On the 21st of June we humanists celebrate Word Humanist Day. On this occasion, this is the message of the President of the European Humanist Federation, Michael Bauer.
A firewall against barbarism
On World Humanist Day, we humanists have many reasons to be proud of what we have achieved – and the next day, we have the obligation to persevere in building a humane world society. “With more humanism, we have a better chance for free and humane societies.” This was stated by the President of the European Humanist Federation, Michael Bauer, on the occasion of this year’s World Humanist Day on 21 June.
Ideological extremism, in mainly religious forms, a worsening climate crisis and continuing extinction of species, the growth of social and economic polarization are several threats to our societies. Even today, Bauer stressed, the present offers no reason to look to the future without concern: “Almost everywhere in the world, anti-humanist forces have gained in effectiveness and influence in the course of overlapping crises. In many countries, welcomed progress has been made. But the opponents of cosmopolitan, liberal and emancipative lifestances have unfortunately been able to regroup in many places to fight this progress – sometimes successfully,” he said.
With regard to the development of the human rights situation in the world, Michael Bauer emphasized that there is no law of nature that guarantees lasting civilizing progress in human society. “Every day, a huge amount of people on all continents have to experience that the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights do not work for them,” Bauer continued. “Those who reject or even fight against these human rights principles promote anti-humanistic conditions. Practised humanism in all its many forms guarantees a firewall against such barbarism.”
“Especially in some countries of the American continents, we are currently seeing how the rejection of scientific findings and the persistence of religious expectations of salvation can lead to millions of cases of suffering. Pandemics like the present one are a test of humanity.” In history, they are not an unusual event. People from all centuries have experienced epidemics across borders. But in the last few months, humanism has shown its strength in fighting them: “the orientation towards scientific facts, critical thinking, coupled with human solidarity and care – humanism thus offers reliable methods of overcoming even the most difficult problems. A humanistic attitude helps to arm oneself against the risk of succumbing to exaggerated fear scenarios and crude conspiracy theories. To act rationally, factually and fairly in crises such as this one – this is one of the contributions that ideological humanism can and does make to overcoming this current crisis.”