Christianity vs. Humanism

God and the Humanist Manifesto II

By Lee Duigon

  [Part I]

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  —Romans 1:22

The heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things. We can redefine the family, control the earth’s climate, abolish inequality by redistributing wealth, and achieve bodily perfection via embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and genetic engineering.

The collective term for all these vanities is humanism, and it has always been with us. In the Garden of Eden the serpent produced the original Humanist Manifesto. It was a declaration of autonomy from God, and it led to Adam and Eve’s immediate eviction from paradise.

Fast-forward to today, and we find the humanists calling louder than ever for a man-made utopia. Rejecting God, they embrace the state, looking to bureaucratic institutions — employing either coercion or persuasion, or some mixture of the two — to redeem man from his self-destructive ways. In the Western world especially, a growing statism seeks to erode Christian liberty. As the state increases, liberty must decrease.

Humanism, the hatred for God, spews a never-ending stream of cultural sewage out of our media and entertainment industries. Our justice system mocks God’s justice by sympathizing with criminals and showing contempt for the innocent. This is truly perversion — a distortion of the purpose for which man was created, an attempt to turn God’s order upside-down.

Much that seems perverse in our culture is really only the secular humanist philosophy being put into action, affecting people’s attitudes and behavior. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1961, in Torcaso v. Watkins, declared humanism to be a religion: “Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others” (http://members.aol.com/Patriarchy/definitions/humanism_religion.htm).

R. J. Rushdoony calls humanism “[t]he religion of humanity” and describes it thus: “The religion of humanity looks to the perfection of man in paradise on earth … The future depends, not on God, but entirely on man.”[1]

In no single document is the philosophy so clearly expressed as in the Humanist Manifesto II (for the full text and source of all quotations used from here on, see http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto2.html). In this series of articles, we will revisit the Humanist Manifesto II and analyze it point by point.

What Is HM II?

Published in 1973 as the successor to the Humanist Manifesto I of 1933, HM II sets out the ideology of secular humanists and their utopian vision for the world: “Using technology wisely, we can control our environment, conquer poverty, markedly reduce disease, extend our life-span, significantly modify our behavior, alter the course of human evolution and cultural development, unlock vast new powers, and provide humankind with unparalleled opportunity for achieving abundant and meaningful life.” In other words, as Rushdoony notes, “[T]he perfection of man in paradise on earth.”

The authors of this breathtaking prose are Paul Kurtz and the late Edwin H. Wilson. Kurtz, a professor emeritus of philosophy with the State University of New York at Buffalo, is chairman of the Council for Secular Humanism and the author of 45 books and 800 articles on humanism. Wilson, who died in 1993, was a Unitarian minister and a cofounder of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. There is a Humanist Manifesto III (2003), but it’s only a brief addendum to HM II.

The manifesto’s selling point is the thousands of supporting signatures attached to it, by a dazzling assortment of Nobel laureates, scientists, academics, and pundits. The multitude of signatures is presented as an intellectual A-list, as if to proclaim, “The smartest people in the world are with us!”

The signatories include many who profess to be “liberal Christians” and clergy. HM II makes no bones about denying the validity of any religion: “[T]raditional theism, especially faith in the prayer-hearing God, assumed to live and care for persons, and to be able to do something about them, is an unproved and outmoded faith.” We are left to conclude that the Christians who signed this have denied Christ.

It’s Funny, But …

If you thought Kurtz and Wilson were over the top in their claims for the potential of technology, guided by humanist wisdom, to create an earthly paradise, be assured that such balderdash is par for the course for humanists. Here is another hilarious example.

In his 1967 book, The Mythology of Science, R. J. Rushdoony cites a 1957 magazine article by an eminent British astronomer proposing the construction of an artificial sun to replace the real one when it wears out:

“Still another possibility would be to construct our own sun …  which might be suspended in the sky [does Home Depot carry hooks that size?] and hold the hovering demons of cold and darkness at bay. This artificial sun would operate by subatomic energy” and so on.[2]

So while we establish paradise on earth, we ought to make ready to replace the sun — and maybe the moon and stars, too, while we’re at it.

As ludicrous as this is, it does illustrate a very important feature of humanism: humanists recognize no limit to their ability to shape reality. They have swallowed the serpent’s bait — hook, line, and sinker: “[Y]e shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5).

Such arrogance may be profoundly silly, but it has lodged firmly in the heads and hearts of many persons whose actions affect us all.

