Celebrating our Sources: Humanism

From the Unitarian Universalist Associations of Congregations:

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:
Humanist teachings counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.

Philosophical humanism dates from antiquity, but the logo we recognize today is a newcomer. The Happy Human icon was the winning design in a competition sponsored by the British Humanist Association in 1965. Dennis Barrington is the artist. The trademark is still held by the BHA, which freely licenses the use of the symbol by bona fide Humanist organizations like the American Humanist Association and our own HUUmanists.

“Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.” So reads an update of the Humanist Manifesto, first announced in 1933. Fifteen Unitarian ministers and one Universalist minister were among the thirty-four people who signed the original document.

Humanism also is a big tent that can embrace persons of many philosophies and theologies. At its center, it is Tough-minded, but Tender–hearted. Human problems require human solutions – informed by science, inspired by art and motivated by compassion.

One UU congregation celebrates its Humanist connection with this covenant:

We aspire to:

    • Live joyfully and ethically, in loving reverent relationship with humanity and nature.
    • Pursue wisdom through reason, science, art and the stories of civilization.
    • Make the change we need for a more just, compassionate and peaceful world.
    Support one another’s journey toward meaning and connection in the here and now.

Prepared by Josephine Leach, June 3, 2014

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