by Anna Eplin
There are many widespread and various misconceptions about the term “secular humanism,” which is simply a focus on improving our lives on earth however we can without any reference to religion or an afterlife.
In all the hype generated by fear from both sides (I’ve heard the range; the arguments tend to go along these lines: Christians say, “You are seductive devils!” while other atheists say, “You stink like religion!”), an obvious fact gets completely ignored:
Secular humanism is the same viewpoint you hear used every day in public settings such as media, government, and business—anywhere religion is purposefully kept out of discussion about some aspect of life on earth.
U.S. federal, state, and local governments, which set out to operate on the principle of separation of church and state (though, granted, not always successfully!), adopt a position of seeking to make this life here together as good as possible without any reference to religion at all. That is exactly the viewpoint of secular humanism.
As someone who identifies as a secular humanist, I just want to say, really, we’re not so scary! We’re just regular people who want to live good lives (and we don’t think we know the answer to what that means, necessarily) on earth without dragging religion into everything.
And now you can see you’re more familiar with that viewpoint than you thought.