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Hello!

You know, I can remember as a child, that the term, values had a meaning that had form and substance about it.  In other words, most (the majority) of the people I ran across held the same, basic ideas in terms of right and wrong.  That basic idea is that truth is truth, regardless of how much a person likes to believe otherwise.

I realize that I come from a very politically incorrect time in history, as far as the definition has meaning today.  That’s the value system of the era in which I was born and raised.  Just a side note, it is the same, basic value system that has been in place throughout the majority of human history.

Today, not so much.

DISCLAIMER:  The author is not completely unbiased on the subject matter under discussion.

Values, Morals, and Ethics

My take on the secular humanist belief system boils down to this.  There are three very important attributes in any belief system that must be considered.  These attributes are values, morals, and ethics.  Let’s take a look at what the secular humanist worldview believes about these three, core attributes of humanity.

Values. 

To quote Paul Kurtz, a noted secular humanist, and I quote: “We believe in the ‘right to privacy.’ This includes freedom of conscience and belief; sexual preference and lifestyle, reproductive rights, contraception, and abortion; euthanasia and death with dignity.”

The way I interpret Mr. Kurtz here is that his description of values is that privacy grants human beings the supreme freedom to believe anything they wish without harboring any guilt of having broken some law or rule that exists outside of their own making.  Is this truth or is it wishful thinking on the part of the secular humanist?

“‘I just don’t like red-headed people so they need to be exterminated,’ someone might suggest.”

Mr. Kurtz also includes sexual preference and lifestyle to be a guilt-free, individualized, and socialized construct that does not revolve around external value rules.  Secular humanism subscribes that mankind is an animal, no better in value than that of the beast in the field.  That being so, this freedom to indulge in bestiality (also known as zoophilia) is approved as long as the humanist doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.  Does this appear to be short-sighted in terms of such behavior having a diverse affect on the psyche of others that is not seen at the time?  Do you agree with this end product of humanism’s guilt-free sexual expression?

Reproductive Rights, Contraception, and abortion.  The humanist worldview sees the world through a lens that values human life in many cases to the same standard of the beast.  If it is not productive to the standard of the current culture, it is expendable.   The term expendable, of course, would revolve around a subjective value that is subject to the whim of the individual.  This would appear to make human life as valuable as the subjective thoughts of those in power at the time.  Does this thinking resonate with your current worldview?

Euthanasia and Death.  Secular Humanism suggests a subjectivism in terms of killing the worthless in the population based on age, limitations, and attitudes.  These and most any other subjective reason that society as a whole or individual political or military regime declares unfit would also be possible from this worldview, could it not?  Does that appear to point to positive human value or just the opposite?  I suppose it all depends on your method of regarding such things, but does your own, particular worldview place mankind on the same level as the beast in the field or in the wild?

Morals

Friedrich Neitzsche once said, “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, it does not exist.”  That being said, (by Neitzsche, not me), there is no doubt that he means that the term morals is whatever a person deems it to mean — as long as the person believes in his own mind that he is hurting no one.  Since everything is subjective and self-centered within the worldview of secular humanism, little doubt is left regarding the belief of the humanist in terms of hurting others.   It could easily be argued by the one being hurt, however.

This being the case, the term morals is viewed as subjective rather than objective — which is the age old debate between secular and non-secular worldviews.  We could discuss many instances but I feel that you get the idea without my over analyzing things further.   Let it suffice to say that the moral relativist can become a moral absolutist the moment another person does or says something to which the relativist does not agree with.  It’s rather amazing how innate, absolute truth can come to the fore, isn’t it, when it doesn’t satisfy?

Ethics

Secularism, again, points to the subjective and personal belief of the person and societal belief of the culture surrounding that person.  This means that ethics is relative and subjective in the eyes of the secular humanist.  Is it possible that humanists are confusing tastes for truth?  By that I mean, sure — it’s possible for two people to disagree about their likes and dislikes of a color, a taste, a look, a book, etc.  But tastes are not the same as truth, are they?  Is killing a person because a person doesn’t like them justify it?  Would this not be an example of tastes rather than truth?

“I just don’t like red-headed people so they need to be exterminated,” someone might suggest.  That is how the person feels.  It’s what the person believes.  Belief is not always truth.  Does personal belief justify the murder?

Again, what is truth?  Is it how a person personally feels about something or how a society desires to behave?  Is it something beyond mankind that sets what is right or wrong?

Our time has, again, come to an end!  We shall continue our study of secular humanism and its particular worldview lens in our next post.

