Secular Humanism

Introduction

Secular humanism is not evil in itself and even scriptural, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” (Matt 6:26).[1] When this belief detours and becomes atheistic is when pantheistic and naturalistic views of the world and mankind are adopted.

Secular humanism denies the existence of God and believes each human being are their own god. Secular humanism in its belief and theories are erroneous, unsound, and dangerous. Where secular humanism fails, Christianity succeeds, by using the historical evidence supporting the Word of God and logically solving mankind’s existence, morality, and destiny. Proving secular humanism’s view of relativism, morals, and evolution to be contentious at best.

Summary of Secular Humanism

            Humanism, as it was first titled, seeks to provide a nontheistic train of thought to explain the origins of the universe, human beings, morals, ethics, and seeks to provide a natural explanation for supernatural events and counter beliefs in a divine being. The term “secular” was added to the name humanism in the 20th century to distinguish it from other religious forms of humanism. J. Gordon Melton, author of Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, defines humanism as “Humanists are naturalists and as such do not accept the existence of any metanatural laws or principles, that is, laws or principles that transcend the natural realm, or of supernatural entities (gods, spirits, demons, and the like) beyond the material universe.”[2] Secular humanist’s believe every miracle, supernatural event, and mythical event has a logical and natural explanation which does not involve God.

If one searched for the foundation of secular humanism, one would find philosophical naturalism to be foundation on which it stands. Naturalism, secular humanisms foundation, believes that natural laws is the only thing that governs the world and actions. There is no supernatural being(s) or other forces that exist. Dan Story, author of Christianity on the Offense declares,

“Secular humanists, by virtue of adhering to the evolutionary philosophy of naturalism, see human beings as the ultimate value in the universe. There is no sovereign, creator God who upholds and governs all things according to His will. Human beings are the pinnacle of evolution. We alone are self-aware and capable of ethical behavior. The human mind is master of the universe, or at least potentially so, and all knowledge is within our grasp. With this power, we control our destiny; we create our ethics; we write our laws; we determine all social and cultural behavior; we are autonomous and self-sufficient. In short: “Man is the measure of all things.”[3]

 

Secular humanists develop their morals and ethics through critical reasoning and that no other organization should impose their beliefs and views upon the world. The existence of the universe and human life is purely by natural forces which is understood by science. Secular humanism recognizes the positive influence religion has had on society, yet refuses to find truth in the theological claims. Reason and science are the major guns of secular humanism, and with recognition of human fallibility, secular humanisms principles are left open to modifications.

Paul Kurtz, author of In Defense of Secular Humanism, founder of many secular humanists foundations, and is often known as the “Father of Secular Humanism,” notices the need for morality and ethics in life and claims that, “Ethics was developed long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority.”[4] In light of this, secular humanists looks to other humans to solve human problems instead of looking for a god to solve problems.

Relativism is affiliated with secular humanism. Absolutes are fictitious and the only morals are manmade not given by God. For example, humans are justified with ones morals, values, truths, and ethics which are relative to one’s culture. What is true and just for one human being may not be the exact same as what is true and just to another.

The sacred text which is followed by secular humanists are called the Human Manifesto’s. There are three which were written in 1933, 1973, and 2003. The first Human Manifesto gives fifteen declarations. According to the American Humanists Associations, where Kurtz was a founder, Humanists look upon the universe as always existing and that mankind is part of nature. Humanists dismiss mind and body dualism and there is no belief in any supernatural guarantees of human values. Humanism also purses self-satisfying fulfillments in the moment. Humanism also affirms that all colleges, university, and other educational institutions are to fulfill mankind.[5] “Lastly, humanism will: (a) affirm life rather than deny it; (b) seek to elicit the possibilities of life, not flee from them; and (c) endeavor to establish the conditions of a satisfactory life for all, not merely for the few. By this positive morale and intention humanism will be guided, and from this perspective and alignment the techniques and efforts of humanism will flow.”[6]

Human Manifesto II came about forty years later because, according to the American Humanists Association, “events since then make that earlier statement seem far too optimistic…and as we approach the twenty-first century, however, an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed.”[7] In this particular manifesto, it reaffirms the previous with updated affirmations concerning faith, ethics, the individual, democratic society, world community, and humanity as a whole. In 2003, Human Manifesto III was developed reaffirming the previous manifestos and declaring its aspirations.[8] It is suggested that one reads the previous two manifesto’s to gain knowledge and a clear picture of a humanists declaration.

