In short, Humanism is being good without god. It is above all an affirmation of the greatest common values we human beings have: the desire to life with dignity, to be “good.” But humanism is also a warning that we cannot afford to wait until tomorrow of until the next life to be good, because today— the short journey we get from birth to death, womb to tomb— is all we have. Humanism rejects dependence on faith, the supernatural, divine texts, resurrection, reincarnation, or anything else which we have no evidence. To put it another way, Humanists believe in life before death.
I find a purposeless universe to be far more inspiring and far less bleak, because it means that the meaning in our lives is the meaning we create. It is not imposed on us by some other entity…The meaning in my life is the meaning I make, and the quality of my life is the quality of my actions.
Seeing myself as an insignificant being in a purposeless universe inspires me to say: I am here for this little bit of time, I should make the most of my existence and make meaning in my life by the meaning of my actions. I find it far more humble to believe that than to assume that the universe was made for me.
If you can approach the world’s complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things.”
Daniel C. Dennett, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
How extraordinary it is to be here at all. Awareness of death can jolt us awake to the sensuality of existence. Breath is no longer a routine inhalation of air but a quivering intake of life. The eye is quickened to the play of light and shade and color, the ear to the intricate medley of sound. This is where the meditation leads. Stay with it; rest with it. Notice how distraction is a flight from this, an escape from awe to worry and plans.
"Spirituality must be distinguished from religion—because people of every faith, and of none, have had the same sorts of spiritual experiences. While these states of mind are usually interpreted through the lens of one or another religious doctrine, we know that this is a mistake. Nothing that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu can experience—self-transcending love, ecstasy, bliss, inner light—constitutes evidence in support of their traditional beliefs, because their beliefs are logically incompatible with one another. A deeper principle must be at work.”