Archives For secular humanism

Hello and welcome back!

How are you doing?  I hope this finds you and your family well and productive!  As for me, my wife and I are doing well as are our children.  The weather is improving here by the day.  It’s nice and warm most days and I enjoy running around without wearing a jacket.  Have you ever given thought to what is your favorite time of the year?  I used to consider spring to be my favorite season.  As the years pass, I find that every season has its pros and cons and what one season lacks we receive in the next and so on.

“Do you consider it important to compare the worldview you hold to discover if it answers life’s important questions adequately?”

Life itself is like that, isn’t it?  What one season of life lacks we usually discover in another season of our life.  Some things that we take for granted in one season either takes on more or less importance in another.  The same goes for worldviews at times.  A worldview is the product of many factors.  We are influenced by our culture, our community, our family, and by our own, subjective thoughts revolving around these influences.  Notice that I said our subjective thinking revolving around these influences.  Do you consider it important to compare the worldview you hold to discover if it answers life’s important questions adequately?

There are many worldviews that we will be examining in this category and will now continue with our final examination of secular humanism.  We have taken a look at this worldview in terms of its outlook of human design.  We considered its tenants revolving around humanity’s origin, destiny, and what human life is all about.  In this last post on secular humanism, let’s continue where the last post left off.

In the last segment, we examined secular humanist considerations of important concepts revolving around the human condition.  Such topics are:

 

1)    Existence

2)    Self Responsibility

3)    Reality

4)    Concept of Self

5)    Societal Responsibility

 

This brings us to the wrap-up on secular humanism before we move on to another worldview overview.  We have examined several things in this overview:

 

  • A brief history of secular humanism.
  • The values, morals, and ethics of this worldview.
  • Secular humanism’s human existence theories.
  • Humanity’s purpose.
  • The value of human life.

 

If you wish to review all the posts on secular humanism, they are available in the categories list under secular humanism in the right-hand side bar.  If you wish excellent references for further study on secular humanism, please ask in the comments for this post.

Please comment on the question below to stimulate conversation.  See why this is important here.

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  DOES YOUR WORLDVIEW ALIGN WITH SECULAR HUMANISM?  If NOT, WHAT DO YOU DISAGREE WITH IN TERMS OF SECULAR HUMANISM?

Hello and welcome back!

I’ve thought a lot about how I should present the next two segments in blog post format.  I decided to be as brief as possible without brushing over the proclaimed values of secular humanism.  It’s very important that I relate to you the lens of the worldview through which those who choose secularity over theism currently view the world.

Let’s both take another peek through this lens together, shall we?  That way, we will be ready to compare other worldviews that clash with secular humanism more accurately.

Ok, let’s get to it!

Our perusal of the world of the secular humanist is important.  Being a post-modern lens, from which to view mankind’s world, this secular philosophy has been around for centuries.  Having been entertained by philosophers who refused to believe in the supernatural, it has only become popular as a worldview paradigm since the mid-19th century.

The effect of this worldview expanded from Darwin’s evolution then rapidly into the dominant worldview in the West that we see today.  You might wish to review the historical information of secular humanism from the first post.  Hey, it can’t hurt, can it! 🙂

This final overview on secular humanism only reflects, in the most general manner, what will be detailed in the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  The following wrap-up will be in two parts to contain the length of this blog post.

This overview will summarize several values — categorically — through the lens of secular, humanist thinking.  The understanding of humanist values can be used by you to compare this philosophy against other the other worldviews that we will investigate next.

The following areas, that constitute a humanist worldview, are compact rather than comprehensive but they will provide all the information necessary for a clear understanding of secular humanism for our purposes in this blog post.  The book will delve deeper and provide more emphasis on each of the following secular, humanistic attitudes towards life (For further reading on this worldview, please ask for references in the comments section below).

“They believe that truth and morality change with the times rather than being established forever by God as an ultimate guide to understanding what is acceptable to Him and best for mankind.”

Mankind’s Existence

Humanists view the world as strictly material.  The denial of God and the supernatural is like a thread that weaves throughout their worldview about the world and the known universe.  Humanists declare that the evidence against the reality of Almighty God’s existence and His creating everything in existence is mostly conclusive.

