Document Sample
Humanism Powered By Docstoc

A Philosophy of Man
                      What is Humanism

• Humanism is another type of philosophy
  that effects our culture.
• It is difficult to define, but its impact is far
• Humanism has popped up throughout
  history wherever men believe that there is
  either no God, or that his action in the
  universe is limited to creation.
• Humanism is a very misunderstood word.
  – First, we must be clear to understand that
    Humanism is not the same thing as
    humanitarianism. Humanitarianism is a
    concern with the welfare of other human
  – Humanism has meant different things
    throughout history.
• Humanism is a system of philosophy that is
  concerned solely with human interests.
              Historical Development

• Humanism has its roots in the ancient Greek
  philosophers, mainly the Sophists of the 4th
  and 5th century B.C.
  – The leading philosopher of this group is named
  – He phrased the central teaching of all forms of
                           Homo Mensura

• Man, the measure!
  – Man is the sole criteria for verifying
  – All aspects of life have nothing to do with God
    or the eternal, but they have to do only with
• Modern Humanism has roots in the
  – Christianity in the Middle Ages was concerned
    mainly with the afterlife. The Renaissance was
    a movement towards concern for this life.
  – The goal of the people in the Renaissance was
    to achieve the best possible life in this world.
  – People believed that this could be done through
    their own efforts.
• This idea seemed to have been confirmed in
  the Enlightenment Age of the 17th and 18th
  – Human reason seemed to be perfect.
  – Idea of natural Law (The universe is governed
    by a set up universal unchanging Laws).
  – Belief that Humanity was moving towards
    perfection (scientific advances, world
    exploration, wealth, etc.)
• The result of Enlightenment thinking was
  that human history is moving irreversibly
  upward towards Enlightenment. The basic
  teaching was that God had set the world in
  motion, under rules by which it is governed
  and that it is moving towards perfection.
  – Our central task is to use the Scientific Method
    to discover the basic laws that govern the
• In the 19th century, it seemed that Darwin’s
  theories offered definitive proof in these
  – Darwin’s theory teaches that all species are
    moving towards perfection through natural
  – Social Darwinism applied these theories to
• Modern Humanism is the end result of this
  historical process.
  – Central to the humanist tradition is a belief in
    man’s innate goodness, rationality, and self-
    perfectibility, and in the empirical (scientific)
    method as the principle means of obtaining
    What does Modern Humanism

• Modern Humanism is a distinct movement
  found largely among the intellectual elite.
  – The American Humanist Association was
    founded in 1941.
  – They publish two periodicals, The Humanist
    and Free Inquiry.
  – Members promote humanism through other
    various media (Radio,TV, Discussion Groups)
• Humanist Ideas are set forth in two
  systematic Creeds.
  – The Humanist Manifesto (1933)
  – The Humanist Manifesto II (1973)
    What does Modern Humanism

• “Modern Humanism involves a
  conscientious alternative to supernatural
                             R.C. Sproul
  – This means that those that openly embrace
    humanism do so knowing that they stand in
    opposition to the Christian faith.
• As such, the U.S. Supreme Court declared
  humanism to be a separate religion in 1961
  (Torcaso vs. Watkins).
• Humanism is a philosophy, a general
  attitude, and an organized movement.
            The Impact of Humanism

• The impact of humanism on the culture is
  hard to gauge.
  – On one hand, there are relatively few people
    that openly subscribe to the whole system of
  – On the other, many of these people hold “high
    profile” positions in society.
• The general effect of the attitude of
  humanism has however had a far reaching
  impact on our society. Because of its
  stronghold among the “intellectual elite” of
  our culture, humanism has greatly effected
  the policymakers of our culture. It is
  pervasive in our government institutions.
           Humanism in The Schools

• Part of the Humanist Agenda is to take
  control of our cultures means of education.
  – “Religious humanism maintains that all
    associations and institutions exist for the
    fulfillment of human life.” H.M. 1:13.
• Humanism is the dominant philosophy in
  the public school system, especially in the
  colleges and universities.
• This is not to say that there are no
  Christians that work in the school systems.
  There are certainly countless faithful
  Christians that work in public schools.
• The problem is that the ability for local
  decision making has been largely taken
  away from these people.
• Also, the Christian community has been
  slow to realize how far reaching humanism
  has become.
• We have assumed that the schools have a
  much more Biblical assumption than they
  really do.
   What Should our Reaction Be?

• We have several choices
  – We can pull out. This has been the method of
    the Roman Catholic Church for years.
  – We can be influence our culture by becoming
    involved, thus influencing the policy-making
  – It is my personal belief that this is the more
    Reformed view.
• It is of vital importance that as the
  covenantal community of God, that we
  know what our children are taught in
  school, and that we be able to offer them an
  educated evaluation of what they are taught.
                  Humanism Critiqued

• First Humanism flatly ignores the
  overwhelming evidence for the existence of
  – God Reveals himself to us through creation.
    (Romans 1:18-20)
  – God Reveals himself through his word. (2 Peter
    1: 16-21)
– Humanism ignores the more likely view of
  intelligent design in favor of a cold process that
  is the result of chance.
– Humanism rejects the observable change that
  has taken place in the lives of millions of
  people due to their relationship with God.
• Humanism fails to take into account the
  contributions of the Christian tradition.
  – Humanists accuse Christianity as “inhibiting
    humans from helping themselves and
    experiencing their full potentials… Traditional
    religions are surely not the only obstacles to
    human progress.
– Christians have consistently supported the
  freedom, dignity, and individuality of persons,
  as well as democracy, social justice, and
  modern education. They have brought
  medicine, literacy, and material improvements
  to the ends of the earth, and have taught people
  to value human life and to love others.
• Humanism is defective
  – If we are the product of chance, why should we
    have any special concern for others, isn’t it
    about survival of the fittest?
  – If there is nothing eternal, then why worry
    about anything other than ourselves.
  – Our motivation to to seek after good must be
    the result of our understanding that we are
    created in the image of God.
• Humanism’s logical outcome is moral
  – If there is no God, then there are no absolute
    values. Right or wrong is determined by the
    individual. Because of sinfulness, this spells
    the end of moral decency.

Shared By: