Table of Contents
The definition of humanism is the system of though that asserts humanity as the prime importance in our existence. Humanism and the humanistic theory is the philosophy that emphasizes humanity over all other values and agencies, including anything ascribed to divinity. Essentially, this philosophy asserts that the chief end or the meaning of all things is for the happiness of man, or is centered on the benefit for humanity and mankind.
Secularism has a deep philosophical stance against any type of religious agency, and is typically defined as the principle of separation between religion and all other aspects of society. Secularism seeks to be free from any type of religious rule, teaching and practice.
As early as circa 100 b.c, the term Humanists was defined by men like Marcus Cicero as it became synonymous for philanthropy, and kindness and benevolence towards ones fellow man. All the way until the 15th century in Italy, during the renaissance, teachers and scholars considered themselves humanists, adhering to the same ideas from earlier times.
Religious humanism integrates the religious belief systems with the humanistic philosophy that centers on human needs, interests, and desires. Liberal Christians of the 17-19 century employed humanism as the advent of Darwinian Evolution and naturalism began to grip the culture. Humanism was used as a tool to reform the churches into anything the people would like to hear, so they would come.
Secular humanism is the belief that life, reasoning, morality and justice exists for the primary purpose of doing good for humanity; specifically rejecting any notion of faith, supernatural, religiosity, or accountability to God.
The First Humanist Manifesto was produced at the university of Chicago in 1933. Philosophers such as John Dewey and other ministers and theologians (mostly Unitarians) became the signatories. Humanism was identified as an ideology that relied on reason, ethics, and social justice. Additionally it employed science to replace dogmatic religion and beliefs in the supernatural in regard to morality and decision making.
Humanism states that humans are capable of being ethical, moral and reasonable without religiosity or a god.
It does not state however that humans are not capable of evil. It is the belief that humans are neither inherently good or evil, neither are we superior to nature. No ideology wither political or religious should be accepted or rejected based on faith, but should be ever pursuing the search for truth through science and philosophy.
It is the statement that humans should be able to freely choose to do as they please.
Humanist typically accept evolution as the account for the existence of the universe. This view primarily comes from the atheistic view and emotional desire to not be accountable to any god for the practices they desire to pursue.
Criticism & Apologetics
Difference between Christianity & Humanism
Humanism philosophies can easily slip into any belief system unnoticed, and disguise itself as other doctrines. Christians are taught the pinnacle of love from Christ himself, and to love others selflessly and sacrificially, give and not hold back.
However, the center of Biblical Christian philosophy is God. That God is to be worshiped and obeyed above all things. This is in total contrast to Humanism, which states that the center of everything is for man, and mans authority is to be the focus of life.
Humanism puts man in the place of God, and sets up man to be the idol of worship, as worship is the lifelong of focus and service. In short, humanism is a religion of belief system centered of man, or man centered. Humanity has struggled with this since the fall of Adam and Eve as it is the philosophy that makes man the god of his own life and universe. Even the ancient Israelies struggled with this philosophy as without constraint humanity tends towards doing what is right in his own eyes.
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes– Judges 17.6
Humanism – Secularism – Becomes its Own Religion
It is interesting that secularists declare that they desire to be free from religious rule, however, humanism becomes a type of religion in of itself. As a philosophy, it sets up practices, declarations, ways of living and a center of focus (worship) – man. Just as Buddhism could be considered an Atheistic philosophy, the only different is Humanists metaphysical explanation for the origin and workings of the universe are different- a more Naturalistic one.
What secularism is truly declaring is the desire to be free from any authority from God, specifically a Biblical God, so they can create a social image any way they feel fit. The desire is to be the god of their own life, and do whatever they please, a similar echo from the influence of Satanist Alester Crowley “do what thou will.”
At the very least for those who still oppose the idea that Humanism as a religion, usually because they are altogether bias against that word, Humanism is still nothing more than another ‘System of Belief,’ just like any other religion, philosophy or ideology.
Reliance on Naturalism
Humanism relies on Darwinian Evolution and Naturalism as the foundation for it authority. As it would stand, if everything came into existence through purely naturalistic, random chance without the aid of the supernatural, then it is true humanity would be accountable to no one but themselves.
However with the advent of all modern scientific discoveries pointing to the fact that an intelligent designer is a more rational explanation for the universe, the very foundation for the Humanistic belief in Naturalism continues to fall apart.
Historically, dependence on humans as final authority or living a lifestyle of man centered has not been the optimal choice. Human corruption historically set in at almost every major institution or nation.
Corrupt governments exploit the people, business and corporations build new forms of slavery and oppress the people that work for them as they grow larger.
Dangers of Man Worship
People are not ultimately accountable to any other human, but are ultimately accountable to their Creator. Denying the God that created them and discouraging others to pursue the Creator is a very dangerous thing, as they will be judged according to what was in their hearts and their deeds.
Text of Humanist Manifesto I, Americanhumanist.org
The New Atheism and Secular Humanism- Center for Inquiry. 2009
HUMANISM AND ITS ASPIRATIONS- Humanist Manifesto III; Humanist Manifesto, 1933