Deciding if You Are a Humanist

Deciding if You Are a Humanist

by Craig Smith
(The following in italics is from Humanism as the Next
Step by Lloyd and Mary Morain, Humanist Press, Amherst,
New York.)
Have you been a humanist, perhaps without even
knowing it? To help you make up your own mind we
offer the following guidelines:
(1) Do you believe that we will continue to learn more
about the past, present, and future of planet earth and
its inhabitants?
(2) Do you believe that humans are a part of nature
and that there is no God or supernatural power especially
concerned for their welfare?
(3) Do you believe that religions’ sacred scriptures and
ethical and moral systems were the creations of mortals
and that these have served different purposes at
different times and places?
(4) Do you believe that the kind of life we live and the
helpful and just relationship that we have with other
humans is of primary importance?
(5) Do you feel that our environment needs to be taken
care of and protected for future generations?
(6) Do you frequently experience joy and comfort and
an undefined mystic sense from the realization that you
are a part of nature and of all that lives?
(7) Do you believe that the meaning of life is that
which we give to it?
(8) Do you recognize that many philosophical questions
such as, “What is the meaning of life?” and
“Why am I here?” are irrelevant when our existence
and experience are viewed as processes within the totality
of nature?
If you answer “yes” to most of these questions you can
classify yourself as a humanist, for you view humankind
in naturalistic and humanistic terms. You have
faith in our future here on earth and believe the highest
goal for human endeavor is a better world for all.
Are you willing to consider new evidence of any kind
and in every field of human thought and behavior, even
though this may lead to a revision of some of your most
cherished beliefs? We cannot see how anyone who is
consistent in belief in a theistic religion or a nonnaturalistic
philosophy would be able to answer this in
the affirmative. Humanists can.

