Secular Humanism and Christianity

What is Secular Humanism?

There is something universal about humanity. All across the globe no matter how isolated, we want to believe there is something greater than ourselves. This desire within us represents the natural belief in God, although many choose to deny his existence and instead choose to put their faith in something other than a creator. Secular humanists are not different. Secular humanism is the belief that all life developed by a series of cosmic accidents. Secular humanism is the belief that all matter has existed infinitely and that life was allowed to form over time as combinations of building blocks formed more complex systems (Weider p.55). Secular humanists believe this same evolutionary process eventually led to mankind’s evolution.

In secular humanism our character and consciousness is the product of chemical and biological exchanges and there is no other driving force creating individuality than these combinations and life experience (Secularism: A Religious Profile from International Students p.2). Secular humanist believe mankind to be a more highly evolved animal that holds no greater value than the rest of earth’s inhabitants (Weider  p.57). And so a humanist’s faith must be placed in mankind and their hope is that by becoming more enlightened we can create paradise in this life.

Secular humanists believe that mankind’s existence holds no purpose and that it is left up to the individual to create value in their own life (Weider p.59). From a secular humanist point-of-view it is only by our desire to leave a legacy and lasting impact that our lives are given meaning. They believe we exist simply due to evolutionary chance and other than the desire to survive and leave a legacy we have no purpose.

Secular humanism rejects the idea of God and of an absolute moral standard. To the secular humanist morality is relative to the individual or society and can change based on many factors (Weider p.61). Secular humanists believe mankind is morally good, and would pursue goodness if it is properly taught (Secularism: A Religious Profile from International Students p.3). However by this belief is it difficult to determine how a person should live. Some believe morality is up to the person, and some might argue it is up to the society. Secular humanism’s rejection of absolute morality makes it very difficult to determine right from wrong.

For secular humanist the answers to questions about life after death are simple, when you die life is over. They believe there is no life after death. The humanist belief is that the only thing that comes after death is your legacy (Weider p.63). Secular humanists believe the only judge of a person will be those left behind and how they will remember them. For this very reason many secular humanists put much effort in meaningful activities they can be remembered for.

What does Christianity Teach About Mankind?

Christians believe God existed before anything else. He created our world from nothing (Genesis 1:1). The matter that makes up all physical things did not exist before God began creation (Weider p.56). Life did not evolve over millions of years, but was spoken into existence in the span of six days (Genesis 1:31). Man was created by God on the sixth day after He had created the land animals. The Christian Bible says mankind was made in God’s image, he was formed from the ground, and God breathed life into him (Genesis 2:7).

Christians believe God created mankind different from the animals (Weider p.58). The first man, Adam, was not spoken into existence like the rest of the living creatures. He was shaped after his creator and given life from the Creator’s own breath. Christianity teaches that the earth and all life were created for mankind to enjoy. God instructed Adam to work the ground and gave him responsibility over the animals (Genesis 1:28). Christian’s believe human attributes, that make us different from the animals, are attributed to our Creator making us like Himself. Christians believe we have a God-given responsibility to take care of His creation (Weider p.58).

Christians believe we were created for the sole purpose of relationship; specifically, a relationship with God (2 Corinthians 5:15). Christians reject the notion of life being an accident and instead embrace that God created us for this purpose (Jeremiah 29:11). Christians believe life to be something special created by God and nurtured so that we would pursue our maker and that is why we exist (Weider p.60).

To the Christian God has chosen right from wrong, and the distinction is absolute (Weider p.62). Christians believe man is inherently evil, due to the fall of mankind, and corrupted by a sin nature that separates us from God. Christians believe God has taught the difference between right and wrong by both natural (Romans 2:14-15) and special revelation (Exodus 20:1-17), but we choose to rebel against Him because of our sin nature (Matthew 15:18-19). Christians believe it is impossible for mankind to overcome our sinfulness, and it is only by the redeeming work of Christ Jesus that we are able to be restored to God. After this restoration, our desires begin to change and we want to live more like Jesus. Only after a new birth, we begin to seek living a life that is pleasing to God (Galatians 5:22-25).

Christians believe God has promised an existence after this life. Jesus taught that he would leave his followers to return to God and that he would prepare a place for them to live for eternity (John 14:2-3). Christians believe those who put their trust in the redeeming work of Jesus, will spend eternity living in the presence of God in his heavenly home. However, for those who reject the work of Jesus there will be eternal punishment separated from God. Those who reject God will be sentenced with the fallen angels in the eternal prison known as Hell (Hebrews 9:27-28). Christians believe they will be held to answer for their lives at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is there that all believers will give account of their lives and be rewarded for their faithfulness to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:4-27). However, Christians believe the unbeliever will face condemnation at the Great White Thrown Judgment for their unbelief. The point here is that a Christian believes they have been given a desire by God to live a righteous life and there are rewards for doing so. The desire to please God only comes from salvation (Weider p.64).

References:

Weider, L. and Gutierrez, B. (2011). Consider. Bel Air, MD: Acedemx.

Halverson, D. (2005). Secularism: A Religious Profile from International Students. Colorado Springs, CO: International Students, Inc.

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