Use of the Word “Religion”

  • Date / 1989
  • Ratifying Body / Board of Directors
  • Status / Archived

Being concerned about the confusion and contention sometimes caused by the words “religion” and “religious”,

This board wishes to place on record the following points which can be agreed by all humanists:

  1. Some humanists use the word “religion” as roughly equivalent to “life stance”; others take it to imply some theistic or non-naturalistic reality.
  2. Those humanists who use the word “religious” to describe themselves or their organisations do not imply that their humanism accepts any theistic or non-naturalist realities.
  3. In the sense of the word “religion” which implies “accepting a god”, humanism is not a religion; in the sense of “religion” meaning “life stance”, humanism is a religion.
  4. There is disagreement among humanists about which is the “true” or “appropriate” meaning of the word “religion”.

Board of Directors 1989

Suggested academic reference

'Use of the Word "Religion"', Humanists International, Board of Directors, 1989

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