Sunday, October 5, 2008

Worldview Class – Part 5 – Secular Humanist Theology

This is a continuation of highlighted topics discussed in a worldview class I am teaching on Sunday morning. The main text for the study is The Battle for Truth by David Noebel. A good deal of this class is also based on personal research.

Theology is defined as “the study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions”. Every worldview takes a stand on God, whether it is to believe in one Creator of all, or to say that no God exists. A critical understanding of each worldview pivots around the position taken regarding the existence of God.

For those in the Secular Humanist camp, the most accepted viewpoint (with rare exceptions) is that the universe is self-created, and that no God exists to rule over eternity. Paul Kurtz - professor, philosopher, and author of many humanistic tenets over the last thirty years – said, "Humanism cannot in any fair sense of the word apply to one who still believes in God as the source and creator of the universe." To be more specific, God, Satan, angels, demons, souls, and consciences, do not exist according to humanists. These entities are grouped together as the “supernatural”, and are denied existence according to any one of the three Humanist Manifestoes. I must confess, if someone has asked me if I believed in the supernatural a year ago, I would have thought twice about it. The word evokes pictures of ghosts, goblins, and magic. But, strictly speaking, those of us who believe in Christian Theism believe in the supernatural. Get used to it.

What evidence do Christians have to support this belief? We have the Bible, which is well-documented to have existed for a very long time, and has been supported by countless archaeological finds. To me, the most obvious basis for a belief in God is that there is simply no conceivable way that the universe “created itself”, as the humanists would have us believe. To believe that the order and complexity found in living entities just “happened” as a matter of chance requires far more faith for me than to simply accept that there is a Creator of all. Look into the concept of “irreducible complexity” if you want to know more (I may cover this topic in a future post).

Conversely, what evidence does the secular humanist give to deny the existence of God? I have consulted their Manifestoes and read their quotes to a great extent, but have been unable to glean any backing for this stance. In fact, the closest I have come to answering this question is a quote from Isaac Asimov, noted science fiction author and director of the American Humanist Association from 1989 to 1992. He says, “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.”

Insert the equivalent of a pregnant pause here.

Asimov, and all other humanists are willing to gamble that they have no eternal souls based merely on a suspicion that God doesn’t exist. Perhaps that doesn’t seem crazy to some. Let me pose an example which I believe to be equivalent. Suppose I wake up feeling “lucky” tomorrow. So lucky, in fact, that I’m willing to drive the eleven miles to work at exactly forty miles per hour without regard to other vehicles or pedestrians on the road – I won’t slow down or speed up for anything. So lucky that I’m going to drain my brake system first, since I simply won’t be needing it. I will even let my eight-year-old daughter do the driving, because I so strongly believe in my luck, that to consider any other option is a waste of my time. Is this any more ridiculous than risking eternity on a whim?

Simply put, the pursuit of knowing and understanding the existence of God can never be considered a waste of time. And this is the appeal we must make to the secular humanist. Many of them believe strongly in their own brand of theology. But it is a belief system devoid of hope or eternal meaning. The third Humanist Manifesto professes to “finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death”. By their own admission, death is the end of everything for each human being – nothing follows, and there is nothing to anticipate or for which to live after dying. What better place to start than this when discussing theology with a humanist?

Christians – we have something that they desperately need. This should be our starting point with every humanist we meet. The Christian life offers hope, eternity, and a loving God who wants to spend an infinite amount of time with us. This is not such a hard thing to promote, especially in comparison to what the humanist has to offer.

To Worldview - Part 6 - Marxist Theology

Or go back to the main index for all twelve Parts.

If you are interested in portions, or all of this twelve part series taught in an engaging, educational fashion, please contact Alan at Banyan Concepts.

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