the remarkably Protestant feel of these organized-humanist trappings of religion (of course this also applies to the UUs). Once upon a time I sent the AHA a donation, anonymously because that’s how I donate in all cases. My name was published (grr). I was invited to a local meeting of some kind. It oozed Methodist Christian Fellowship. Surely one can have socially conscious freethought/skepticism/whatever without this.

  36. says

    Atheist Humanism, that’s a bit closer, but why not have many labels? I really don’t see what a lack of god belief does, and feel that what’s being defined as atheism+ is actually just secular humanism. Hmm…considering writing a post on this, too.

  37. Cthandhs says

    Yes. This is my issue with the Humanists. I grew up Unitarian Universalist in a pretty liberal area. Recently I was helping out some friends by working an Atheist United table at a community event. The ONLY person that gave us any real flack while I was there was a UU minister who identified himself as a secular humanist. He was offended because we had “Atheist” on our banner in very large letters. He felt that labeling ourselves as Atheist was bad form and potentially offensive to religious people. Some may say that Atheism+ is really secular humanism, but I guarantee you that there are a lot of secular humanists that would disagree, and that is not a space that I feel is very welcoming, at least not in my area.

  38. Cthandhs says

    Yes. This. My same experience, and I don’t want to fight the humanists on embracing Atheism.

  39. 'Tis Himself says

    Thinking about it, you and I are probably talking past each other. I suspect you think I’m accusing you of setting up the First Church of the Humanist God complete with dogma, canons and commandments. That’s not my complaint and I don’t think you (collective you) are trying to do that.

    What I don’t like is your “communities” with all the religious trappings like rituals, hymns, temples, and other devotional paraphernalia. You’re similar to Alain de Botton and his Religion for Atheists™ (except what de Botton wants is monuments to his monumental ego). Your rituals are basically low Protestant services with all mention of Jesus carefully expunged. If I wanted that sort of thing I’d join the Masons, they even do funerals.

  40. says

    I have no idea where you get your information from, I really don’t. It’s a complete parody of what we actually do. “Your rituals are basically low Protestant services with all mention of Jesus carefully expunged.” WTF? I work at the place and have no idea what you are talking about. It’s at least an endless supply of comedy =D

  41. says

    I get the impression that (at least some) American Humanist meetings have a more “religious” feel to them (as it were) than their British equivalents. Perhaps this has something to do with the social milieu.

    Although our meetings don’t have such a feel to them, it wouldn’t necessarily a bad thing if they did. As Tis Himself* (and some others) continue to refuse to appreciate, you must not refuse non-religious people the right to meet up in WHAT YOU FEEL is a religious way. You only think this is a religious way because you associate it with religion. There is nothing essentially religious about giving a sermon, silent reflection, group singing, chaplaincy work, coffee mornings, harvesttime food donations or whatever, despite the fact that even the language we use to describe these activities makes them seem religious in character. A lot of people enjoy these activities and they shouldn’t be sneered at because of the neuroses of antireligionists.

    *Who is apparently so embarrassed about being an atheist that he refuses to use his own name…

  42. Ashley F. Miller says

    I doubt anyone would want to refuse to allow that, but surely you can see why people would not want to participate. I imagine you would not want to refuse people to find that distasteful. There’s nothing wrong with being a self define humanist or wanting to participate in those activities it is just that we don’t want to. And there are a lot of reasons for wanting to remain anonymous on the internet, I have to say your little aside to to Tis is pretty sneering

  43. says

    If you don’t support Social Justice issues and you’re not skeptical of social organization and social social systems and you don’t think psychology, sociology, and philosophy can inform Atheism then you *are* Just An Atheist.

    Own it. Accept it.

  44. says

    Sorry for overdoing it a bit with the provocative nature of my comments. A+ is a positive outpouring and it could be a valuable addition to the movement.

  45. 'Tis Himself says

    I’ve previously quoted from the HCH website about the rituals you folks want to establish.* Here’s a quote from The Humanist Society:

    Recognizing the important role life occasions play in individual and community life, the Humanist Society’s unique ministry prepares Humanist Celebrants to lead ceremonial observances across the nation and worldwide. Celebrants provide millions of Americans an alternative to traditional religious weddings, memorial services, and other life cycle events. Celebration of life is central to a meaningful Humanist philosophy, and Humanist Celebrants officiate significant celebrations vital to Humanist life.

