The Principles of Religious Humanism

by The Reverend Joseph Ben-David

     The teaching and practice of humanism as a naturalistic religion that combines reason and feeling includes the following elements of faith:

1 .The center of humanistic striving is the fulfillment of the call of God understood as ideal reality to be optimally actualized in the life of every individual and society at large. Thus, the faith of the Church of Humanism implies a religion of actuality. The religious postulate "to understand, love and serve God" - in a rational and naturalistic sense - is the first element of our faith.

2. Human beings bear a unique and sacred responsibility for one another and the planet earth. The development of our capacities for reason, love and wisdom, as well as the authentic relatedness toward oneself, others and the universe represents the second element of our faith.

3. Human dignity and fulfillment rest on ethical and moral factors, particularly the freedom of conscience, and they imply the explicit duty of non-resignation to all forces of evil. Thus, the need to elevate and strengthen character and to foster resistance to actions and involvements that abuse, violate and oppress other human beings, animals and the environment, is the third element of our faith.

4. In religious quests, the criterion of ethics is truth - truth seen, not as relative opinion, empty abstraction or statements erroneously proven by false evidence, but as a statement, thought or feeling that corresponds with reality. Therefore, the reconstruction of the concept of truth is the fourth element of our faith.

5. Crucial to the concept of God as ideal reality is the comprehension of the word "reality" as synonymous with that which is, was, or will be. Reality is the opposite of the fictitious, illusionary or delusionary. Recognizing that our perception is limited by our sensory apparatus, the need to transcend the brutal aspects of nature and to attain higher states of being through the modalities of spiritual enlightenment, the sciences and the arts is the fifth element of our faith.

6. The practice of religious humanism requires the concentration of all life forces on the tasks that are most important in the fulfillment of each individual's destiny. The challenge is to focus on the ultimately relevant, to penetrate to the roots, and to be aware of primal causes. The striving to become a part of the sensory-awakened avant-garde of society, while identifying with all humanity, is the sixth element of our faith.

7. Recognizing the necessity for the unification of the central humanistic truths inherent in all world faiths and schools of thought and aspiring to advance their fusion in a panreligious, ethically pluralistic sense, permeating the minds and hearts of as many people as possible, is the seventh element of our faith.

Copyright © 2012 by Rev. Joseph Ben-David

Love, Reason, and the Future of Humanity

By Susan Wayne

In a time of great uncertainty, people are searching for answers. We are affirming old values: family ties, stable relationships, service to community, courage and faith. Yet often the answers we get from churches and governments seem tired and stale and lacking in conviction. We speak of lofty values, but we very seldom see them practiced. We yearn for a bright vision of the Human future, but fear annihilation. We aspire to be the best we can, but we are not sure how.

The great advances we have made in science, psychology, philosophy and art give us a clearer and brighter vision of what the human future could be. They also offer us a clearer vision of God, the creative process in nature of which human beings are a part. It is through the ethical and spiritual genius that we transcend nature and discover the secrets of life. With greater understanding comes a vision of our role in shaping the future. We have a choice. We can be contributors, or we can be passed by.

The Church of Humanism, based in New York City since 1973, in working for social justice and the human future on an international scale, is a response to that choice and that challenge. Its concept of Theocentric Humanism calls on us to become a part of nature’s creative process by committing ourselves to love God and humanity, by striving to let reason and truth guide our understanding, and by acting in ways that enrich and enhance the future. This is the conceptual core of the Church of Humanism, a true religion for our time.

Religion for our time

Love, reason and the future of humanity: these are not simply abstract ideals. Rather, they are standards for addressing the pressing needs of humankind, as well as practical foundations for a rewarding personal life. Theocentric Humanism embraces a responsible and naturalistic understanding of spiritual, emotional and erotic love and sexuality that, through education and growth experiences, can help resolve the emotional barriers to love that so many of us carry within us. We are committed to the understanding that loving personalities are the hope of humankind between individuals and between nations.

On these pages you will find information about who we are, what our history is, and what we invite you to explore. Much of what you will find here is morally demanding on an unprecedented scale: it is a Call to Action of the highest order. Nothing found herein is presented dogmatically, nor is it meant to be taken uncritically. We do not seek followers or believers. What we seek, what we invite you to become, are freethinking partners in a great spiritual enterprise.