Atheist vs Humanist: Difference and Comparison

For centuries in the history of mankind, the subject of God’s presence or lack thereof, as well as its creationist function, has remained enigmatic & ambiguous.

Theologians, philosophers, scientists, and thinkers have repeatedly advanced logic but also counter logic as important to the issue.

With both the passage of time & human intellectual progress, the discussion was no longer limited to the limited view of embracing or rejecting God,

but expanded to include various relevant terms & ideologies produced by philosophers and scientists and given support and funding.

Key Takeaways

  1. Atheism is a lack of belief in any god or gods, while humanism is a belief in the power and potential of humanity to create a better world.
  2. Atheists tend to focus on the absence of evidence for the existence of a god or gods. At the same time, humanists emphasize the importance of reason and evidence in shaping human values and decision-making.
  3. Humanism encompasses broader values than atheism, including a commitment to social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability.

Atheist vs Humanist

Atheist refers to a person who does not believe in the existence of any higher power. Atheists base their beliefs on empirical evidence and scientific knowledge. A humanist refers to a person who values human ethics and social justice. They believe that individuals have inherent worth and dignity.

Atheist vs Humanist

Atheism has been the denial of God’s existence. It is opposed to the idea of theism. Atheism is the rejection of the deities’ presence in the world.

Simply put, it means there have been no gods in the world. The beginnings of atheism can be traced back to the 5th century.

It’s the time of the ancient Greeks. The term “atheism” comes from the Greek word “Atheos”, which means “without God.”

The term “humanist” refers to someone who believes in something. Humanists form Secular humanism, which is naturalistic in philosophy.

It’s indeed non-religious but still contains a wealth of scientific understanding. The term secular refers to a world that is free of religion.

“humanism” refers to an occurrence or system that occurs in response to human concerns or ideals. It is distinguished by human interests rather than religion.

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAtheistHumanist
MeaningThey believe in the Freedom to inquire about their faith.They believe in the freedom to inquire about their faith.
ThoughtIn the absence of God, atheism is the only option.Humanism is a term that refers to a set of beliefs.
ExistenceIt was found in the 5th century.It was found around the 1930s.
BeliefHumanity, according to atheism, is the religion.Humanism encompasses a broader set of beliefs.
StatementsThe term “atheism” refers to a denial of belief.Humanist is a term that refers to a set of beliefs.

What is Atheist?

The origins of atheism philosophy can be found in ancient Indian & Greek texts from the fifth century BC.

Even though Hinduism is the world’s oldest and most theistic religion, fundamental disagreements over Vedic texts arose during the era.

The disagreement became institutionalised with both the rise of the Charvaka atheistic & materialistic school of thought in the fifth century.

While the majority of Charvaka philosophy literature has been lost or destroyed, but that was a powerful anti-movement that also opposed Vedic theory but also the belief that God made the world

so there is an afterlife or reincarnation.

The atheist worldview is also propagated by the Ancient Samkhya & Mimansa schools of Hindu ideology and Charvaka.

Other two ancient Indic religions, Buddhism & Jainism, have been founded on precepts opposition to Hinduism as well as Vedic ideology, such as intelligent design idol worship, God,

and the afterlife, but these religions cannot be classified as explicitly atheist because the concepts of idolization and reincarnation have indeed been incorporated into both religions with some modifications.

Atheism has a long history in the West, dating back to its pre-Greek ideology.

The sixth-century Milesian philosophers Anaximander, Thales, & Anaximenes were the first to dispute and deny the mythical explanation of the cosmos

as well as human life, introducing the groundbreaking idea that nature might be interpreted as a self-contained system.

According to some historians, the fifth century Greek philosopher Diagoras was the first self-proclaimed atheist in the West, strongly opposing & criticizing religion as well as mysticism.


What is Humanist?

In 1851, George Jacob Holyoake coined secularism to define a theory in which humans must be preoccupied with concerns that may be explained and resolved by living experience.

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Auguste Comte and his brainchild Theology of Humanity had a stronghold on him. Comte offered his philosophy as a response to revolution France’s anti-religious feelings & societal malaise.

According to Comte, human civilization progresses through 3 stages: religious, metaphysical, & finally, entirely rational positivist society. Comte thought that the Religion of Mankind might have the same cohesion as organized faiths.

Nevertheless, Comte’s vision of the religion of humankind failed to gain traction and made only a tiny contribution to the nineteenth century’s development of secular groups.

Pre-Socratic philosophers’ scriptures, which were unearthed & archived through Renaissance researchers in Britain, contain historical references to the term humanist.

The term “humanist” was coined by followers of the moral movement in Britain in the early 1900s, but it had no anti-religious connotations.

In Britain, however, the moral movement disseminated the non-religious philosophical sense of humanism.

The confluence of moral & rationalist movements gave the notion of humanism that persisted throughout the Freedom of Thought movement prominence.

Main Differences Between Atheists and Humanists

  1. There is a difference between both terms based on their beliefs. Atheism is the belief in the absence of God, while Humanism is the belief in the Freedom of inquiry.
  2. Humanists have various characteristics, such as issues in values & meanings, while Atheists have only one thought in the absence of God. This difference leads to different opinions of different societies.
  3. Humanism was founded in 1930, whereas Atheism dates back to the 5th century.
  4. Humanists have a broader range of ideas than atheists. Humanists believe that being a human is a religion.
  5. Humanism has a statement closely related to belief, and Atheism is the declaration of unbelief.
Difference Between Atheist and Humanist

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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7 thoughts on “Atheist vs Humanist: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article provides an extensive history of both atheist and humanist ideologies, which contributes to a better understanding of their evolution over time.

  2. The origins of the atheism philosophy is very interesting, the article is quite informative as it gives a brief history of humanist and atheist ideas.

  3. The article provides a thorough comparison between atheist and humanist ideologies, shedding light on their differences.

    • It’s fascinating how humanism encompasses broader values including social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability. I believe this approach is more comprehensive.

  4. There seems to be a significant difference between atheist and humanist beliefs and their historical evolution is fascinating, as mentioned in the article.


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