Evaluation of Secular Humanism

Evolution is one corner stone in secular humanism. Evolution is defined as all living things evolving from earlier natural and simpler processes and are normally grouped in three categories, cosmic, biological, and chemical evolution. Cosmic evolution, the simplest of the three, states the universe always existed and matter is eternal. Cosmic evolution develops a serious problem. It can be said that science has never experienced life forming from non-life. This also violates the Principle of Causality which states, “Every effect has a cause.”[9] William Burt Pope calls cosmic evolution a “Bold hypothesis, sustained by mathematical science, has assumed that elementary matter existed in a highly attenuated state, for the expression of which every material word is too gross.”[10] Simply stated, any beginning can be calculated, but so can its end. This is in agreement with the Law of Thermodynamics which states, energy can change but it cannot be created or destroyed. Simply put, energy and matter does not have the ability to create nor destroy itself. The Nebular Hypothesis, which hypothesizes the beginning of the cosmos, presents itself consistent with the scripture found in Genesis concerning the beginning and it is not inconsistent with the scriptural prophecies concerning the end of the world. Where Immanuel Kant and Pierre-Simon Laplace fail is presenting a hypothesis concerning the beginning of the universe but unraveling a series of other unexplainable questions. Pope issues a few questions,

“Whence the forces residing in matter? Whence the beautiful order into which it falls? Whence the variety of elementary substances with all their endowments of gravitation, chemical affinity, and magnetic attraction? And how could these evolve the minds that make them all objective, and, by becoming their historians, show that they are themselves of another and a higher order?”[11]

 

This would show the secular humanist view of cosmic evolution as a fallacy and unanswerable without God and believing He created the cosmos.

Chemical evolution insists that natural laws explain the first origins of life. Norman Geisler explains the chemical evolution theory as,

“The theory is that shortly after the earth was cooled enough to allow it, the combination of hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia, and carbon dioxide reacted to form elementary amino acids, which in time developed into the DNA chains and finally into cells. This process is said to have taken several billion years and the extra energy of the sun, volcanic activity, lightning, and cosmic rays was needed to keep the process going.”[12]

 

Even after the fact that fellow scientist Louis Pasteur proved that life could not form out of non-life, by sterilizing a container killing all bacteria, naturalistic scientists still affirm that life did form from non-life in the beginning. Naturalistic chemical evolutionist’s theory contradicts life experience. It also violates the principle of causation, that life cannot form from non-life and Pasteur’s experiment proved that principle to be true. Like cosmic evolution, this theory leaves many more questions to be answered that simply cannot be answered without God. Such as, in the experiments that naturalistic scientists theorize on, why is some gases used and not others. Should there not be an intelligent designer to employ such gases. Even at the scientific level there is intelligence being used to create such experiments. Naturalistic scientists believe the conditions on earth in the beginning were perfect, which led to the “big bang” and life was formed. Geisler brings up two important problems that cannot be ignored,

“Since the experiment will not work with oxygen present, it was assumed that the earth’s early atmosphere had no oxygen. But this is now known to be false. That fact in itself is sufficient to falsify the experiment and the chemical evolution theory. Further, as even many chemical evolutionists admit, chemicals in the concentration used in the experiment are not found anywhere on earth.”[13]

 

In regards to the second Law of Thermodynamics, the energy from the sun that would be needed would destroy the substances needed to produce life, not to mention the oxygen. The components needed for life would have destroyed itself faster than it could have produced them. As Geisler puts it, “It is easy to pump a lot of energy into a system at random to make it hot, but to organize it and create information requires intelligence.”[14]

