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Out of the womb of secular humanism many of our current problems and confrontational issues have been born. For example:

[1] The readily observable decline in moral standards, both personal and legislated, is directly the product of the absence of God. In discarding God our society has discarded also his absolute moral standards, taking on board a system of ethics which is self-governing (according to what is the ‘norm’) and situational. Right and wrong no longer exist as absolutes, but vary from person to person, from day to day, and from situation to situation. I decide what is right for me. Or, collectively, we, through our government, legalize behaviour which as a society we now accept. In our life time we have seen the government facilitating divorce, recognizing de facto relationships, condoning extra-marital relationships in young people, considering the legalization of homosexual relationships, and so on. If the spiral continues there is really nothing to stop the acceptance of polygamy, incest, paedophilia and bestiality. Without absolute standards imposed by an outside-of-me God, who will, and who can, draw the line?

[2] Similarly, attitudes to the taking of life have been coloured by the absence of God. Here we are confronted by the question of abortion and by the euthanasia debate. Where these are allowed and legalised the next in line will be the extension of permission to abort relative to sex preferences, infanticide in the case of deformed babies, non-voluntary euthanasia of the helpless elderly and others who are a burden to society, and so on. This godless mindset drove Marxist Germany to these practices, and also to genocide. God and his law give ultimate significance and dignity to the human: secular humanism, discarding God, discards also the uniqueness of human life, and thus renders human life as disposable as animal life, and of no more intrinsic value than animal life.

[3] We have seen over the last few decades an incredible increase in depression and suicide. Much is said about loss of self-esteem and low self-image. Young girls are experiencing the slow death of anorexia nervosa. Tens of thousands are addicted to drugs. All of this points to the despair and meaninglessness of trying to live in the absence of God.

As Christians we must be alert to the inroads secular humanism has made and is making into our own value systems and into the mind of the church. We must stand back and take an honest look at ourselves as individuals, and collectively as the church. We must discipline ourselves to bring every thought into submission to God and his absolute standards; we must refuse to allow the man-centred religion of secular humanism to divert our focus from God and his glory and onto the human and the supposed ‘human rights’.  By deposing God secular humanism thinks that it gives dignity and significance to the human: rather, life in the absence of God not only robs us of our essential dignity, but also casts us adrift in a hopeless, meaningless vortex. Because this is the case we must also as Christians, relate with great understanding and compassion to the confused, despairing casualties of our humanistic society.

For further study:
Genesis 3:5: humanism - Satan’s lie.
Genesis 11:1-9: an early attempt at a humanistic society.
Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:17-19: the importance of our minds.

Additional notes:

1] There is a great distinction between secular humanism, described briefly last week and above, and humanitarianism, which is, briefly, a commendable, active concern for the well-being of humans, especially those who are suffering.

2] There are a number of terms we need to remember to help us recognize secular humanism within the church: liberalism and modernism when applied to the study of the Bible indicate a rejection of the supernatural and of the divine origin of the Bible. Situation ethics indicates the rejection of the Biblical absolutes of right and wrong.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2011