Won’t you lease answer the question below and help this blog to serve its intended purpose?

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  WITHOUT EXPANDING ON YOUR ANSWER, DO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE HUMANISTS CONFUSE TRUTH WITH PERSONAL TASTES?

Hit Between The Eyes

Zach —  February 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

Hello again!

I just had a nice conversation with a gentleman yesterday who explained to me that his worldview has changed three times in his life.  I was at Starbucks having my favorite brew when he approached me – due to the title of a book I had lying on the table next to my laptop.

“I just noticed that your book over there is on humanism,” he offered as he reached out his hand.  I felt a little uncomfortable thinking that he might be thinking that I am either a humanist or something.

“Actually, I am doing some research for a book that I am writing,” I responded back.  The cashier called out my total so I paid with my Starbuck’s card then turned again to my acquaintance that was still standing there.

“Mind if I sit with you for awhile,” he asked, as he waited for an answer.

“No, I would love the company,” I answered, still wondering what he was thinking.

I sat down and closed my laptop as the gentleman sat down opposite me and leaned his elbows on the table. He placed his chin in his hands and asked me another question.

“Are you a humanist?”  He asked with the second question since I first met him a few minutes before.

“No, actually I am a pastor,” I stated.  “I am researching for a book that I am writing and secular humanism is only one worldview that I will be presenting.  I plan to cover every major worldview with a thorough overview.  I’ll provide excellent references to my readers, at the end of each chapter, giving them ample opportunity to investigate each worldview more thoroughly if they so desire.” I opined which seemed to satisfy his curiosity.

He then launched into a dialog that was quite informative and interesting to me so I sat back and listened.

“In my teens and through college, I considered myself an agnostic,” he began with a look of reflection on his face.  “I came from a Christian family and never quite fit in with the rest of my family of origin in that regard.”  He looked away, sighed, and returned his gaze on me and began again.  “As the years passed, I became an atheist or, at least, I thought I was for some years,” he continued as I listened closely to what he had to say.

“I remember when I had my first real encounter with Jesus Christ,” he continued.  “In my prideful, human knowledge of how the world works and how everything came to be, I had overlooked one, very important thing, my friend,” he stated in a very matter-of-fact manner — then he reached for his cup, raising it to his lips, and drank deeply from it.  I was waiting for him to continue when a friend of his dropped by the table and exchanged greetings with him.  He introduced me and told his friend he would be right over as soon as he finished telling his story.

“Man, that hit me, hit me right between the eyes…”

“That is one of my very best friends,” he offered as he settled back in his chair.  “I introduced him to my Lord Jesus Christ about 5 years ago this month as a matter-of-fact,” he stated with satisfaction in his eyes.  “I never miss a Friday morning discussing Jesus with him, haven’t missed a Friday in over 5 years,” he continued, obviously thinking back over those years—then he turned his eyes on me again and continued.

“Back to my story,” he resumed, “I was on a camping trip alone up in Montana, guess it was about 22 years ago.  No wait, it was 23 years ago because I remember it was on my 35th birthday.”

“Wait,” I interjected—putting my own cup down and leaning over the table.  I whispered, “You were an atheist right up until the time of that camping trip?”

“Yep, I suppose I was, or perhaps I wasn’t,” he said in a soft voice, obviously revisiting that day in his mind.  “It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” he announced.  “I was lying on top of my sleeping bag, the sky overhead was overcast—I, my friend, was reading the Bible for the first time in many, many years. When I first felt the need to turn to 2nd Corinthians 6:20-21, I almost ignored the feeling.  When I had read that particular Scripture, I looked down to chapter 2,” he mused, taking another sip from his cup.

Putting the cup down again, he read from his Bible,  “Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, ‘Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” For He says: I heard you in an acceptable time, and I helped you in the day of salvation.  Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.”  When he finished, he looked up at me and in a voice with more conviction than I have heard in quite some time from anyone, he whispered, “I don’t know why I never heard those Scriptures quite like that before.”  He was silent for about a minute, then he looked back up at me and continued.

“Man that hit me — hit me right between the eyes and settled deeply into my heart.  I called out to Jesus right then and there.  I went down on my knees. I confessed all of my sins, repented from the depths of my humbled soul, and asked forgiveness and for Him to come into my life.”  He was quite for a little while, and then continued, “I’ve never looked back, no sir, not once have I ever looked back,’ he mused.  “No sir, I spend my life now talking to people about Jesus and the good news of the gospel”

After about another minute had passed, I reached over and shook his hand.  He looked me in the eyes, finished his coffee, and stood up while gathering his things.

