Perhaps the term “secular humanism” is new to you. Perhaps it is not new to you, but you are not quite sure what the term means. If so, you are not alone. There are many like the folk in Dr. Bennell’s small town. (See the previous blog.) Those people did not understand what lurked among them until it was too late. Today, there are millions who seem unaware of what is lurking in their offices, schools, churches, and even in their livings rooms via the television.
While whole books could be written, and have been written, about secular humanism, that is not the purpose of this book. Instead, let me give you a quick synopsis of this worldview and then finish with how this movement is snatching up our children, teens, friends, and loved ones at alarming rates.
My prayer is that doing so will help us wake up and sleep no longer. As 1 Thessalonians 5:6 says, be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be sober.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines “secular humanism” as: “an outlook or philosophy that advocates human rather than religious values.”
In 1980, the Counsel for Secular Humanism created a declaration that included ten principals. They include: Free inquiry as opposed to censorship and imposition of belief; separation of church and state; the ideal of freedom from religious control and from jingoistic government control; ethics based on critical intelligence rather than that deduced from religious belief; moral education; religious skepticism; reason; a belief in science and technology as the best way of understanding the world; evolution; and education as the essential method of building humane, free, and democratic societies.
In simple form, we can break down these ten statements and say that secular humanism is an outlook, or worldview, that fundamentally effects your beliefs, your decisions, and your actions in five major areas. Those five areas are God, Man, Truth, Knowledge, and Ethics. A secular humanist’s view of these five major areas, by the way, is the exact opposite of the biblical worldview.
Over the past thirty years, since the Counsel for Secular Humanism made their declaration, millions of minds have been invaded. This invasion has been silent, but the damage is evident. As this worldview begins to invade, it slowly erodes key Biblical truths held in our hearts and minds. As God’s standards erode within us, we no longer process information through a biblical filter. Our beliefs, decisions, and actions begin to fundamentally change. We become what God did not intend.
It does not happen overnight. It happens slowly, one mixed message at a time. In stages hardly noticeable, we transform. In the end, our beliefs, decisions, and actions no longer reflect our Creator. Instead, they reflect the culture. Once that happens, there is no perceived difference between the church and the culture. When the lost look at the church, they see themselves and not Christ.
How does this play out over time? Let’s look at each of the five major areas and see.
Secular humanists would argue that there is no God, at least not as Christians would define Him. They might allow for an “entity” that exists in the cosmos, but this nebulous entity has no direct or personal role in our lives or in world affairs. It is simply a “higher power” that should have no bearing on our thoughts, on our decisions, or on how we live our lives. To tell secular humanists that God is real, personal, and active in the world and in your life would be an affront to their scientific sensibilities.
This, of course, is in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that God is our Creator. He made the world, us, and everything else. Scripture further tells us of His revealing work, His incarnation to redeem a fallen people, and His immanent return to judge the world. Yes, God is active in our lives and intensely interested in His creation.
Without a belief in an infinitely loving Creator God, you have little choice but to believe that we walk this earth today as the result of chance and evolution. In essence, you are just a random collection of atoms, molecules, and cells that happened together through blind chance over the course of millions, perhaps billions, of years. As the noted secular humanist, Richard Dawkins writes, “We are survival machines—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes” (emphasis mine).
Secular humanists, at their core, believe that all of humanity is here as a result of pure evolutionary chance. The only difference between our pets and us is simply a fortunate throw of the “molecular dice.” This worldview, however, goes far beyond just the Creation vs. Evolution debate.
Remember, worldviews will shape our beliefs, our decisions, and our actions. A biblical worldview tells us that man was formed by God as the pinnacle of His creation. God created us in His image with the ability to love and to know as no other creature in the universe. We were created with these abilities because God wants us to love and know Him. He didn’t create us out of a need for us. He created us out of an immeasurable desire to share His incredible love and fulfilling life with us.
When sin separated us from that love and that life, God showed the amazing depth of His compassion and mercy. He did the unthinkable and became flesh and blood because only as flesh and blood could He die for the very sin that separated us from Him.
Hebrews 2:14 says, Because God's children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.
A biblical worldview of man tells us that we are not just some random collection of atoms, molecules, and cells brought together by sheer happenstance. No, we have infinite worth. We were created as God’s workmanship. We are wonderfully complex and loved creations made for a special purpose by an intensely personal God. The Lord planned for us before we were born. He molded us and formed us in the womb. He desires to guide us and lead us into His good, pleasing, and perfect plan throughout our lives, and then usher us into eternity with Him in heaven.
Our worldview about God and man will effect far more than our stance on Creation vs. Evolution. It will fundamentally effect our view of euthanasia, abortion, murder, treatment of others, and life in general.
When a society dismisses God and His purposeful creation of man from the equation, it is only a matter of time before truth falls as well. Without God, His Word, and His plan for mankind at the center, all objectivity is lost. Truth becomes relative and subjective. Soon we start to hear things like, “Well, that might be true for you, but it’s not true for me.” The values that we once held as basic and fundamental fall into a vague morass. Objective truth becomes situational and few think twice about it.
A survey by the Barna Group found that 83% of all teens believe that truth is relative. Further, only a shockingly low 9% of professed born-again teens stated that they believed in absolute truth. Note that these are Christian teens that doubt absolute truth! Growing up in the midst of this invasion, teens today are being “snatched” in staggering numbers.