Biological evolution, perhaps the most difficult, is the explanation of continuing life forms. This form of evolution has developed two separate categories in its explanation. The first category is micro-evolution, where different life forms adapt to their environment. The second category, macro-evolution, where the one cell microbe evolved into man over a period of a billion years. Kurtz admits that evolution is not infallible (yet) and there may be differences among the sciences concerning some of the minor workings, but the weight of evidence supporting evolution is so strong that evolution is difficult to dismiss.[15]

Micro-evolution is not highly debatable since it has been proven. It can be seen in various life forms over the years. Cats for example, there are many different types of cats but in the end they are all felines. The differences in their breed has evolved over time. Another example, as a person sprays Raid, it may kill many of the insects, but over time the insects will evolve and develop an immune system against Raid, then some different type of insecticide will need to be used to kill of the pests. Macro-evolution on the other hand is considered more speculative science than empirical science. Macroevolution has yet to been proven and still sits in a theoretical state. Certainly, micro-evolution can be observed, but never has it made the large leap into a single cell microbe to evolve into a human being. There is no way to input the amount of new genetic information needed to prove macro-evolution. Simply put, sharks may have different size fins and bodies, but never have any grown wings to fly.

Secular humanists hold tight to relativism. Simply put, there are no absolute truths because what may be true for one individual may not hold true to another. Relativism poses all types of problems that causes a secular humanism to fail. If one presents the case that there is no absolute truth and all is relative, the famous rebuttal will ensue, “if that is true, how can you state an absolute truth statement?” Relativism provides a world of no wrong answers and a world full of contradictions. This view also creates an immoral world. How can one country put to death a murderer if he or she believes it is ok to murder? Secular humanists move around this query with the belief that morals are manmade laws. Though this statement does create an unsuccessful attempt to answer the question, it ignores the basis of the question. How can one country create a moral where another has no morals? If a person is raised with no morals and has no subjective feelings against murder, but the country has a moral against murder and that person murders someone, where does he or she stand? According to the relativists, the murderer is right in his or her belief to murder even though another may be against murder. It violates the law of non-contradiction as well. If Richard Dawkins claims there is no God, and Billy Graham states there is a God, these two statements cannot be true. There either is a God or there is not a God.

The Christian Alternative

Where secular humanism leads into nothingness, has no hope of a future, and offers many hypothesis and theories, Christianity offers hope, eternity, and an explanation to the origins of the universe and all life forms. Christianity gives human beings a purpose on earth and simply not to satisfy ones desires to the fullest before entering into the realm of nothingness.

Looking at the texts that is used in defending each view, the Bible states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). Secular proof of the Bible has been proven in various ways, the most compelling is found in Joseph P. Free’s book, Archaeology and the Bible. Throughout his book Free investigates archaeological discoveries and compares them to the Bible, finding that those discoveries prove true in the Bible.[16] The Human Manifestos was written in 1933, 1973, and 2003 by fallible men. Furthermore, secular humanism cannot hold to objective morals and attest there is no God. However, Paul states,

“For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)” (Romans 2:12–15).

 

The law is “written on their hearts,” meaning there was objective morals present that was placed there not by man but by God. C. S. Lewis goes on to formulate an argument in the basic form in Mere Christianity, 1. Moral laws signify a Moral Law Giver. 2. There is an objective moral law. 3. Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver.”[17]

The Bible states, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them 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” (Gen 1:26). The previous verses shows a distinction from animals who were not created in the image of God, and man who is created in the image of God. Therefore, it is illogical for man to evolve from animals which was created in a lesser form. Further in the Bible, David affirms his beginning, “He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see” (Ps 94:9). Later in the New Testament Jesus affirms God’s creations, “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Later, Paul, a man who died for his belief in God, states, “And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45).