“See ya around,” he said through a small grin.  I watched as he ambled over to his friend’s table.  I sat there thinking,  as I watched him walk away, that I had just heard the message of a spiritually solid testimony.  I had just witnessed his testimony that had granted this man hope and purpose in this life with the reward of eternal life in the future.

I continued my research all the while remembering the look in his eyes when he revealed how those verses had affected him.  I thought about his saying, “Man, that hit me, hit me right between the eyes…”  I finished my morning’s research and left Starbucks.  I left with the feeling that I had just received something more than a wonderful cup of coffee and good company.

I left there with a song in my heart and a strut in my step.  That gentleman had been much, much more than just a new acquaintance.  He had provided some salt and light right there at that little table in the middle of Starbucks.  I left there after an encounter with Jesus.

I hope this story blessed you as much as it did me.  I will be back with the next installment on secular humanism next post.  I just felt that this encounter with my new acquaintance might just touch your heart in a way that my words could never do.  There is just something very tangible in the air when God works.

Until next time!

~Zach

 

Question:  Regardless of your personal worldview at this time, have you ever looked up at a starry night and thought – creation makes sense?

How Secular Humanism Was Born

Zach —  February 11, 2013 — 2 Comments

I love the part of the country that I work and live in!  I just returned from a brisk walk in nothing but blue jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.  A slight breeze was blowing but not enough wind to require a jacket or coat!  Looking at other parts of the country, I was almost feeling smug when it dawned on me that humility is the better attitude.

I gave thanks to God for the weather that I was experiencing and repented for that moment of self!  Ahhh, what a country though!  Walking in February without a jacket!  An in the mountains to boot!

As I was walking, I began to think of the many worldviews that people see the world through.

“I wonder how I would see this beautiful day if I was looking at it through the eyes of someone with a secular humanistic worldview lens?”  I thought as I walked through the beautiful scenery while smelling the scents of nature and looking at what I believe to be God’s creation.

These thoughts continued to entertain my thinking as I walked along.  These thoughts continued to challenge my thinking as I returned home and began preparing to write this new post.  I prepared my cup of coffee and headed for my office.  As I sat down and opened my laptop, I could not but help think about the historical origin of secular humanism.

Secular humanism, once confined to a small group of philosophical thinkers until around the middle of the 19th century, when some intellectuals began to declare that religion was not a viable belief system and was born from ignorance or by self-serving priests.

 “Insofar as men have now lost their belief in a heavenly king…”

— Lippmann

These thinkers believed that religion was the enemy of scientific thinking and that more reasonable substitutes needed to replace such archaic thinking.  Auguste Comte in the first half of the 19th century introduced what he coined a Religion of Humanity which was a combining of ideas from Roman Catholic religion and atheism (a belief that there is no such thing as God).  The key factor to consider is that this Religion of Humanity was Comte’s subjective belief.

The term humanism to define an atheist worldview was first used in the first decade of the 20th century.  A Unitarian minister by the name John H. Dietrich in 1913 but the term was put into mass usage by Walter Lippmann in 1929 in his best-selling book, A Preface to Morals.  The following is a direct quote from Lippmann’s book:

“Insofar as men have now lost their belief in a heavenly king, they have to find some other ground for their moral choices than the revelation of his will. It follows necessarily that they must find the tests of righteousness wholly within human experience.”

The usage of the term humanism as it is used today to denote belief in man rather than a transcendent God the creator was established in The Humanist Manifesto in 1933

 In the next post, we will continue examining secular humanism.  Please give your comments to the question below as this adds to the value of this blog and helps me to focus the direction of the book and allows you the opportunity to become a part of it all!

Until next time!

~Zach

 

Question: Please give your thoughts on the topic of secular humanism?

Discover Your Worldview!

Zach —  January 29, 2013 — 2 Comments

Things have changed outside of my study window.  I woke up to falling, blowing snow!  I had just pulled up the blog on my laptop and was ready to write today’s blog post when a scene out of my window caught my eye.  A small deer was rubbing noses with my neighbor’s dog.  Nothing unusual about that, I suppose but still, it kept coming back into my mind.

As I turned back to my monitor, it hit me—the deer and the dog.  They were interested in checking one another out.  There was no fighting or intimidation, just a natural curiosity about the other.  It was beautiful.  What had hit me was that they reminded me of two different worldviews.  I was captivated by that thought and this post is the outward expression of that thought.

