The Idea and Spirit of the Intellectual Religion of Humanity

If a new vision and spirit is to bring about the psychological unity of humanity, and identify this as the “religion of humanity”, it will be useful to understand the principles, motives and tenets of such a religion of humanity and how this step differs from, even exceeds, the basis of the current life of the world.

Sri Aurobindo explains:  “The fundamental idea is that mankind is the godhead to be worshipped and served by man and that the respect, the service, the progress of the human being and human life are the chief duty and the chief aim of the human spirit.  No other idol, neither the nation, the State, the family nor anything else ought to take its place; they are only worthy of respect so far as they are images of the human spirit and enshrine its presence and aid its self-manifestation.  But where the cult of these idols seeks to usurp the place of the spirit and makes demands inconsistent with its service, they should be put aside.  No injunctions of old creeds, religious, political, social or cultural, are valid when they go against its claims.”

“War, capital punishment, the taking of human life, cruelty of all kinds whether committed by the individual, the State or society, not only physical cruelty, but moral cruelty, the degradation of any human being or any class of human beings under whatever specious plea or in whatever interest, the oppression and exploitation of man by man, of class by class, of nation by nation and all those habits of life and institutions of society of a similar kind which religion and ethics formerly tolerated or even favoured in practice, whatever they might do in their ideal rule or creed, are crimes against the religion of humanity, abominable to the ethical mind, forbidden by its primary tenets, to be fought against always, in no degree to be tolerated.  Man must be sacred to man regardless of all distinctions of race, creed, colour, nationality, status, political or social advancement.  The body of man is to be respected, made immune from violence and outrage, fortified by science against disease and preventable death.  The life of man is to be held sacred, preserved, strengthened, ennobled, uplifted.  The heart of man is to be held sacred also, given scope, protected from violation, from suppression, from mechanisation, freed from belittling influences.  The mind of man is to be released from all bonds, allowed freedom and range and opportunity, given all its means of self-training and self-development and organised in the play of its powers for the service of humanity.  And all this too is not to be held as an abstract or pious sentiment, but given full and practical recognition in the persons of men and nations and mankind.  This, speaking largely, is the idea and spirit of the intellectual religion of humanity.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 34, The Religion of Humanity, pg. 295-296