David Reagan - The Challenge of Humanism
Are you aware of the fact that one of the greatest challenges to Christianity in the world today is Humanism? It is eroding Christianity both from within and without. What is Humanism? How can you recognize it? How should Christians respond to it? Stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Over the past few weeks we have been sharing with you some excerpts from the presentations that were made at our 2011 Bible Conference whose theme was "Christianity under Attack. We have thus far considered "The Challenge of Islam," "The Challenge of Government," "The Challenge of Apostasy," and "The Challenge of Evolution." In this program we are going to focus on "The Challenge of Humanism," and our speaker is going to be Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and director of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures.
Dr. Rhodes: Thank you. Anybody here excited about Jesus? Alright. How about the Bible? Are you excited about the Bible? Anybody here standing on the promises of God? You guys are a bunch of fanatics. Just my kind of people. You know some people are talking about turning your cell phones off. Well I have a good friend who was doing a live television show about the resurrection and guess what happened? His cell phone went off right in the middle of the live TV show. But you know what the ringtone was? Mission impossible. The Lord has a sense of humor. I could picture Jesus turning to the Father and saying, "Watch this, this is going to be good."
But today I am going to talk about something a little more serious which is the challenge of humanism and atheism. And I've got to tell you I do believe that Christianity is in the cross hairs today. Today Christianity is under attack and I believe that humanist and atheist are on the front lines. In fact I can tell you that they seek to want to erase Christianity from our culture today.
What are the targets? Well the targets would include for example Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas. Nativity scenes, I know that you have seen lawsuits launched against businesses because they have a nativity scene out front. Christian morality is under attack. The Christian Bible is under attack. In fact humanist and atheist say that it is a vile book filled with ethical barbarisms. It's an ancient book written by superstitious men and it wasn't even true back in Biblical times. I mean it is a false book. Christian crosses or crucifixes are under attack. And as well Christians are under attack in terms of the influence that they want to express in schools and education and government, and public policy, and Hollywood and the government and media and much more.
You see the humanist want to marginalize Christians. They want to make Christians irrelevant in the current dialogue and debate. In the process I believe there have been many denials of Christian freedoms especially at the work place. I am thinking about a Christian apartment owner that I read about and this Christian apartment owner was actually prosecuted for refusing to rent an apartment to an unmarried couple. Now this person owned the apartment building, and this is a person of virtue. This Christian wanted to make sure that the people who lived in the apartment building had a clean life and were reasonably responsible people. But he was prosecuted because he refused to rent it to an unmarried couple. Let me just put it a little more strongly; he was prosecuted for not allowing a couple to go in there and commit fornication within the walls of the building that he himself owns.
Christian freedoms are under attack. I am thinking about the sixth grade elementary school girl who gave an oral report on the Bible. Now you know sixth graders can be excited about things right? So she brought some extra copies of her book report. And any student who wanted it she gave a copy out right after the classroom. Well shortly after a teacher barged in and escorted this young girl to the principal's office and she was interrogated by school officials and denied the right to call her mother. Now do you think that she's remembered that ever since that happened? And do you think she is going to remember that her entire life? I think that she is.
My friends it gets worse. I am thinking about the six year old student I read about, the six year old students were taught to bring about their favorite books for show and tell. Now listen they had show and tell back in my day and that was back in the days of Moses. And I remember very clearly how excited we were to share the things that we brought to school. Well here we have this little six year old student who brought the Bible because the Bible was the most important book to this child's family. And so he brought the Bible and then he was told to take it home because it was against the law. You can't mix religion in the school system. Now do you think that he has remembered that and will remember that for the rest of his life? I think so, I think so. This is the denial of Christian freedoms.
I'm thinking about the graduating senior who had perfect grades, a 4.0 average and yet she was denied the right to give an address to her graduation class. Why so? Well because she had a sentence in her speech that gave credit to Jesus for bringing meaning into her life. Now the religion of humanism that's okay. Any other false religion that's okay. But you've got to keep Jesus out of the picture. That bothers me.
I also think about the church school run by a Christian preacher and he was ordered to close it because the teachers in the school program did not have a state certification. Now this is not religious certification or spiritual certification or biblical certification, this is secular state certification. If you don't have our certification we close you down. That's basically what happened. Well this was a preacher with a conscience; he felt that he was doing the will of God in setting up this church school. And after all he just wanted to train his young people in Christian doctrine, and Christian virtues. I mean that's what we need isn't it? And yet the society and the government officials came against them.
