Why use the term “humanism”?
The term “humanism” identifies the belief that because there is no supernatural realm or afterlife, we should make the best of this life on earth. This is the belief that underlies the purpose of our organization.
Unlike terms that simply describe a lack of belief (“atheism,” “agnosticism,” “skepticism”) and terms more limited in focus (“freethinkers,” “rationalism”), the term “humanism” denotes a mindset of valuing every part of our lives as humans. Humanism focuses on positive values for living a good life on earth—values such as knowledge, responsibility, relationships, respect, peace, justice, and happiness.
The term “secular,” which simply means “not religious,” is often used along with “humanism” for extra clarity about being nonreligious.
What about existing organizations?
While there are similar communities forming around the world, no community like this now exists in our area. Two often-questioned possibilities are discussed below.
1) The Kanawha Valley Atheists and Agnostics Meetup group is purely a social group and is thus more limited in demographic and scope than the multi-faceted community we seek to create.
2) Local Unitarian Universalist congregations, while being a good source of community benefits for nonreligious people, are nevertheless born out of religious heritage and do still possess some external religious trappings. We want to create a new community with no religious context at all.
There are many national organizations that are helping non-religious people organize on a national scale, and we attend to their research and activities to inform our perspectives. While we may connect officially with such organizations in the future, we are not starting out under their headship, in order to be freer and more flexible in creating our own community structure that is tailored to our local needs.