Thanks to the Institute for Humanist Studies in Albany, N.Y., USA and to the unselfish efforts of several members of the PROMETHEUS Society - the booklet: "To teachers - humanists" has been made available to Slovak teachers. It has been intended for use of teachers of regional schools, namely to teachers of nursery schools, secondary comprehensive schools, grammar schools, vocational schools and vocational training schools.
This publication should be of interest above all to teachers who are secularists, humanists, atheists, which means those who are already aware that humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance and who accept that humanism champions equal rights and the rights of all people to shape their own life and make it meaningful. Humanists attempt to make society more humane by promoting ethical development based on reason and natural values. It's a life stance that is non-theistic and does not admit supernatural origins of reality.
We would be pleased if teachers who are religious believers get acquainted with this booklet too regardless of which religion they claim. We presume that knowledge about modern secular humanism will be of interest to them both from professional and from the civil society's basic viewpoints, enriching them and preparing them for a reasonable dialogue.
We hope that this work will be of value to teachers who are neither atheists nor believers. Knowledge of secular humanism may give them a new perspective of this rational and profoundly humane position.
Topics included in this publication are:
- The objectives of modern humanism as outlined in Humanist Manifesto 2000, which has been signed by more than one hundred personalities from around the world including nine Nobel Laureates;
- The main principles of humanism as formulated by the Resolution of the Council for Secular Humanism;
- The development of secular humanism and atheism in Slovakia prior to the creation of the Prometheus Society in 1991 and a description of the Prometheus Society's programs, activities, accomplishments- and its perspectives for future of this single organisation of humanists in this country; chances for the organisation and the membership;
- Reflections on the alternatives to theistic philosophies;
- Information about secular humanists organisations in other countries and the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and its activities,
- Basics about the International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation (IHEYO)
- A list of the main web sites of humanist organisations and other institutions around the world;
- In the attachment one can find the by-laws of the Prometheus Society and information about the available literature and periodicals of secular humanists in the Slovak republic and world-wide.
The author of the introductory contribution summarises the conditions and terms of work which face the teachers - humanists. These take their shape and change in the continuous process of transformation involving the whole society and the school system. He takes in consideration the fact that a definite part of teachers have acquired and adopted in full depth a humanist, non-religious or atheist belief. He affirms that a teacher - humanist has got more freedom and a wider room at seeking or finding precisely his own positions in life and in other philosophical and pedagogical issues. He defines both the spontaneous and intentional instances of implementation based on such a persuasion. He deals in particular with the relation of teachers to pupils and the preparedness of teachers - humanists to solve the actual problems of education and up-bringing from a humanist points of view. He considers the institutional support on the part of renown humanist organisations enjoying full respect abroad and in this country to be the most potent means to achieve freedom for teachers - humanists. The publication presented herewith is a practical expression of such a support.
Humanist Manifesto 2000
This basic document contains a comprehensive programme for the next period of the new millennium The "Humanist Manifesto 2000" was published in Free Inquiry, Fall 1999 (translated from English by: Rastislav Škoda).
The principles of humanism
A survey of principles according to the Proclamation issued by the Council for Secular Humanism.
Secular humanists in Slovakia
The author of this article - professor Ladislav Hubenák, acting chairman of the Central Council of the Prometheus Society- summarises the development of secular humanism and atheism in Slovakia prior to foundation of the Prometheus Society (in 1991). A description of activities and achievements of this solely existing organisation in Slovakia follows this. Pointing out the non-democratic position of ruling powers and of massmedia based on prejudices against citizens with secular humanist world-view, as well as against the Society, he appeals for respect for a plurality of opinions, and for freedom of thought and conscience. Similarly he stresses the idea that secular humanists accept and honour the rights of citizens to adopt varied life stances. The Prometheus Society deplores attempts to make secular humanists and atheists second class citizens. It supports those who demand that a law guaranteeing church and state separation be passed. The aims of this Society are to enhance all spheres of social life in Slovakia by employing the principles of secular humanism toward the creation of an open and pluralist society in which democracy and pluralism are not just declared, but are fully observed.
The alternatives of theistic world-view
In this short reflection the
author defines and describes secular humanism, stressing its positive features which he
sees as the outcome of several philosophic and rationalist movements. He points out the
positive role played by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) in organising
and integrating its members. He believes that the crucial factors of secular humanism are
sceptical criticism and a non-dogmatic approach. These tools, based on human need and
backed by reason, tailor solutions to problems without the hindrance of ready-made
Humanism for the whole world
This section provides information on global humanism. Humanist organisations around the world promote ethical values appropriate to the contemporary situation of humankind. They employ critical thinking to critique dogmatic or inhumane religious practices. Secular humanists proclaim the ideals of tolerance and the freedom of disbelief, as well as the resolution of divided opinions through the use of reason and reflection. Secular humanists publish expert literature; contribute articles in periodicals; organise seminars, workshops, and conferences; create materials for television and radio broadcasting; participate in discussions; manage Websites; confer with governmental bodies and with the media; and take positions regarding official drafts of laws and documents. A description of the IHEU and its activities follows.
Member organisations of IHEU
Survey of the IHEU member
organisations - contact addresses, including e-mails, telephones, and fax as well as
World Organisation of Young Humanists (IHEYO)
Basics about IHEYO, its characteristics, contemporary projects, bulletin, on-line news and invitation for joining the movement.
By-laws of Prometheus Society
Available literature for humanists
Survey and characteristics of a specialised humanist publishing house in Slovak republic.
Humanist and sceptical periodicals abroad
Short list of the main humanist and sceptical bulletins, their publishers and periodicity.