Humanist Perspective (40th WRC)

Combating Racism

Humanist Perspective
by Kathleen Johnson
Society of Free Thinkers (SOFREE)



Abstract of Theme Speech

Humanism and Racism: Solutions Without Scripture
By Kathleen Johnson in Association with the Society of Free Thinkers (SOFREE)
Presented To: The World Religions Conference
October 17, 2021

Humanism is not a “belief” as it is defined in religious terms. There is no one central figure in Humanism, making it a life stance rather than a belief. It can be challenging due to our religious training in society to think of a peaceful world without religion. The Humanist perspective is one that tends to take the position of religion as being a major source of conflict rather than a solution to it. Certainly, in the case of Racism the scriptures of religions such as the all the major 3 Religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have evidence of prejudice based on skin colour in their writings and cultures, however, faiths such as Hinduism have long practiced a Caste System. The concepts of Karma, and Reincarnation or a life heavily influenced by past lives are also ideas in the same vein that seek to increase adherence to a social contract agreed upon by everyone in a society that certain modalities are the best ways to generally function for us to avoid the wrath of an angry God/gods. Fear of punishment by an omnipotent deity or multiple deities is a powerful rationale to abide by a system. This same logic was applied to the systemic implementation of prejudice which is Racism. Religion was quickly adapted to fit the purpose of convincing oppressed populations of another’s absolute superiority as sanctioned by God. When in fact, Race as a scientific fact does not hold up, let alone as a divine revelation. The beginning of these notions, and the way in which religion has bolstered Racism, and the construct of Whiteness will be discussed. Solutions to how Humanism can be used as a framework for healing and reconciliation in the wake of our modern hurts, let alone our past ones will also be the main point in closing.

Kathleen Johnson Humanist Canada Board Member Representing Alberta

Diversity and Inclusion Specialist for KMJ Coaching and Consulting


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