Worldviews are reasonably easy to work out when you
realise that in all the universe there are, ultimately, only
two worldviews. One emanates from the mind of
God the Creator. The other, of which there are thousands
of variations, emanates from the mind of man the
creature. The two worldviews simply are not on the
same planet!! Our one is bound by the fact that we are
created, finite1 and human, that we are made from the
dust of the earth on which we walk. God’s one is outside
of and totally, utterly separate from ours since He
is uncreated, infinite and divine. In fact, we humans are
but a tiny portion of God’s total worldview, for we ourselves
originally emanated from His omniscient mind.
In His grace and love and mercy to us humans, He has
revealed all He reckons we need to know about His
worldview (but not about the world) in the Bible.
Now just to show you how totally different the two
worldviews are and even how perverse, arrogant and
180 degrees wrong humans get it, a common thread
running through the thousands of human worldviews,
showing that they are all ultimately one worldview,
says that God is an emanation from the mind of man!!
(The reality, of course, is that man is an emanation
from the mind of God.) Now the variations on this
theme go from those who say God in His totality is a
figment of human imagination to those who actually
honour and seek to submit to Him, yet who still project
onto Him some attribute the Scriptures never say He
has. The humanist who wrote these eight questions
clearly espouses this kind of warped thinking: see his
questions #2, #3, #7 and #8. The two worldviews are at
their cores inverses of one another, antagonistic and
mutually exclusive.
In the final paragraph he makes it sound as if humanists
are seekers after truth, willing to consider things
even if they lead to changes in their most cherished
beliefs. Yet questions #3 and #8 demonstrate that regularly
changing what they believe is an essential part of
their belief system. They do not believe in unchanging
propositional truth; they do not believe in absolutes.
They like the idea that things change from time to time,
for that gives them two things all sinners want above
all else. First, a measure of control over what goes on
in their own and others’ lives. Since change is a constant,
they can instigate change whenever they like,
large scale or small scale, from personal likes and dislikes
right through to what constitutes right and wrong.
The NZ Parliament is engaged in such macro-change at
the moment by legitimising the prostitution industry
and redefining bedrock concepts such as marriage and
family to mean virtually any ad hoc arrangement or
liaison. This is all totally deceptive, since they cannot
change the essential reality of anything — for reality
was created and set once for all by God — but only
how they think about it! Second, the idea of constant
change eliminates the possibility, theoretically at least
(not in reality, of course), of ever having to give an account
of themselves, of being held ultimately responsible,
because the parameters keep shifting.
Being one’s own boss. Never being held accountable.
This is a fool’s paradise, for it can only exist if God
does not. This is the world the humanist hopes in and
by faith believes in. He is at his most pathetic when he
believes he can call such a world into existence simply
by saying it does. As with trying to be their own
autonomous boss, and to never be called to account,
this too is an attempt to copy God, to be like Him, to
supplant His authority over the earth with their own
authority. God created the world by fiat; that is, His
all-powerful Word, when spoken, called into existence
things which did not exist. Not content with such mere
creative powers, the humanist attempts to work far
greater changes. He would call his version of reality
into existence as well as cause the extinction of the
infinite, omniscient, omnipotent God of all the universe….
and all by his simple humanistic fiat word.
It is interesting that this humanist tries to entice us with
the mysterious question, “Have you been a humanist
without knowing it?” Well, the scary bit is that ever
since the Fall in the Garden of Eden, humanism has
been the default position of all us humans! We are all
already humanists….the question for us Christians is:
having been redeemed from the Pit by the blood of the
Lamb, born again by the Sprit of God, given a new
heart and a new mind and adopted as His children,
“Are we still thinking and functioning like humanists?”
when we should be thinking and functioning as Christians
with a thoroughly Biblical worldview.
Think about your own position. Have you ever worked
to un-learn the humanist ways you picked up from the
secular school system, the secular society all around
you, possibly the secular home and family life you may
have grown up in and the fallen stuff which comes out
of your own sinful heart? Not all secular humanist
ways are blatant. II Corinthians 11:3 indicates things
can be very subtle: “But I am afraid that as the serpent
deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led
astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” And
the classic warning of I Corinthians 10:12 must be remembered
at all times: “Therefore let anyone who
thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” For one of
the defining characteristics of our sinful natures, of
which we will not be fully rid until we reach Glory in
heaven, is deceitfulness (Jeremiah 17:9, Ephesians
4:22, Hebrews 3:13, James 1:22).
Have you worked to adopt thoroughly Biblical understandings
of various aspects of your life? Over the
years we have critically examined our taste in music,
humour, reading and viewing material, recreational
activities, how we handle our finances, family devotions,
the neighbours, our attitude toward Sunday and
the Fourth Commandment and especially educational
and child rearing/child discipline issues. It would also
be a profitable exercise to regularly evaluate ourselves
to see if we can identify areas of our lives where we
have changed, where we have moved closer to a more
consistently Biblical position.
Let’s look at these eight questions: I reckon Christians
can answer “Yes” to #1 and #5 without hesitation and
have a fair amount of sympathy with #4. Questions #2
and #3 are clearly anti-Christian. Question #6 is typical
of a troubled mind unwilling to accept that we humans
are at the pinnacle of creation, for the thought that in
this position more responsibility is heaped upon us and
more accountability will be required of us is simply too
frightening to contemplate. Question #8 reveals the
materialistic nature of humanists, unwilling to get serious
