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Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology—be it religious or political—must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith.Along with this, an essential part of secular humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy.There they introduced sacraments of the Religion of Humanity and published a co-operative translation of Comte's Positive Polity.When Congreve repudiated their Paris co-religionists in 1878, Beesly, Harrison, Bridges, and others formed their own positivist society, with Beesly as president, and opened a rival centre, Newton Hall, in a courtyard off Fleet Street. Like the English version it wasn't atheistic and had sermons and sacramental rites.Those who call themselves humanists are estimated to number between four and five million people worldwide.and in 1943, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, was reported as warning that the "Christian tradition...It does not, however, assume that humans are either inherently evil or innately good, nor does it present humans as being superior to nature.Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.
The endorsement by the IHEU of the capitalization of the word Humanism, and the dropping of any adjective such as secular, is quite recent.
The first secular society, the Leicester Secular Society, dates from 1851.
Similar regional societies came together to form the National Secular Society in 1866.
This declaration makes exclusive use of capitalized Humanist and Humanism, which is consistent with IHEU's general practice and recommendations for promoting a unified Humanist identity.
Such usage is not universal among IHEU member organizations, though most of them do observe these conventions.
In later life, Comte had attempted to introduce a "religion of humanity" in light of growing anti-religious sentiment and social malaise in revolutionary France.