Furthermore, there is evidence of Intelligent Design in human beings. Stephen C. Meyer, a philosopher of science and author of, Signature in the Cell, states that the main argument in his book is, “If we trace information back to its source, we always come to a mind, not a material process. So the discovery that DNA codes information in a digital form points decisively back to a prior intelligence.”[18] Creationism does not violate the principle of causation since God is the cause of the universe and all life forms. Science also affirms this, abiding by the second law of thermodynamics, since the universe is closed, the amount of energy is decreasing, it follows that the universe is not eternal.

Relativism fails for a number of reasons. It is immoral. If man truly determined morals and values, laws would be insignificant and human rights would be null and void. Relativism remains illogical and as Story states, “Like pluralism as a whole, it takes blatantly contradictory truth-claims and states that both are correct. This is logically impossible. Christianity and pantheism cannot both reveal the true nature of God because their respective Gods are conspicuously different.”[19] Relativism is inconsistent, as no one can live relativism daily. Furthermore, research has shown that no matter the religion, culture, or society, all held to some perception of right and wrong and accepted a moral code.

A Defense of Christianity

Since many of the other topics are argued for Christianity the focus here is to look upon two other subjects that could surface in the case for secular humanism and Christianity. Evil, one category that, more times than not, falls into God’s lap as proof that He does not exist or He is something other than perfect. Augustine of Hippo writes, “Accordingly, there is nothing of what we call evil, if there be nothing good. But a good which is wholly without evil is a perfect good. A good, on the other hand, which contains evil is a faulty or imperfect good; and there can be no evil where there is no good.”[20] Two things to understand from Augustine’s quote, first, you cannot have evil and good at the same time. A murderer may help an old lady cross the street, and at that point in time there is good, even though he committed a heinous crime one hour before. Second, as all can agree, darkness is simply the absence of light. Therefore, it is logical to assume that evil is the absence of good. Since God created everything and called it “good” (Gen 1), than something happened that took the good away. Simply put, the fallacy of man took the good away. Therefore, it is not God’s desire or fault that evil exists, it is mankind that is to blame. Carl F. H. Henry, author of God, Revelation, and Authority, explains the problem another way as he quotes John S. Feinburg, “God could have miraculously eradicated evil by intervening at any of the aforementioned junctures. But since ‘man would not always know when his actions would lead to evil,’ life as humans pursue it would then be an unpredictable jumble constantly threatened by uncertainty…’would we really desire or expect God’ to so totally alter human life by sporadically paralyzing bodily movement, intention, desire or volition?”[21] God did not create mankind to perform as robots, rather He gave us the tools to bear good fruit (Matt 7:17), leaving mankind to determine which path he or she would take. True love is given not forced.

Perhaps the most popular and highly debated issue is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The problem lies not with Jesus’ existence, rather, did He really raise from the dead. One must begin by looking at the apostles attitudes while Jesus lived. Those that walked with Jesus. After Jesus died there is an obvious change in demeanor. Take Peter for example, he was not zealous until after Christ’s resurrection. If one was to debate this issue, one would have to explain his attitude. Certainly, one attitude change would not be very strong but consider each apostle who walked with Christ. Each one died for their belief that Jesus was who He said He was and was resurrected from the dead. The next proof to look at has to be the amount of witnesses. Paul reports, “After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:6). Many have tried saying it was a hallucinogen that everyone took to cause this appearance, but logic would conclude this to be false because of the impossibility of each person having the same hallucination. Furthermore, logic would conclude if the resurrection was false, someone in the five hundred would have reneged after seeing Stephen martyred (Acts 7:54-60).