Why Fight It?

Why is it important for Christians to be familiar with the Humanist Manifesto and know how to refute it?

First, because the philosophy and worldview embedded in HM II are diametrically opposed to ours: atheism instead of faith, arrogance instead of humility, and death instead of life. Humanism powerfully influences the operations of our major political, cultural, and economic institutions. It’s no accident that so many of our intellectual elite have signed on to it.

Humanism is the prevailing ideology for many leaders in government and politics, education, journalism, entertainment, and even in the church itself. Their ideology dictates the way they carry out their functions. Whether we like it or not, we all have to deal with these institutions. They have an inescapable impact not only on our daily lives, but on the life of the nation.

If we hope to reconstruct American life along Biblical lines, we must first understand what it is that must be reconstructed.

Second, the signers of HM II promote themselves as the brains of the human race, and the media present them as such.

These brains have produced a document remarkable for its utter lack of common sense, its boundless faith in human “reason,” its total inability to fathom human nature, wishful thinking on an epic scale, and a gigantic arrogance. The intellectual eminence of HM II’s signers is mere camouflage for the poverty of its content.

Nevertheless, its arguments are presumed to have authority, largely owing to the reputation of those who make them. To some, it might be intimidating to stand up against the men and women who represent the choicest wisdom of the world.

But don’t be intimidated. We’ll expose the fatuousness of the manifesto’s argument.

Third, Christians should not be cowed by these sophomoric intellectuals, but should instead devote themselves to using the Word of God — and the plain common sense God gave them — to tear down humanism’s strongholds, which are by no means as strong as advertised.

Their strength is the strength of inertia. Humanism has been in civilization’s driver’s seat since at least the 1930s, and the public has lost the habit of questioning it. In the field of public education, for example, humanist ideas have dominated for 150 years. It’s had time to put down deep roots.

The “liberation” of man from God and God’s laws has led to the most sanguinary mischief the world has ever seen. It would be depressing, and use up too much space, to recite the outrages and crimes committed in its name in the 20th century alone. Humanism’s roots are not only deep, but lethal.

Our task is to uproot it. The manifesto’s thoroughgoing atheism is reason alone to discredit it. If the signers are at all serious in their protestations — and there is no reason to believe otherwise — then they are dedicated to shaping a human future without God, without hope of salvation, and with nothing to look forward to in the end, but death.

In subsequent articles, we’ll look at what HM II actually says, and omits to say, and equip readers with answers to its false assertions.

An Atheist Faith Statement

[Part II]

The conflict between Christianity and humanism all too often masquerades as a choice between what we believe, without evidence, and what we “know” from observation and experience. This is a false impression promoted by humanists and their allies in the schools and media.

The Humanist Manifesto II (see http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto2.html for full text and source of all quotations) is a key document for secular humanists. It has been signed by thousands of persons who are supposedly the brains of the human race, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists.

But is humanism really based on evidence? If we examine the “Preface” of the manifesto, we will find extravagant claims and assertions that actually run counter to the evidence. It is a faith statement by atheists and has nothing to do with anyone’s real-world observation and experience.

The difference between the Bible and the manifesto is that God will perform what humanists can only promise.

Problems, Problems …

The Preface of the 1973 document opens with an admission that humanists’ early hopes, voiced in 1933’s Manifesto I, were “far too optimistic.” It acknowledges that science has been put to evil uses and that the world’s governments, instead of getting better, have become more oppressive, more totalitarian, “even in democratic societies” — like Britain, where the prime minister has proposed to register every UK citizen on a DNA database (seehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/10/24/ndna24.xml), and Germany, where the government is forcibly dragging homeschooled children to the public schools and jailing their fathers (seehttp://wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=52603).

It’s not sane or rational to keep doing the same thing in hopes that the results will be different, this time; but that’s what the humanists recommend. After confessing how badly science and government failed to make the 20th century an earthly paradise, they insist that more science and more government will somehow do the trick in the 21st. But why should the results be any better this century?

We are not told why. Instead: “As we approach the 21st century … an affirmative and hopeful vision is needed. Faith, commensurate with advancing knowledge, is also necessary.”

Here we confront the central question: in whom shall we repose our faith, in God or in man? Christians say in God; humanists say in man.

Believing as we do that God is infallible, perfect in righteousness and love, it’s rational for us to put our trust in Him. How rational is it for humanists to put the same kind of trust in fallible, fallen man?