Humanists non only declare that the evidence for evolution is greater than that for God but also that Darwinism explains truth of mankind’s existence and God is, at best, a myth. Their subjective worldview of truth is subject to change with each new discovery or their individual acceptance by their own admission.  In response to the argument that God is the creator of everything and the source of all existence, the humanist will argue, “If God is the creator of all that we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste — then who created God?”

There is no room in their paradigm to believe that an eternal creator exists outside of time or that He created all and therefore is eternal — where the meaning of eternal is having no beginning and having no end.  They deny the existence of a totally self-sufficient, all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful Creator.

Humanistic Responsibility

Again, there is no belief of anything beyond mankind to provide a pattern for responsibility vs. irresponsibility.  This can also be transcribed as order vs. chaos.  Looking at the world from this lens indicates a belief that, “I am responsible for my own life and to live as I see fit.”

In other words, there is no creator who set everything into motion and provided the guidelines that are outside of the secular humanist.  There are no objective laws given by a perfect Creator that should govern our thoughts and behaviors and that will provide the best possible life for those who follow them.

Humanists believe that they have a responsibility towards the rest of the world.  Since they believe that they are the height of evolution, it is they who must take the reins and control the order in the world because they are the highest order and all there is.  There is no God, no fate, and no divine providence.  All responsibility is in mankind’s hands.

Changing realities

The humanistic paradigm revolves around a certain belief that nothing is certain.  This means that all truth is relevant and changing with each new scientific and societal discovery.  This, in effect, is stating that there is no objective truth because what is subjectively believed now — will change at a later time.

Humanists consider science and the material universe all that there is and that they are open to the never-ending, changing truth of discovery — not relying on a fictional and stagnated, ancient book written by simple people trying to make sense of what they did not understand.  They believe that science and morality is in constant flux; therefore, they are always changing what is true and what is considered moral reality.

They believe that truth and morality change with the times rather than being established forever by God as an ultimate guide to understanding what is acceptable to Him and best for mankind.

Self-Centered vs. Others-Centered

The humanist declares that he alone is in control of his life and does not rely on God for anything nor expects any divine help or eternal life.  They rely upon themselves, other humans of authority, and science.  They, not God, decide on what is right and what is wrong for them.  In other words, by looking out for their own interests, they put self first.  Self-will rather than God’s will best describe the lens of the secular humanist.

Societal Responsibility

The secular humanist holds to the belief that they, not God, are to be sovereign over the world and in authority for the rules of morality that govern society.  They expand on their self-proclaimed sovereignty by stating that they will not hold with intolerant, prejudicial moral values of a non-existent God like the theists do.  They denounce God as non-existent but reserve the right to change their minds about that at a later date because truth changes with the whims of society.

That wraps up this first of two, final segments on secular humanism.  Did you enjoy it?  I have tried to present this segment without bias but openly admit that I hold the personal worldview of Christianity and my lens is from biblical conservatism.  A response, relating to the question asked in the title of this post, is left to you, the reader.

Please comment on the question below as this will greatly help me in the structure of the book! [See Why]

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION: DOES SECULAR HUMANISM APPEAR TO ANSWER MANKIND’S QUESTIONS CONSISTENTLY FOR YOU?

Hello and welcome back!

I’ve thought a lot about how I should present this last segment in blog post format.  I decided to be as brief as possible without brushing over the proclaimed values of secular humanism.  It’s very important that I relate to you an accurate lens into the worldview that those who choose secularity over theism currently view the world through.

Let’s both take another peek through this lens together.  That way, we will be ready to compare other worldviews with secular humanism more accurately.

Our perusal of the world of the secular humanist is important.  Being a post-modern lens from which to view mankind’s world, this secular philosophy has been around for centuries.  Having been entertained by philosophers who refused to believe in the supernatural, it has only become popular as a worldview lens since the mid-19th century.

The effect of this worldview expanded rapidly from Darwin’s evolution into the dominant worldview in the West today.  See a more complete history of secular humanism here.

This final overview on secular humanism only reflects, in the most general manner, what will be detailed in the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  The following wrap-up will be in two parts to contain the length of the blog post.

