Anda di halaman 1dari 7

LIBERTY THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

A WORLDVIEW ANALYSIS: SECULAR HUMANISM

AN ESSAY SUBMITTED TO DR. DERRICK TURRENTINE

BY JEFFREY D. COLE

ROBBINSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA

27 FEBRUARY 2011

INTRODUCTION Secular Humanism is a religion (Bragg 1933) that exalts the perfection of man and the death of God. Yet Secular Humanism is wrought with a multitude of inconsistencies which allows the Humanist, if evangelized appropriately, to be open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. BASIC SUMMARY OF SECULAR HUMANISM Secular Humanism, also to include Humanism or Evolutionary Humanism, is religion and worldview that has been articulated by leading academics, philosophers, educators, and religious leaders formally since the publication of A Humanist Manifesto in 1933 (later to be known as Humanist Manifesto I). Since that time, additional clarifying and defining documents have contributed to its evolving position, including but not limited to Humanist Manifesto II (1973), A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980), Humanist Manifesto 2000 (2000), and the Amsterdam Manifesto 2003 (2003). The precise state definition of their religion has been refined since 1933, but has been as expressed in the following: Religious humanism as expressed in fifteen theses wherein man is in quest of the good life and the realization of the world of his dreams as his central task of mankind, to be realized by the power within himself void of any acceptance of faith, God, or the supernatural, instead recognizing the primacy of self determination through knowledge and technology as revealed through the scientific method (Bragg 1933). As in 1933, humanists still believe that traditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to live and care for persons, to hear and understand their prayers, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith. Salvationism, based on mere affirmation, still appears as harmful, diverting people with false hopes of heaven hereafter. Reasonable minds look to other means for survival (Kurtz and Wilson 1973). Secular humanism places trust in human intelligence rather than in divine guidance (Kurtz 1980).

Humanism is an ethical, scientific, and philosophical outlook expressed as a renewed confidence in the power of human beings to solve their own problems (Kurtz, 2000). Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity (American Humanist Association 2003). While a precise definition of Secular Humanism is varied and imprecise, it generally is characterized by a denouncement of faith (Kurtz 1973), God (Kurtz 1973), the supernatural (Kurtz 1973), Creationism (Kurtz 1980), and capitalism (Bragg 1933), and an exaltation of self determination (AHA 2003), human knowledge and intellect (Kurtz 2000), technology (Kurtz 1973), cultural determinism (Bragg 1933), the subjugation of the individual to the world (Bragg), evolution (Kurtz 1980), the self and eternal existence of matter (AHA 2003) and the scientific method (Bragg 1993). The mantra No deity will save us; we must save ourselves (Kurtz 1973) is a summation of all that Secular Humanism espouses. FLAWS OF SECULAR HUMANISM The scientific method is to the Secular Humanist as biblical exegesis is to the evangelical Christian; science is as the bible; self determination and actualization is as sanctification. The pursuit of self actualization for the Secular Humanist is fueled by scientific discovery and technology, all of which is dependent upon the scientific method. However, the Humanist has provided power to the scientific method for which it is not intended nor is it able. The scientific method is very limited in the scope of its usefulness. Whereas it can demonstrate the likelihood of a proposition, for example that gravity exists, it is dependent upon static conditions and the ability to repeat an event over and over, until a reasonable certainty can be formed. If an event is not repeatable in a controlled environment, the scientific method is useless.

History cannot be proven by the scientific method it is not repeatable. Propositions of value and morals cannot be addressed by the scientific method, for they cannot be placed in a controlled environment and repeated over and over. The scientific method is limited in its usefulness, and certainly cannot be used to establish a religious creed. For example, the mantra, No deity will save us; we must save ourselves begs the question, What must we be saved from? and How does one know when they are saved? This is not an answer that the scientific method can answer. In the same document, Kurtz states that, There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way that our lives have influenced others in our culture (Kurtz 1973). However, can Kurtz provide scientific evidence that the life does not survive the body? Or evidence based on the scientific method that we continue to exist in our progeny through culture? No, these are subjective and un-provable assertions that are not subject to the scientific method. Additionally, the Secular Humanist propositions are troubled with seemingly endless contradictory statements and reasoning. For example, the Secular Humanist views matter as self existing and eternal (AHA 2003), out of which man biologically evolved to the modern day Homo Sapiens; Darwinian evolutionary theory is the doctrine and friend of the Humanist (Kurtz 1980). What value, therefore, is the social common good to the Humanist for whom self determination and survival reign supreme? What value is subjugating the needs and desires of the individual to the world societal community in contradistinction to Darwins survival of the fittest? If individual survival and improvement of specifies (self-actualization) is dependent upon the death of others, why should the Humanist place any value on the lives of members in the society?

