Humanism And The Bible
"Wow, I didn't know I was going to get to do this so early in the course!" The philosophy professor then hurried out of his classroom, returning minutes later with an overhead transparency displaying, to his class of 18-19 year olds, four supposed Bible contradictions.
This was the scene last fall at Jefferson Community College in Louisville, on the first day of a philosophy class. A young lady who is a member of the South End church was in the class and, upon direct questioning from the professor, stated that she believed the Bible to be the word of God. When the professor had read the "contradictions" he demanded that the Bible believer try to explain them. When she would try to comment, he would cut her off in mid sentence and attempt to demonstrate that she had no reason or logic whatever for her belief.
While we are saddened and repulsed by such bullying bigotry, should we really be surprised? For at least two generations, a major, though often subtle, movement has been underway to make ours a thoroughly humanistic society. To accomplish their ends, advocates of humanistic thinking must not only work to fill minds with their philosophy, but must also eliminate the Bible. Humanism and the word of God are mutually exclusive. Humanists hate the word of God and will do all in their power to ridicule, demean, and belittle it.
Humanism - An Exclusive Philosophy
Humanism is a philosophy which focuses on man as the measure of all things, the highest order of intelligence. Humanism denies the existence of God or any objective standard of right and wrong. Humanism, therefore, not only makes no room for divine revelation, but of necessity excludes it.
Humanist Manifestos I and II, declarations of beliefs (signed by over 275 humanists, many of them prominent in education, psychology, publishing, etc.) states:
Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable (emphasis mine throughout article, TM) any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values.(1)
Humanists Make Direct Attacks On Revelation
There have always been those who question or deny the authority of God's word. Even among leading religious figures for the past century, dangerous theories have been promoted which have undermined true faith. However, humanism goes much farther even than modernism in its view toward the Bible. Modernists, though denying verbal inspiration and affirming biblical errors and contradictions, will at the same time uphold the Bible as being of great value.(2)
The view of the true humanist, is much more radical:
We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs do a disservice to the human species . . . . As non-theists, we begin with humans, not God, nature not deity.(3)
Promises of immortal 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. Modern science discredits such historic concepts as the "ghost in the machine" and the "separable soul." Rather, science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.(4)
Paul Blanshard, an editor of The Humanist (a slick national publication) wrote:
The evangelists reverently call the Bible "The Book", and they say it is God's word. Let's be blunt about it. By no stretch of the imagination can the Bible be called either the revealed word of God or the errorless work of God. It is not one book, and it is not holy. It is very bad history and even of questionable morals . . .(5)
Humanism is not indifferent toward the Bible - but is at all out war against it. The quotations we have given are fully typical and representative of humanistic thinking toward any revelation from God. Sadly, many Christians are indifferent toward humanism and its effects. It is time we took up the battle before losing it by default!
The Danger Of Humanism's Attack
Just how serious a threat is humanistic philosophy, and in particular, its assault on the Bible? Are we really discussing something of substance, or are we simply paranoid of a few crusty professors harmlessly kicking around their views in their ivory towers? The fact is that humanism is seeping into every facet of society. In fact, some organizations, such as the American Humanist Association, are more "evangelistic" than some churches.
In Free Mind, a newsletter of the AHA, a plan for "humanist advocacy" is announced in which the design is "that of providing a visible, vocal, Humanist presence to the community, and continuing to reach out to others actively to explain the Humanist alternative . . . ."(6)
We do not know how successful the AHA has been with their "advocacy" program, but the overall effectiveness of the spread of a humanistic philosophy which is in direct conflict with God's word and religion is evident.
Consider a few examples in my community:
In the Louisville Free Public Library, if you walk into the children's section, one of the first signs you will see is on a row of books labeled in large letters: "Religion - Myth - Fairy Tales".
Examining some of these books, written for small children, one would find a book entitled How Our World Came To Be. This book consists of various mythological views of creation such as the "Hindu Golden Egg" myth. The final chapter is concerning the "two tales" of creation in Genesis.
Another book in the "children's section" of our public library is: Gay - What You Should Know About Homosexuals, by Morton Hunt. The review on the jacket flap states:
Mr. Hunt also reviews the long oppression of homosexuals . . . and concludes with a portrait of the kinds of homosexuals who are well adjusted functioning members of society.
The first book of its kind, this young person's guide provides a sound basis for living with the present day realities of homosexuality in out world.(7)
This book which obviously disregards Bible teaching on homosexuality is recommended by the School Library Journal.
