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Today in school I was told "humanism" had to do with your religious ideas but in a dictionary it says,

any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.

So what does it really mean?

(I found the definition on http://www.dictionary.com/browse/humanism?s=t)

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    Are you in a public school, or a church school? Mar 6, 2017 at 22:21
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    Many religious groups point to "humanism" as a kind of anti-religion. That may be why they said it had to do with religious ideas. Some humanists even see themselves as opponets of religion. Mar 6, 2017 at 22:26
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    That makes sense.
    – Zoe
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:27
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    When looking for information on this topic, be careful of people writing about it who have their own "hidden agenda". It seems to attract a lot of fanatics pushing their world views. Mar 6, 2017 at 22:35
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    You should have supplied the quote from Dictionary.com, which gives definitions of four senses. Obviously, in school the Dictionary.com definition (4) was being used, while you for some reason have stopped at (1). Words are often unbiddable in this way (having conflicting definitions). Mar 6, 2017 at 22:41

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I find these kinds of questions get a pretty good answer on Wikipedia:

Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and affirms their ability to improve their lives through the use of reason and ingenuity as opposed to submitting blindly to tradition and authority or sinking into cruelty and brutality.[1] The term was coined in 1808 by the early nineteenth century German educational reformer and theologian Friedrich Niethammer and gradually adopted into English. Niethammer had wished to introduce into German education the humane values of ancient Greece and Rome. Niethhammer was a Lutheran theologian. Since the twentieth century, however, Anglophone humanist movements have usually been aligned with secularism, and today humanism typically refers to a non-theistic life stance centred on human agency and looking to science rather than revelation from a supernatural source to understand the world.[2][3]

Humanism, like many other -isms, is an ideology (or perhaps, set of ideologies) that has shifted and morphed over the years, variously including and excluding ideas (such as secularism or non-theism) depending on which proponent of the ideology is speaking.

In addition, proponents and opponents of the ideology tend to emphasize different aspects. For example, a proponent might emphasize "the value and agency of human beings" while either a proponent or an opponent might emphasize that it is "non-theistic" if that would be attractive to the audience. But both are correct in that most forms of the ideology purport to provide a way forward emphasizing the former, while assuming (or in some cases, arguing) the latter.

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    I was told Wikipedia isn't always correct.
    – Zoe
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:29
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    True, but it's usually a good place to start. Get your bearings using Wikipedia, then corroborate and dig deeper using other sources. Mar 6, 2017 at 22:33
  • Okay that is a good idea I will try that out. Thank you.
    – Zoe
    Mar 6, 2017 at 22:34
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    A satisfactory Wikipedia article will always have several high-quality references. Unfortunately, many of the five million articles were written before the arrangements for checking them were as tight as they are today, and lack good references.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 6, 2017 at 23:42

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