Submission by Dr. Gail McCabe of a Humanist Section for the Faith Accommodation Guide of the Toronto District School Board
Submitted by Gail McCabe PhD RSSW
For the Humanist Section, TDSB RARPO Guidelines and Procedures
Humanism is a naturalistic, scientific, secular philosophy of life. Humanists embrace core human values of respect, responsibility, compassion and love. We look to nature and on-going inquiry for the explanation of life rather than to a divine or super-natural power.
Humanism is an ethical stance that calls for a commitment to the betterment of humanity through the methods of science, democracy, and reason, without limitations imposed by political, ecclesiastical, or other dictates.
Humanist Principles and Core Values
We live our lives in the belief that this is our only life. Therefore, we have a great responsibility to ourselves, and to the others with whom we share this planet, to make it the best life possible. Humanists hold 'human happiness' and gender parity with the highest regard. Therefore, we believe that the orderly progress of society demands that the views of others must be respected regardless of race, gender, social class, religion or creed so long as those views do not limit or intrude on the rights of others. Humanists support the full inclusion of all individuals through the separation of religious practices from the democratic institutions of state and governance.
Humanists have no established rituals or practices, but do recognize many rites of passage and historical events on an individual or ad hoc basis. For example, Humanists may celebrate birthdays or the coming of age of children; Humanists may choose to host a Celebration of Life at the death of a loved one; some individuals may wish to publicly declare their decision to unite by means of an appropriate ceremony.
Holidays & Celebrations
Humanists do not have any holidays or celebrations unique to themselves. However Humanists groups and individuals frequently observe special dates on the calendar such as the solstices. Others may wish to recognize, from time to time, the decisive role in the advancement of reason and scientific method represented by the work of Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Bertrand Russell and Dora Russell.