Why Should I Worry about Secular Humanism?

A worried man

Why Should I Worry about Secular Humanism?

Last week we explored what was probably new terminology for nearly all of us: “Secular Humanism.”

As we saw last week, there are those who want to free us from religion and establish a world order centered on man. The crucial question, however, is: “Does it matter Should I be concerned about Secular Humanism?” The unequivocal answer is “Yes.” Tonight, we want to see why we should be concerned about Secular Humanism.

Secular Humanists Want to Influence Our Children

Remember what we said last week about what Secular Humanists believe concerning education:

  • “In our view, education should be the essential method of building humane, free, and democratic societies.” (Paul Kurtz, A Secular Humanist Declaration (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1980), p. 22).
  • “There is a broader task that all those who believe in democratic secular humanist values will recognize, namely, the need to embark upon a long-term program of public education and enlightenment concerning the relevance of the secular outlook to the human condition.” (Ibid., p. 23).
  • Notice this not-so-veiled desire to teach Humanism in the classroom: “The battle for mankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizer of a new faith; a religion of humanity. . . utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach” (Quoted from The Humanist January/February 1983 by Mel and Norma Gabler, “Humanism in Textbooks (Secular Religion in the Classroom),” Communication Education 1987, vol. 36, p. 362.
  • “What is becoming increasingly clear is that public and higher education may be two of the few sites left in which public values (i.e., secular values) can be learned and experienced, and both should be defended vigorously by broadening the terms of learning to define a new democratic (i.e., secular; “democratic” is a buzz word among many secularist) mission for the university” (Henry A. Giroux, “The Passion of the Right: Religious Fundamentalism and the Crisis of Democracy,” Cultural Studies – Critical Methodologies 5 (2005): 316).

We would not dare leave our children in the room by him or herself with a known child molester; that’s unconscionable. However, many of us—myself included—have unknowingly allowed Secular Humanists alone with our children. Tonight, I want us to think of some ways that Secular Humanists are influencing our children.

Secular Humanists have placed evolution propaganda in popular children’s works. Notice what Humanists have claimed about evolution:

  • “Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process” (Humanist Manifesto I, Second).
  • “Science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces. As far as we know, the total personality is a function of the biological organism transacting in a social and cultural context” (Humanist Manifest II, Second).

Notice how evolution has been placed in popular children’s works. The Berenstain Bears, which my boys absolutely adore, teach Secular Humanism. In The Berenstain Bears’ Nature Guide (Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears’ Nature Guide (New York: Random, 1984), p. 11 quoted in Charles Colson How Now Shall We Live? With Nancy Pearcey (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), p. 54), the Bear family is going on a nature walk and invites the reader to go along. As the Bears walk along on a sunny morning, the reader comes across these words: Nature is “all that IS, or WAS, or EVER WILL BE!” In other words, there is no God, no Creation, nothing but nature.

How many of our toddlers have seen The Land Before Time video series? (The Land Before Time video series, Universal Pictures (1988( references in Charles Colson How Now Shall We Live? With Nancy Pearcey (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), p. 69). Each video in the series provides a lesson in evolution as seas produce organisms which keep changing until they turn into dinosaurs. How many toddlers have watched wide-eyed with anticipation as they absorb anti-Christian values?

Secular Humanists have placed much of their material in textbooks and teaching methods. Notice what a theistic writer warned: “Because in their view there is no absolute system of morality, the secular humanists advocate a program of moral education int eh public school system” (Robert E. Webber, Secular Humanism: Threat and Challenge (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), p. 43). There’s not a teacher here tonight that would advocate Secular Humanism, and I would not fear one of you teachers to instruct my own children. But I cannot say that for all teachers.

Notice some quotes from some textbooks (although these quotes are somewhat dated, they do demonstrate the Secular Humanists have been successful in publicizing their views in schools for some time):

  • From a high school psychology text: “There are exceptions to almost all moral laws, depending on the situation. What is wrong in one instance may be right in another. Most children learn that it’s wrong to lie. But later they may learn that it’s tactless, if not actually wrong, not to lie under certain circumstances” (Allyn & Bacon, Inquiries in Sociology, S-E, col. 2. Par. 1, lines 5-11, ca. 1978 quotes in Jim L. Smith, One Nation Under—God or Man? (Lawrenceburg, TN: Smith Publications, 1989), p. 30. Smith gives additional quotes from textbooks, and other quotes may also be found in Gabler, “Humanism in Textbooks.”).
  • From a 9-10 grade health text: “In a society where values are constantly shifting, the young adult may often be confused by which set of values he or she is to follow” (Steck-Vaughn, Toward Sexual Maturity, TRM-29, lines 2-5, ca. 1973 quoted in Smith, p. 30).

Humanists subscribe to the belief that there are no absolute moral standards. “Humanists have confidence in human beings, and they believe that the only bases for morality are human experiences and human needs” (Paul Kurtz, In Defense of Secular Humanism (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1983), p. 33). In other words, if I need my morality to change, it can change. Notice how closely this quote from Paul Kurtz, one of the most-well known Humanists resembles the above statements from textbooks: “it is our moral duty, for example, not to lie, yet to do so on occasion may be morally justifiable. If your aunt labored all day to prepare a dessert you hate, you may believe that sparing her feelings and telling her you like it is a greater obligation than telling her the truth” (Paul Kurtz, Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1988), p. 37).

