Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#215 Not secular humanism


Humanism is the most fearsome philosophy known to Christian culture. The only thing more frightening than humanism is secular humanism. It is right up there with socialism and voodoo.

Secular humanists are considered by Christian culture to be extremely dangerous. Once someone is called a secular humanist by an influential entity in Christian culture (i.e., famous pastor, head of your household, a book by Zondervan) anything they have to say will be dismissed out of hand. It’s a perfect example of ad hominem reasoning.

44 comments:

Steve said...

I'm not crazy about "secular" humanism myself, because its adherents can be as arrogant and all-knowing as any fundy. I do consider myself a Christian humanist, hearkening back to the Renaissance and such scholars as Desiderius Erasmus, who openly combined the study of the Bible and theology with the ancient humane learning.

Word verification: antlit. Is that what ants read in school? Or does this refer to an ant set on fire, perhaps by a magnifying glass?

stephy said...

Maybe it refers to what Christian culture thinks secular humanists are doing to the moral fabric of our country: we're the ants and they've got the magnifying glass.

Meghan said...

@Steve, very very small books, of course.

@Steph: WHY are Christians so against the humanists in general? I don't really want to speculate. Sincere question.

Aaran said...

John Calvin was a humanist as are many other Christians.

Secular humanism is a form of humanism but from the world view perspective of Naturalism. This is by nature opposed to Christianity.

Hollan said...

So I just went and wikipedia'd Secular Humanism (I have never heard it!) and discovered I AM a secular humanist. I didn't realize it was an actual thing to be like with an organization and everything.

Except I dont think I'll join. Im not really a joiner.

Aaran said...

Just to temper my earlier comment, here is a quote I liked.
"Christian theists must admit that many of the naturalists' ethical insights are valid. Indeed theists should not be surprised by the fact that we can learn moral truths by observing human nature and behavior, for if women and men are made in the image of God and if that image is not totally destroyed by the Fall, then they should yet reflect --even if dimly-- something of the goodness of God" - The Universe Next Door, by James Sire

Tony D said...

Exception: Christopher Hitchens. He gets a pass because he still thinks invading Iraq was a good idea.

Kevin said...

I'm with Hollan. Joining is strange.

Still Breathing said...

Aaron, I agree, there are more people doing the work of bringing about the Kingdom of God than just Christians.

AdmNaismith said...

Lordy, back in the 80s Secular Humanism was right up there with Communists in South America and Africanized honey bees as The Next Big Threat we must all protect ourselves against.

Pseudo-Celsus said...

Calvin was a humanist? That will come as a big relief to Michael Servetus.

Abby Normal said...

When I was in med school, one of the women from my mom's homeschool group contacted me for advice because her son, who was starting college, wanted to get into med school at a particular university.

She actually told me that she was concerned because she saw something about "promoting humanism" in the school's mission statement. I had to reassure her that the "humanism" they were referring to was compassion, respect for others, and stuff in the Hippocratic oath that doctors are supposed to practice anyway, not "the other humanism".

That was a conversation I never thought I would have to have with someone.

Still Breathing said...

Abby, That begs the question is there a difference?

Abby Normal said...

To be perfectly honest, I'm not exactly sure. That conversation was the first time that I had any inkling that "humanism" carried any evil connotations. (I was probably more flabbergasted by the fact that this woman was genuinely afraid that medical school was going to turn her boy into some kind of godless heathen.)

As I understand it, "humanism" in some circles has become synonymous with "secular, athiest, Darwin-worshipping librulism" and, therefore something that must be Avoided At All Costs (not unlike how Glenn Beck says churches that promote "social justice" are actually fronts for socialism.)

Anonymous said...

i would call myself a Christian humanist too, but somebody said i couldn't do that because that makes me a hypocrite, and believe it or not it wasn't a Christian this time, it was a atheist (though not disputing that evangelical christians do this too). i believe fundamental atheists can be as bad as other fundy's in religion. its sad, you can learn so much from accepting others beliefs but people just don't want to do it.

Annabelle said...

I'm finding that the comments section on this blog is much more interesting than the posts lately.

Stephy, are you ok? Your writing has devolved into merely lobbing a topic onto the court and letting it bounce around. Since you left Beliefnet it's like you've lost your spark.

And, honestly, some of these topics are OLD news.

Why haven't you taken on the furor over Rob Bell?

stephy said...

I'm not okay. My (now ex-) church I attended for twelve years recently disposed of several people in our church family, and my granddaddy died. But thanks.

Sarah said...

Damn, Annabelle, that was nasty. Did you intend to be snarky and mean?

Chrissy said...

Stephy also has blue balls. She's totally not ok.

Kevin said...