This overview will summarize several values — categorically — through the lens of secular, humanist thinking.  This understanding of humanist values can be used by you to compare this philosophy against other worldviews that we will investigate next.

The following areas, that constitute a humanist worldview, are compact but provide all the information necessary for a clear understanding of secular humanism for our purposes in this blog post.  The book will delve deeper and provide more emphasis on each of the following secular, humanistic attitudes towards life (For further reading on this worldview, please ask in the comments section below).

Mankind’s Existence

Humanists view the world as strictly material.  The denial of God is like a thread that weaves throughout their worldview about the world and the known universe.  Humanists declare that the evidence against the reality of Almighty God’s existence and His creating everything in existence is most conclusive.

Humanists also declare that the evidence for evolution is greater than that for God and that Darwin explains truth of mankind’s existence and God is a myth. Their worldview of truth is subject to change with each new discovery by their own admission.  In response to the argument that God is the creator of everything and the source of all existence, the humanist will argue, “If God is the creator of all that we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste — then who created God?”

There is no room in their paradigm to believe that a creator exists outside of time that He created and therefore is eternal, where the meaning of eternal is having no beginning and having no end, totally self-sufficient, all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful.

 

“They expand on their self-proclaimed sovereignty by stating that they will not hold with intolerant, prejudicial moral values of a non-existent God like the theists do.”

 

Humanistic Responsibility

Again, there is no belief of anything beyond mankind to provide a pattern for responsibility vs. irresponsibility which can be transcribed as order vs. chaos.  Looking at the world from this lens indicates a belief that, “I am responsible for my own life and to live as I see fit.”  In other words, there is no creator who set everything into motion and provided the guidelines that are outside of the secular humanist.  There are no objective laws given by a perfect Creator that should govern our thoughts and behaviors and that will provide the best possible life for those who follow them.

Humanists believe that they have a responsibility towards the rest of the world.  Since they are the height of evolution, they must take the reins and control the order in the world because mankind is all there is.  There is no God, fate, or luck.  All responsibility is in mankind’s hands.

Changing realities

This humanistic paradigm revolves around a certain belief that nothing is certain.  This means that all truth is relevant and changing with each new scientific and societal discovery.  This, in effect, is stating that there is no objective truth because what is subjectively believed now — will change at a later time.

Humanists consider science and the material universe all that there is and that they are open to the never-ending, changing truth — not relying on a fictional and stagnated, ancient book written by simple people trying to make sense of what they did not understand.  They believe that science and morality is in constant flux; therefore, they are always changing what is true and what is considered moral reality.

Truth and morality change with the times rather than being established forever by God as an ultimate guide to understanding what is acceptable to Him and best for humankind.

Self-Centered vs. Others-Centered

The humanist declares that he alone is in control of his life and does not rely on God for anything nor expects any divine help or reward.  They rely upon themselves, other humans of authority, and science.  They, not God, decide on what is right and what is wrong for them.  In other words, by looking out for their own interests, they put self first.  Self-will rather than Gods will best describe the lens of the secular humanist.

Societal Responsibility
The secular humanist holds to the belief that they, not God, are to be sovereign over the world and in authority for the rules of morality that govern society.  They expand on their self-proclaimed sovereignty by stating that they will not hold with intolerant, prejudicial moral values of a non-existent God like the theists do.  Humanists denounce God as non-existent but reserve the right to change their minds about that at a later date because truth changes with the whims of society.

That wraps up this first of two, final segments on secular humanism.  I have tried to present this segment without bias but openly admit that I hold the personal worldview of Christianity and my lens is from biblical conservatism.  A response, relating to the question asked in the title of this post, is left to you, the reader.

Until next time!

Zach

PS: Please comment on the question below in the comments as this helps me to structure the finished book! 🙂

QUESTION: DOES SECULAR HUMANISM APPEAR TO ANSWER MANKIND’S QUESTIONS CONSISTENTLY FOR YOU?

Is Secular Humanism Truth?

Zach —  March 14, 2013 — Leave a comment

Hello!