Secular Humanists have given our children much of their sexual ethic. Obviously because there are no absolute right and wrong in Secular Humanism, there can be nothing inherently wrong with any sexual behavior. But notice a couple quotes from humanists specifically dealing with sexual behavior:

  • “In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly suppress sexual conduct. . . . While we do not approve of exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression, neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behavior between consenting adults. The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in themselves be considered ‘evil’” (Humanist Manifesto II, Sixth).
  • “The question that can be raised is ether some forms of sexual expression are wicked and should be prohibited by law. I would argue that all forms must be left to private choice, although it must be understood that this suggestion applies only to consenting adults and not to children” (Kurtz, Forbidden Fruit, p. 207).

The Teenage Parent Council of Austin, Texas publishes a “Green Book” which is to inform teens and their parents about services provided to pregnant teens (Robert L. Waggoner, dissertation). The Green Book does not list the services of Austin Crisis Pregnancy Center, because the group favors life (rather than abortion) and promotes abstinence. Here’s what the Green Book tells the teens of Austin: “Parents, church leaders, and other teen friends may be urging you to wait until you are older and more mature, or married, before deciding to have a sexual intercourse relationship with someone. . . . About the only thing you can rely on is your personal feeling about what makes sense to you. The personal sense of what seems right is an important tool we have available to protect ourselves.” (The Greek Book, Teenage Parent Council of Austin, 1987, p. 3 quoted in Waggoner, p. 113).

Secular Humanists are Influencing Our Society

Secular Humanism has created many of the social ills we now confront. Secular Humanism in our society has involved “divorce, abortion, suicide, drug abuse, sexual permissiveness, homosexuality, pornography, wife battering, child abuse, etc.” (Robert L. Waggoner, “Why All Preachers Should Be Concerned About Humanism,” available at http://www.biblicaltheism.com/Why_Preachers_Should_Be_Concerned.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2005).

Notice what Secular Humanists pride themselves on having accomplished:

There is today a more tolerate attitude toward sexual freedom and a demand that laws against abortion, birth control, and voluntary sterilization be repealed. There is a change in public attitudes toward pornography and obscenity, an increased acceptance of nudity on stage and in the cinema—especially where artistic values are involved—and a conviction that society should not impose narrow standards of censorship (Paul Kurtz, In Defense of Secular Humanism, p. 35).

Obviously, Secular Humanism is having a large influence on our society.

What Shall We Do?

First and foremost, we must protect our children. Our children have been given to our care by God. When Jacob and Esau were reunited, we read, “Esau looked up and saw the women and children ‘Who are these with you’ he asked. Jacob answered, ‘They are the children ?God has graciously given your servant’” (Gen 33:5). “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (Ps 127:3-5).

Because God has given us our children, we need to train them in righteousness. “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Prov 22:6). Proverbs provide general principles, not absolutes. We surely have all known children who were raised well but have gone astray; since humans are free moral agents, our children may do that. The principle, however, is that we parents are to train our children in the way they should go. Are you training your children in the way they should go? “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4).

What specific steps should we take to protect our children?

We need to know what our children watch on TV, to what music they listen, and with what friends they associate.

Children may be upset because we’re being “overprotective,” but what’s better—having our children upset with us or allowing them to be in the hand of Satan?

We need to teach our children what’s involved in Christianity.

When are we ever going to learn, fathers, that the responsibility for rearing our children according to Scripture falls to us, not to mothers, and not to the church?

Let us take steps to teach our children:

Let us read to them from Scripture, and let them see our valuing the Word of God.

Let us seize “teachable moments.”

We don’t have to wait until “devotional time” to teach our children right and wrong. Let’s look for opportunities to teach throughout the course of the week. I personally love astronomy, and I love to spend nights gazing at the night sky. When I have the chance to star gaze and have one of the boys with me, I’m likely to say something like: “RJ, just think about the power God has to have made all of that.” Just a moment to teach, to train, to instruct.

We need to be quite cognizant of what our children are being taught in school.

For those of us who send our kids to public school, we need to check their textbooks to make sure they are not advocating humanism. If we find humanism in those books. We need to call it to our children’s attention to make sure they understand such teaching is not valued in our home. We may need to go to the teacher and share our concern.

Some of you send your children to private schools operated by churches in the area. You probably won’t need to check your children’s textbooks for Secular Humanism. It likely won’t be there. But denominational doctrine may be there, and we may need to instruct and take a stand there, too.

We need to take a stand in our community. Saints of old took a stand against the immorality of their day. When Nebuchadnezzar erected a statue of gold, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the image, even though their rebellion meant being thrown in the fiery furnace (Dan 3). When the Sanhedrin told the apostles to be quiet about the claims of Christ, they refused, but continued to preach in the name of Jesus. When the apostles were again called before the Sanhedrin, the high priest told them, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching” (Acts 5:28). You remember what the apostles said: “We must obey God rather than men!” (Acts 5:29). The apostles were willing to take a stand in their community, even though it meant they would be persecuted and considered outcasts. Will we take a stand in this community for what is right and oppose what is wrong?

What can we do to take a stand in this community? We can demonstrate Christian morality in our lives and in our families: “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:16). We can vocalize our opposition to immorality through letters to the editor; through phone calls to radio talk shows; through activism in causes against abortion, gambling, pornography, and the like; and through voting.

My brethren, we have a choice: Will we oppose the evil in our community, or shall we be silent? Where will we stand? Joshua made his choice plain: “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Josh 24:15). What will your choice be? Will you go along with the evil in our community, or will you serve the LORD? Do you need to come tonight and begin serving the Lord?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.

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