Humanism can be described as an attitude that espouses being guided by reason, ethics, and knowledge in decision-making, rather than by emotion, dogma or tradition. The term ‘humanism’ dates back to the 16th century, when it was first applied to those who set out to revive the study of classical letters with its original Latin meaning of ‘human literature’.
Humanists are guided by natural law, which they see as an expression of rationality, sociality, and justice. They believe that people have the ability to work toward the common good by exercising their capacity for reason from within the framework of the social contract. A humanist believes that morality based on empathy with others’ suffering is superior to any established religion’s morality based on divine authority.
Humanists tend to reject supernatural explanations in favor of an open-ended understanding of life that can be shaped by science, reason, experience or divine influence. These people are advocates of using science to solve human problems and of using human means to develop solutions for social needs. They may be atheists or agnostics; they are not necessarily materialistic or hedonistic, but they do not believe in any supernatural powers such as God or other deities. Instead they believe in the power of people themselves to improve their lives.