about life if it is only the random bumping around of atomic particles.
Question #7 is one of the most clear, concise and comprehensively
anti-Christian comments you’re ever
likely to read. Where is the source of meaning, of purpose?
We cannot control any aspect of our personal beings2;
therefore, to grasp at least an illusion of being in
charge of his own destiny, the humanist reserves to
himself alone the power to impart meaning to his existence.
Again, he attempts to do this by fiat. Haunted by
the drive for meaning which God wires into him; able
to recognise and articulate the dilemma of ascertaining
the meaning and purpose of all that is seen around him,
using the God-given intellectual capacity to do so yet
without acknowledging the Designer/Creator/Sustainer
who gave it to him; identifying and isolating the core
issue of authority which God has built into the universe,
that he who imparts ultimate meaning and purpose is he
who will also wield ultimate authority, and desiring that
authority for himself; all of this reveals that the humanist
must rely totally and completely on God even while
he is climbing up onto God’s lap in order to slap Him in
the face.
Secular humanists are losers. They hold to a totally
bankrupt worldview. Yet such folks are running our
Parliament, financial institutions, hospitals, museums,
libraries, all forms of media, the schools and universities.
These same folks have captured many theological
seminaries and today occupy far too many pulpits and
pews throughout the country.
Sadly, some of the most able Christians, working hard
to understand a Christian worldview and to bring it to
bear on the political and social systems of this country,
are whipping the carpet out from under their own feet in
that while they try to think Biblically in formulating
their worldviews, they insist on “speaking secularly”
into the public arena. This neatly trims off God’s voice
of ultimate authority, that He is the moral force behind
their pronouncements, that their research statistics reflect
His determination of how reality will operate, that
they try to base all their working assumptions upon His
revealed word in the Bible: that is, right at the point
where such acknowledgement is most essential, when it
is introduced into the marketplace, they reduce His
word and His wisdom to just another human voice in
the marketplace.
Question #1 also needs to be read along with the final
paragraph. Notice that the writers cannot comprehend
how a consistent Christian could willingly consider new
evidence or learn more about life on earth, for such
knowledge might cause the believer to change his beliefs.
They must see Christianity as a stagnant body of
propositions and statements. Further, it seems they believe
that should Christians allow their faith to be exposed
to open investigation or to allow themselves to
investigate “new evidence of any kind….in every field
of human thought and behaviour” no consistent believers
would be left!
These humanists have made at least two hugely erroneous
assumptions regarding the Faith. It is more accurate
to say they’ve exposed their ignorance of the nature of
Christianity (and of philosophy, logic, epistemology
and the scientific method). First, the Faith is not a stag nant body of propositions whose integrity would be
compromised and probably damaged beyond repair by
the introduction of “new evidence” from wherever. The
essentials of the Faith are composed of both propositions
that cannot be proved (but must be accepted by
faith) as well as historical facts. In the first category are
the existence of God, His omniscience and omnipotence,
His inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, our everlasting
souls in need of salvation, hell and the coming
judgment. Historical facts include the Fall, the Flood,
the virgin birth, Jesus’ death on the cross, His resurrection,
His ascension and fulfilled prophecies. New evidence
properly interpreted (see next point) will always
eventually serve to further confirm and further elucidate
the propositions and the historical facts.
Second, a Biblical worldview is not threatened by
“new evidence”; instead it interprets the evidence according
to its own presuppositions. The humanists do
exactly the same. That is, a piece of evidence comes
along, and the humanists will interpret it as something
which supports their position while simultaneously
mitigating against Christianity. This same piece of evidence
is interpreted by Christians as supporting the
faith while at the same time undercutting humanism.
For example, the fossil tooth upon which the entire
story of “Nebraska Man”, a supposedly humanoid forerunner
of modern man found in North America, turns
out to be a pig’s tooth. This evidence, say the humanists,
goes to show that truth is always self-correcting,
new evidence giving rise to a new and more accurate
picture of reality. It does not disprove materialistic,
Darwinian evolution but only illustrates the fact that a
free flow and exchange of information and ideas will
produce an ever-more-useful picture of the data. The
Nebraska Man scenario was useful for a time, but the
positive pig’s tooth identification is even more useful
in closing down dead-end and ultimately fruitless areas
of postulation, research and investigation. The Biblical
worldview, on the other hand, says that a fossil tooth
will either be that of human or some non-human animal,
probably pre-flood. For experienced researchers to
mis-identify a pig’s tooth and, further, to use this one
tooth alone to construct full-sized models of male and
female “Nebraska Men”, complete with excess body
hair, sloped foreheads and heavy lower jaws is to demonstrate
an excessively confident pre-commitment to
evolution when no corroborating information exists.
In addition they fail to recognise their own reliance on
a set of basic assumptions accepted by faith, such as:
the material world is all there is, existence ceases at
death or that Darwinian evolution is random yet ever
onward and upward. The humanists’ claim that, being
materialists, they alone are able to assimilate any new
evidence — even contradictory or mutually-exclusive
“evidence” — shows that their overall philosophy is
ultimately indefinable. Because it holds to no absolutes
or unchanging truths, it can offer no sure answers.
1. While God alone is infinite, our souls are everlasting.
2. I have some choice over where I live, but not that I
am alive; I have some choice over what I eat but
not that I need to eat; I can have a bit of influence
on my future, but my past is totally out of my reach.

From Keystone Magazine

January 2004 , Vol. X No. 1
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