The humanities are important to society because they help us to understand ourselves and the social environment in which we live.
By extension, the humanities give us an understanding, not just of our own culture but the cultures of people across the globe. Everything that can be studied under the heading of humanities—be it religious beliefs, literature, history, or philosophy, to name but four—can apply anywhere to any culture in the world, no matter how remote or unfamiliar.
In turn, this can facilitate a wider knowledge of other peoples and cultures that conduces to greater respect and mutual understanding. If we can learn more about another culture, particularly those aspects that are considered of especial importance to the people who belong to that culture, then we will be more inclined to treat them with greater respect.
Furthermore, as the name of the humanities implies, their study encourages us to concentrate on those activities that unite us as human beings, that reveal a common humanity beneath our surface differences.