"As a Humanist, I have no faith in humanity, if by that one means an unbounded conviction that humans will certainly someday make the right choices to form a utopian society of sweetness and light. Casual observation and experience shows that human beings are rather unlikely to achieve perfection. We're lucky if we can just get along without bashing each other on the head at regular intervals.
"My faith isn't in humanity itself, but in the inherent value of virtue, reason, love, liberty, and fairness relative to all persons. Our lives and our societies get better when we choose to guide ourselves according to these standards. My conviction is that this truth holds exactly the same whether God exists or not. My hope is that we can do this.
"It isn't necessary to be an optimist in order to be a Humanist. You can be as cynical as you like regarding the probable future of mankind. All you have to agree with is that God or not -- deterministic universe or not -- people have an obligation to solve their problems if they want their problems solved, and that the possibility of improvement is just as valuable a guide as the possibility of perfection -- and is far more realistic."