Atheism, Secularism & Humanism

“My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, 1791


Atheism is the absence of belief in supernatural beings. Atheists believe in freedom of and from religion. As atheists usually trust the scientific method for explanations of nature and being, they hold that the burden of proof falls on theists. Agnostics and sceptics are similar in their general doubt about the existence of supernatural beings. Most atheists and many theists are secularists, holding that beliefs ought to be private and should not be imposed on anyone, certainly not through public institutions, before which every human should be equal. Humanism is a set of moral and ethical standpoints that constitute a belief in the advancement of humanity through its own efforts. Humanists endorse ideals that promote the peaceful co-habitation of all beings on earth, such as fairness, compassion, tolerance and reason.

Customs and practices

Atheists, secularists and humanists (ASHs) think that an ethical way of life comes from within all of us and extends to all people, irrespective of their chosen lifestyles or personal decisions. Therefore, customs and practices of ASHs are determined on a personal basis, with the foundations of reason and compassion at the centre. Thus, there are no practices that make someone more or less of an ASH. Nevertheless, ASHs think that human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same. For this purpose, many ASHs meet regularly to talk, learn and share ideas, to discuss and campaign on social and moral issues, and to socialise and celebrate life and significant events. For instance, registered Humanist Celebrants conduct ceremonies to observe life rites (eg, birth, coming of age, marriage, death). Some ASHs celebrate Darwin Day on 12 February.