Difference Between Humanism and Atheism

Humanism vs Atheism

Disbelief in a Supreme Being or a deity is a doctrine that is labeled as atheism. There are millions around the world who do not believe in any god or religion. In fact, atheism rejects divinity or the existence of deities altogether. There is a similar philosophy in humanism that is followed by millions of people around the world. Many people remain confused between atheism and humanism because of their similarities and overlap. This article attempts to highlight the differences between atheism and humanism.


There are many different religions around the world such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism etc. People are born in a religion as their parents are followers of a particular religion. However, there are people who defy and deny the religion they are born in and proclaim their religion as atheism, which is in effect rejection of all religions. An atheist is a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or Supreme Being. Atheism says that the burden of proving the existence of god lies with theists and, therefore, there is no reason to believe in a deity.


Humanism is an umbrella term that is applied collectively to a group of theories or philosophies that emphasize our shared humanity and a life based upon reason. Humanism is a positive approach of life that harps upon human values and morality more than a religion and lays emphasis upon life’s experiences. Humanists believe that it is humanity that is more important than all the religions put together. Sentiment of sharing and caring for other human beings is at the heart of humanism. There is also a belief at the core of humanism that you, as a human being, have a responsibility towards the shared future of all human beings. A true humanist does not believe in a particular religion, and he does not believe that there is a God out there to protect human beings.

What is the difference between Humanism and Atheism?

• Atheism rejects the existence of god altogether thereby being an absence of belief in god

• Humanism is a generic term applied to theories that take a positive approach of the world and lay emphasis on our shared humanity than on the religions of the world

• Humanists reject the notion that there is any sacred knowledge revealed to human beings by any god.

• Humanism believes in sympathy and caring for other human beings

• Humanists believe that we can have a full life without believing in a god

• An atheist can be a humanist as not believing in god does not stop a person from being a humanist.

• Humanism is a worldview, or an approach to life, whereas atheism is merely absence of belief in gods.

• A humanist is not always an atheist as there are secular and religious humanists too.

• While atheist rejects god, a humanist would say that god is not needed to be moral.

  • Rebel

    A humanist is basically an atheist who doesn’t want to be called an atheist. The word “atheist” sounds villainous, whereas “humanist” sounds more human and acceptable. In other words, to say there is any real difference between atheists and humanists is moot; it is to split hairs.