Does it Matter What I Believe? – Christianity & Secular Humanism

This is our 3rd week of a 4 week series entitled, “Does it Matter What I Believe?”. It is my hope that during this series you will be strengthened in your faith and deepen your understanding of what a relationship with God is all about. Each week we are also looking at alternative belief systems that are tripping up our family and friends and our culture. Last week, we talked about 4 specific truths that inform a healthy worldview:

A Healthy Worldview

1) Truth matters
2) Faith alone is not enough
3) The object of your faith makes the difference
4) Jesus Christ is the only worthy object of faith

Secular Humanism Background

Secular Humanism really began to blossom during the Enlightenment period of the 1700’s and eventuated in reliance upon technology, mankind, reason, and society.
Let’s look at a few quotes and some basic ideas that will help frame a later presentation of the beliefs of Secular Humanism:

Humanism, positively stated, can refer to upholding the dignity and sanctity of man in the natural order. But, secular humanism also believes that the ultimate and final authority in value judgements is human beings.

“Man is the measure of all things”(Protagoras, 5th century B.C.)

“What the church has been for medieval man the public school must become for democratic and rational man. God will be replaced by the concept of the public good…the common schools…shall create a more far-seeing intelligence and a pure morality than has ever existed among communities of men”(Horace Mann, a Unitarian, and the “father of public education” in 1840 Massachusetts Board of Education)

John Dewey signed Humanist Manifesto I and worked towards the school as the chief socializer and developer of social unification, bypassing traditional religion and all other flawed vehicles(including parents).

“Men have become like gods. Isn’t it about time that we understood our divinity? Science offers us total mastery over our environment and over our destiny, yet instead of rejoicing we feel deeply afraid…All of us need to understand that God, or Nature, or Chance, or Evolution, or the Course of History, or whatever you call it, can’t be trusted anymore. We simply must take charge of our own fate…It has ceased to be true that nature is governed by inevitable laws external to ourselves. We ourselves have become responsible”(The Case for Christianity, pg. 217, Edmund Leach).
“We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species”(Humanist Manifesto II, 1973)

Interestingly enough, 2 U.S. Supreme Court decisions have expressly acknowledged humanism’s religious nature. So, while secular humanism theoretically rejects traditional dogmas and religious belief structures, it substitutes its own spiritual and religious values. Let’s look at some of those belief systems specifically.

Beliefs of Secular Humanism

4 key characteristics of secular humanism:

Confidence in humanity

Against supernaturalism

Science, Reason, & Experience exalted


Evolution: Makind is the highest stage of a continuing evolutionary path (Genesis 1:27a, Psalm 100:3)

Individual Autonomy: Man is his own authority and not accountable to any higher power (hedonism and narcissism are natural byproducts of this philosophy) (Isaiah 5:21, Jeremiah 17:9)

Situational Ethics: There are no absolute rules to live by. Ethics become personal, autonomous and situational (Ten Commandments-Exodus 20:1-7, Galatians 6:7, Psalm 119:44-45)

Biblical Christianity                              Secular Humanism
God is sovereign                                 Man is sovereign
God’s Word is Truth                           Truth is pragmatic and existential
God Created the Universe                The Universe is self existing
Education is Discipline under           Education is freedom from restraint
A body of truth                                    and any idea of truth outside
Our Problem is Sin                             Our Problem is Society
Family is Basic Institution                 Individual or State is Basic Institution
We are accountable to God              We are accountable to Self

God’s Truth

We must glorify God in our hearts

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:20-22)

This means we surrender sovereignty of our lives. It does not mean we surrender our brains or powers of reason. It means that every dimension of our lives gets submitted

Parents are accountable for teaching their own children

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deuteronomy 4:9)

We need to pray for Christian public school teachers; we are privileged to have several fine Christian school teachers that see their vocational calling as a primary vehicle for them to witness to their relationship with Christ. But, I think I’d find no disagreement with any of them that the parent’s are the primary teachers in the lives of their children. Likewise, in our children’s ministry

Christians are called to influence society for God’s glory

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

Battlegrounds: Schools, Law (government cannot be neutral), Media

We are to grow up in Christ

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Colossians 2:6-10)

Obedience to Christ is the pathway to victory

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:4-5)

Dr. John Jackson is the President of Jessup University. He’s the author of 10 books, the most recent being “Grace Ambassador”. He’s a transformative leader, committed to equipping believers and fostering change in their local communities… Read more

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