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Secular Humanism


Read: Romans 1:18-32

The secular humanist is not a person to be sneered at, or to be mocked or to be regarded as a rare specimen and forensically examined. In Romans 1:18, Paul speaks about how “…the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” The righteous wrath of God against sin is demonstrated in many ways, both in this world and in eternity, but surely one of the most damning and dreadful forms of expression of that wrath must be when God totally abandons a soul to its fate. God has given them up.  


Of course there have always been unbelievers and atheists and sceptics, but where did ‘humanism’ come from? Let’s do a very quick and sketchy survey of the history of humanism:-

  • Ancient Humanism.  
  • The Renaissance.  Os Guinness wrote, “The renaissance was an intoxicating phase of humanism, and explosive confidence of the human mind, – the celebration of art, music, morals, thought and life on an eminently human scale.” But these Renaissance humanists were not by any means atheists.  
  • Rationalism and ‘Enlightenment.’ The 18th Century – humanism is making a strong comeback. One of the factors influencing humanist thought at this time was Unitarianism. The main emphasis of the enlightenment was its man centred philosophy.  
  • Modern Humanism. In NI, only a very few years ago few would have known what a humanist was. Organised humanism has made frightening strides here over the past quarter century. In his book “Does God Believe in Atheists” John Blanchard identifies three distinct types of modern humanists:
    • Uncommitted humanists. Agnostics, – people who don’t have any view on whether there is a God, people who describe their religion on the census form as ‘none’ – but who try to be decent human beings. 
    • Religious humanists. People like the Unitarians we’ve been talking about, and religious people who don’t actually believe in a holy transcendent God. 
    • Secular humanists. Nowadays the word secular means ‘irreligious’ – anything that pertains to life outside of religious experience and religious belief, as we shall see, now as we turn to look at the beliefs of humanism:-

So, what is ‘humanism?’ A definition, if we want one, “Secular humanism is a philosophy, a belief system or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.”   To be a Humanist is to:-

1. Trust the ScienceA humanist 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). Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  What science? The humanist might argue that it’s not exactly ‘The Science’ that they trust, – it is ‘Scientific Methodology.’  Most scientists will agree that in order to ‘do science,’ – to analyse data and formulate informed opinions and conclusions, there are four prerequisites, certain basic assumptions. What worldview best creates these conditions, these basic presumptions. Let’s start again with our four prerequisites:-

  • A human brain, Romans 1:20  Psalm 139:14  An all knowing and all powerful God made us in his image, which is what separates us from the animals and enables us to think scientifically, it’s why our senses are basically reliable. 
  • The laws of nature to be consistent – Christians believe and know that the world is sustained and meticulously regulated by divine decree and function. Colossians 1:17  He never changes, he remains eternally immutable, unchanging and totally consistent. 2 Tim 2:13  
  • Laws of logic – to process information. Isaiah 1:18 Proverbs 22:17  The capacity to reason is a command for us to exercise a God-given capacity. The laws of logic come from the mind of a rational God.
  • Objective morality – Titus 1:2  Objective morality is an attribute of God, his purity, his holiness, his impeccability. Objective morality comes from the very nature of God, who cannot lie or be inconsistent. 

Faith in the God who created the world is a far better basis for scientific enquiry than the atheistic, Godless scientific ‘methodology’ of the humanists. You don’t TRUST science – you trust God and you QUESTION science as the scientists seek to discover more and more about their field of interest, about this amazing world that God has created for us. Proverbs 3:5-6  

2. Base Your Personal Morality on Subjectivity. A humanist makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animalsRomans 1:18  

Now, when you make an ethical decision, upon what basis do you make that decision? Christians, of course have the Bible, the inspired Word of God, – the law, to be their moral compass. Humanists have – “Man – the Measure.” (Remember Protagoras in ancient Greece) And what happens when you measure your ethics against other men? We might call is ‘Shifting Sand Morality.’  Matthew 7:24-27 

But look closely at the humanist doctrine, with its strange statement, a concern for human beings and other sentient animals. That’s a fine example of ‘shifting sand morality.’ In the humanist worldview, based on postmodern and evolutionary concepts, man is simply a member of the animal kingdom. That degraded view of mankind lies behind the globalist agendas, like the WHO’s “One Health” agenda, encompassing and including the future health prospects of humans, beasts, and the environment. We are, to the humanists, just ‘sentient animals.’   

Let look at the Christian view of this. In Romans 1:18 there are two descriptions of atheism, godlessness and unrighteousness. The Ten Commandments fall into two sections, we call them ‘The Tables of the Law’ – our obligations to God and our obligations to our neighbour, how we live out our RIGHTEOUSNESS before man. The ungodly man or woman cannot live righteously before  his/her neighbour, because the most basic relationship of all has been destroyed, the relationship between man and his creator.

3. Have a Pointless Life and Hopeless Death.A humanist 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

The humanist describes the ‘meaning of life’ as seeking for happiness – something YOU have to do by searching for fulfilment in this life.  Of course there is a problem with this. We all know that this life will end, and that thought will eventually bring terror to person who has no hope for eternity, even if they try to blot that out of their minds.  Paul teaches us in Romans 1 that EVERYONE knows that there is a Creator God, – it is blatantly obvious, even to the most fanatical atheist, – because God has given us a conscience, and he has shown us his glory in creation, which could not exist without a Creator. Romans 1:18-20  

To try to blot out the reality of eternity is a serious mistake. The Hebrew writer said, “…it is appointed unto man once to die, and after, the judgment.” There is a whole book in the Bible, written to prevent us from falling into this error.  The book of Ecclesiastes is a book that seems, at first sight, to be full of despair, but in fact it is driving home the truth that a life lived without God, a life lived for this life only, is a meaningless and pointless existence.  If we live for this life only, we will live purposeless lives, hopeless lives, lives of vanity, lives with no satisfaction.  But there’s more to it than that. There’s an aspect of secular humanism that is truly satanic, for not content with having a purposeless life and a pointless death for themselves, humanists must try to persuade others to live similarly meaningless lives.

Conclusions and Observations:

  • Humanism must not be confused with HUMANITARIANISM. That word has been claimed by the Humanists to express their moral actions toward others. But there is a broader meaning. Humanitarianism encompasses a desire for the welfare and wellbeing of our fellow man, something that Christians believe and practice, as we demonstrate the love of Christ in love for our neighbours. So, Christians invented hospitals, civil liberties, freedom of religion, abolition of slavery, proper respect for women and children, the condemnation of sexual perversion, contributions to literature, art, music, and of course, the greatest humanitarian cause of all, the eternal salvation of souls. Galatians 5:14  
  • Humanism is anti-intellectual. My contention is that humanism is itself a false religion, a religion that makes a person the god of their life, a false god, of their own life, and that is just plain daft. A man who believes that he is here by accident, that he came from nothing, and that he is going nowhere, and yet at the same time believes that his earthly journey through life is of immense importance and value? What a contradiction upon which to base your life philosophy. READ: Romans 1:21 

RC Sproule writing in ‘Table Talk’ magazine in October 1993, wrote, “Secular humanism is one of the stupidest beliefs ever concocted.”

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