The Baptist Pillar ©      Brandon Bible Baptist Church     1992-Present

"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

The Results of Secular Humanism

Brian Schwertley

Our society is in decay. Violent crime has grown so much in the last thirty years that many people are afraid to go into our cities after dark. Sexual immorality has exploded in our culture since the 1960s. There was a time only a generation ago when premarital sex was the exception not the rule. Now teenagers are having sex at a younger and younger age.

Many are even sexually active in junior high school. Young men and women who desire to maintain their virginity until marriage are considered freaks. In the last thirty years families have been disintegrating. The divorce rate hovers near fifty percent. It is common knowledge that children from broken homes often have more problems functioning in society than children from traditional two-parent families. Adultery is both common and accepted by many in our land. Premarital sex, drunkenness, drug abuse, theft, murder, abortion, lying, cheating, fraud, homosexuality, rape, cruelty and pornography are now a normal part of our societal landscape.

There is no question that there has been a very large moral decline in society since the early 1960s (this decline is a matter of record). This decline cannot be explained in terms of poverty, racism and sexism, for those societal elements have been much worse in the past. We live in a period of great material prosperity compared with almost all of recorded history. Yet literacy rates and family solidarity were higher in the 1870s than today, when people in the ghetto live like princes, compared to their ancestors. There is a reason for the decline: we are experiencing the fruit or results of a worldview change that took place during the earlier part of the twentieth century.

The worldview transition took place primarily between 1870 and 1930. The old worldview which dominated our culture was basically Christian with some right-wing enlightenment thinking tossed in. The Christian worldview had more or less dominated western civilization since the fall of the Roman Empire. This Christian worldview was replaced by materialistic naturalism (or as it’s called today, secular humanism). Secular humanism is the belief that man lives in a closed universe. There is no God who is transcendent above and beyond created reality. The secular humanist presupposes that the Christian God does not and cannot exist—that everything which does exist is merely the product of matter plus time plus chance. The secular humanist presupposes that the only thing which can exist and have importance to mankind is that which is open to empirical verification and observation by man.

Therefore, the Christian God and biblical Christianity are ruled out of bounds from the start by the so-called objective materialistic scientist, even before the investigation of reality begins. The essence of secular humanism is that man is the measure of all things. Man, not God, is the determiner of reality, meaning and ethics.

Secular humanism became the dominant worldview of intellectuals by the 1930s. By this time naturalism, Darwinian evolution, modernism, and biblical higher criticism had captured all the major universities, the mainline Protestant denominations and their seminaries, the large media outlets (e.g., The New York Times), and many politicians.

The secular-humanistic elite now believed that since most educators and scientists no longer look to the Bible for truth and guidance, mankind was now capable of solving all the world’s problems. Because of the modernistic view of the Bible the majority found themselves in churches which no longer believed the Bible and submitted to it. There was a certain form of godliness and going through the motions but a denial of God’s power and authority (2 Tim. 3:5).

The majority of people now looked toward the civil government, scientists, artists and intellectuals as saviours who would bring mankind into a sort of millennial paradise. If the secular-humanistic worldview was true and the Christian worldview false, one could reasonably assume that the expectations of the social planners would come true. But what if the Christian worldview was true and the secular humanist worldview was false? Would not a wholesale rejection of God and the Bible, in favor of incoherent, irrational nonsense bring disaster to society and culture? Is this not just what has happened?

Meaning or nihilism?

The secular-humanist intellectuals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been the sharpest critics of Bible-believing Christianity. They teach that the Bible is ancient mythology for a bygone era. They believe that society must rid itself of biblical teaching in favor of "science and rationality." The secular elitists even promised that once biblical teaching was removed from the schools and universities in our country, real progress would be made in solving mankind’s problems.

The secular-materialistic view of reality states that the universe is the product of chance or pure contingency. Everything that is, is an accident. Everything is the product of chaos. In an impersonal, chance universe where chaos, flux, and randomness are king, personality, meaning, and universal laws of logic clearly have no place. If the secular-evolutionary worldview is true, then your life and existence have no meaning whatsoever.

You are nothing more than an accumulation of atoms randomly floating in the void. Your thoughts, desires, relationships, love and deepest concerns are merely the illusions of chemical-electronic impulses. You are an impersonal machine. You have no soul, no future, and no hope. You and the random universe around you are heading toward extinction. Your life has no more significance than pond scum. These statements are the logical implication of the secular-humanistic worldview. All talk of love, justice, meaning, and helping your fellow man are holdovers from the Christian worldview.

The atheistic university professor and socialist politician may speak much of justice, love, and brotherhood but they are stealing such ideas from Christianity, because such things are only possible in a God-created and God-controlled personalistic universe.

The creed of secular humanism is: out of the chaos of pure chance comes meaning and order; out of atoms floating randomly in the void comes man, the giver of meaning. Secular humanism is a religion based solely on faith. That it is irrational, self-contradictory, and arbitrary does not seem to bother its adherents. It is a blind faith in man.

Ethical absolutes or chaos?

Do you believe that murder is wrong? Do you believe that child molestation and bestiality are wrong? Most people do. The question that must be answered, then, is "Why?" The secular-humanistic worldview presupposes that nothing can exist above and beyond the universe. The idea of an infinite, personal God who is transcendent, who reveals ethical absolutes to man (e.g., "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not steal," etc.) is anathema to an atheistic naturalist. With no higher power, the secular humanist must derive an ethical system from this world alone.

But what is the modern view of the universe, of reality? The universe is evolving. It is a product of chance. It is impersonal. It is in a state of flux. Man himself is a product of chance and is in a state of flux. Thus, the secular humanist teaches that ethics are evolving, arbitrary, subjective, relative and changing.

