Generally speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
– makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals
– believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.
– trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)
The British Humanist Association has an excellent campaign called That’s Humanism! which includes these wonderfully written and animated videos, narrated by Stephen Fry, that explain some aspects of the humanist viewpoint:
How do we know what is true?
What should we think about death?
What makes something right or wrong?
How can I be happy?
For a more in depth look at what Humanism is, please visit the BHA page on Humanism, which has more detailed information, further definitions and links to a whole host of interesting further reading.