Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition….
One of my major projects for 2021 is to understand just what Humanism is all about. I have to get my mind in an objective frame of mind before I dive into this topic. Let’s see, what have I been told about humanism by much of the Christian community?
Humanists put man before God.
Plainly speaking the word “humanist” is a dirty word in most churches. You can use the N-word there when you think it is appropriate, but never speak even remotely positively about humanists. Instead of rehashing what I have said previously I want to direct you to a blog post from 2018 where I put forward my initial views of humanism taught to be by an Evangelical pastor. Click the URL below to see that post.
I put here yet again the International Humanist Association description what its mandate is. In reading these three statements its hard to see the difference in attitude between their words and those of Jesus. Putting people at the center of morality seems very Christlike to me.
I do admit that the second one got little or no mention in Jesus’ words but it is pretty much a fact that throughout history the Christian church has been a pretty anti-science place. The primary example of this was when Galileo in the 17th century told us that the earth is not the center of the universe he was struck with the ire of the church establishment. It seems that every time science disproves religious myth the establishment goes into the attack.
Getting off point a little here, I think this anti-science mode is one of the reasons that white Evangelicals voted so heavily for a US president who is almost the complete opposite of Jesus’ teachings. “Don’t bother me with the facts” mantra is one of the things that troubled me the most about the current Christian establishment.
Getting to the third point of Humanism in a nutshell, equal rights and opportunities for all people is kinda like what Jesus felt for the downtrodden. In my mind, his brother’s keeper mantra is just another way of saying the above. And on a personal note, this belief has been central to my view of the world.
As I go into a deeper look at humanism in 2021, I expect I will find even more reason to believe that humanism and the words of Jesus intertwine very well. But who knows? I will hold off serious judgement on that until all the facts are in. 🧐