WORLDVIEWS

1 SECULAR HUMANISM - I

Secular humanism is the mental framework that dominates contemporary western society. It is termed ‘humanism’ because the human being, not God, is seen as the centre and measure of all things. In our own hands we hold both our individual and global destinies.

Secular humanism is not a harmless ideology quietly drifting in as we forget about God; rather it is an aggressive, planned strategy to rid the world of God. Expressed by Huxley in The Humanist Manifesto I and II in 1933 and 1973, the humanist philosophy is deliberately and aggressively atheistic and man-centred. Although it is termed ‘secular’ it presents itself as an alternative ‘religion’, and was recognized as a religion by the United States government in 1961.

The basic teachings of secular humanism are simple:

There is no such thing as ‘god’ (thus secular humanism is also atheism).
‘Nature’, of which man is the most developed part, is all that exists.
We are capable of and responsible for fulfilling our own destiny.
Our own happiness and development is all we should aim for.
Religion works contrary to the humanists’ goals.

We need to be aware that these are the teachings embraced by many in positions of power and authority: by educators, by media personnel, by politicians, by writers, and by some supposed ministers of the Gospel. These beliefs either bombard us directly or subtly make inroads into our thought patterns from almost every direction. Their impact is felt right through our society and into the mind of the church.

While the teaching can be simply expressed, its implications are deep and complex:

About God:

If there is no God, then the Bible is not his Word and Jesus is not his Son.
If there is no God, then his so called commands are not valid.
If there is no God, no Word of God and no command, then there is no sin.
If there is no sin then I can decide for myself what is right and wrong.
In fact there is no absolute right and wrong.
If there is no sin there is no need for either a Saviour or salvation.
The entire Christian message is redundant and a lie.
Jesus is just a man who lived and died.

About me:

If God is not there, he didn’t create me.
If God didn’t create me I have no more significance than a tadpole.
If God is not there he is not looking after me.
If he is not looking after me I stand alone, with no one to depend on, in a hostile world in which every individual is looking out for himself.
If God is not there, when I die my death is no more than the death of a tree; there is no meaning, no purpose, no goal. I might as well have not lived.
If God is not there, he cannot save me from my inner lostness, my inner alienation, my inner despair and meaninglessness, my guilt and shame. All that is left to me is to attempt to pull myself up by my own bootlaces.

Into this dark and despairing worldview the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ shines its truth-revealing and redeeming light: God is there, and God is for us.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2011