Rejection of God

Ye shall know them by their fruits … a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. —Matthew 7:16–17

The problem with Christianity is that Christians are very hard put to live up to it. We are a stubborn, stiff-necked people, always kicking against the goads no matter how it hurts. Who has ever gone wrong by obeying God’s commandments? What harm has the world sustained because people loved God with all their hearts and their neighbor as themselves?

But HM II calls “faith in the prayer-hearing God … an unproved and outmoded faith … harmful, diverting people with false hopes … Reasonable minds look to other means for survival.” Of course, HM II denies that there is any kind of life after death, so ultimately there is no survival.

When men do look to “other means,” the manifesto’s opening paragraph describes what happens. We already know. Two world wars and a host of smaller wars. The wisdom of Charles Darwin, who taught man to view himself as the product of blind chance and the world as an arena for the survival of the fittest. The wisdom of Margaret Sanger, founder of the abortion industry. Of John Dewey, who taught us to use our schools to subvert the family and build up the power of the state. A 20th-century world where the leading cause of death was violence inflicted by governments. Yes, we know them by their fruits.

No one can say the problems that our world has today are the results of obeying God’s laws. We consulted our own wisdom and made this mess ourselves. It is the result of disobedience to God.

Humanists hope to arrive at a “consensus … a set of common principles that can serve as a basis for united action … a design for a secular society on a planetary scale.”

Consensus on a planetary scale? Can anyone point to even one small town where such a consensus can be found? We find it only in the Bible, as in Jeremiah 24:7, “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

Human nature will always defeat any attempt to find consensus without God. In any system of thought in which man himself is viewed as the ultimate authority, no man’s opinion can be more ultimate than another’s!

Dream On …

Humanists, in their manifesto, promise what they can never perform. Consider the goals listed in the Preface.

“Control our environment” — but Earth’s environment is largely affected by the behavior of the Sun, which is beyond our reach. Humanists also believe that the continents drift, clumping together, tearing apart, reconfiguring the flow of ocean currents. How do they propose to control that? With tugboats?

“Conquer poverty”? Our leaders have poured trillions of dollars into a “war on poverty,” yet constantly complain that poverty is still with us. Admitting that their efforts have failed, they can only recommend more of the same.

If by “poverty” we really mean economic inequality, then someone is always going to be in the bottom 20 percent — unless the government tries to level the field by radical, coercive redistribution of wealth, which we know from historical experience throttles economic growth and suppresses the creation of wealth.

As for reducing disease and extending the human lifespan, again, this has already been accomplished to a degree in the Western lands once known as Christendom. We have no more typhoid epidemics in our major cities, no smallpox, no Black Death. We do have AIDS, which we would not have if we obeyed God’s laws. But in countries where the people are saddled with tyrannical, corrupt governments, the ravages of disease are much more severe.

“Modify our behavior” — isn’t that the purpose of the Ten Commandments and all the teachings of the Bible? But humanists propose to sanctify humanity without the grace of God.

By what methods? When psychology fails, there’s always coercion, either by the threat of violence or economically, through punitive taxation, or tax benefits as rewards for good behavior. There’s also propaganda administered by public education and the media.

These succeed brilliantly in modifying behavior downward — out-of-wedlock births, sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, suicide, etc., are all more common than they were a generation ago — but never upward. Why not? Because those who take on the job of sanctifying others are themselves unsanctified. They’re sinners, and just as fallible, just as ill-informed, as those whom they propose to sanctify. Physician, heal thyself!

“Alter the course of human evolution”? Heinrich Himmler and others have already tried this, selectively breeding and sterilizing or murdering their subjects in an effort to produce a Master Race through the “science” of eugenics. Now humanists propose to do it through genetic engineering and human cloning.

Whether such a thing is actually possible or not, the problem will always come down to someone, somewhere, tainted with Original Sin and operating under the influence of incomplete or inaccurate information, fears, and prejudices deciding how to alter evolution. That’s a problem that simply can’t be solved, even if you believe in evolution in the first place.

By contrast, God has promised to do all these things and more: to restore creation to its original purity and to regenerate mankind.

Christians do not eschew science. “The redeemed Christian is God’s vice-regent over the earth,” R. J. Rushdoony writes, “and science is one of man’s tools in establishing and furthering that dominion.” But Christians do not push science farther than it ought to go. “For science to overstep that role is to forsake science for magic. The purposes of modern science are increasingly those of magic, the exercise of total control,” Rushdoony says.[1]

It’s no accident that the nations most averse to Christianity are those that have fallen farthest behind. Secular Europe is slipping backward where Christian Europe used to advance.