As we will see in upcoming blogs, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and college campuses have been targets of the invasion for years, and the seeds of their work are beginning to bear fruit across a generation.
It is not just the teens though. The same survey found that 64% of adults agreed with the statement: “Truth is always relative to the person and their situation.” Only 32% of born-again Christian adults stated they believed in absolute truth. When asked on what they based their decisions, the most common answer among adults and teens was “doing whatever feels right or comfortable in a situation.”
The Bible has over 200 references to truth. Truth is real. Absolute truth is real. If you believe in Jesus, you must also believe in truth. For Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Truth truly exists, and it does so as unchanging, immovable, inviolable fact.
Once truth becomes relative, it is a short trip to ethics--which we’ll define here as our view of “right vs. wrong”--becoming relative as well. If truth is no longer based on absolute, objective fact, then right and wrong will not be based on that either.
In their declaration, secular humanists state that ethics should be based on “individual, social, and political principals.” Therefore, what is ethical in China might not be ethical in Bosnia. What was right for the Germans in 1942 may not be what is right for Americans today. Or scarier still, what is right for me today may not be right for me tomorrow.
Secular humanists base their code of ethics on their time, their culture, and their experience. It is not based on anything objective, nor is it based on anything that transcends time, race, culture, or creed. The Bible, however, sees ethics from a completely different view. Right and wrong cannot subjectively be determined by us, rather they are objectively judged by God.
Lying was wrong in Moses’ day, and it is wrong today. Loving your enemy was right in Jesus’ day, and it is right today. Right and wrong do not change with eras, cultures, elections, etc. As you read through the historical books of the Old Testament, Joshua through Esther, you get an overview of roughly 1000 years of history for the Israelites. During this read, you will repeatedly encounter verses like, Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
Ahaz did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God.
These kings spanned generations, yet each was judged by what was considered right or wrong according to God. One of the saddest books in the Bible is the book of Judges. It starts with the death of Joshua, the man who succeeded Moses and led the once enslaved Israelites into the freedom of the Promised Land.
At the beginning of Judges, the Israelites are following God. However, it doesn’t take long for things to start sliding. As the book of Judges moves forward, the Israelites move farther and farther from God in what some theologians refer to as a “spiral of defeat.”
By the time you get to the end of Judges, you come across a shocking tale of a group of Israelites massacring one of their own tribes, then trying to repopulate it by killing all the males of a neighboring town and stealing the town’s virgins. When that town does not have enough virgins to satisfy, they tell the remaining single men to sit in the fields outside another town, called Shiloh, and steal any women who come out to dance during an annual festival.
What you will not find during your read through this troubling story is anyone standing up to say, “Whoa! I don’t know about this. This can’t be right.”
Everyone simply goes along. The book of Judges then ends with this unsettling verse, All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Is it any different today?
A secular humanist will tell you that all knowledge is derived from human reasoning and scientific discovery. The Bible, however, declares that all knowledge flows from God and His revelation. This does not mean, despite the claims of many secular humanists, that Christians are anti-reason or anti-science. It simply means that when all is said and done, our pursuit of knowledge starts with God, is guided by God, and ends with God.
The truth is that many of the greatest scientific discoveries of the last one thousand years have been made by Christians who were seeking to understand God and His creation more intimately. Isaac Newtown and gravity, Nicholas Copernicus and heliocentricity, Galileo and the motion of heavenly bodies, Roger Bacon and the scientific method, William Turner and botany, Johannes Kepler and planetary motion, Blaise Pascal and physics, Priestley’s discovery of oxygen, Mendel and genetics, Pasteur and vaccinations, as well as Kelvin and thermodynamics just to name a scant few.
It was the belief that these men had in an intelligent, orderly Creator that led them to seek to understand that order. It further led them to create orderly ways and methods to more deeply understand God’s amazing work.
As Proverbs 1:7 says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
That word “fear” does not equate to a child hiding under his bed because he hears the drunken footsteps of his abusive father. That word “fear” refers to the reverent awe we should hold for God. It was that reverent awe for God and His creation that has led to some of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. Yet, with all of this, secular humanists still think Christians are anti-science!
The irony of it all is this: The secular humanist’s belief in evolution--a belief that the universe, our world, and humanity are all here by random chance--actually flies in the face of science and knowledge. Christian author and speaker Voddie Baucham writes, “If the world has no purpose or design, what good is science? If there are no absolutes, how can we rely on scientific discoveries?”
Secular humanists accuse Christians of shutting off their brains and following the Bible like witless sheep, while they fearlessly pursue knowledge through science and reason. Yet, Christians have been at the forefront of scientific discoveries for over one thousand years! This very day, there are thousands of Christian scientists explaining the truth of creation, the universe, and humanity using God’s revelation as their foundation.
The secular humanist invasion is all around us. Their landing crafts have beached on our shores; their paratroopers have dropped in behind our lines; their foot soldiers have infiltrated our towns, our schools, our office buildings, our courtrooms, our government structures, and even our churches.
While we sleep, they are snatching our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our relatives, and our children. While we sleep, they are expelling God and truth from our society. While we sleep, they are crumbling the foundations of right and wrong and raising reason over revelation.
What is the result? Stay tuned for the next blog