There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
What is the impact of Humanism on the Christian or Jew?What are Humanists, how do they define themselves and what do they claim?
Humanism encompasses atheists and agnostics, but prefers not to be defined by negative beliefs but by the belief that people can and will continue to solve problems, and that quality of life can be improved and made more equitable. Humanists aim to build a truly human society in which the human being, with his needs and aspirations, is central; a society in which human rights are completely realized: the right to health, instruction, freedom, spirituality, search for the meaning of life, and an existence with dignity. They affirm that we must take responsibility for our own lives and the communities and world in which we live. Secular humanism emphasizes reason and scientific inquiry, individual freedom and responsibility, human values and compassion, and the need for tolerance and cooperation and rejection of supernatural and authoritarian beliefs.
There are various strands to Humanism.
Cultural Humanism is the rational and empirical tradition that originated largely in ancient Greece and Rome, evolved throughout European history, and now constitutes a basic part of the Western approach to science, political theory, ethics, and law.
Renaissance Humanism is the spirit of learning that developed at the end of the Middle Ages with a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood.
Philosophical Humanism is any outlook or way of life centered on human need and interest.
Christian Humanism is defined "a philosophy advocating the self- fulfilment of man within the framework of Christian principles." This more human-oriented faith is largely a product of the Renaissance.
Modern Humanism, also called Naturalistic Humanism, Scientific Humanism, Ethical Humanism and Democratic Humanism is defined, as "a naturalistic philosophy that rejects all supernaturalism and relies primarily upon reason and science, democracy and human compassion."
Secular Humanism is an outgrowth of 18th century enlightenment rationalism and 19th century free-thought.
Religious Humanism emerged out of Ethical Culture, Unitarianism, and Universalism. Religious Humanists define Religion as that which serves the personal and social needs of a group of people sharing the same philosophical world view. Human beings have personal and social needs that can only be met by religion, but doctrine is never allowed to subvert the higher purpose of meeting human needs.
Humanism had its roots in Greek thinking, particularly in scepticism. While all great religions had individuals who claimed to know the absolute truth, Socrates claimed to know NOTHING. Socrates devised a method of questioning the rules of others, of cross- examination. The Secular Humanist tradition is a tradition of defiance. The best example being the character Prometheus, who defied Zeus and stole the fire of the gods and brought it down to earth
Humanist thought found particular expression during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and in the scientific, social and political revolutions of the modern age.
The humanists believed that the Greek and Latin classics contained both all the lessons one needed to lead a moral and effective life. Both the republican elites of Florence and Venice and the ruling families of Milan, Ferrara, and Urbino hired humanists to teach their children classical morality and to write elegant, classical letters, histories, and propaganda. The humanists also convinced most of the popes that the papacy needed their skills. Sophisticated classical scholars were hired to write official correspondence and propaganda; to create an image of the popes as powerful, enlightened, modern rulers of the Church; and to apply their scholarly tools to the church's needs. In the later sixteenth century, as the church faced the radical challenge of Protestantism, some Roman scholars used the methods of humanist scholarship to defend the Church against Protestant attacks.
The French Revolution, with its cry of, “Liberte, Equalite, Fraternite” was a reaction against the three Estates structure of society under which 1 the Clergy and 2 the Nobility oppressed 3 the 25 million common people. It was Age of Enlightenment philosophy that taught the Frenchman to find his condition wretched, unjust and illogical and to believe he could initiate a future with humanist values, which would be the dawn of a New Jerusalem on Earth rather than a future City of God.
In modern times, Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses gave the Secular Humanist world view, a secular, humanist vision of the birth of a great world religion. His book says, “there is an old, old conflict between the secular view of the world and the religious view of the world,. . . . I distrust people who claim to know the whole truth and who seek to orchestrate the world in line with that one true truth. I think that's a very dangerous position in the world. It needs to be challenged. It needs to be challenged constantly in all sorts of ways, and that's what I tried to do.”
Participatory democracy in government, the workplace and education, civil liberties, human rights, women’s rights, battles against the AIDS epidemic, protection of the environment, advocacy of literary freedom and sex education. The United Nations is cited as a specific example of Humanism at work
Humanism's rejection of the notions of sin and guilt, especially in relation to sexual ethics, puts it in harmony with contemporary sexology.
Humanism is solely concerned with meeting human needs and regard human values as making sense only in the context of human life rather than in the promise of a supposed life after death.
Humanism has permeated European, and thus Western thought and even Church thought. Many values held by society, including Christians, belongs to Humanism rather than the Bible. You will have noticed the number of good things Humanism claims to have achieved – Christianity gets no credit at all. Indeed Humanism claims to have liberated man. There is considerable justification for this claim if one looks at the history of the Church when it was in league with emperors and kings in the pursuit of power and wealth and the subjugation of common man. Tolerance is all important, and holding that there is one truth, which implies that other people’s beliefs are false or wrong is not acceptable. It is regarded as bigotry – we are regarded as bigots. This negative view of Christians is reinforced by the conflict between our Bible and the Humanist rejection of responsibility towards any god, the notion of sin and guilt and the emphasis on personal human needs.
Humanists are not evil people, as can be seen from their stated aims, but they are working from a different starting point from the Christian. Remember; the Anti-Christ is not the enemy of Christ but the substitute Christ. (Anti in the Greek means substitute) The number of the Anti-Christ, 666, speaks of man’s best achievement in contrast to perfection in God symbolized by the number “7”. However, sin is basically a rejection of God and His way in order for “every man to do what seems right in his own eyes.” Thus Biblical Christianity and Humanism are incompatible and compromise cannot succeed – “You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Conflict with governments can therefore be expected if the Church holds on to Bible standards on morality and obedience to God. It is already the accepted view that Evangelical Christians are the most serious threat to world peace and stability. This view has been stated publicly by European Union politicians and by Jeremy Bowen, the BBC “expert” on the Israel / Middle East situation. Bible believing Christians are now branded fascists and bigots if they refuse to accept the arguments of the “gay, lesbian and bisexual” lobby. Evangelical Christians are religious bigots to be prosecuted under Race Hate laws if they resist the demands of Muslims whose religion has the declared aim of ruling the world. Political Correctness is clearly rooted in Humanism. Only a couple of decades ago Communism was the global threat to believers, but it was actually a totalitarian manifestation of Humanism.
(See Psalm 2 for a comment on mankind's rebellion.)
Clearly Tolerance is the world’s most intolerant force and will increasingly be used against Bible believing Christians.
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