Archives For worldview

Hello and welcome back!

I’m excited to continue our journey of investigating the worldview of Christian humanism as we continue looking at the different worldviews that currently shape the thinking of our world today here in the 21st century!

Last post, we began an overview of Christian humanism.  If you have just joined us, I thank you for your interest.  We are all working together in looking at the different worldviews that shape the world of the 21st century.

You may wish to read the previous posts relating to this book blog of my book – 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose. 

The purpose of this site is to blog the book before it is published by introducing the content from the book as blog posts.  To see what part you can play in the completion of this project, please click – Blog: Take a Look!

Of course, the description of Christian humanism has changed over time as humanist worldviews tend to do.

You can find all related posts in the sequence that has been written in the right-hand side bar.  I’m glad you have joined us and I look forward to your participation in this project.

Let’s move forward, and complete our overview on Christian humanism.

I am amazed at the confusion of the literature available concerning this worldview.  In the last post, a brief history was presented which gives the reader information of the historical beginnings of Christian humanism.

(Read Here)

Of course, the description of Christian humanism has changed over time as humanist worldviews tend to do.  Let’s wrap up this topic overview by discovering how it shapes Christian thinking today for those who subscribe to its tenets.

I’m glad that you are with me on this journey!

The following is an excerpt from The Christian Humanist website:

Once we get beyond the mythological language, it is clear that the disciples had a life-transforming experience that resulted in a re-ordering of their priorities toward a new way of thinking about what was seriously important in their lives and led to their commitment to carry on with Jesus’ teachings.

They interpreted this life-transforming experience to mean that the spirit of Jesus did not die with him but was alive in them, challenging them to continue what he had started.  For his early followers it was a life-transforming awareness that the spirit of Jesus was alive in them. They understood this to mean two things: they were to model their lives after his life and they were to carry on his teaching about the kingdom of god and what that implied for the people of the region.

Another excerpt from the above site provides their view of Christianity:

At its core, being a Christian today means exactly the same thing for us as it meant to his first disciples: consciously choosing to be an advocate of Jesus and his teachings. It involves what the medieval theologian Thomas A Kempis called Imitatio Christi, the imitation of Christ. It means to live as Jesus lived and to teach as he taught, to honor truth and show compassion, to stand with the victims of this world against their oppressors, to stand with the weak and the powerless against the abusers and the comfortably powerful, and to maintain one’s integrity no matter the cost. In short being a follower of Jesus meant then and now to be faithful to the spirit of Jesus and his teachings. That is both the meaning and the cost of Christian discipleship.

The bottom line, as will be seen in this last excerpt from The Christian Humanist will provide the reader an overview of the direction Christian humanism is taking since the 3rd century and throughout the centuries up to now:

It is a de-mythologized Christianity, a version without the necessity for god and freed from the theological and mystical baggage of the centuries preceding us, a Christianity that challenges us regardless of our view of god to model our lives after that of Jesus. Being a Christian is not any more complicated than that, but it is at least that.

If you desire to investigate the site above, here is the link: The Christian Humanist.

To be sure, there are other, modified premises of the above (considered unorthodox theology) in many, current Christian humanism versions; however, what they all have in common is this: A Christian does not need to have supernatural beliefs or events in order to be a follower of Jesus Christ of the Christian Bible.  Although some Christian humanists project a version of Orthodox Christianity, humanism eventually leads to secular humanistic beliefs and the true teachings of Christ lead to Deity.

The end result of Christian humanism in the church appears to lead into humanistic thinking and secular humanism over time as we see on The Christian Humanist site.

That wraps up our brief overview of Christian humanism.

Let me say it again.

REMINDER: This is a blog post and does not reflect the depth that will be considered on the mainstream 21st century worldviews that will be found in the published book.  The book will also offer excellent references at the end of each chapter for those interested in further information.

These blog posts are presented for you to reflect upon and to comment on as described in the blog post that describes this blog and your opportunity for involvement.  You can read about it how you can be involved in the Blog: Take a Look!

Thank you for joining me in this consideration of the worldview of Christian humanism in the 21st century!  That’s a wrap!

Next Post, we will consider the worldview of Cosmic Humanism (New Age Movement).

Until next time!

Zach

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Can Christianity be considered true Christianity without the deity of God and Jesus being the foundational reality?

Hello and welcome back!

Now that we’ve finished the secular humanism overview, let’s turn our attention towards another worldview that is prominent today.  This worldview is the 21st century version of Christian humanism.  As we discover the background of many of these different 21st century worldviews, I want to inform you that many of them will possibly unsettle you.

The concept of worldview — or how we view the world around us — allows us to have a window into the thinking and beliefs of others.  Without this basic understanding of what others are about is the basis of unfruitful argumentation and is the foundation of misunderstanding which is never fruitful.  Therefore, our investigation into the different mainline worldviews provides the opportunity to understand what others believe regardless of whether we see eye to eye with their beliefs or not.

History of Christian Humanism

The history of Christian humanism is almost as old as Christianity.  In fact, the second century church father, Justin Martyr, is credited by some to be the father of Christian humanism based on his use of classical (Greek secular knowledge) teachings into teaching non-Christians of the day about Christianity.

Christian humanism has continued from these beginnings throughout history.  In the 12th century, Peter Abelard, a French scholastic philosopher, brought logic to theology that was touted as correcting contradictions of the early church fathers.

This thinking was instrumental in bringing a new theological discipline of combining philosophy with Christianity which was heavily disputed by the 12th century church.

Thomas Aquinas was able to make a case for Aristotelian philosophy being utilized in forming Christian theology.  Throughout the renaissance, the reformation, and up to the Enlightenment—Christianity and classical philosophy influenced one another.

The United States Constitution is said to be an influence of Christian humanism brought about by John Locke, an English philosopher who expressed the idea of God-given rights above any government authority.

The above historical overview is a mere skimming of the complexity of the subject of Christian humanism but provides a snapshot of how classical Greek philosophy and Christian thought developed together from the 2nd century to the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment was the beginning of the split between traditional Christianity and Christian humanism.  Christian humanism is credited with the Biblical criticisms and the liberalism that is now rampant in Christianity today.

Next post, we will complete our investigation into Christian humanism in the 21st century and move on to the next worldview.

My book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose will expand on the history as well as provide excellent references for further study and investigation of the many worldviews presented within its pages.

If you are interested in further research into Christian humanism before the book is available, please make a request in the comments section below for this blog post.

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  What are your thoughts about Christian 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?

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?

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?

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?