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The mission of the Council for Secular Humanism is to advocate and defend a nonreligious lifestance rooted in science, naturalistic philosophy, and humanist ethics and to serve and support adherents of that lifestance.

The Council publishes FREE INQUIRY Magazine, operates a national network of affiliated local groups, operates the Ingersoll Museum, and undertakes many other programs of importance to nonreligious men and women.

Free Inquiry is the bimonthly flagship magazine of the Council for Secular Humanism. Founded by philosopher Paul Kurtz in 1980, it is the largest-circulation English-language humanist magazine in the world. FREE INQUIRY presents scholarly and popular articles relating to secular humanism, atheism, church-state separation, issues affecting the rights of religious minorities, and all other issues of interest to men and women seeking to live humane, value-rich lives without religion.

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.

To oppose and supplant the mythological narratives of the past, and the dogmas of the present, the world needs an institution devoted to promoting science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. The Center for Inquiry is that institution.

At the Center for Inquiry, we believe that evidence-based reasoning, in which humans work together to address common concerns, is critical for modern world civilization. Moreover, unlike many other institutions, we maintain that scientific methods and reasoning should be utilized in examining the claims of both pseudoscience and religion. We reject mysticism and blind faith. No topic should be placed off limits to scrutiny-certainly not fringe science and religion, which have an enormous influence on beliefs and conduct.

We also maintain that values are properly the subject of study and discussion as much as empirical claims. The Center for Inquiry studies and promotes human values based on a naturalistic outlook. Ideological doctrine and religious dogma have no more right to dictate our moral norms than they do to influence scientific research.

The Center for Inquiry supports research, but our mission activities go far beyond sound scholarship. The Center for Inquiry, and its affiliates, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism, also carry out their work through education, publishing, advocacy, and social services. The Center for Inquiry has established dozens of regional centers and communities, which provide a means of delivering educational programs and services on a local level and provide a venue for like-minded individuals to meet and share experiences. In addition, the Center for Inquiry has affiliates and sponsors programs in many different countries. A secular society ultimately should embrace all of humanity, not just selected countries.

In aiming to foster a secular society, we do not seek to abridge the rights of believers. We vigorously object to government support of religion and the use of religious dogma to justify public policy; we do not oppose the free exercise of religion. The secular society we are building is a community of reason and compassion in which the dignity and fundamental rights of all individuals are respected.

Fostering a secular society requires attention to many specific goals, but three goals in particular represent the focus of our activities:

  1. an end to the influence that religion and pseudoscience have on public policy
  2. an end to the privileged position that religion and pseudoscience continue to enjoy in many societies
  3. an end to the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever, whether the nonbeliever describes her/himself as an atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker or skeptic.

Ingersoll in Washington, D.C.

For a fascinating walking tour of Ingersoll-related sites in our nation's capital, visit ingersoll.wash.org.