Sometimes the use of the terms ‘secular’, ‘Humanism’, and ‘Secular Humanism’ are used interchangeably. So, let’s begin by looking at a good definition of Secular Humanism, taken from the Wikipedia encyclopedia.
“The philosophy of secular humanism (alternatively known by adherents as Humanism, specifically with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism) embraces human reason, ethics, and justice while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making.”
Though it’s held that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or God, it neither assumes humans to be inherently evil or innately good, nor presents humans as "above nature" or superior to it. Rather, the humanist life stance emphasizes the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions. Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology — be it religious or political — must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith. Along with this, an essential part of secular humanism is a continually adapting search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy”
The first humanists are recorded in the Bible:*
Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:1-9)
In this passage, humans, by their own efforts, wanted to build a tower to Heaven, to the exclusion of God. That’s humanism in a nutshell. Man, by their own efforts, believes he can accomplish anything. ‘Who needs God?’ Over the centuries, it has developed into what is defined above.
Over the past forty years, America has been slowly shedding its Judeo/Christian roots, giving rise to Secular Humanism. Removal of the Ten Commands from schools and buildings, discouraging if not outlawing prayer and Bible reading in schools, removing Christian centered clubs on campuses, removing crosses from the public square, all in the name of ‘separation of church and state’, have contributed to this movement.
I suppose the one underlying question that comes out of this is, “Is man (mankind) able to govern himself privately or others corporately?” And, the answer is no. Borrowing from the definition above, let’s compare some terms:
Truth: Man is naturally sinful, bent toward selfishness and evil.
“They (humans) have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” (Psalms 14:3)
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)
“As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after god. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.’ " (Romans 3:10-12)
God says all have sinned. This author, the one reading this text, and all others on earth are sinners. Sin is ‘missing the mark’. It is transgressing God’s law. And, if you have broken one law, you have broken them all.
“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” (James 2:10)
If we were to live our entire lives never having told a lie, having never stole a thing, never had an impure thought, and then in our later years tell a lie, for example, we are guilty of lying, cheating, stealing, envying, etc. The only conclusion is, that all men and women past, present, and future are sinners, period.
SH statement: “… human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or God,…”
Truth: Man, because of his fallen nature, is not ethical and moral, if left alone. Let me explain.
Man has what I call two consciences. One he receives growing up through childhood. Like, don’t grab the biscuits, say ‘Please pass the biscuits’. Say ‘Yes Mam’ or No Mam’ to adults. Don’t cut in front of someone in a line. Waite your turn. This conscience is instilled in us by our parents, and is cultural in nature. Influenced by customs, those in Vietnam learn social process different than those in Germany or France or the United States.
The second conscience we have is inherited from our parents. One may say to another, ‘You have your father’s mannerisms’. Or, ‘You think just like your mother’. It’s these characteristics that allow for us to live in a civil society. And, these are put in us by God.
“Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” (Romans 2:14-15 NLT)
What this basically means is that, in a civil society, most people know right from wrong. They know it is wrong to steal, murder, rape, commit adultery, practice homosexual behavior, etc. In most countries, it is against the law to kill someone or to steal. Doing so will bring civil punishment. It is innate in all of us and we don’t have to be told. God put it there, without which society would degenerates.
“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 NLT)
The passage above lists what happens when men abandon the innate laws put in them by God. When they leave God out, they have a propensity to sin even more. Sometime in the near future, God is going to pull this innate sense of civility that man has, and the scene described below is not pretty.
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
The list above is man’s REAL nature when left unchecked. Social courtesies go out the window.
Truth: Science and philosophy cannot in themselves reveal truth, as these come from and through man. What is knowable truth is locked out to them if they choose to leave God out of the equation.
Science, as we are well aware, can discover much about the world in which we live. God even allows scientists to discover new things as the result of their research. However, if God decides to hold back anything, all the test tubes on earth will not help. In referencing man’s attempt to learn without God, the Bible declares:
“always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7)
Those who think they have gained knowledge through their research without God, God says:
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, …” (Romans 1:20-22)
Man cannot discover anything through science or philosophy unless God reveals it to him. God’s creative order is too complex for man to understand without Him. God can create something out of nothing … man can’t. God can calm a raging sea … man can’t. Scripture says:
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Men of science and philosophy are totally depended on God’s revelation. To thinks otherwise is arrogant and foolish.