In fact during a prayer vigil for the school the local sheriff and his deputy showed up and took them off to jail and then padlocked the church. You see this is what I am talking about when I talking about the denial of Christian liberties. I've got to tell you something I think it's going to get worse. It's going to get worse and I tell you what the middle ground is going to get smaller. You will either stand for Jesus Christ or you won't. Will you join me? Will you stand for Jesus Christ in the midst of the onslaught?
Come out unclean spirit, there you go. You know what is funny? I was doing a message at one church and the whole PowerPoint thing went dead and I said that and it came back on. And everybody went, "What?! He has power over the spirits?" Anyway Christianity is also being attacked in the media. I'm sure that you've see the big screen and the small screen and how Christian are often made to look like imbeciles. Very often on news programs you will find Christians referred to as you know the religious right. And that is a term that implies that all of us Christians are intolerant, backwoods fanatics, who don't use their brains. Meanwhile the humanists are portrayed as these enlightened intellectuals.
And of great relevance is the fact that humanism is indeed a religion. It is a religious system. In fact back in 1961 it was declared a religion by the Supreme Court and Julian Huxley predicted that humanism would be the ultimate religion of the world. Now let me tell you why that bothers me. Since humanism permeates our public schools. And because humanism is a religion it is fair to say that our public schools are institutions that indoctrinate our kids in false religion. Now I want to be fair. We also have some great teachers that teacher English, and math and a lot of good stuff.
I'm not belittling them or standing against them at all. But the fact is we've got school systems that are teaching false religion. And guess who's paying for it? You and me, my dollars are being used in order to support a building that is built that has false religion within its walls. I don't know if that bothers you, but it bothers me. That's one of the reasons why we need to be involved in the political process and make sure that our voice is heard when decisions are made about school curriculum. Believe me it can be done. Now bottom line in what I've said so far is that Christianity indeed is in the crosshairs. And I again raise the question will you stand with me? It is my prayer that you will.
Now what do humanists believe? What is this religion? What are some of the doctrines of this religion? Let's begin with the fact that it is anti-supernatural. In fact one of the books that they've come out with is "Humanist Manifesto II" and it is one of the best summaries of this doctrine of humanism. And listen to what they say, "We find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural. It is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theist we begin with humans not God, nature not deity."
Now why is this beginning point so important? Well if you begin on the premise of anti-supernaturalism isn't that going to affect everything else? Isn't that going to set the stage for multiple denials of Christian doctrine? Well it is. You see the fact is that this is foundational everything else proceeds from this; and keeping with that there is no God according to humanists. In fact James Hitchcock says in his book, "What is Secular Humanism?" groups like the American Humanist Association are not humanists just in the sense that they have an interest in humanities, or that they value man over nature, in their self definition God does not exist. They promote a way of life that is systematically excludes God and all religion in the traditional sense. Man for better or worse is on his own in the universe, he marks the highest point to which nature has yet evolved. And he must rely entirely on his own resources."
Now notice that phrase way of life. You see from the moment that they get up until the moment they go to bed humanism effects everything. The denial of God affects everything. It affects the words that they speak to other people. It affects their behavior. It affects their morality, or lack thereof. It effects how they interact with the world. You see their way of life is governed by the fact, or by their claim that there is no God. Isaac Asimov is a good example, a very popular writer and scientist. And he says this, "Emotionally I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist. But I so strongly suspect He doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
Now of course Isaac Asimov is no longer an atheist. He is no longer an atheist. In fact the moment that he died he witnessed the utter collapse, the calamitous collapse with utter clarity of humanistic atheism. And I suspect he wished he had taken more time. In any event he goes on to say, "The universe can be explained by evidence obtained from the universal alone. No supernatural agency need be called upon." In other words evolution explains where we all came from.
Now of course Carl Sagan is another individual that has already been mentioned in this conference. Carl Sagan actually came out with a TV series which was on PBS and followed up with a book by the same name. And he said, "That the cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be." Where do you think he stole that phrase by the way, at least part of it? Sounds kind of like the Christian doxology doesn't it? That talks about the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit who is, and whoever was, and whoever will be. It is almost like he is making the universe out to be God. But he indicates that there is no deity with whom we need to concern ourselves.
