Although humanism is not a faith, it does provide a moral framework for a life free from superstition and supernatural beliefs, and rejects any notions of a life after death. Believing that a person has only one life, humanists try to make it as worthwhile and happy as possible for everyone. Humanists are atheists, agnostics or sceptics who either reject or at least robustly question the idea of any god or other power beyond the physical world. However, humanism is more than just a simple denial of religious belief. Humanists base their moral principles on a rational approach to life, under-pinned by shared human values and respect for others, with the aim of improving the quality of life, making it more equitable for all.

Humanism focuses on human beings and offers an ethical approach to life, a belief in people's ability to solve problems, recognising that much of what happens in our world is what people cause to happen. To this end, humanists try to co-operate with people of all faiths to achieve the shared aims of a caring free society, although they condemn religious adherence that harms or disadvantages others. Humanists assert that morality comes from our ability to see that there is general benefit when we behave well towards each other; an ability that is enhanced by personal responsibility, a caring and principled upbringing and education that always insists that we treat others with consideration and unselfishness. Human rights law is important to all humanist organisations throughout the world and they endorse the principles of humanitarian ideals that are enshrined in all such declarations, covenants and conventions as well as the universal initiatives promoted by the United Nations for the peaceful co-habitation of all the world's populations.


Attitudes to healthcare staff and illness

Humanists respect healthcare staff and are comfortable seeking medical help and advice when sick.


Religious practices

Not relevant. However, registered humanist celebrants conduct non-religious ceremonies to observe rites of passage – for birth, marriage and death.



No particular requirements. Some humanists are vegetarian or vegan.



Not relevant.


Washing and toilet

No particular requirements.


Ideas of modesty and dress

No particular requirements.


Death customs

Many Humanists will have a living will or advance directive. Humanists favour cremation or green burials and would want a humanist funeral. Many humanists endorse death with dignity and would therefore favour legal voluntary euthanasia (with appropriate safeguards) for adults.


Birth customs

No particular requirements.


Family planning

Humanists have always been strong advocates of birth control and for the right to choose in relation to abortion.


Blood transfusions, transplants and organ donation

Most humanists have no objection to blood transfusions and may receive transplants or donate organs for transplantation.