The International Humanist & Ethical Union, assembled at its 8th World Congress in Hanover, Federal Republic of Germany, August 1-5, 1982, deplores the growth of anti-humanist trends in the world today. In particular we are concerned with the unfair attacks on humanism by various dogmatic, ideological and fundamentalist forces.
These unfortunate developments mark a retreat from reason. They signify the growth of intolerant attitudes, the intensification of sectarian hatred, and an escape from the ideals of freedom and democracy. They represent an abandonment of many of the most important positive developments in the modern world and can lead either to fanaticism among their disciples or nihilism and alienation among others.
As humanists we reiterate our support for the use of reason and science for the betterment of humankind. We express our strong commitment to the ideals of the open society and human rights. These include the right of free conscience and dissent from the reigning orthodoxies. We maintain that humanism can provide constructive ethical alternatives for the future, and these involve a deep emotional and humanitarian concern for humanity as a whole.
We emphasise that there may not be any easy and surely no absolute solutions to many of the problems of life. We believe it is important to encourage responsible individuals, able to stand on their own two feet, capable of some creative independence and able to use their own critical intelligence in order to lead meaningful lives.
We re-affirm that humankind is responsible for its own destiny. A retreat to ancient religious dogma or to simple ideologies of salvation will not solve the serious problems facing mankind.
IHEU Congress 1982
'Growth of anti-humanist trends', Humanists International, World Humanist Congress, Hanover, Federal Republic of Germany, 1982