Are You Living Like a Secular Humanist?

You are here

Are You Living Like a Secular Humanist?

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


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) 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). 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 20:1-18, Genesis 26:6-11).

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 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.