“Amazing,” I thought, “two, completely different animals (worldviews) tentatively investigating the other!”  As I thought about that for a moment, I caught movement out my window and looked to see both the small deer and the dog walking side by side around the side of an embankment.

I thought to myself, “That is how I will describe the subjectivity of worldviews today!  Like the deer and my neighbor’s dog, both of them from different concepts about the world but willing to acknowledge the other.  When we understand other peoples worldviews, perhaps we can really appreciate our own even more!

If you have been keeping up with the blog posts, you know that we are about to begin looking into the worldview, human secularism.  Before we go any further, how about we take a look at a chart that will allow you to determine for yourself what your personal worldview is?  Sound good?

The following links open in another window so when finished just click off of that window to return here.  Ok then, take a break in your reading and I will wait for you to return.  Look over the chart ,answer the questions, follow the arrows, and you will find your worldview.  Ok –get ready, get set, click…What’s Your Worldview?

Welcome back!  Well, now you have an idea of what your worldview is and what it is called.  I have another chart I would like you to look over.     Worldview Comparison Chart.    After you see what your worldview believes in, come back !

If you clicked on the two links above and followed the instructions, you have a pretty good idea of what your personal worldview is.  Many people already know their worldview but many more do not.  This exercise is to get you ready to investigate the various worldviews and what they believe.

Next post, we will consider the worldview of human secularism.  I look forward to investigating with you!

Until then!

Zach

 

Question:  What was your worldview?  What are your thoughts on it?

 

 

It starts with a pain, not a definitive one—just this nagging ache running down your left arm.  You’ve heard that this is one of the signs of a heart attack but you’re too young for such things.  You begin to feel a tightness spreading through your chest and the pain in your arm begins to increase.

“Man, I feel weird,” you think as you ease yourself down on the couch, rubbing your left arm and clenching and unclenching your fist.  You think, “Maybe I should call someone,” but you reason that it would be so embarrassing when it goes away and you have to explain you were scared.

Then, it hits.

 “The end of your life is staring you back in the eyes, up close—eyeball to eyeball.”

Your jaw begins to feel a pain like your teeth are hurting.  The pain increases.

“This can’t be real!” you think as the pain overwhelms you and a descending darkness, like the fade at the end of a movie, blurs and coats your vision like a pull down shade.  You can’t move now and the pain is unbearable.  You know.  You just know.

“ It’s impossible.  This can’t happen to me!”

But, there it is.  It’s fact.  You are dying.

In that moment, during the time after you sit down on the couch, the realization that you may be dying hits you right in the reality.

“What’s going to happen to me if I die?”  Your mind screams as the terror mounts and you begin fading into yourself and a numbing coldness starts moving from your extremities towards your middle, toward your heart.  Then—you’re gone.

Where did you go?

Where will you wake up?

What are you now?

These and other questions are answered by the worldview that you hold.  What is the last thought that runs through your mind as death slowly—but inescapably— claims you?

 Let’s run the clock back.

 Like an old VCR tape, you see yourself speeding back second by second into the past to where you were just before the first realization that something drastically wrong was about to play out.  Every thought of the past 15 minutes is as clear and as vivid as anything you have ever experienced in your life.

The past 15 minutes are all that you can think about as you realize what is about to happen.  What are your thoughts now?  Are you thinking about it as you read these words?  You remember laughing with others about,

“Oh well, might as well enjoy life to the max!  We’re not goin’ to ever get out of this world alive!”  Or perhaps you remember thinking,

“Everyone dies, but I don’t want to dwell on such things.  Just live each day to the fullest!”

 Maybe the following invades your memory as you await that first pain of the heart attack you know is coming and that is going to end your life in the next 15 minutes.

“Hey Bill,” your friend asks as you down another beer and slap down another grain-fed steak at the neighborhood, Sunday night cookout.

You love these outings that are held each weekend in the Spring and Summer months.  In fact, you started them 8 years after that Spring when you moved into the neighborhood.

“Let’s run down and get another case after this steak and watch the game!”  He laughs uproariously.  “ Only the good die young and we be bad to da bone!”

“Ok,” you belch—scarf down the last bite—and drain one beer and reach for another, “Let’s go!”

 

  • What is your worldview about death?
  •  Are you afraid of dying?
  •  Do you think about it?
  •  Do your hide from the realities of it? 
  • Are you comfortable with it?
  • Are you aware of what others think about it? 
  • How about your friends?
  • Your fellow employees where you work?
  • Then there’s your spouse and kids?
  • What are you teaching your kids about death?

