NON-RELIGIOUS/ HUMANIST BELIEFS AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO RELIGIOUS BELIEFS WITHIN WESTERN SOCIETY .
While religious beliefs remain an important part of our society, western society is becoming more and more reluctant to place their faith in God . Parents have become more prone to letting their children choose their own faith and as a result children are less likely to have grown up as part of a certain religion. In fact, in the 1921 census only 0.5% of the Australian population stated they had "no religion" while the 2001 census placed 15.3% of all Australians in the "no religion" category, this is a 14.8% increase in just eighty years . There has therefore been a significant increase in the number of people who subscribe to non-religious beliefs. .
Non-religious beliefs are those not involving supernatural beings . This means that non-religious people do not believe in the existence of God, the soul or the afterlife. There are many different forms of non-religious belief, including Atheism, Agnosticism, Hedonism, Materialism, Rationalism, Naturalism and Humanism . Each has a very different philosophy on life. .
"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human and other natural values in a spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. " Humanism can be categorised into six different types: Christian, Cultural, Literary, Philosophical, Renaissance and Modern . Modern Humanism will be the main focus and can be divided into two main categories, Secular and Religious. .
Secular and Religious Humanists both share the same philosophy and same basic principles; yet differ in their view of whether or not Humanism is a religion . The definition of religion as given by religious humanists is functional; religion serves the "personal and social needs of a group with the same philosophical world view" .