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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?

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?

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?”