What is humanism?
The humanist worldview centers on humanity and human values, as opposed to supernatural entities like gods. Humanism unites compassion and reason in an effort to create a better society, where we ourselves are responsible for what happens. Democracy and human rights are universal values and must exist for all people, regardless of where one lives.
A secular worldview
At the core of humanism lies critical thinking and a scientific view of knowledge. Humanism is a secular – non-religious – life stance that claims that there are no reasonable arguments for religious dogma, gods or supernatural explanations. Humanists have a critical view of all forms of religion, New Age spirituality and occultism.
The roots of humanism
Humanistic ideas can be traced back to ancient philosophers such as Socrates and Epicurus. As a philosophy, humanism started developing during the renaissance and gained ground during the enlightenment, sharing ideas such as freedom, equality, brotherhood, rationalism, tolerance and compassion. Important names in the history of humanism include Voltaire, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, Julian Huxley and Richard Dawkins. In Sweden notably Knut Wicksell, Elise Ottesen-Jensen, Ingemar Hedenius and Georg Klein.
The liberated human
The international humanist movement’s symbol is the ”happy human”, a stylized human stretching its arms towards the sky in a happy, liberated gesture. Humanism wants to free people from religious complexes of sin and guilt, and the debilitating belief in eternal punishment. Humanism works for ethics based on compassion and tolerance, as exemplified in the UN declaration of human rights.
A secularized society
Humanists want a clear separation of church and state, religion and school. Religion is a private matter and should not be mixed with politics or other state matters. The international humanist movement sees the secularized society as a foundation for democracy.
The Swedish Humanist Association was founded in 1979 and is a member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU). IHEU was founded in 1952 and is officially represented in the UN, UNESCO, UNICEF, EU and the European Council. IHEU is an umbrella organization for humanists all over the world. Over 100 organizations are connected to it, representing over 40 countries.
The Swedish Humanist Association…
…provides information about humanism as a worldview.
…debates totalitarian and racist ideologies, religious teaching and traditions, and the consequences of these for individuals and society.
…arranges humanistic worldview camps for youths.
…provides advice and help to people who want a secular ceremony for their marriage, funeral or welcoming a new child.
…has a partial ownership in the quarterly magazine ”Sans”, containing interviews with noteworthy people, articles on worldview-related matters such as religion, politics etc., debate and more.
…annually awards the Ingemar Hedenius award, commemorating the Swedish philosopher Ingemar Hedenius, to someone who has helped spread the humanistic message in Swedish society.
A few of our standpoints
- Protect the secularized society.
- Children, also, have the right to freedom of religion. No religiously-based compulsory education schools should be allowed.
- Ethics should not be based on religious myths.
- Protect the right to free abortion.
- Protect sexual freedom for consenting adults, and respect sexual minorities.
- Forbid female and male genital mutilation/circumcision.
- Remove the Swedish church’s near-monopoly on funeral services.
- Improve treatment of the dying, investigate euthanasia.
- All people should have the right to non-religious ceremonies at the different stages of life.
A lot of information about humanism as a worldview can be found online. Above mentioned IHEU is a good place to start. The American Humanist Association also provides a lot of information about humanism, and prominent AHA-members created the Humanist Manifesto documents widely referred to by humanists as a foundation of our life stance.
For more information about the Swedish Humanist Association, try this Wikipedia article.
Join the Swedish Humanist Association
If you would like to join the Swedish Humanist Association but do not speak Swedish, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you with your application. Membership costs 365 SEK for one year. For additional members in the same household, the fee is 100 SEK. Persons under 25 years of age, or full-time students pay 180 kr per annum.
More contact information
c/o Föreningshuset, Virkesvägen 26, 120 30 Stockholm, Telephone: 08-55606148
PlusGiro: 41 80 901-3
Organisation number: 802009-5348
Chairman: Christer Sturmark