I thought #213, and #214 were as thought provoking and interesting as any of the best beliefnet posts. This one was short because this topic lends itself more to conversation than to one way opinioneering. And if the active comment sections (both here and on fb) are any indication than SCCL seems to be doing even better after having left beliefnet.

In short, what the hell are you talking about, Annabelle?

Kevin said...

Oh yeah, and #211, which was both timely and relevant, sparked an amazing conversation. One of the best conversations I've ever had while sober, in fact.

Bill said...

OLD news? Really?

Annabelle, are you following SCCL on facebook? Someone recently brought up secular humanism there in a ridiculously CC fashion. Seems current and relevant to me. The fact that CC and "secular humanism" still find the time to villify each other is interesting, but that just bears out the interestingness of posts on this thread...which I'm guessing Stephy anticipated...which is a peculiar gift, to care about what others think and say instead of just barfing out one's own opinion all the time. Perhaps that makes Stephy singular among bloggers, a treasure.

Dove awards? Right after that post, I came home from work and greeted my wife who was watching TV in the kitchen. On the screen was a woman (I still don't know who) wearing a sequined minidress twanging out "How Great Thou Art" and the camera panned the audience with people standing and waving their arms in what I suppose they supposed as worship. I honestly thought it was the Dove awards. Turned out it was some show about Women Country Singers. But it brought that post home for me.

CC and gender relationships and #213? It's worse than ever, and realer than ever. My wife, who works with college students at a Christian university, comes home and tells me story after story about students (mainly female) who can't navigate the fucked up power structures that CC is creating and are guilt-ridden about dating atheists and are basically fleeing the church (if they're lucky), if not faith itself. And if those students, women and men, can find SCCL and these out-of-date posts and find comfort if not community and faith, that's something tangible and real and Christlike. Well done, Stephy.

The Rob Bell furor? While the centrality of hell to some people's faith is interesting to me, the way it's playing out is like a Real Housewives show. I'm sure Stephy will make her insights public when she's ready, if it's even worth talking much longer. And perhaps it never was that interesting to the portion of her readership that is outside the theology blogs and couldn't care less.

But even if you disagree about the relevance of these topics, thanks for pointing out Stephy's shortcomings in as kind a way as possible. Publicly belittling our host probably *is* the best way to get her back on track.

stephy said...

Annabelle caught me at a bad time, I am still on my old church's mailing list for some reason and today they emailed everyone saying that they'd found a new worship guy who is replacing the one they fired, and they were saying we must welcome him into our lives, meanwhile the old worship guy and his family may lose their house because that church cut him out of their lives. Feeling very sad today.

Still Breathing said...

I hate it when pain and stress are caused by people in the church who should be doing everything they can to avoid these situations. To put it another way shit is bad but Holy Shit is worse.

Sarah said...

CC hates humanism because it clings to the concept of total depravity, even if it doesn't always subscribe specifically to that certain branch of Calvinism. Humanism values people and values humanity. CC does not. CC hates humanity because it teaches that humanity is evil and God hates humanity too -- there's this insidious, horrifying and deeply damaging undercurrent in CC that essentially says that God only loves himself in us -- not us.

Annabelle said...

Did not mean to be mean or snarky. I apologize for how it came across. As an old fart, I've heard the criticisms about secular humanism, christian music, and even Growing Kids God's Way for over 20 years. They seem like "easy" targets because they've provided so much material for such a long time. That's what I meant.

I'm sorry about your grampa and I'm sorry about how your church handled their personnel issues.

You sure have some rabid fans ready to defend you at any hint of criticism though! That should make you feel great!

Helen said...

Annabelle so wants some ear tickling. From a former PK to another, thanks Steph for caring enough to keep on posting, blogging and tweeting to us. Your work is very much needed. I'm thinking of the "light unto my path" verse. Good on you for your courage in not hiding it under a bushel.... (howzat for a biblical metaphor?) The SCCL work and all the SCCL crew here and on facebook have definitely got me through a spiritual dark patch. And Bobby Ray is the craic ! Love his stuff. Bobby Ray, Bobby Ray ! OK, settling down now. Your former music director - I feel for him. 'Still breathing' has it right (he's a 'good un') - only other Christians can wound us so deeply. I am hoping for him and his family that things will turn around (been there). Lastly, I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your grandpa - I hope he knew of your intelligence, talent, skill, expression and turn of phrase in the electronic world. From your number one fan (aw - shades of "Flight of the Conchords")

joe said...

