Does Humanism and Christianity share any common beliefs?
One of our speakers was Dr. Ron Rhodes, the president of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. He's a prolific author of more than 50 books. He holds a doctorate in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and he specializes in the field of Apologetics. He also serves as an adjunct professor at several seminaries. Dr. Rhodes' topic at our conference was "The Challenge of Humanism and Atheism" (watch).
Humanism's Belief For Humanity
In Humanism there is no divine purpose for humanity.
Listen to these words from the Humanist Manifesto II: "We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us. We must save ourselves. We are all alone in this great big universe. No ultimate purpose whatsoever."
In keeping with this, Paul Kurtz who is a very famous Humanist who wrote a book called Forbidden Fruit, the Ethics of Humanism put it this way. Notice the derogatory terms that he uses to describe the Christian belief. "The Theist world is only a dream world. It is a feeble escape into a future that will never come." He goes on, "Promises of a mortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful. They distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way our lives have influenced others in our culture."
Notice how this concern about eternal damnation is said to interfere with self-actualization. I almost find it comical. A judge before whom we must appear in the afterlife to give an account for our actions, yes, that might interfere a little bit with your present, sinful lifestyle. That's really what he's saying. It's all about relativistic ethics.
Humanism's Source for Moral Values
In terms of ethics, Humanists affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics are autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction.
When I was over in London I rode a lot of those double-decker buses, and on one of those buses there was a sign that read, "There is probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life." The timing was kind of interesting because I was over in London when bombs went off there resulting in one of those buses getting blown to smithereens. I don't know if that billboard was on that particular bus, but it makes me wonder.
The bottom line is that Christianity and Humanism are diametrically different from each other. In terms of source of moral values, Christianity is based on the Bible, whereas in Secular Humanism it's based really upon Humanist Manifesto I, II, and III.
Christianity vs. Humanism
Theology — Christianity teaches theism which is the idea of a personal Creator God. Whereas, Secular Humanism believes in Atheism.
Philosophy — Christianity holds to supernaturalism which is the idea that there is a supernatural God who can do miracles and intervene in a miraculous way in our lives. Whereas, Secular Humanism believes in naturalism which is the idea that nature accounts for everything in our universe.
Ethics — Christianity believes in moral absolutes. In other words, ethics that are true for all people and in all ages. Whereas, in terms of Secular Humanism, they believe in moral relativism. Humanistic ethics basically says you can have your own ethics and I can have mine. What works for you is fine. What works for me is fine. We are a law unto ourselves is basically their system of thought.
Biology — Christianity teaches Creationism. Whereas, in Secular Humanism we find Evolution.
Truth — In Christianity the modus operandi is faith and reason. Yes, we have faith in the Bible, but God gave us reason to read it. "Come let us reason," God says. Whereas, in Secular Humanism they say that they are only interested in human rationalization.
By the way, does human rationalization alone produce a Humanist's view of truth? I don't think so. In fact, I think that Evolution and Naturalization involves a whole lot more faith. That's why one of my good friends Norman Geisler wrote a book called I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist. So, whether they want to admit it or not, Humanists do have a faith system. There's a whole lot more evidence that supports the Christian viewpoint than their viewpoint. Our faith has evidence to support it, but their faith does not.
Education — Christianity is value based, whereas Secular Humanism is valueless.
In the last part on this series with Dr. Rhodes concerning the challenge of Humanism, we'll look at its origins and then how Humanism fits into end time Bible prophecy.