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

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