I am not a fan of telling Ms. Drury what to do. I imagine she is quite busy with chilluns who need her, a husband she wants to pay attention to and fans the world over who crave her insight and attention that any of our projecting of who she is and who we think she ought be are trifling concerns. I am a big fan of giving her her a break on whatever it is we may project upon her. She is courageous and strong and bears more than we or she will ever fully understand. ... My impression of her comes only through the interwebs but nonetheless is more real and vibrant and beautifully strong than most of my real life. ... A deeper study of her posts and especially comments will reveal someone who is incredibly unique but aware that said uniqueness is not something that separates, but rather binds. I have yet to see a post or comment where there was not an attempt to bind to the other and find shared individuality. ... If the blog posts are lacking to your taste I am positive she will be receptive to what you perceive and are looking for, as ultimately it is all the same; even though we think it unique. ... I am all for criticism and dissent but please be a bit more polite about it. We all deserve respect and compassion, but because she is she: more so.

Annabelle said...

Uncle!

Thank you all for holding me accountable for my words. I sincerely apologize to Stephanie for my comments and any hurt I caused her. I also apologize to all of you who so vehemently defended her here and on Facebook. You are good people.

I wrote without thinking...something that I do now and again. It almost always gets me in trouble.

Stephanie, I do hope you will forgive me.

stephy said...

Of course! That's really nice of you.

Helen said...

Annabelle - that was a very gracious apology. I will take a leaf out of your book. 'onya'.

Sarah said...

Annabelle, that was awesome. Thank you.

Also, in response to your observation that CC things like Christian music, hating secular humanism and following Growing Kids God's Way have been around for awhile...you're right, they definitely have. I would say a couple of things about why I think it's really good for Stephy to bring these up even now (and I'm not intending to sound at all critical or argumentative, I only mean to contribute to the conversation):

First, it says something, I think, that these things continue to be "relevant" (if I may borrow one of CC's favorite words) enough to commentate upon. Second, as someone at the age between youngster and old-timer, I hadn't heard about all the serious problems surrounding Growing Kids God's Way/Babywise, and those books are still sold on the shelves of large chain bookstores (which makes me want to deface all of them when I come across them so no one would want to buy them, or, perhaps less illegally, stick flyers in their covers pointing to sources that spell out the GKGW/BW controversies). So I'm really glad I know about these problems, because now I can keep a sharp ear and eye out and do something about it.

Third, and I think most important for me, is that a lot of us here were raised in environments where all of the things Stephy satires played prominent roles in our own upbringing and childhood/adolescent/adult experiences. That they continue to be current issues is actually less important to me than that we are able to remember all of these things and the way they relate to our own abuse, discuss them, laugh and vent and rage and cry about them in a supportive commmunity, and continue along our many-varied paths toward healing. In that respect the more mundane and less newsbreaking aspects of CC are the ones that are the most imporant to talk about, because they are so pervasive, and because they say so many things not only about the culture they arise from, but also about the often highly damaging impact they had on a lot of us.

Again, thanks for your apology. That's one of the other things I love about this community -- conflicts like this happen quite frequently, and very frequently they end in restored peace, which, especially on an online forum that deals exclusively with controversy, is so rare. There's a lot of goodness here, and I'm really glad you're a part of it.

Bill said...

Thank you, Annabelle. I apologize for jumping so far down your throat. My use of sarcasm was not really necessary.

Kevin said...

I wish more folks could be so big, Annabelle. Jeez-I wish I could be that big.

TJ Housley said...

Hello. Sorry to use the comment form for not-a-comment, but I can't find your email.

I have begun to receive notification of comments from over a year ago, before you switched to Beliefnet and I unsubscribed. So now when I try to unsubscribe from this pre-Beliefnet Blogger site, it tells me I'm already unsubscribed. Yet I continue to receive the old comments. ("Epic tattoo design. PTL!)

I figure you know nothing about technical issues, but have you heard from anyone else suffering the same glitch?

Thanks. My email is available at my Blogger profile.

Abby Normal said...

It's been a while without a new post--is everything okay?

stephy said...

Yes thanks, just busy.

bdb said...

bloody christ vs. sponge bob...

that one is my favorite.

Mon said...

Stephy, I was recently re-reading and commented on your post regarding Not Smoking. I commented how I attended a bible study whose key strategy for adopting new members was brownies, ice cream, and sugary beverages. Then I realized that the comparisons of unhealthy treats and smoking fit perfectly to this post.

Edifying guilty pleasure: twinkies, cookies, donuts, soda, ice cream.

Unedifying guilty pleasure: smoking.

Tony D said...

Unless it's a pipe, of course.

Unknown said...

But what about socialist, atheists like me? I wanna be the most evil of all!

(Seriously Steph - where do you find this shite? I roll on the ground having milk squirting out of my nose so much that my mother in law thinks I'm possessed...)

JDM929 said...

I don't understand what an atheist fundamentalist is. I've seen it lobbed, but never explained. It's like it is only meant to be a slur to be used against those that disagree with them. A lot of times it's used by people that don't even try to understand their opponent, it's often used by those that complain of being denied the chance of turning government "back to God". I really need very specific examples because I really don't think it's an honest description of any Western atheists.

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