About HSG

Welcome!

If you are a person who believes that the problems of the world can only be solved by responsible human actions based on rational analysis and decision-making free of dogma or the guidance of imaginary supreme beings, then you'll find like-minded people and make new friends at the Humanist Society of Gainesville.


Pillars of Creation
--Photo by NASA Hubble
Our goal is to provide information, encourage activism, and serve as a social resource for members and others interested in a rational, humanistic world view. We want to foster a positive image of secular humanism in the community and counter unfair attacks and accusations by religious zealots. We believe in freedom of religion and respect the rights of all people to practice their spirituality and faith as they see fit. However, we also believe that no person or religion has the right to impose their beliefs on other people through public education or public policy, or to force others to participate in their religious practices. We encourage nonbelievers to speak out and express their true beliefs. Most importantly, we want to serve as a support group for atheists, secular humanists, freethinkers and other non-religious people.

We meet once or twice a month for programs, discussion forums, community service events and informal get-togethers. Some of our members may also meet and share activities with the Humanist Circle of the Unitarian Universal Church.

Please take a moment to explore our website and be sure to check out our blog to learn about  issues in the news of interest to humanists.  Whether you are a newcomer to the area or an old timer revisiting our site, please know that the new Humanist Society of Gainesville has a place for you. Please join us at our next meeting!

Our Goals:
  1. Promote secular humanism as an ethical and moral lifestyle choice.
  2. Provide a support group for secular humanists and like minded people through discussion groups, social activities, and community events.
  3. Protect secular humanists and other non-theists from unfair attacks and accusations.
  4. Foster a positive image in the community by participating and/or sponsoring public service events and other outreach activities.
  5. Promote and protect science curriculum, free inquiry, and analytical thinking in public education.
  6. Work to preserve first amendment rights regarding separation of church and state.
Our Officers:
     The Humanist Society of Gainesville elects officers annually through the membership.  Officer Positions include President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Immediate Past President, and four At-Large Board Members.  Elections occur in March.            

By-Laws:
Read our Bylaws here.

More About Humanism



"As indicated by our very name, we humanists celebrate humanity, want humanity to survive, and recognize that if humanity does survive, it will be by its own efforts. Never can we sit back and wait for miracles to save us. Miracles don't happen. Sweat happens. Effort happens. Thought happens. And it is up to us humanists to help--to expend our sweat, our effort and our thought. Then there will be hope for the world." -Isaac Asimov



 Secular Humanism:
     Secular Humanism is a non-theistic way of thinking and living that draws its knowledge from science, its inspiration from art, and its motivation from compassion. It is based on the belief that each person is unique and valuable, and that we must all rely on each other to improve the world and the condition of humankind. 
     Secular Humanism asserts that we must each take responsibility for ourselves and for the communities in which we live, not relying on beliefs in supernatural forces or gods to intervene in our behalf. Secular Humanism emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, individual freedom, human values and the need for tolerance and cooperation. Secular humanism, then, is a philosophy and world view which centers upon human concerns and employs rational and scientific methods to address the wide range of issues important to us all.
     While secular humanism is at odds with faith-based religious systems on many issues, it is dedicated to the fulfillment of the individual and humankind in general. To accomplish this end, secular humanism encourages a commitment to a set of principles which promote the development of tolerance and compassion and an understanding of the methods of science, critical analysis, and philosophical reflection. (American Humanist Association)


 

"I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings. Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels." -Pearl S. Buck






Science and Reason:
     We believe the scientific method, though imperfect, is still the most reliable way of understanding the world. Hence, we look to the natural, biological, social, and behavioral sciences for knowledge of the universe and man's place within it. We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside of nature for salvation. We appreciate the great benefits that science and technology (especially basic and applied research) can bring to humankind, but we also recognize the need to balance scientific and technological advances with cultural explorations in art, music, and literature. (Council for Secular Humanism)


 




"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." -Benjamin Franklin





Morality and Ethics:
    We are committed to moral excellence in ourselves and in our children. We believe that human values have their origin in human nature, experience and culture. We advocate constitutional democracy as the best means for securing justice, equality and fairness in society. We believe that seeking moral guidance from supernatural or mythological beings is contrary to human happiness and growth.(Council for Secular Humanism)

"Pointing to another world will never stop vice among us; shedding light over this world can alone help us." -Walt Whitman

Freethought:
      We believe that the mind should not be shackled by any religious, political, ideological or social institution. We believe that questioning claims to authority leads to an open and free society. Free inquiry is essential for the attainment of the necessary knowledge to advance humankind and preserve our planet.





"Each of those churches (Christian, Judaic and Islamic) accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all." -Thomas Paine
Separation of Church and State:
      We believe that the very foundation of our freedom is the separation of church and state. Only this separation can insure plurality and tolerance for all world views. Breeches in this wall, no matter how small, are threats to democracy and all that we hold dear. The lessons of history are clear: wherever one religion or ideology is established and given a dominant position in the state, minority opinions are in jeopardy. A pluralistic, open democratic society allows all points of view to be heard. Any effort to impose an exclusive conception of Truth, Piety, Virtue, or Justice upon the whole of society is a violation of free inquiry. Clerical authorities should not be permitted to legislate their own parochial views - whether moral, philosophical, political, educational. or social - for the rest of society. Nor should tax revenues be exacted for the benefit or support of sectarian religious institutions. Compulsory religious oaths and prayers in public institutions (political or educational) are also a violation of the separation principle. (Council for Secular Humanism)






"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." -James Madison



National Humanist Groups:
     All humanist groups share certain core beliefs, chief of which is the conviction that humans are responsible for the betterment of the world, and can only solve the world's problems though science, reason, and compassion. The Humanist Society of Gainesville agrees with these principles. See the sidebar for a list of links to other secular humanist organizations.