Are You Living Like a Secular Humanist?

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Are You Living Like a Secular Humanist?

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After Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the stage was set. From that time onward, human beings have been relying on their own intellects to try to understand the nature of the world and create meaning for human existence, rather than allow God to lead them to truth. This has led to one flawed ideology or theory after another, many of which are in outright defiance of God. Certainly one of most destructive has been secular humanism.

In a nutshell, secular humanism is a “human-centered” belief system, built on the premise that mankind came into existence through evolution, with all the innate abilities to create a well-functioning civilization. Secular humanists reject the possibility of God being real and go further: they don’t think they even need a deity to look to for guidance or help. They insist that science has all the answers to society’s problems.

Adherents to this belief system have been quite open about what they espouse. In his book, "Humanism: An Introduction," humanist Jim Herrick describes his ideology as “a most human philosophy of life. Its emphasis is on the human, the here-and-now, the humane . . . Humanists are atheists or agnostics and do not expect an afterlife . . . Morality is social in origin. It comes from the way we have evolved and from our ability to see that there is a general benefit if we behave well towards each other” ( pp. 1-2).

Secular humanists deny the existence of anything that isn’t made up of physical matter or can’t be proven by scientific inquiry. They maintain that the physical world is all there is or ever will be. Their purpose for living is generally to live life to the fullest and enjoy as much they can, before their time runs out and they cease to exist.
By denying the existence of God, humanists also dismiss the possibility of an absolute moral code that must be obeyed, thereby freeing themselves to make their own rules for how to live. Humanist Manifesto II, published in 1973 by the American Humanist Association, boldly claims that the idea of a supernatural realm “is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of survival and fulfillment of the human race…There is no accountability to God and no fear of judgment from Him…Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction.”

Secular humanists hold that morality is consequential, meaning that ethical principles are determined by the results they yield, as opposed to so-called command ethics, in which standards of “right” and “wrong” are universal and eternal, having been set in place by a divine authority. They maintain that moral truths are subjective—varying between individuals, cultures and contexts—and are likely to change over time. In their view, no behavior is immoral because there are no absolute standards for human conduct.

All this might seem new to you. The term secular humanism might not even be something most people are familiar with. Yet this ideology permeates virtually every aspect of contemporary society. It’s being promoted through our educational systems, news media, entertainment, advertising and governments. This movement started building momentum during the political and social change of the 1960s, and has been spreading ever since. 

Habits to avoid 

The opposite of secular humanism is a biblical worldview, meaning one’s views on God, the meaning of life, morality, success, how to treat others, what behaviors are right or wrong, etc., are based on biblical precepts. 

Anyone who holds a biblical worldview will likely eschew the secular humanist worldview, and rightly so. There can be no doubt that secular humanist thinking is one of the causes of all the moral decay, selfishness, confusion, greed and strife we are seeing in the world today. 

The Bible should be our instruction manual for how we live our lives. But we can become passive or go on autopilot with our day-to-day decisions. If we’re not careful, our actions and habits can start to resemble that of a secular humanist. That’s the kind of behavior that society endorses, and it’s what our natural minds are predisposed to. Now we might not do something flagrant, like take part in a rally to keep prayer out of public schools. But there are still a lot of things we might do, often inadvertently, that reflect more of a “human-centered” approach to life rather than one focused on God. This includes:

1. Not making time for God

Many people live “perpetually busy” lives. We’ve got career ladders to climb, children to raise, home maintenance projects to finish, classes to attend, emails to answer, errands to run, housework to do, and on and on. We can become so overloaded with “the cares of this life” (Matthew 13:22 Matthew 13:22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
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) that we neglect things that draw us closer to God—like Bible study, prayer, meditation and fasting. We are then no longer prioritizing what the Bible says is most important, and living as though we don’t think God exists. We can start to see the accumulation of wealth as the end goal (the humanist approach), rather than seeing our physical resources as a means to serve others (the biblical approach). 

2. Viewing ungodly entertainment

It’s becoming very challenging to find uplifting TV shows and movies to watch. More often than not the plot lines promote the LGBTQ agenda and “nontraditional families,” or mock the Bible, God and Christianity. That’s in addition to the all the profanity, crudity and violence that’s so prevalent in modern entertainment. Humanists want us to see these things as “normal.” If we cave in and watch these kinds of shows because “they’re still really funny” or “there’s nothing else on,” we are, in effect, sanctioning what’s being presented. 

