Paul Orth (letter Jan. 11) refers to humanistic values as the "ultimate oxymoron." Unfortunately, the prevalence of rhetoric and misinformation about the supposed lack of humanistic values may have influenced Mr. Orth's statement.
Humanism is a non-theistic based philosophy (except for Christian humanism or religious humanism) that stresses the ability and responsibility of people to lead ethical lives while achieving personal fulfillment and aspiring to the greater good of all humanity.
Humanists believe in the importance of the dignity of each individual person, human rights and equal opportunities for all, the responsibility of working to benefit society, caring for the environment, and knowledge derived from reason and evidence. Humanists are opposed to acts or attitudes of intolerance, bigotry, discrimination and censorship.
Values are a very important part of the humanist philosophy and are based on empathy, compassion and the welfare of humanity. Values that are derived from the mind of man are no less significant than those that are claimed to have a theistic source.
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