Most atheists and people who reject religion, superstition and beliefs in the supernatural are Humanists.
Are you a Humanist?
Which of the following statements is closest to your point of view? (You can choose more than one answer to each question if you need to.)
1 Does God exist?
A) I am sure there is a God ruling over the universe.
B) It depends what you mean by God, but I think so.
C) I don’t know.
D) There is no evidence that any god exists, so I’ll assume that there isn’t one.
2 When I die…
A) my soul will go to another place where I will be rewarded if I was good and punished if I was bad.
B) I will survive in some kind of afterlife.
C) that will be the end of me.
D) I will live on in people’s memories or because of the work I have done or through my children.
3 How did the Universe begin?
A) God created it.
B) It was set up as an experiment by extremely intelligent aliens from another universe, who drop in every now and then to see how we’ re doing.
C) I don’t know.
D) The scientific explanations are the best ones available – no gods were involved.
4 The theory that life on Earth evolved gradually over billions of years is…
A) just a theory. My religion tells the true story.
B) likely to be true, but I think God had a part in it too.
C) probably true, because my Science teacher said it was true.
D) true – there is plenty of evidence from fossils, DNA and many other sources showing that this is how it happened.
5 When I look at a beautiful view I think that …
A) it must have been designed by God.
B) it would be a nice place for a motorway.
C) this is what life is all about – I feel good.
D) we ought to do everything possible to protect this for future generations.
6 I can tell right from wrong by…
A) reading a holy book or listening to a religious leader.
B) I don’ t really think about it much – people should just do as they like.
C) accepting what my parents and teachers say.
D) thinking hard about the probable consequences of actions and their effects on other people.
7 It’s best to be honest because…
A) my religion tells me so.
B) it’s usually against the law or the rules to be dishonest.
C) people respect you more if you’ re trustworthy.
D) I’m happier and feel better about myself if I’m honest.
8 Other people matter and should be treated with respect because…
A) God created us all in his image.
B) they are useful to me.
C) they are people with feelings like mine.
D) we will all be happier if we treat each other well.
9 Animals should be treated …
A) with respect because they are part of God’ s creation.
B) however we see fit – they don’ t have souls and were created for us to use.
C) kindly because they are sweet and fluffy and nicer than people.
D) with respect because they can suffer too.
10 The most important thing in life is…
A) to have a good relationship with God.
B) to make lots of money.
C) to preserve the planet for future generations.
D) to increase the general happiness and welfare of humanity.
Interpreting your answers
This is a more or less serious set of questions designed to help you think about whether you are committed to a religious view of the world, and how this affects your moral beliefs. However, many people have a fairly mixed collection of beliefs, and few are completely consistent, so it is possible that none of the profiles below truly reflects your world view. But they do give an indication of what most humanists believe – and don’t believe.
All or mostly As: You definitely have a religious faith and Humanism is not for you, though you may agree with humanists on some issues, especially if you also collected a few Cs or Ds.
All or mostly Bs: You may have some religious beliefs, or you might still be exploring ideas and not yet made up your mind. Some of your choices are not very ethical – so you’re unlikely to be a humanist!
All or mostly Cs: Your answers are fairly neutral, perhaps a bit dependent on authority or other people or pure emotion. Humanists try to think, and to think for themselves. You may be an agnostic or a humanist or vaguely religious, depending on what your other answers were.
All or mostly Ds: You are a humanist or very close to humanist thinking. Many people are, often without even knowing it! Humanists don’t agree about everything, and you may have collected some other answers too, though if they include As and Bs you’re unlikely to be a humanist.
DO YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE ONE?
Two of our past Presidents were Humanists without knowing. Claire Rayner, who was President of the BHA and is now a Vice president writes: “I was a humanist without knowing it for many years before I found the Association – when I did, it was like finding a sort of home. Here were people with a range of views that matched mine, who shared my respect for life in all its forms and who, above all, did not in any way try to bully other people to follow their beliefs.”
The wonderful Linda Smith who died untimely was our last President and she wrote: “I only found out that the beliefs I hold are ‘humanistic’ when the BHA kindly invited me to be its president. I am sure that I’m typical of many unconscious humanists. I see publicising humanism in order that other people might identify themselves, not just negatively as atheists but positively as humanists, as a vital part of my role.”
I have a mission to get all those atheists who are really Humanist to ‘come out’ and identify themselves with pride and join the majority of us who now eschew religion and supernaturalism.
It is especially important to help young people, the majority of whom do not believe in God or hold religious beliefs. The poor buggers are forced by law to to partake in ‘ a daily act of worship of a deity’. How primitive! How medieval! The law must be changed.