The history of the formal Humanist movement is less than 100 years old. But its effects on all aspects of American society, as well as other lands and nations touched by the US, has been catastrophic.
The original Humanist Manifesto was published in 1933. Now titled A Humanist Manifesto I, recognizing the fact it may evolve and change, the first article reads as follows.
“Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”
Religious Humanism was thus ‘formalized’ by a group of 33 self-proclaimed intellectuals. One prominent educator and avid disciple involved in writing and proliferating this was John Dewey, considered by many the Father of Modern Education. Observing the dysfunctional US public education system in the 21st century, they may be right. (More on Dewey and his legacy in a later post)
And God said, . . .
“The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist.”” [Psalm 14:1 HCSB]
“Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” [Proverbs 14:7 NIV]
The instant anyone thinks they know better than their Creator, they have bowed their knee to a false god.
Following the violent human rampages of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II, a revision identified as Humanist Manifesto II was developed in 1973. Somewhat longer and less ambiguous, it still oozed with optimism in the human evolution.
The idea of ‘religious humanism’ seems to have been jettisoned, and the ideals were merged with those of the Secular Humanist movement. The authors must have seen a need for creating a differentiation, and to formalize the idea of ‘freedom FROM religion’, which stands in direct conflict with the freedom OF religion granted in the US Constitution
Religion: a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.
“Among the oft-quoted lines from this 1973 Manifesto are, “No deity will save us; we must save ourselves,” and “We are responsible for what we are and for what we will be,” both of which may present difficulties for members of certain Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sects, or other believers in doctrines of submission to the will of an all-powerful God.”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” [John 3:16-18 NIV]
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” [Isaiah 40:8 NIV]
Secular Humanism is a religion. It should be recognized as such, just as the original founders of the movement formulated it. Changing the name to secular humanism did not change its core belief system.
Humanist Manifesto III, entitled ‘Humanism and Its Aspirations’, was published in 2003 by the American Humanist Association. Two foundational points worthy of mention in this version are as follows:
- Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of evolutionary change, an unguided process.
- Respect for differing yet humane views in an open, secular, democratic, environmentally sustainable society.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” [Genesis 1:26-27 NIV]
It is worth noting that the “respect for differing views” idea, though not stated as such, excludes the Christian Worldview entirely. Empirically speaking, of course.
Socialism and Communism
Modern Humanism actually found most of its roots in the writings of Karl Marx, the German philosopher, writer, etc. Marx was perhaps the strongest voice in formulating the concepts of socialism and communism. As with many such philosophers all he developed was unproven theories. However, the rapid changes swirling around the world, from the geo-political landscape, social crises, and industrialization enabled these ideas to take root. The USA offered one of the most fertile fields in history to plant such ideas.
Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) clearly had an understanding of ‘religion.’ Just as clear, though, is that he did not know the Almighty, All-Wise God of the Bible. Oddly he must have held a belief in some god or he could not suggest he would dethrone that god.
- My object in life is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism.
- Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.
- Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
“The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.” Proverbs 10:14
“Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” Proverbs 14:7
Socialism and communism get greater traction in societies that are already in crisis. Whether from the abuses of a monarchy or totalitarian regime, or because of ineffective governance creating social and economic problems, these ideas can be molded into what seems to be a solution for the problems. Unfortunately, as we have seen, socialism always leads to an inordinately strong central government. As socialist ideas emerge in the USA we are seeing more abuses by the Federal government.
I believe it could be proven that the ideas of Marx (probably Nietzsche and Darwin, as well) added fuel to the flame of theological ‘higher criticism’ that spread through Europe in the 19th century, fostering division among Christian theologians and pastors.
Humanism Humanism is not new. Nimrod, great-grandson of Noah through Ham, was a mighty hunter, renowned leader. His arrogance before Almighty God and his defiance of God’s command to “fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1,7) led to the building of a kingdom on the plains of Shinar, with several cities. One of those cities was Babel, where Nimrod sought to build a great, tall edifice to survey his kingdom. God’s judgment of that humanist plan caused Him to confuse the language and scatter the tribes to the ends of the earth.
But that great city, known to us as Babylon, was, has been, and is to this day a center of operations for Satan’s plan to overthrow the Kingdom of God.
While Marx may have solely been focused on throwing off what he considered to be the yoke of religious Christianity, the reality is that his future disciples simply created another form of man-made religion. Humanism!
People with financial power and/or civil power have found that humanism provides the ‘opiate’ they need to actually control the masses without the problems of absolute truth (such as the foundations of Christianity). Humanism is the perfect blob of nothingness that allows those with influence to define a set of rules in whatever way necessary to motivate people to do their bidding.
Humanism could not exist, in fact, cannot thrive except in a world made sane by the Light of Jesus Christ. Humanism can only find a foothold where Christianity has laid a foundation.
Humanism is based on the principal lie of Satan, himself a created being who believed he could experience greater freedom by rejecting His Creator God. A baffling paradox – the creature rejecting his Creator because the Creator gifted him with a mind and a will. In itself this displays the Omnipotence and the Omniscience of our Ageless, Creator God, that He would create man in His image. That fact elevates man above the animal world. Therefore, only fallen man has the innate capacity whereby God can reignite that eternal life, which died in the Garden of Eden. This He did through the Life-giving and life sustaining power of His Son, the Man-God Jesus, who freely offered Himself up as a perfect sacrifice to redeem this corrupted creation; who died and arose bodily, victorious over death, and now seated at the Right Hand of God!
God has chosen, in His infinite Wisdom, to keep man’s free will intact. In other words, we get to choose. Pure and righteous justice. Unfortunately, the entrance into humanity of the Light of the world, to redeem man back to a right relationship with God, is being met with an up-turned nose; a self-absorbed ‘thanks but no thanks’ dismissal.
“The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.” [John 1:9-10 NLT]
Part II: Humanism in the Church (coming soon).
 Tagline of The American Humanist Association
 Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia; Article. Humanist Manifesto