What Makes a REAL Humanist?

by Steven_Lam on November 7, 2015 - 1:50pm

So I've been thinking... this whole semester we've been looking and talking about people who are deemed to be humanists and at what they've done for the humanist movement. However, although it has been mentioned, I find that we haven't focused much on the qualities-- for the lack of a better word-- of a humanist; what makes someone a REAL humanist? 

Actually, are there even certain qualities someone needs to have to be considered as a real humanist? Or if one wants to determine whether or not they are a humanist, do they just list out all their personalities and opinions to be judged by other peers; essentially the person in question now having their peers determine for them if they are a humanist or not. I mean we've heard of a few qualities-- again, for the lack of a better word-- that past humanists have in common with each other, hence why people now consider these qualities as humanist qualities. Some of these qualities include: putting the human as first priority, being open-minded, being able to look at situations from different perspectives and plenty more. The thing is, since everybody sees things differently, people tend to interpret these qualities differently. 

Of the qualities I actually did mention above, let's talk about the one on making the human as first priority. Before I get to my point, let me quickly say that I found out about this quality during my research for my essay-- here's the link if anyone's interested: http://philosophy.about.com/od/Philosophical-Theories-Ideas/a/Humanism.h... think we can all agree that this quality can be taken in many ways because it's not very specific when it says "human". Some may think that "human" is meant to be applied to the actual human race while others might think it actually means put one single human as priority and as selfish of a race we are, those people will indeed make themselves that single human. But aren't they both right? I mean they are both technically putting human-- one way or another-- as priority. Yes, some will argue that this is common sense and the word "human" is actually meant for the race but there are some people who don't see it like that.

To conclude, what do you think makes a REAL humanist? Does it take the qualities I mentioned above-- along with the rest I didn't mention-- or do the person's characteristics need to be laid out and judged by peers? And if it is by qualities, what if that person views the qualities differently from you? Will you consider non-humanistic? Or are you the non-humanist? Anyways, this is a very broad question. Maybe the answer isn't even in the two possibilities I mentioned. I want to know what you think about this. Do you choose specific qualities or judging of one's characteristics? Do you have a completely different answer? If so, please let me know. I'm curious and open to hearing something different. Even if you completely disagree with what I say, please feel free to comment about it-- just make sure it's constructive and not just a simple bashing. 





In your text, you brought up good facts. Like the fact that there is a certain description of values that we link to being humanist, but, actually, there is no unique and single way to be one. Indeed, I believe that REAL humanists are people that are capable to listen to other humanists' opinion... seems unclear, but what I mean it that, in my opinion, since people see things differently, a humanist must have the capability/quality of being open-minded and being able to work with others. From there, they can work other values like the ones you said: "putting the human as first priority, being open-minded, being able to look at situations from different perspectives and plenty more"