Is Reason Reasonable?

The wise use of technology, declares HM II, will “unlock vast new powers” — unspecified, of course. These will be harnessed by the humanists’ trump card: reason.

But what is “reason”? One man’s reason is another man’s folly, or worse. “Reason” supposes that “reasonable” persons, working from the same set of data, will reach the same conclusions. How often does that happen in the real world? If it did, there would be neither politics nor lawsuits.

Reason, the manifesto explains, boils down to “an ethical process” applicable to all mankind. And if you don’t subscribe to the government’s ethical process, there’s a cell in a gulag with your name on it.

The Bible already presents an ethical system that applies to all. Because this ethical system is handed down by God, it’s not negotiable, not subject to change, and really does apply to everyone. If God created us, it is logical for Him to define good and evil.

Any such system devised by man rests on man’s personal opinions and can only be as strong as the brute force, the money, or the public relations campaign behind it. Man-made ethical systems change as the power of their sponsors rises and falls.

Nevertheless, having achieved a global consensus through the application of reason and having set up a universal ethical system, the manifesto sweeps on to propose the creation of a global government. This is for “the fulfillment of the potential for growth in each human personality” for which “[o]nly a shared world and global measures will suffice.”

And so, micromanaged by a global government, each and every one of the world’s 6 billion people will achieve his full potential — whatever the global government decides that is. Meanwhile, back in the real world, this sort of thing has yet to be achieved in the smallest hamlet or the lowliest kibbutz.

How are all these humanist marvels to be achieved? Don’t ask. Put your blind faith in science and technology and in the wisdom of man without God, and all will be well.

But the Bible teaches us that “verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Ps. 39:5). If he were not, he’s had thousands of years to get his act together, and he certainly should have done so before now. You’d think one of his mighty empires would have proved permanent. Meanwhile, Western civilization based on Christianity dramatically outperformed the empires of the past. That it sags and staggers today is due to its abandonment of its Christian faith.

What has survived, and always will, is God’s Word. Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, and Rome had thinkers as bright and as humanistic as the signers of Manifesto II. All are dust. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away,” says our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 24:35).

The Humanist Manifesto II is a faith statement opposed to the Christian faith, in which man — sinful, fallible, and self-deluded — and the works of his hands are offered up as a replacement for God. Why we should continue to trust in man, after the tumults and atrocities of the last century, is not explained.

In the rest of this series, we’ll look at the sections of HM II on religion, ethics, the individual, democratic society, world community, and humanity as a whole. We will not find wisdom there, but only the self-destructive false reasoning of men who willingly divorce themselves from God.

Choosing the Curse

[Part III]

Although churchmen who profess “liberal religion” may call themselves humanists, it simply isn’t possible to be both a Christian and a humanist. No other document makes that clearer than The Humanist Manifesto II (for full text and source of quotations see http://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto2.html).

In this article we’ll examine the sections of HMII dealing with humanists’ views on “Religion,” “Ethics,” and “The Individual.” We have to examine only six subsections, two per section; but they are densely packed with humanist ideology. Given that thousands of the world’s eminent humanists have signed this document, we are justified in taking it for an accurate statement of what humanists believe.

Religion

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.   — 1 Corinthians 15:13–20

This is the Christian position, as stated by the Apostle Paul. It would be impossible to be more in conflict with it than are the manifesto’s statements on “Religion.”

Humanists see religion as “a disservice to the human species.” They set “science” as their standard: “Any account of nature should pass the tests of scientific evidence … We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural … As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.”

Of course, if God is our supreme authority, we cannot appeal to a higher authority to confirm His existence. For us there can be no higher authority. But for the humanist, the ultimate authority is “scientific evidence” — collected, identified, and interpreted by sinful, fallible, mortal men and their fallible, often-inaccurate procedures.

We believe we live because God created us to love Him, to serve and worship Him, to become His children by adoption. But humanists say, “[W]e can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species.”

These are faith statements, not testable under a higher standard of proof. If our god is the Lord, the humanists’ god is man and his science.

HMII’s alienation from God is total. After denying Him, the manifesto says, “Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful … [S]cience affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.” We are a “biological organism transacting in a social and cultural contest.” And finally, “There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body.”