Conclusion

The foundation of secular humanism is feeble. It crumbles compared to the foundation of Christianity. One must take into consideration the documents supporting each view and the people involved in writing the documents. Certainly, humans were involved in the writing of both sources, but the Bible was inspired by God. Secular humanism’s view of relativism falls very short and creates moral havoc upon mankind, almost leading it to a form of circular reasoning. Objective morals do not exist with secular humanists even though they try to claim they have objective morals. Secular humanists morals seem more subjective than objective. Rejecting God’s hand in morals is rejecting objective morals. Cosmos, chemical, and biological evolution continues to falter when explain the universe, first man, and continuous life. Secular humanism leaves too many unanswered or at best, uncertain answers to the major questions. Christianity gives logical and probable answers to those questions leaving Christianity, the only viable option. Any continuous belief upon secular humanism leads to a heart problem not a head problem.

 

Bibliography

 

Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto I. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

———. Human Manifesto II. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_II (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

———. Human Manifesto III. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

Free, Joesph P. Archaeology and the Bible. Zondervan, 1992.

 

Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.

 

Henry, Carl F. H. God Revelation and Authority. Vol. 6. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999.

 

Hippo, Augustine of. The Enchiridion. Vol. 3, in St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises, edited by Phillip Schaff, translated by J. F Shaw, 241. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1887.

 

Kurtz, Paul. In Defense of Secular Humanism. Amherst , NY: Prometheus Books, 1983.

 

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity . New York: MacMillian, 1960.

 

Magazine, Biola. Can DNA Prove the Existance of a Intelligent Designer. Summer 2010. http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/ (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

Melton, Gordon, J. “Council for Secular Humanism.” Edited by Gordon J Melton, & Martin Baumann. Religions of the World (Gale Virtual Reference Libary) 2, no. 2 (2010): 814-15.

 

Pope, William Burt. A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical. Vol. 1. 3 vols. London: Beveridge and Co, 1879.

 

Story, Dan. Christianity on the Offense:Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spirituality Seekers. Grand Rapids , MI: Kregel Publications, 1998.

 

 

[1]  Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible reference in this paper are to The New King James Version (NKJV) (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).

 

[2] Gordon J. Melton. “Council for Secular Humanism.” Edited by Gordon J Melton, & Martin Baumann. Religions of the World (Gale Virtual Reference Library) 2, no. 2 (2010): 814-15.

[3] Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 136.

 

[4] Paul Kurtz. In Defense of Secular Humanism. (Amherst , NY: Prometheus Books, 1983), 17

 

[5] Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto I. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_I (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[6] Ibid.

 

[7] Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto II. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_II (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[8] Association, American Humanist. Human Manifesto III. 2014. http://americanhumanist.org/Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[9] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 120.

 

[10] William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical, Volumes 1-3, vol. 1 (London: Beveridge and Co., 1879), 402.

[11] William Burt Pope, A Compendium of Christian Theology: Being Analytical Outlines of a Course of Theological Study, Biblical, Dogmatic, Historical, Volumes 1-3, vol. 1 (London: Beveridge and Co., 1879), 403.

 

[12] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 229.

[13] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 229.

 

[14] Ibid.

 

[15]Paul Kurtz. In Defense of Secular Humanism. (Amherst , NY: Prometheus Books, 1983), 20.

 

[16] Joseph P. Free. Archaeology and the Bible. Zondervan, 1992.

 

[17] C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. New York: McMillian, 1960.

 

[18] Magazine, Biola. Can DNA Prove the Existence of an Intelligent Designer. Summer 2010. http://magazine.biola.edu/article/10-summer/can-dna-prove-the-existence-of-an-intelligent-desi/ (accessed May 5, 2014).

 

[19] Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense: Responding to the Beliefs and Assumptions of Spiritual Seekers (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1998), 32.

 

[20] Augustine of Hippo, “The Enchiridion,” in St. Augustin: On the Holy Trinity, Doctrinal Treatises, Moral Treatises, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. J. F. Shaw, vol. 3, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1887), 241.

 

[21] Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority, vol. 6 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999), 271.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

About Ohm Punisher

Vaping saved my life. It can save yours too. I'm here to educate and review products. #notblowingsmoke #Micah 6:8 #vapefam #vape4life #VapeAct
This entry was posted in Papers and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s