Let’s Hear it for Humanism

“Naturalism or secular humanism is superior to Christianity as a belief system because it is less hypocritical, has greater faith, is more challenging, and is more daring”.


I agree that Christianity has the greatest hypocrisy, or at least the greatest potential for hypocrisy, compared to humanism. The standards set by the Lord for Christians are very high.  We are called upon to love our enemies, to go the extra mile when called upon to go a mile (as you may know, this refers to the Roman soldiers commanding citizens to carry their heavy packs a mile), to feed the poor, and be willing to die for our Lord and for our spouses.  We are also called upon to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  How many Christians really love their enemies?  If Christians are really willing to die for their wives, why isn’t the divorce rate among Christians much less than that of non-Christians?  (It is not).  So the gap between the standard of behavior set by the Lord for Christians and those who profess to be Christians is large, at least in the U.S.

On the other hand, it seems that the standards of behavior set by naturalists would be more modest, perhaps even low.  Secular humanists talk about fulfilling their potential, which seems like it would be easier to do – even a natural process.  If there is no external standard – no standard set by an external entity, then we are free to set our own standards.  Furthermore, what is a standard of behavior for one person need not be accepted by another.  A consensus on how to live by some group does not hold sway over another group or individual.  And there are many groups – which one should we choose?  So if I am to develop a set of standards for my life – my moral code, I will likely set it low enough to be reached in my lifetime.  Hence less hypocrisy.

I might add that the standard set by the Lord for Christians can only be achieved through supernatural means, as the righteousness of Christ is imputed to His followers.  To carry this a step further, the Lord can work through us to do things that defy natural reason and transcend typical norms. 

Second, naturalism/humanism is a religion of greater faith than Christianity.  This is using the definition of religions as systems of ultimate beliefs.  (The U.S. Supreme Court declared some years ago that secular humanism is a religion.)  I agree – it takes more faith to believe that the incredible complexity and design of the universe, which is even more complex than a Boeing 747, came about by pure chance, than from some intelligence.

The Intelligent Design movement within the evolution community is problematic for evolutionary scientists, with prominent evolutionary scientists embracing intelligent design because the data drives them to it, and that nature, like Mount Rushmore, reveals evidence of intelligence, and intelligent design. 

Third, the most daring persons are naturalists – humanists.  I always think of Christopher Columbus, or Lewis and Clark as daring explorers, because they traveled to unknown lands with limited supplies and imperfect maps.  The most they could lose were their lives on this earth.  However, the journey beyond the grave is the ultimate journey.

Naturalists facing death with no certainty of what lies ahead, other than perhaps through speculative philosophy, are truly acts of daring.  And if naturalists are wrong, they will experience an eternal life of suffering, which I would wish on no person. Christianity not only describes the next life and the different destinations in the next life; it also describes how to get to heaven.  This is confirmed by fulfilled prophecies and 12 disciples who were transformed from cowards to bold witnesses for the Lord, all of whom except one was killed for his faith.

One clue about life after death comes from Maurice Rawlings (http://www.freecdtracts.com/testimony/hellandback.htm), a cardiologist who has brought many people back from death.  He discovered that about half of them experienced a light with great joy, and half were absolutely terrified, as they experienced hell.  Did they make this up?  How can a person make something up when he/she is clinically dead? 

Fourth, naturalism / humanism is the most challenging.

Richard Dawkins, a famous evolutionary scientist, stated:

“Nature is not cruel, pitiless. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn.  We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous – indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.” 

So the challenge is – if one’s world view does not allow for purpose – if we came about by the survival of the fittest, why live?  Why are we here?  If we are smarter and/or meaner than all the rest of the animals, so what?  We will just live a little longer perhaps – a life of emptiness.  What can you tell a friend who is considering suicide if we, like a pebble or rock, have no purpose in our lives?

If we are just animals, seeking to survive, what can we tell a mugger who wants to take our money and bump us off?  Who are we to say what he is doing is wrong?  Is he not just fulfilling Darwin’s mandate – to survive? 

Nations with no transcendent purpose ultimately embrace an ideology that favors the ruling class, usually based on utilitarianism:

“We keep you alive to serve this ship.  Row well and live.”

Roman Commander of a slave galley ship in the movie Ben Hur

Other than scapegoats (Hitler’s attack on the Jews), it means that the productive are kept, and the crippled and elderly are expendable.  If human life, like animals, has no purpose other than material production, us older folks are in trouble, as are the sick and handicapped.

In contrast, the Christian world view describes our creation by a sovereign, living God to carry out His work in the world. We are not merely animals but special creations, created in the image of God.  Discovering His will for our lives is the first task, but the second is perhaps more difficult – yielding to His will and being obedient to His call on our lives.

“For I know he thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”                                                                                                                   Jeremiah 29:11