If Christ be indeed risen from the dead, then it is the humanists’ preaching that is vain, and it is the humanists who are the most miserable of men, having rejected God’s gift of eternal life.

Why do they reject life and embrace death? They say it’s because religious belief distracts us from “self-actualization, and from rectifying social injustices.” This will certainly come as news to the countless Christians who have founded, labored in, and donated to hospitals, orphanages, soup kitchens, and a host of other charities. Where are the atheist charities? And who wants to die in a humanist hospice?

Ethics

“We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience,” says the manifesto. “Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest.”

In other words, a “value” is only a value because someone says it is!

The pitfalls of this line of thought are obvious, but humanists insist that “[h]uman life has meaning because we create and develop our future.” Some more than others, we might add.

The Bible is packed with verses proclaiming God’s love, care, and concern for the weak, the powerless, those who have little or no opportunity to create and develop their future. In practice, humanists believe the state will do it for them. We are not encouraged by the historical performance of the state in this respect. We need not focus on statist outrages like Stalin’s manufactured famines, slavery, or catastrophic wars. The abject failures of ostensibly well-intentioned schemes like welfare, public education, and socialized medicine speak just as eloquently.

How do humanists decide what their values are? By “reason and intelligence” and “the controlled use of scientific methods.” How these will lead us to morality is not explained.

We detect in this portion of the manifesto a faint note of unease. “Reason should be balanced with compassion and empathy and the whole person fulfilled,” say the authors. Science must be allied with emotion, “for we believe in the cultivation of feeling and love.”

The Bible tells us that God is love: “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). God’s love is intensely personal; but we have never seen much, if any, love flowing out of impersonal government institutions. How do humanists propose to harness “feeling and love”? What kind of love, what feelings? Given their contention that we are only biological organisms arising from brute material processes, how would they even define love? We are not told.

The Individual

If humanists are uneasy about trying to balance science and emotion, they have an even harder task here.

“We believe in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility,” says HMII. Christians speak of this in terms of liberty under the law and grace and sovereignty of God, “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). But HMII can only discuss it in terms of lifting restraints on sexual behavior.

Inveighing against “intolerant attitudes” and “puritanical cultures” that “unduly repress sexual conduct,” humanists say that “individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire.” They hail abortion and divorce, and the “many varieties of sexual exploration.”

At the same time, they claim to reject “exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression,” “mindless permissiveness or unbridled promiscuity,” and “harming others or compelling them to do likewise.” Somehow they hope to provide “moral education for children and adults … developing awareness and sexual maturity.”

We are not told how these fine-sounding caveats are to be put into practice. In the real world, we encounter absurdities like the Vermont civil unions law, which disallows homosexual civil unions between close kin. And we see humanists restricting the “maximum individual autonomy” of those who disagree with them; for instance, Missouri State University has denied a degree to a social work student who, for religious reasons, refused to write a letter to the state legislature in support of homosexual adoptions (see http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/11/12006a.asp). We also see a world swept by epidemics of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

R. J. Rushdoony long ago saw the connection between sexual revolution and statist tyranny. Writing for California Farmer in 1975, he said:

“People welcome tyranny in the belief that their liberties are being increased.

“In only one direction is their freedom increased, however, and it is the ‘freedom’ to sin … It leads, not to the liberation, but to the enslavement of man and the disintegration of his society.”[1]

Conclusion

Rejecting God and putting themselves in God’s place, the highest authority humanists can invoke is the state, the concrete form taken by their idolatry of man.

The Biblical vision of the state is one of limited government, and a clearly defined mission to enforce the law and protect its citizens from evildoers. The Biblical state is only one of four spheres of government — state, church, family, and the internal self-government of the individual — all under God, and all accountable to Him.

The humanist vision of the state, as we will discuss in subsequent articles, is unlimited, unrestrained, and accountable to no one. It is to the untrammeled state that the humanist looks to put his ideology into practice. The state is the ultimate creation of the humanist: he cannot go higher.

Can a Christian believe that his is one of many untrue religions that only hold humanity back? That man has no soul, no afterlife? That “values” are only valuable because someone says so? That sexual license, once granted, is a force that can be controlled by fine words and “moral education” by teachers who believe all ethics are “situational” and that there is no moral authority higher than whatever group of men is currently in power?

Moses told Israel, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God … And a curse, if ye will not obey” (Deut. 11:26–28).