 

What do you fear, what you think about, what do you hide from, how how can you become comfortable with death, what do you discuss with others, teach your kids?  It all depends upon how you view the world around you. Please be thinking on the above questions.

 In the next post, we will begin to consider the major world views mentioned in the post, How To See Out Of The Window.

The first worldview we will investigate is that of human secularism.  I look forward to coming alongside you as we investigate this prevalent, 21st century worldview.

Until then!

Zach

 

Question:  What is your greatest fear and how does it look from your worldview?

How To Ruin God’s Work

Zach —  January 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

Thank you for stopping by to read my humble blog.  I have been working hard to get everything ready for this blog to offer something more than just more words on the internet.  I have a confession to make.  This morning, amid all of the hoopla of wrangling schedules, preparing sermon notes, etc…I had one of those moments of clarity that hits home…

I noticed something this morning. It was barely noticeable at first but as I began to let my mind decelerate and relax – it became more noticeable.

At first, it was akin to that feeling that something is just not quite right. It was something slightly familiar but just out of conscious reach, you know? Like the name of someone from your childhood.

Then it hit. It hit hard. It hit with that heart stopping bolt of adrenaline – flooding through the vascular system – shocking mind, body, and spirit into total focus and anguish. I was lonely!

In my quest to serve my savior, in my desire to reach out to others with His glorious message of truth, I had focused my attention upon the work – losing my focus on He that I was working for!

My first love was being replaced by the duty of my calling. I was focusing my complete attention and effort upon the advertisement rather than the product! I was relishing the sizzle at the expense of savoring the taste of the steak!

This has been a morning of awakening, confession, repentance, and introspection. My re-focus today is upon my priorities with Christ Himself, my personal relationship with Him, with Him being moved back to His rightful position at the top of my spiritual pyramid!

Before I progress any further on this blog, before I write one more post in relation to the planned book that God has called me to write, I first must concentrate upon my relationship Jesus, my savior.  He can’t be second in my desire to perpetuate His good news of the kingdom.  I lost the forest because of so many trees!

I back away for now to seek God’s face.

I humbly ask for your prayers today as I work on my most important of relationships…my Lord and my God!

Bless you.

Question:  Have you ever found yourself wandering through the forest of your faith and duty only to discover that you left your compass behind?

Blog: Take a Look!

Zach —  December 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

Hello and welcome to the first blog post for 21 century confusion.    My name is Zach Malott  and I have started blogging my new book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  You, the reader, can have a critical part in its final structure by commenting on the various topics that I will blog about and will become the body of this book.

I decided to write this book to answer a current need.  That need is to gather together – in one volume – information and understanding of the various worldviews prevalent in the beginning of the 21st century in a non-academic format.  Worldview determines future.  Your future.  My future.

The finished book will be a handbook for 21st century evangelism – a book that will lead the lost through the different worldviews, help them identify their current worldview, and systematically lead them to the point where they can have the information that they need (the full gospel of Christ) so that the Holy Spirit can convict them of God’s truth, Jesus, the only way back to God!

Important information, don’t you agree?

The persons whose comments substantially influences the finished draft will be mentioned on a specially dedicated honor page in the book’s front matter with bio and photo. Those chosen will be at my sole discretion.

This book blog will drill down into the center of the confusion of 21st century worldviews in an attempt to discover order in the midst of chaos.

  • What is a worldview?
  • Could unreality be couched in your current worldview premise?
  • Can every worldview be true?
  • Is truth whatever we deem it to be?
  • What is your worldview?
  • Does it answer your questions about reality to your satisfaction?
  • What questions do you have about your worldview?

These and many other questions will be considered on this blog.  I invite you to join me in taking a look at the worldviews of the 21st century.  See how your worldview fits into the mix.  I invite you to join me in discovering the pros and cons of these worldviews.

This site is ready to begin delving into these concepts and the first post will appear in January, 2013. Please ask to be included above for notification of when the first blog post for 21st century confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose is ready for your review.

You can register to receive an email when new posts are available and an occasional newsletter update about the book.  Just give me your email above in the upper right-hand corner.  This is all your email will be used for and your privacy is safe with me.

Thank you in advance for joining with me.  I need your help in making this book become a reality!  Please consider the question below:

Question:  “What would you consider important to discover in a book about finding a path to hope and purpose for you and your family in the 21st century?”