Now of course Carl Sagan is no longer an atheist. You see the moment that he died he witnessed with utter clarity the calamitous collapse of humanistic atheism. And by the way you know it is a tragic thing isn't it. I mean God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, and neither do I, God doesn't desire any to perish. But people have chosen the false religion of humanism and I must tell you that if you go into eternity believing that religion, you go into a Christ-less eternity that lasts forever, you see. And that is a horrible destiny.
Even our kids are taught that there is no Creator. Humanist Chris Brockman wrote a book called "What About Gods?" and I want you to listen to this. "We no longer need gods to explain how things happened. By careful thinking, measuring, and testing we have discovered many of the real causes of things and we are discovering more all the time. We call this thinking." Now what is the implication there? Well the implication is that you and I don't think. Those creationists those guys are a bunch of nincompoops. They don't use their brains; they check their brains at the door. They are holding on to old superstitions.
But we think now we know the real cause of things. And the real cause of things is humanistic evolution. Of course the philosophy behind all of it is naturalism which says that all phenomena in the world can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. Listen to how one modern science textbooks puts it. "Living creatures on earth are a direct product of the earth. There is every reason to believe that living things owe their origin entirely to certain physical and chemical properties of the ancient earth. Nothing supernatural appears to be involved, only time and natural physical and chemical laws operating within the peculiarly, suitable environment." So naturalism explains everything.
Furthermore there is no divine purpose for humanity. Listen to these words from the "Humanist Manifesto II," "We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us, we must save ourselves. We are all alone in this great big universe. No ultimate purpose whatsoever." And in keeping with this Paul Kurtz who is a very famous humanist who wrote a book called, "Forbidden Fruit, the Ethics of Humanism," put it this way and I want you to notice the terms the derogatory terms that he uses to describe the Christian belief. "The Theist world is only a dream world. It is a feeble escape into a future that will never come." And then he goes on, "Promises of a mortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful they distract humans from present concerns, from self-actualization and from rectifying social injustices. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We continue to exist in our progeny and in the way our lives have influenced others in our culture."
Now notice how this concern about eternal damnation is said to interfere with self-actualization. I almost find that comical. Yeah you know the idea that there is a judge before whom we must appear in the afterlife to give an account for our actions. Yeah that might interfere a little bit with your present, sinful lifestyle. You know that is really what he is saying there. It is all about relativistic ethics. In terms of ethics they affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction.
When I was over in London you know and I rode a lot of those double-decker buses. And look at this picture. "There is probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life." You see. It's kind of interesting because I was over in London when the bombs went off there. And one of those buses got blown to smithereens. I don't know if that billboard was on that bus, but it makes me wonder. Makes me wonder. Bottom-line: Christianity and Humanism are diametrically different from each other. In terms of source Christianity is based on the Bible. Whereas Secular Humanism is based upon "Humanist Manifesto I, II, and III."
In terms of the theology Christianity teaches theism, the idea of a personal Creator God; whereas Secular Humanism believes in atheism. In terms of philosophy Christianity holds to supernaturalism, the idea that there is a supernatural God who can do miracles, and intervene in a miraculous way in our lives; whereas Secular Humanism believes in naturalism the idea that nature accounts for everything in our universe. In terms of ethics Christianity believes in moral absolutes. In other words ethics that are true for all people and in all ages; whereas in terms of Secular Humanism they believe in moral relativism. You know humanistic ethics basically says you can have your ethics and I can have mine. What works for you is fine. What works for me is fine. We are a law unto ourselves basically in the system of thought.
In terms of biology Christianity teaches Creationism; whereas in Secular Humanism we find Evolution. In Christianity the modus operandi is faith and reason. Yes we have faith in the Bible, but God gave us reason to read it. Come let us reason God says. Whereas in Secular Humanism they say that they are only interested in human rationalization. By the way is that true? Is it only human rationalization? I don't think so. In fact I think that evolution and naturalization involves a whole lot more faith. That's why one of my good friends Norman Geisler wrote a book called, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist." You see.