Nothing has changed since then. To choose the path of humanism is to choose the curse. The humanists’ own manifesto convicts them.

“Democratic Society”

[Part IV]

Humanists paint a pretty picture of the world they hope to make: “an open and democratic society” with a “full range of civil liberties” and a “decentralized” decision-making process that gives everyone a say in how things are done. There will be “elimination of all discrimination based upon race, religion, sex, age, or national origin,” and everyone who needs it will receive “a minimum guaranteed annual income.” It will all be part of “an integrated community.”

Those fine words all come from The Humanist Manifesto II (for full text and source of quotations seehttp://www.americanhumanist.org/about/manifesto2.html), from its section on “Democratic Society.” Because humanism has dominated American education for over a century, most Americans have bought into the humanist sales campaign for “democracy.”

The Constitution of the United States guarantees us a republican form of government (art. IV, sec. 4), not a democracy. “Democracy” is a humanist idea, and we would do well to understand what humanists mean by it.

Spheres of Government

“Without self-government, love for neighbor, and love for God and His revealed order, the state will not be able to stop crime.”

— Rev. Joseph Morecraft III[1]

Traditionally, how does a civilized, more-or-less Christian society govern itself? What keeps these societies from melting down into chaos?

Most individual citizens practice self-government. They do not commit murder when they’re angry, or rob a bank when they need money. If no one had a conscience, and all were bent on lawlessness, no government could restrain them.

People live in families, wherein adults teach children how to behave and bring them up to be moral, law-abiding, productive members of society.

The church, if it functions properly, accurately preaches God’s Word so that the families who attend the churches know how God wants them to live. To some degree, albeit not completely, they uphold God’s revealed order.

Together, churches, families, and philanthropic individuals take care of those in need — whether it’s a small thing, like seeing to it that a poor family’s children have warm clothes for the winter, or a very large one, like rebuilding the city of Galveston after it was devastated by a hurricane in 1900. That major project was done without any involvement of the federal government.

This leaves the civil government with a mandate to preserve order and protect the citizens from evildoers, because there will always be a few who prey on others.

Fallen, sinful man being what he is, sometimes these societies do fail. As Christians we look forward to the fruition of God’s work of regeneration: “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Rom. 8:22). Our trust is in the power and the grace of God.

Eliminate the Competition

Humanists, according to the manifesto, don’t believe in God. For them, regeneration must come from man himself, by means of man’s ultimate instrument, the state.

As we have discussed in earlier articles, humanists seek to disable the church by insisting that all religion is false, and to wear away the family by granting wide sexual license. The church can have no authority if its teachings are presumed to be false. The family cannot survive a perpetual avalanche of divorce, out-of-wedlock births, abortion, cohabitation, homosexuality, polyamory, etc.

Humanists would do away with complementary spheres of government — no church, no families. Only the state is to have authority of any kind. The state’s schools will train the children in a humanist way of thinking.

This vision of total statism is what humanists mean by “democracy.”

The Secret Weapon

How do they hope to make their vision a reality?

Humanists’ secret weapon is their claim that humanism is not a religion, not an ideology, but merely “reason.”

“The separation of church and state and the separation of ideology and state are imperatives,” says the manifesto. The state “should not favor any particular religious bodies … nor espouse a single ideology” — except, of course, the religion and ideology of humanism.

R. J. Rushdoony long ago saw through this deception, as promulgated in the works of John Dewey, humanism’s most influential spokesman in the first half of the 20th century. Rushdoony called humanism “a metaphysics … veiled behind a facade of pragmatism.”[2]

Humanists, he said, even deceive themselves with “theory … based on implicit and unreasoning dogmatism”[3] and an “inability to see its radically religious presuppositions.”[4] This “faith-based” aspect of humanism, as clearly expressed in the manifesto, has been discussed in earlier articles in this series.

Humanists always try to gain an ideological monopoly by claiming not to be an ideology. Denying any role in public policy-making to Christianity or any other religion, there is to be no one left in that arena but … humanists.

A Stink of Death

The features of a “democracy,” as described in HMII, may seem attractive. But humanists’ lofty sentiments must always be weighed against their not-so-lofty practices.

HMII calls for a “full range of civil liberties,” mirroring the lists of rights and liberties found in historical documents “from the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights.”

Before the first paragraph on this subject concludes, the manifesto brings up “a right to die with dignity,” euthanasia, and a “right to suicide.” HMII also supports unlimited abortion “rights,” while insisting that there is no God, “no divine purpose or providence for the human species,” and “no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body.” The manifesto has a stink of death.

What is the source of civil liberties? According to the Declaration of Independence, men “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” For humanists, it’s the state that does the endowing.

“Decision-making must be decentralized,” says the manifesto. “All persons should have a voice in developing the values and goals that determine their lives.” For Christians, the eternal, unchanging Word of God tells us what’s valuable. Humanists mean to decide this for themselves. In practice, such decisions are made by small elites or “experts” and handed down to the masses via the schools and the media.

In practice, workers’ soviets, college student senates, focus groups, etc., have only one role to play under a humanist government: to parrot the party line, as handed down by the self-anointed elite. Rushdoony scored Dewey for preaching that “there is no morality beyond the state and its social interests.”[5] With all citizens having been educated in state schools where only the ideology of “reason” is allowed, dissent, or even a divergence of opinion, becomes unreasonable.

HMII is “open to alternative economic systems,” meaning socialism and Marxism, and claims that a democracy ought to provide “a minimum guaranteed annual income” for all. Do you think that might encourage some people not to bother to work — especially when they’re being oppressively taxed to pay the fare for those who choose not to work?

The Bible teaches “that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). All who receive HMII’s guaranteed income would be wards of the state; all who continue to work would be its slaves. How such an economy could be sustained for any length of time is left to the imagination. Western Europe tries to make the system work by importing vast numbers of Muslim immigrants to serve as a kind of helot class. Western Europe’s problems with this scheme are rapidly approaching a full-blown crisis.

But it’s all supposed to lead us to “an integrated community.” What does that mean? “Although we believe in cultural diversity and encourage racial and ethnic pride” — how “reasonable” is that? — “we reject segregations which promote alienation and set groups against each other.” That it’s human nature to move into competing, even antagonistic, interest groups is not acknowledged by the manifesto.

In practice, wherever we see “diversity” touted as an end in itself, most notably at universities and colleges, we see an insistence on uniformity of thought, enforced by speech codes, the use of “sensitivity training” as a disciplinary measure, and dissenters subject to penalties ranging from ostracism and mockery to failing grades or even expulsion.

This humanist concept of democracy, Rushdoony said, requires “the total unification of society under a common goal.”[6]

We may think we’re buying into liberty; but what the humanists are selling is totalitarianism.

Conclusion

A century and a half of humanist politics has done its work. The federal government has moved into and taken over areas never assigned to it by the Constitution. State employees, not parents and pastors, educate most of America’s children. Bureaucrats, not churches or families, dominate the promotion of public health, the relief of the poor, child welfare, and so on, replacing charity with taxation and personal benevolence with government red tape.

Worse still, many Americans have grown accustomed to it and can hardly imagine any other way of governing the nation. A flabby, uninspired church neglects its duty to preach and teach the Word of God, and too many families are content to let the state schools indoctrinate their children further into humanism.

The state has increased, while the other spheres of government have decreased. This will not be reversed unless the people’s hearts and minds are changed, and they turn away from the state and back to God and rediscover such virtues as self-reliance, tithing to empower the church, and face-to-face good works.

Meanwhile, not even the rise of statism here at home is enough to sate the humanists. In the next article in this series, we’ll look at the manifesto’s vision of a global government — a colossus state bestriding the world.

*****

 [1] R. J. Rushdoony, The Nature of the American System (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1965, 2001 edition), 93.

[2] R. J. Rushdoony, (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2001 edition), 7.

[3] R. J. Rushdoony, The Mythology of Science (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1967, 2001 edition), 6.

[4] Rushdoony, California Farmer, 243:8 (Nov. 15, 1975), 19.

[5] Joseph Morecraft III, With Liberty & Justice for All, (Cumming, GA: Chalcedon Media Ministries, 1995, 2006 edition), 69.

[6] R. J. Rushdoony, The Messianic Character of American Education, (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1963, 1995 edition), 145.

[7] Ibid., 145.

[8] Ibid., 147.

[9] Ibid., 156.

[10] Ibid., 160.

Lee Duigon is a Christian free-lance writer and contributing editor for Faith for All of Life. He has been a newspaper editor and reporter and is the author of the Bell Mountain Series of novels.

Article from Chalcedon.edu

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This entry was posted in All-Encompassing Gospel, Church and State, Theology/Philosophy, Worldview/Culture, Z-Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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