Society for Secular Humanists in Calgary


Frequently Asked Questions

What are Humanists?

The short answer is that we are a group of atheists/agnostics whose morality is guided by reason and compassion. If you want a longer explanation, our guiding principles can be found here.

Is Humanism a religion?

No, Humanism is an alternative to religion. It offers what we consider to be the best aspects of religion such as fellowship and guiding principles without the dogmas, creeds, or gods.

Do you worship something?

No, there are concepts and ideals that we value, but we don't worship anything. We reject beliefs held in the absence of evidence. This includes the belief in a god or gods or any other supernatural entities. Some Humanists claim to worship the Invisible Pink Unicorn but, trust me, they're kidding.

Do you pray to something?

Sometimes I'll say grace if I'm visiting my Mom, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm talking to myself. I suppose it's possible that an agnostic Humanist might pray on the off chance that there might be something out there listening, but I've never met any.

How can you have morals without God?

We justify any moral stance we take with rational thought and compassion for our fellow humans. We don't consider our morals to be divinely inspired. Our morals are not dictated by ancient scriptures or by charismatic leaders or by any "higher authorities". We recognize that our morals are human inventions and are not infallible. Most Humanists reject the notion of absolute morality as well. We find that there are few rules which can be applied to all situations at all times. For example, the closest that I come to an absolute maxim is "Do the least harm".

Do you guys hate religion?

Not at all! In fact we believe that everyone has the right to believe whatever they want. To preserve that freedom for everyone, we firmly support the notion of keeping politics and religion separated. We also believe that while everyone has the right to believe what they want, no one has the right to impose their beliefs on anyone else.

In spite of our respect of the right to freedom of religion, we don't believe that any ideology is too sacred to have it's tenets debated. In fact we often hold people's most cherished beliefs to the test of reason. Sometimes we conclude that those tenets are morally valid and sometimes we don't.

Is there a Humanist Bible?

There are several Humanist Manifestoes that have been written over the years and there are several versions of the Humanist principles. Some Humanists are avid readers of philosophy as well. There is, however, no set of writings that Humanists acknowledge as a "Bible" or any variation thereof. Our morality is dynamic and subject to change as we learn more and as society and technology changes. That is why there have been several versions of the Humanist Manifesto.

How do I convert to Humanism?

If you've read our guiding principles and see your own principles mirrored there, then you are a Humanist! Nothing more need be done. But I would encourage those of you who believe themselves to be Humanists to contact us. We'd love to hear from you!

For those who wish to research further, please browse the following links:

Humanist Manifesto I

Humanist Manifesto II

Humanist Manifesto III

Humanism and the Humanist Manifestos

A Secular Humanist Declaration

What Is Secular Humanism?

The Humanist Philosophy