Posts Tagged ‘Secular Humanism’

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Moral relativism offers no standard, no authority, and no respect.

The only options available to the secular humanist where a standard and authority are concerned are: (1) the natural universe; (2) culture; (3) the individual.

The natural universe isn’t an option as amoral matter cannot produce moral beings nor prescribe moral behavior.

Culture cannot be appealed to as there are many cultures throughout the world, all with different moral standards and practices; there is no way to ascertain which culture is ‘correct’. Culture merely displays what “is” with respect to morality, and even the famous skeptic and antagonist of religion David Hume stated that humanity cannot derive an “ought” from an “is” where morals are concerned.

Lastly, if each individual is used as a standard/authority for morals, the problem seen in using cultures as a moral compass is suddenly compounded exponentially.

Seeing this dilemma, some moral relativists try to say that science can be used to dictate ethics, but even secular scientists admit that science is a descriptive discipline and not a prescriptive one. In addition, its empirical methods are impotent to answer such moral questions such as if the Nazi’s were evil. Einstein sums up the correct position in this matter when he said, “You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn round and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.”[3]

In the end, the moral relativist has no satisfying answer in his/her attempt to respond to the question of if there is anything wrong with anything, and why. There is no standard to turn to and no authority to recognize and respect.”

— Robin Schumacher

via The Problems with Moral Relativism.

simul iustus et peccator,  

Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 

 

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by Ray Nothstine

Every December cultural warriors mourn the incessant attacks on Christmas and secularism’s rise in society. News headlines carry stories of modern day Herods banning nativity scenes, religious performances, and even the word “Christmas.” Just as a majority of young people profess they will have less prosperity and opportunity than their parents, many people now expect less out of Christmas. Continual bickering over holiday messaging in corporate advertising itself points to a shrinking and limited Christmas.

Yet these problems are signs on the way to important truths, if we have the eyes to see. Record spending and debt, whether in Washington or the home, allude to a society trying to fill an emptiness of the heart. Even our disappointment in poor leadership in America reminds us that we crave a true King and are expectant of a greater day.

Part of the cause of the rise of secularism and a less meaningful Christmas is that we have lost this spirit of expectancy. Advent not only points to preparation for and celebration of the Nativity but also to the second coming of Christ. The New Testament ends with anticipation of Christ’s return: “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22:20) In their lifetime, the apostles lived in anticipation and excitement for the return of Christ.

What Christmas actually announces to the world offends modern sensibilities. The mystery and depth of the incarnation seems unfathomable. Praising Christmas carols, G.K. Chesterton noted, “It is extraordinary to notice how completely this feeling of the paradox of the manger was lost by the brilliant and ingenious theologians, and how completely it was kept in the Christmas carols. They, at least, never forgot that the main business of the story they had to tell was that the absolute once ruled the universe from a cattle stall.”

Christmas has united much of the world and is responsible for the common identity of the West and its rise out of barbarism. “In adoring the birth of our Savior, we find ourselves celebrating our own nativity; for the birth of Christ is the birth of the Christian people,” declared Leo the Great.

Christmas reminds us of the shortcomings of man and what God has accomplished and done to intercede on our behalf. It’s a reminder of our sinful nature and it’s not simply a great holiday or time of joy for the unrepentant.

While our culture faces new hostilities to the Christmas message, the real culprit is indifference to its greater meaning and a lack of appreciation of its power on the part of believers.  It has always been the task of believers to transcend the secular culture.

Modern Herods, rising secularism, materialism, and a host of political problems may combine to rob Christmas of its meaning, but it’s a futile effort in the face of faithfulness. Unfortunately, many this Christmas will try to fulfill their desires through acquiring more and politicians will promise and spend more in hopes of attaining worldly recognition and building a better society through debt.

But the true gift and hope of the world can only be received and not acquired. That’s the Christmas message. In his beautiful hymn, “Come thou Long Expected Jesus,” Charles Wesley simply called Christ the “desire of every nation” and “joy of every longing heart.” It’s a timeless message and one that is not made less true or powerful by cultural secularism. A world devoured by political failings, materialism, and economic and moral bankruptcy only points to a desire and need for the real Savior. In the words of Isaiah:

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)

via Christmas and Secularism’s Futility | Acton Institute.

This is a Washington Post piece by William Lane Craig I found interesting.

“The American Humanist Association is promoting a new Web site that is designed to furnish children with a naturalistic or atheistic perspective on science, sexuality, and other topics. The stated goal of the Web site is laudatory: “to encourage curiosity, critical thinking, and tolerance among young people, as well as to provide accurate information regarding a wide range of issues related to humanism, science, culture, and history.”

The problem is that those values have no inherent connection with naturalism, which is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that there is nothing beyond the physical contents of the universe. One doesn’t need to be a naturalist in order to endorse curiosity, critical thinking, tolerance, and the pursuit of accurate information on a wide range of topics.

Ironically, the AHA has been remarkably uncritical in thinking about the truth of naturalism and of humanism in particular.

For example, why think that naturalism is true? The last half century has witnessed a veritable renaissance of Christian philosophy. In a recent article, University of Western Michigan philosopher Quentin Smith laments “the desecularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s.” Complaining of naturalists’ passivity in the face of the wave of “intelligent and talented theists entering academia today,” Smith concludes, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”

This renaissance of Christian philosophy has been accompanied by a resurgence of interest in arguments for God’s existence based on reason and evidence alone, apart from the resources of divine revelation like the Bible. All of the traditional arguments for God’s existence, such as the cosmological, teleological, moral, and ontological arguments, not to mention creative, new arguments, find intelligent and articulate defenders on the contemporary philosophical scene.

But what about the so-called “New Atheism” exemplified by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens? Doesn’t it signal a reversal of this trend? Not really. The New Atheism is, in fact, a pop cultural phenomenon lacking in intellectual muscle and blissfully ignorant of the revolution that has taken place in academic philosophy. In my debates with naturalistic philosophers and scientists I have been frankly stunned by their inability both to refute the various arguments for God and to provide any persuasive arguments for naturalism.

Moreover, naturalism faces severe problems of its own. The philosopherAlvin Plantinga has argued persuasively that naturalism cannot even be rationally affirmed. For if naturalism was true, the probability that our cognitive faculties would be reliable is pretty low. For those faculties have been shaped by a process of natural selection which does not select for truth but merely for survival. There are many ways in which an organism could survive without its beliefs’ being true. Hence, if naturalism were true, we could not have any confidence that our beliefs are true, including the belief in naturalism itself! Thus, naturalism seems to have a built-in defeater that renders it incapable of being rationally affirmed.

The problem for the humanist is even worse, however. For humanism is just one form of naturalism. It is a version of naturalism that affirms the objective value of human beings. But why think that if naturalism were true, human beings would have objective moral value? There are three options before us:

• The theist maintains that objective moral values are grounded in God.

• The humanist maintains that objective moral values are grounded in human beings.

• The nihilist maintains that moral values are ungrounded and therefore ultimately subjective and illusory.

The humanist is thus engaged in a struggle on two fronts: on the one side against the theists and on the other side against the nihilists. This is important because it underlines the fact that humanism is not a default position. That is to say, even if the theist were wrong, that would not mean that the humanist is right. For if God does not exist, maybe it is the nihilist who is right. The humanist needs to defeat both the theist and the nihilist. In particular, he must show that in the absence of God, nihilism would not be true.”

Please continue reading at  Humanism for children – Guest Voices – The Washington Post.

Humanists need to circle the wagons.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA
godsguy12@comcast.net
jadams012@gmail.com
christianreasons@gmail.com
http://about.me/eric.adams
http://christianreasons.com/