3. Worrying 

Having a healthy concern about problems is constructive, especially if it motivates us to seek God’s help, guidance and deliverance. But too often we do just the opposite. Instead of letting our concerns rest with God, we start worrying. When we do that, we are blatantly disregarding God’s admonition to “be anxious for nothing” (Philippians 4:6 Philippians 4:6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
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). We are leaving God out of the picture, behaving as though we believe the whole solution to our problem rests on our shoulders, and then we fret when we realize how helpless we really are. That is exactly how humanists address challenges: they look totally to themselves and don’t see the need to seek any “outside help” from God—even if it’s obvious the problems are bigger than they are.

4. Justifying our shortcomings

The Bible makes it clear that we are to admit our failings, accept correction and repent of our sins. But if instead we make excuses for our faults or downplay our bad behavior, we are going the way of secular humanism. Maybe we’ve been dishonest in our dealings with someone and afterwards told ourselves that we “really didn’t do anything that bad,” or “what we did was okay because things turned out okay in the end.” Humanists don’t see any reason to change their behavior, even if they are hurting others, if it achieves their desired end result.  

5. Relying on human reasoning

God wants us to use our minds and think critically, but He doesn’t want us to do it apart from Him. This is particularly true when we are addressing spiritual concerns, such as personal problems or conflicts with others. The first place we should look to for direction is the Bible. Instead, we often go with our “gut instincts” or try to come up with “human solutions.” That’s what Abraham and Isaac both did when they portrayed their wives as their sisters to try to protect themselves (Genesis 12:10-20 Genesis 12:10-20 [10] And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. [11] And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that you are a fair woman to look on: [12] Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save you alive. [13] Say, I pray you, you are my sister: that it may be well with me for your sake; and my soul shall live because of you. [14] And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. [15] The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house. [16] And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. [17] And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram's wife. [18] And Pharaoh called Abram and said, What is this that you have done to me? why did you not tell me that she was your wife? [19] Why said you, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold your wife, take her, and go your way. [20] And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
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, Genesis 20:1-18 Genesis 20:1-18 [1] And Abraham journeyed from there toward the south country, and dwelled between Kadesh and Shur, and sojourned in Gerar. [2] And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. [3] But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, for the woman which you have taken; for she is a man's wife. [4] But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, LORD, will you slay also a righteous nation? [5] Said he not to me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands have I done this. [6] And God said to him in a dream, Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart; for I also withheld you from sinning against me: therefore suffered I you not to touch her. [7] Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for you, and you shall live: and if you restore her not, know you that you shall surely die, you, and all that are yours. [8] Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. [9] Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said to him, What have you done to us? and what have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? you have done deeds to me that ought not to be done. [10] And Abimelech said to Abraham, What saw you, that you have done this thing? [11] And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will slay me for my wife's sake. [12] And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. [13] And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said to her, This is your kindness which you shall show to me; at every place where we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. [14] And Abimelech took sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and womenservants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. [15] And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before you: dwell where it pleases you. [16] And to Sarah he said, Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to you a covering of the eyes, to all that are with you, and with all other: thus she was reproved. [17] So Abraham prayed to God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bore children. [18] For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.
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, Genesis 26:6-11 Genesis 26:6-11 [6] And Isaac dwelled in Gerar: [7] And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look on. [8] And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife. [9] And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is your wife; and how said you, She is my sister? And Isaac said to him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. [10] And Abimelech said, What is this you have done to us? one of the people might lightly have lien with your wife, and you should have brought guiltiness on us. [11] And Abimelech charged all his people, saying, He that touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.
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Whenever we engage in this kind of human reasoning, we are thinking like a humanist: We are trying to navigate through life’s challenges or understand the world through only our physical senses—without taking into account biblical teachings. Also problematic is when use the human reasoning of other individuals—such as philosophers, psychologists and scientists—and make that the starting premise for our thinking. Whenever we let human-derived ideologies guide us, rather than the Bible, we are functioning as a secular humanist. The Bible should be the foundation of our belief system. But just espousing God’s truths is not enough. We will not be honoring God with our lives if we claim a biblical worldview but live like a secular humanist. James 1:22 James 1:22But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
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admonishes us to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only.” Actually following biblical standards is the only way we can be a light to the world, and the only way we can truly please God.