Ethics, which are determined individually by ones own human experience, are exalted with value (Kurtz 1973); yet Darwinian evolution places no value in ethics. Likewise, the Secular Humanist exalts the value of fulfillment and joy even in events like death (AHA 2003), yet the Darwinian Evolutionist, viewing man as a biological mechanism, places no value on such intangible qualities of a person, particularly in serving the greater good of the global community. Sexual conduct is unduly repressed by the intolerant attitudes cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures (Kurtz 1973). However, in the next sentence Kurtz writes, While we do not approve of exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression or mindless permissiveness or unbridled promiscuity, he promotes a responsible attitude toward sexuality (1973). So, while denouncing intolerance of certain sexual practices by the religious intolerants, Kurtz himself is intolerant of so called exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression. Every cry by the Humanist for tolerance is a self-contradicting statement, for he is being intolerant himself of those being intolerant. EVANGELIZING A SECULAR HUMANIST To apologetically evangelize the Secular Humanist, the following points could be noted. First, attack the assumption that man is morally self-determining. Accept, for the sake of argument, that he is able to self-determine morality. Once accepted, defend your own ability to likewise be morally self-determining. Then determine that you have determined that it is morally advantageous to kill every Secular Humanist in the state of North Carolina. Upon his objection, remind him that the right of moral self-determination is assumed by the Secular Humanist. Furthermore, bring to his attention that it was such reasoning that allowed Adolf Hitler to morally self-determine that it was advantageous to kill those of the inferior race. Conclude by affirming that such reasoning requires a moral code externally determined apart
5

from man. Even the most ardent biological evolutionist have admitted this troubling contradiction of adhering to Darwinian evolutionary theory yet calling for improved morality despite the genes and lack of free-will that controls us (Pearcey 2005, 217). Second, I would attack the assumption that man is getting better - that is self-actualizing, day by day, generation by generation. I would appeal to his personal experience within his own life, then within the current world events, questioning if he really believes that the Nazi German atrocity was a better demonstration of humanity than the 1800s. Once there was an admission of weakness to his Secular Humanistic reasoning, I would proceed with the gospel of Jesus Christ from the Scriptures, praying all the while that he would surrender his life to Christ. The best personal means of sharing that gospel that I have experience is the method explained in Sharing Jesus Without Fear (Fay 1999), which I would proceed with at this point, with my bible in hand. CONCLUSION While the Secular Humanist exalts the death of God and the perfection of man, it is clear that the inconsistencies in the Humanist position are many. With the help of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Christian can apologetically evangelize in an appropriate manner that will reveal the Humanists sinful nature and the perfection of Jesus Christ, the Savior. For further study, I recommend the Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey, wherein she equips the believer to engage the post-modern cultural with the truth of the gospel and the inconsistencies of secularism. I also recommend A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer, the classic volume addressing the thinking and conclusions of the Secular Humanist.
6

REFERENCES: Bragg, Raymond. 1933. A Humanist Manifesto. http://www.americanhumanist.org/Who_We_Are/About_Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_ I (accessed February 25, 2011). Kurtz, Paul and Wilson, Edwin. 1973. Humanist Manifesto II. http://www.americanhumanist.org/Who_We_Are/About_Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_ II (accessed February 25, 2011). Kurtz, Paul. 1980. A Secular Humanist Declaration. http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=declaration (accessed February 25, 2011). Kurtz, Paul. 2000. Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for a New Planetary Humanism. http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=main&page=manifesto (accessed February 25, 2011). American Humanist Association. 2003. Humanist Manifesto III. http://www.americanhumanist.org/Who_We_Are/About_Humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_ III (accessed February 25, 2011). Fay, W., B. Fay, and L.E. Shepherd. Share Jesus without Fear: B&H Publishing Group, 1999. Pearcey, N, and PE Johnson. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity: Crossway Books, 2005.