So whether they want to admit or not they do have a faith system. And there is a lot more evidence that supports our viewpoint than their viewpoint. You see our faith has evidence to support it. But as we will see today their faith does not. And then in terms of education, Christianity is value based, whereas Secular Humanism is valueless. Now how can we respond to the humanist challenge? How can we respond to atheism? Well Dave I didn't tell you this but my session is going to go four hours, in order to cover all of this. Ha, ha. No my wife Kerri said, "Ron get them out on time." So we are going to get out on time today but let me share some highlights with you.
First of all I want to let you know that humanism is nothing new. It is nothing new. In fact there are seeds of humanism even back in biblical times. Now let me clarify, it is true that the religion of Humanism with the "Humanistic Manifest I, II, and III," that is fairly recent. But in terms of the seeds of humanism it goes way back to biblical times. For example in Genesis 3:4-5 we read, "You will be like God, knowing good and evil." Now who said that? That's right Satan through the serpent said that. Now I want you to think about that for a minute. Where do you think humanism came from? Satan. Let me tell you something my friends, it is my belief that Satan is a master marketer. He is the one behind all of the false religions and cults. And his goal is to draw people away from the Christ of Scripture. Now he's got different religions that appeal to different demographics in our society.
For example if you would to become a god ruling your own planet he's got Mormonism for you. If you are one of those people who likes to declare your reality and by positive thinking you can call your world into being. Well maybe the New Thought Movement is for you. That is with the law of attraction. Or if you are the type of person who would like to do away with death and disease and suffering and that kind of stuff, well Christian Science is your ticket. You see Satan has come up with all kinds of counterfeits in order to draw different parts of our society away from Jesus Christ.
Now humanism is one of his masterpieces. You see it is one of the ones that has broad mass appeal. And for that reason we need to be aware of it as Christians. We continue Genesis 11:4, "Come let us build for ourselves a city and the tower whose top will reach into heaven. Let us make a name for ourselves." You see that is the humanistic tendency towards self exaltation, this idea that we can become our own gods. Judges 21:25, "Every man did what was right in his own eyes," moral relativism. See we see that even back in biblical times. Likewise Isaiah 5:20-21, "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness. Who substitute bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter." You know instead of black and white categories everything merges into a gray zone. Again that is moral relativism, this idea that there is nothing absolute that we need to pay attention to.
And then of course there is the warning from the Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:8 "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deception philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
Now a second point I want to make you aware of is that Scripture actually prophesied end time humanism. Now would you agree with me that we are living in the end times? Yes, I think that we are. And one of the things that we are seeing is this rise in humanism. And I am thinking 2 Timothy 3:1-5, "Realize this that in the last day's difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."
Doesn't sound too good does it? Doesn't sound too good at all; but I want you to notice lovers of self, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure. Lovers of self is another way of describing humanism. Lovers of money is another way of describing materialism, which I might add is part of the humanistic worldview. Lovers of pleasure is another way of describing hedonism, also known as hefnerism and this is part of the humanistic worldview as well. These are three of the most prominent philosophies of our day and they are complementary.
Now here is the thing my friends, when you compare this with the sign of the times that Jesus gave us in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and 25 can there be any doubt that we are living in the end times? I think that it is very clear that we are. And I believe that Scripture indicates that end time Christians are going to be challenged in standing for Christ. So I again bring up my same old point like a broken record, will you stand with me in standing strong for Jesus Christ as we continue to live in the end times?
And number three engage in self-examination. Why do I say this? Now you are probably thinking that one of the first things I ought to do in responding to humanism is to launch right into humanism and debunk it. Well I am going to do that but you know we need to begin with our own house. I say that because I believe that the Christian church and Christianity and individual Christians and Christian organizations have become tainted by humanism. They have. We have witnessed the enemy within the gate. And before we can become effective witnesses reaching the world, standing against humanism, we need to make sure we've got our own act together. Does that make sense? Scripture says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith." Test yourselves.
Now ideally I would like to ask you about 100 questions to help you engage in self-examination, but I don't have the time for that. So let me just ask you a few. And by the way don't answer out loud any of these. And if you are married please don't elbow your spouse if you know they are guilty, alright? Am I willing to take an unpopular stand because it is right? Do I tend to look the other way when people use the Lord's name in vain? Do I talk about creationism freely or am I intimidated into silence? Am I unreservedly committed to living as a Biblical Christian when it comes to the issue of sex, or do I buy into moral relativism? Do I sometimes have a tendency to measure myself and my own goodness against other people instead of God's absolute righteous and holy standard?