SH statement: “Fundamental to the concept of secular humanism is the strongly held viewpoint that ideology — be it religious or political — must be thoroughly examined by each individual and not simply accepted or rejected on faith.”
Truth: Individual men are not capable of determining from within themselves any ideology that is based on moral or ethical principle. Unless there is a standard from which to draw, man’s determinations will ultimately lead to failure. And, that standard is contained in God’s Word, the Bible.** The passages below addresses this issue.
"You shall not at all do as we are doing here today--every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—“ (Deuteronomy 12:8)
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” (Proverbs 21:2)
Unless a man includes God in his thinking, his thinking will be flawed. That is, what he thinks is right will in reality be wrong.
A peaceful society is based on moral, ethical, and social laws that apply to everyone. And, those laws were put there by God Himself so there can be order. When men deliberately leave God out, they, by nature, move in the opposite direction.
When men determine what is right in their own eyes, they respond to what is expedient, not necessarily on what is right. Because man is inherently selfish, he will determine what’s best for himself at the expense of others. Like water spinning down a drain, a society that leaves God out will spiral out of control in moral degeneration, to its own demise.
SH statement: “… nor presents humans as "above nature" or superior to it.”
Truth: The Bible is clear on the fact that God created humans ‘above nature’. It says:
“Then God said, ‘… let them (man) have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ “ (Genesis 1:26)
“Then God blessed them (Adam and Eve) , and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ “ (Genesis 1:28)
After God created the fish in the sea, the animals on the land, and the birds in the air, He gave man dominion and oversight over them all. Again:
“… what is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? You have made him a little lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet." For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. “ (Hebrews 2:6-8)
These passages tell us clearly that man is above nature. If I were to put man in his hierarchal place, it would be as listed below.
Angels (the angelic order of cherubim, seraphim, and angels)
Man is superior to nature, but temporarily subject to nature. Let me explain. When Adam and Eve were created, they were set over all things. That is, nature was subject to them. When they sinned, they became subject to nature. For example, if you put a man with no weapons in a tank of hungry sharks, the sharks will win. Man in his intelligence has learned to protect himself against nature to an extent. However, history is full of devastating hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados, in which men were their victims.
Because man is a sinner, and all creation fell when Adam and Eve sinned, man now lives in a hostile world. However, that will one day change, and nature will again become subject to man as it was in the beginning.
“But now we do not yet see all things put under him. “ (Hebrews 2:6-8)
Contrary to the last SH Statement, God created man in His image and he became a living soul, making him superior to nature.
Man has an innate curiosity of the things around him. His drive to learn about his world has resulted in advancements in medicine, travel, and technology, to name a few. God put that drive to seek and learn in him. Combined with the fact that man’s intelligence is the highest in God’s creative order on earth, we are able to build building, bridges, and boats. That is what sets us apart from cats, dogs, and monkeys.
When man fell into sin, he was separated from God. Now, by nature, men do not seek God, they run from Him. They devise any religion or philosophy necessary to divorce themselves from the Lord’s influence.
“They have all turned aside …” (Psalms 14:3)
“Every one of them has turned aside…” (Psalms 53:3)
“They have all turned aside …" (Romans 3:12)
“There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after god. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one." (Romans 3:11-12)
“The fool has said in his heart, ’There is no God.’" (Psalms 14:1)
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’" (Psalms 53:1)
As America continues to slide into Secular Humanism, she will continue to turn away from God. As Americans forsake the standard taught in God’s Word, they will continue to do ‘what is right in their own eyes’. Men do not want to be reminded of their sin. Unless the tide changes, this nation will become increasingly hostile towards God in general and Christianity in particular.
*Note: When I use the word ‘man’, I mean ‘humanity’,
men and women, unless otherwise noted.
** ‘Word of God’ refers to the Bible only, in all instances in this work. No other source is assumed in that phrase.