I believe in humans

I like what Mike Chapman's doing over at A Bricolage of Bricolage, as evidenced by me posting here a comment I wrote for his blog. Mike has inspired me once again to think, and I'd like to repost my comment here again, both to collect my thoughts in one place and to generate a wider audience for this topic, either here or on Bricolage.

Mike's post: (the whole thing; it's rather short)

What follows is the link to the Humanist Manifesto III hosted by the American Humanist Association. I wanted to share it because I agree with it but also because I think it is wonderfully written in terms of clarity and conciseness. I simply think it’s a great document:

Humanist Manifesto III

And my comment:

Overall, the Manifesto sounds good to me, too, but I have one complaint. I definitely don't subscribe to the contrarian/defensive wording in some of the paragraphs. The phrases "unguided evolutionary change", "self-existing", and "open, secular society", however true they may be, sound more like a political agenda than sociological goals. Leaving out "unguided", "self-existing", and "secular" would achieve the desired effect without pointing a finger directly at certain groups of non-humanists. Humanism, and its' manifesto, should be able to exist without a direct opponent, which from this document is obviously religion/creationism.

It must be a very challenging task to generate a doctrine applying to those people who admittedly have spent much of their epistemologic lives revolting against it. And even if humanists have spent and will spend most of their time countering the ideas of organized religion, what one believes in and what one does to achieve it are innately separate. One can base actions and strategy, but not beliefs, on an opponent.

The Humanist Manifesto should be a statement of "What We Are" and "What We Believe In". "What We Are Not" should be reserved for the FAQ section of the web page.