People today often use “humanist” to refer to non-religious attitudes or even to atheism, but scholars know that the term originated to describe Renaissance writers who were often Catholic, rarely atheists, and that there is such a thing as humanistic religion. Careful writers avoid using this term loosely, remembering that in historical contexts it does not usually refer to a lack of religion. Renaissance humanists emphasized human abilities and achievements, but they often praised God for them.

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