A humanist’s commitment to discerning truth using rational logic and hard evidence can often cause them to come into conflict with their religious peers. This has led some humanists to become staunchly anti-religious. However, humanism as a philosophy is not anti-religious.
Personally, I choose not to be anti-religious. In fact, many religious figures, from Jesus to Buddha, were living examples of people who led lives that exemplify the best of human character. They challenged the societal and religious traditions of their time that were illogical and inhumane. Furthermore, they called upon others to do the same. This holds true whether you believe in the divine nature of such figures or not.
I am not anti-religious, and I am good friends with people who have a very strong faith as well as people who are diehard atheists. However, I do reject blind adherence to any religious dogma. Historically, such adherence has led to travesties such as the Spanish Inquisition, human sacrifices, and the emergence of groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. In modern times, it has led to blights on society, such as Jihad and the protection of paedophile priests.
How Is Humanism Different Religion?
The largest difference between humanism and any religion is that you can be a humanist without believing in God. That doesn’t mean you have to be an atheist. In fact, there is a very large movement of religious humanists. It simply means that a belief in any form of God is not necessary.
Another difference stems from the first. When humanists ask themselves, What is right? or How should I act? they do not rely on superstition or blind obedience to any authority. Rather, they consider what they know objectively and how they can use that knowledge to act in ways that benefit themselves and those around them.
A subtler difference is that a humanist relies upon their own abilities (intellectual, physical or creative) and not upon fate or divine intervention when seeking to improve their own or others’ personal circumstances. Humanists think for themselves and take action accordingly.