There is no "out-thereness" to ethics; there is no absolute right or wrong.

For the secular humanist, the source of ethics, morality and law is not God but man. The secular humanist says that ethics are whatever man happens to say they are at a given point in time. In such a system moral law is merely opinion, custom, "community standards," what the state says (or the supreme court, or an intellectual elite like hospital ethics boards). Man determines what is right and wrong for himself, and if man changes his mind, then what used to be wrong is now permissible—even virtuous.

The secular humanist who seeks to establish ethical norms apart from the triune God of the Bible actually perverts and destroys moral imperatives. Ethics cannot exist and operate in a void. If the universe is a product of chance and impersonal, then people have no real reason not to lie, cheat, murder and steal, other than the coercive power of the state (e.g., the police, prisons, etc.).

Young people are not stupid. Do you really think that young people are going to be honest, chaste and moral because their parents or some celebrity or the state says it’s a good idea? All talk of virtue is utter nonsense. To the Nazi, exterminating Jews was virtuous. Stalin and the communists murdered 20 million farmers for humanity. To the radical feminist, murdering unborn babies is a virtue. To the gang member, torturing and murdering one’s opponent are virtuous. If morality is constantly changing, evolving, and if it is only what man happens to believe at any given moment, then the modern ethical maxim is, "Do whatever you want—just don’t get caught. And if you do get caught, blame it on someone else."

There was a time when children were told not to lie, cheat, swear, fornicate and steal because such things were against God’s moral law (the Ten Commandments). People were told that such activities offended a holy, righteous God. They were told that good was good because God said so in His Word, and likewise bad was bad because God said so. People were warned that a day was coming in which God would judge all men according to their deeds.

Ethical absolutes are transcendent; they come from outside the universe and are revealed to man by an unchanging, all-powerful God. These ethical commands are objective and unchanging; they are backed up by a morally perfect God who will punish every wicked act committed by man. In a personalistic universe where an absolute, infinite, perfect, moral God (who is the creator of meaning, the revealer and enforcer of ethical absolutes and the judge of wickedness) stands behind all created reality, people have a very real reason for self-government and personal responsibility.

In the area of ethics (as in the area of meaning itself) the Christian worldview is coherent, rational and self-consistent, while the supposedly "scientific" secular-humanistic worldview is irrational, arbitrary and absurd. When the secular humanist speaks of compassion, humility, virtue, helping the poor, the evil of murder, and so on, he is stealing concepts from the Christian worldview. It is one thing to assert that murder is wrong and quite another to explain why it is wrong. Anyone can assert that something is good or evil, but only the Christian can consistently say why. In the secular-humanistic worldview, chance not God is ultimate; therefore "it is meaningless to speak of imposing the formalizing activity of the universal mind of man, itself a product of chance, on a bottomless and shoreless ocean of chance.

The only possible foundation for science and philosophy as well as for theology is the presupposition that God as all-controlling and Christ as actually redeeming does actually exist and is actually known by man. But to hold this position requires us to give up the idea that man himself is the source of unity in human experience. In seeking such unity as only God can have, apostate man cuts himself loose from the possibility of having any unity in experience at all."

The secular humanist, if honest and consistent, would simply assert that "in the end we’re all dead"; the injustice and evils of life are never resolved. Hitler, Stalin and Mother Teresa all turn to dust. The universe expands to an icy death. In such a system your life and supposed good deeds have no real meaning or lasting significance at all. "What advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink, for to morrow we die!" (1 Cor. 15:32).

Does human life have value?

According to the evolutionary, naturalistic worldview, man is really no more than a sophisticated machine brought into existence by chance. Does man, according to this view, have value? No, not in the ordinary sense that people think of the value of human life. That is because a machine, no matter how sophisticated and unique, is still impersonal; it is still a machine. And even if one thinks of man as a great animal—the pinnacle of evolution—man is still just an animal.

Very few secular humanists advocate radical vegetarianism. Very few secular humanists allow insects free reign in their homes and among their crops. It is impossible to attribute a special, real, unique, lasting value to human life, if man is a chance-derived, impersonal machine destined to eternal extinction in the cosmic void. Human life value presupposes an immortal human soul and a personal beginning (i.e., creation by an infinite, personal God).

The secular humanist cannot justify attributing human life value to an impersonal, chance-derived machine. In the naturalistic system, not only is man just a sophisticated machine, he is also destined sooner or later to extinction when the universe inevitably expands into an icy death or contracts into a fiery ball. Secular humanists cannot avoid this eschatology of death, of ultimate extinction.

Therefore, in the areas of origins, being and eschatology (man’s ultimate future), secular humanism really has nothing to offer except extinction into the cosmic void. Secular humanists rarely admit to such when discussing ultimate concerns (with the exception of Bertrand Russell). The Humanist Manifesto II, published in 1973, does make an attempt at future meaning for man when it speaks of man living on through children and culture. But this living on cannot last beyond a supernova; it cannot go beyond the death of the universe.

Secular humanists are ignoring the inevitable by focusing on the immediate future instead of the distant, eternal future. If, in the end, everyone who ever lived ceases forever to exist, then life is meaningless.

The eternal nonconsciousness of the future renders everything that happened on earth totally meaningless, because if man’s soul does not live on it will be as if no one ever even existed. The cosmic void of nothingness (nonconsciousness) in the future meets the cosmic void of the past. This is the logical implication of secular humanism.

Are you beginning to understand why children brought up under this worldview are willing to commit murder over a pair of tennis shoes or a gold chain? Do you understand how Stalin could murder 20 million people with less feeling than one has when swatting a fly? Are you beginning to see how secular humanism leads to eugenics, abortion, euthanasia, labour camps and genocide?