I apologize to you — my reader — for being so late with a new post on secular humanism. The excuse would be that I have been quite busy this past two weeks finishing the first 8 week sub-semester in a graduate class for professional counseling, ministering with my congregation, and working on sermon materials. Of course, this would be a true and accurate explanation to the lack of posts, however, behind this very true and accurate explanation lies the sinister, hidden truth called, “Mr. Procrastination” who lurks within us all.

Mr. Procrastination appears when we fool ourselves about our time limits. I took an accurate snapshot of where I have spent my time for the past two weeks. The honest truth is that I procrastinated by not managing my time. It has no logical basis because I love writing and I love the reasons that I am writing this blog. Mr. Procrastination does not care one way or another about what I love or do not love. His only concern is procrastination and he can cause us to do it so well.

If this admission has served to motivate even one person to self-examine their reasons for putting off the important, I will be happy. Please accept my humble apology and I will strive not to let Mr. Procrastination to catch up with me again and I will attempt to follow Mr. Responsibility’s example in future!

In case you have not read the first article revolving around secular humanism, please click here if you are interested in reading it NOW to understand the background for this new post. Please understand that these blog posts only represent an overview of the subject matter and each blog post must have a beginning, middle, and an end. This breaks the subject matter up over many weeks, unlike a book that is very linear and broken up into headings, subheadings, and chapters. Being who I am, I will also present blog posts that are not related to the content for the book from time to time. I promise not to veer away from the subject matter for very long, however!

This will be our second blog post on secular humanism. The book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose, will provide a linear focus about the subject matter while also providing excellent references for further study and research at the end of each chapter for those interested in delving deeper. Let’s continue where the first article, How Secular Humanism Was Born left off.

“The point I am making here is that there is a never ending parade of theories cascading throughout modern history with no end in sight.”

In the first article mentioned above, I provided a link to, The Humanist Manifesto of 1933, which is the belief system that is prevalent on the majority of college and university campuses today. It is making inroads into many Christian colleges and universities as I write this. You can read the last humanist manifesto of 2000 here. Under the banner of liberalism, secular humanism is the underlying worldview being taught in the public school system in Western countries today.

Secular humanism was spawned in the pool of evolutional theory. I would like to introduce a quote from the journal, Scientific American:

“George Wald, another prominent Evolutionist (a Harvard University biochemist and Nobel Laureate), wrote, ‘When it comes to the Origin of Life there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved one hundred years ago, but that leads us to only one other conclusion, that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds; therefore, we choose to believe the impossible: that life arose spontaneously by chance!’” (“The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191:48, May 1954).

There is a new theory being introduced called, The Black Queen Hypothesis that suggests evolution pushes microorganisms to lose essential functions. This occurs when another species begins to perform these functions. This is counter to popular scientific thinking that living organisms evolve by adding genes instead of discarding them. If interested, here is an article explaining this theory.

The point I am making here is that there is a never ending parade of theories cascading throughout modern history with no end in sight. One theory is popularly accepted only to be replaced by another popularly accepted humanist theory that revolves around humanistic evolution: nothing proven — just speculation until the next theory comes along. A theory is just that, speculation. Is a worldview that is constantly changing its core belief one that provides security for its proponents? Faith can only come from the belief that something is true. If it ever changes, what you believed in is not true.

This is neither proof for or against evolution. This is just being provided here as a heads up to consider the options. All that glitters is not gold. Paul Kurtz wrote in the Council for Secular Humanism on March 14, 2013, and I quote:

“The evolution of the human species by means of natural selection has been an especially tortuous process; for other Homo species have become extinct—Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalis. Only Homo sapiens has endured in spite of hazardous adversities. That our species has managed to survive thus far is due to luck and human pluck.”

He goes on to say:

“The meaning of life is intimately tied up with our plans and projects, the goals we set for ourselves, our dreams, and the successful achievement of them. We create our own conscious meanings; we invest the cultural and natural worlds with our own interpretations. We discover, impose upon, and add to nature.”

If this hypothesis is correct, it is a selfish one and appears void of any hope and purpose for what is the purpose of striving forward into oblivion in a world void of all hope.

In the next post on secular humanism, we will examine what this worldview provides for those who subscribe to it.

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION: DOES SECULAR HUMANISM PROVIDE A SATISFACTORY ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE?

 

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?