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10 Humanist Practices That Can Help Everyone Right Now

Uncategorized Jul 06, 2020

We are always grateful for our Humanist practice. We are most grateful when it allows us to meet the challenges of our modern lives head-on. When tragedy hits the national airways, when widespread outcry of inequality floods the streets, and when our own friends, family and neighbors have a run-in with intolerance, we process it as Humanists. 

We are most grateful for Humanism during the hardest times we can imagine, because for Humanists, there is never any question of how to respond. The guiding lights of traditional religions have been interpreted in different ways since the beginning of time, often to benefit a small group of powerful individuals. Not Humanism. Every individual person is of tremendous worth to this world, and there is not a single thread of fear woven into that message. No fear… and therefore, total freedom. 

In a matter of weeks, Humanists have taken on the responsibility of assisting our community during a global pandemic; listening, learning and advocating against violence, systemic racism and in support of Black Lives Matter; plus checking in on and celebrating LGBTQ+ youth and adults during Pride month in June. All while the Celebrants among us suffered the loss of their livelihood as the pandemic canceled nearly the entire 2020 wedding season. We would be lying if we said we weren’t tired from the last few months. (Luckily, cohort one of Celebrant Academy started at the SAME exact time and our students have been so inspiring through it all!) But we also realize that our short-term pain and loss of income pales in comparison to the systemic racism and homophobia that our POC and LGBTQ+ friends, families, colleagues, and fellow humans, deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Kristin Wintermute, Director of Education for the American Humanist Association and the Humanist Society, wrote about the The Ten Commitments of Humanism. She said, “Each one of us is responsible for the collective welfare of humanity, other beings, and the resources of our shared planet. We value freedom, reason, and tolerance, and it is our responsibility to develop this heritage for ensuing generations.”

The Commitments include:

  1. Altruism  

  2. Critical Thinking

  3. Empathy

  4. Environmentalism 

  5. Ethical Development

  6. Global Awareness

  7. Humility

  8. Peace and Social Justice

  9. Responsibility

  10. Service and Participation

Specifically when it comes racism and the increased action of the Black Lives Matter Movement, we have relied on several of these Humanist Commitments: (Wintermute’s text is in quotes.)

Altruism  

A word defined as the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others. “I will help others in need without hoping for rewards.” 

Empathy

The psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. “I will consider other people’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.” And we combine that with: 

Responsibility

“Moral responsibility involves taking conscious ownership of one’s intentions and actions, and being accountable for the resulting consequences.” We will stand up for what is morally and ethically right and confront those making racist/homophobic comments or actions. 

Peace and Social Justice

Defined as, justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. “I will help people solve problems and handle disagreements in ways that are fair for everyone.” 

Humanists have a fierce commitment to social justice. We are not quiet about our feelings on inequality. However, we can channel our loud and fierce beliefs through our empathy and altruism in order to be true advocates for a reformed, more peaceful society for all. 

We will continue to let Celebrant Academy be a place to share and promote these values. We strive to always be open to listening and learning; advocating and taking action. 

>>You may also like to read more about the Ten Commitments of Humanism.

>>We also welcome you to learn more about Humanism and the American Humanist Association.


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