    The Humanist Society says it has a ministry. They’re offering religious ceremonies without religion, complete with ministerstrike> celebrant.

    *Yes, I know you say such things as weddings, funerals and “naming ceremonies” aren’t really rituals. But if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it probably isn’t a backhoe.

  46. julian says

    I would love to have one discussion about atheism without some holier than thou humanist remind everyone they aren’t allowed to be atheists. Same applies to agnostics.

  47. says

    I was going to comment on your (Ashley) statement:

    I personally like “atheism+” because it’s more confrontational

    isn’t confrontational to people who hate atheists but rather to other atheists, but then #18 already said it:

    I’ll just go ahead and identify as atheist+ because it also seems to annoy atheist/humanist pointless whiners.

    Building an ostensibly positive identity based on who you want to stick it to seems like a stupid idea. I’m not convinced why Secular Humanist doesn’t fit the bill, except for some strange (false) idea that Humanism=Church.

  48. says

    right you are Tis – the huge buildings, long black dresses, black beards, etc. are there to impress simpletons and replace reason. Humanists will be stupid enough to join up if given the chance, I’m afraid. Atheist, as a name is enough for me – ANYone can add a ‘+’ to hide their ghastly prejudices in brief encounters, can they not? I should never use this silly term; does that mean my atheism will become suspect? No chance – I’m 74 already and being English could out my atheism by the age of 18. Like yer style.

  49. says

    “if you go look at the American Humanist Association [LINK], you’ll see a group that does almost everything I could want a movement to do. It’s just that it doesn’t do one thing that is really important to me: make it clear that I am an atheist.”
    ———————————————-

    …so i click on the link + the first thing I see written under the AHA logo is ‘Good Without A God’

    The AHA slogan makes their atheism perfectly clear.

    I honestly don’t mean to be insulting, but this blog reads like it was written by a 12 yr old. I’m sorry.

  50. disapointed says

    I liked the idea of Atheism+ so much, I signed up.

    What I found was a forum so politically correct that it was not politically correct to say politically correct.

    Atheism+ is clearly for hypersensitive atheists who miss the feeling of moral indignation theists get by marking things as blasphemous.

    Atheism+ is atheism + sacred cows + ideological purity through lingual fascism.

    Loved the concept. Hated the execution. Please direct me to a group that actually embodies what is stated on the Atheism+ home page and FAQ

  51. Gary says

    Nice piece.
    It’s funny that there’s an ad for astrology at the top of the page!!!

    I am a humanist precisely for the converse reason. Atheism seems to me at least, to be about confrontation and putting religion down. I cannot live my life with negative actions. When someone asks me who I am, I don’t say ‘I don’t play squash…. I don’t eat celery….. and I don’t believe in God.’ It’s what we do in life that defines us – not what we don’t do. So my not believing in God is simply not relevant to my life. I believe in humanity, in people and that people are inherently good and I base my life on reason and common sense.

    People say that atheism and humanism are two sides of the one coin but if you take a coin – you cannot see both sides at the same time. You can see it from the ‘side on’ view or you can see one side or the other. In the same way, in my humble opinion, you cannot be both a humanist and an atheist. An atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in supernatural beings and is confrontational and negative towards religion and faith and people of faith. I can have no truck with that.

  52. Libby says

    Just for the record, because this came up upthread: it’s “Unitarian Universalists” not “Universalist Unitarians.” Just to clear that up.

  53. Ernman says

    I totally get what you’re saying about atheist versus humanist. Myself, I’ve gone from one to the other thinking it was essentially the same thing and therefore interchangeable, but now I’m not so sure. Every time I read an article or hear a speech on this subject, I’ll lean more towards the side of whatever I just read. So it went back and forth.

    What I finally decided/realized was this: “Atheist” is what I am, “Humanist” is how I am. “Secular” is, if not a prerequisite for both, at least the best method to be both. Humanism requires one to ignore a person’s creed and accept all, while most religions seem to reject anyone from a different tribe. That’s not humanistic. But both of these are a (close) 2nd to just being a human being. If someone wants to hate me for that, that’s on them, live and let live. I wish the non-secular of all denominations would do the same.

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