Journal of Religion and Human Relations

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Humanistic supernaturalism: what shape else humanism could take

H.M. Majeed


Many Western humanistic philosophers regard the concepts of humanism and supernaturalism as oppositional, and that nothing supernatural can be humanistic. The supernatural is made to fall outside the range of options that could foster realistic, reliable, or acceptable human relations and promote human well-being. This view is particularly held by philosophers who support scientific and atheistic humanisms. But, drawing from the indigenous religious and/or philosophical thoughts of the Akan people of Ghana, I argue strongly against the alleged anti-supernaturality of humanism, as it is understood by Western thinkers. I also examine aspects of Akan thought to come up with a comprehensive account of why supernaturalism could be humanistic. Ultimately, I advance that there exists in Akan philosophy an orientation that can properly be understood as “humanistic supernaturalism”.

Keywords: humanistic supernaturalism; atheistic humanism; scientific humanism; Akan religious philosophy; supersensible world

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