Humanistic influence in conflict with the Bible abounds in school textbooks. A required history of civilizations text at University of Louisville, speaks of the formation, and revising of the Old Testament text which has left such "traces" as the "two different views of the Creation" which 44 were not reconciled when the text received its final polishing." On the same page of this text, it is asserted that: "There is good reason to doubt the main lines of Biblical tradition" and that "Moses organized the tribes of Israel and some neighboring Canaanites into a confederation bound by a covenant to the god he named YHWH . . ."(8)
A sociology textbook used both at University of Louisville and Jefferson Community College is so full of humanistic, anti-religious editorial comment that the references are too numerous to list in this article. The section of the text on "religion" quotes Karl Marx to explain religion's "sociological function."(9) Much of the section deals with witch burning and radical, militant religionists. A reader might get the impression that such is representative of what religion is about. The textbook speaks of young people in brainwashing cults who "caused their families great anguish by taking seriously the Biblical injunction, 'He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me . . . . "(10)
This text, being used to teach teenagers, speaks of a debate on evolution in which the advocate of creation was ridiculed and embarrassed.(11) It promotes abortion and defends homosexuality.
What we have shown are minute samplings of the teaching and influences being used, particularly upon young people, in which there is not just another point of view suggested, but wherein faith in God and in His word are openly and viciously attacked. Remember, for humanists to succeed in their objectives, they can allow no quarter whatever to belief in Deity or acceptance of any revealed, objective, universal standard of right.
What Does The Bible Have To Offer?
The only way Christians can combat the vicious and desperate influences of humanism and its war on the Bible, is by being so knowledgeable and conversant in the Scriptures that we can effectively wield the mighty sword of the Spirit.
A Christian who meditates upon the law of the Lord and hides it in his heart will have no difficulty seeing the vast superiority of Christianity over humanism or any other vain philosophy. The Bible has something real, stable, and valuable to offer us.
The Bible offers a reasonable and satisfactory explanation of our beginning (Gen. 1). The Bible tells the origin and gives a clear definition of sin (Gen. 3; 1 John 3:4; Jas. 4:17). The word of God explains His plan for redeeming man from sin; it gives complete instruction on how to be freed from sin (Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:1-7, etc.)
The Bible offers a perfect guide for day to day living: teaching the value of time (Eph. 5:15-16); honesty (Eph. 4:25,28); the putting away of every vice which is harmful to one's self and others (Col. 3:5-9); benevolence and kindness in thought and deed (Col. 3:11-14). The Bible condemns all partiality and prejudice (Col. 3:11; Gal. 3:26-28; James 2:19). The Bible teaches moderation, patience, and peace (Phil. 4:4-8).
Humanism stresses that this life is all there is - that our existence is extremely brief and ultimately hopeless. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches us that while the outward man perishes, the inward man is renewed day by day. God's word offers us eternal life and provides the motivation to live an honorable, godly life, that we might live eternally with God.
The Bible and humanistic philosophy are at war. The battle is bitter, but there is only one way that wickedness can prevail: If Christians fail to study and practice the teaching of God's word.
1. Paul Kurtz, editor, Humanist Manifestos I and 1I (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1981) p. 8.
2. These quotes from Harold DeWolfe and Harry Emerson Fosdick indicate the modernist view which attacks the Bible, yet sees value in it. In A Theology Of The Living Church, DeWolfe wrote, "The human fallibility of the Bible does not preclude the possibility of its divine inspiration nor of its unmatched moral and religious authority" p. 75). In Modern Use Of The Bible, Fosdick wrote, "The man who ministers . . . must have gone through the searching criticism to which the last few generations have subjected the Scriptures and be able to understand and enter into the negations that have resulted. Not blinking any of the facts, he must have come out with a positive, reasonable, fruitful attitude toward the Book" (pp. 5-6).
3. Kurtz, Humanist Manifestos I and II, pp. 15,16.
4. Ibid., pp. 16,17.
5. Paul Blanshard, "Humanism Versus Orthodoxy," The Humanist, March/April, 1978, p. 17.
6. "The Humanist Advocate Program," Free Mind Vol. 22, No. 4, June 1979, pp. 1,3 (newsletter of the American Humanist Association).
7. Morton Hunt, Gay - What You Should Know About Homosexuals.
8. M. Chambers, The Western Experience, Vol. I (Alfred A. Knopf, Pub., 1983), p. 24.
9. Ian Robertson, Sociology (New York: Worth Pub. Inc., 1981), p. 409.
10. Ibid., p. 432.
11. Ibid., p. 445.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 13, pp. 403-405