In numerous posts here I have argued for the religious nature of secular humanism. Of course to do so unleashes the ire and venom of aggrieved secularists. As they go out of their way to attack religion, it of course does not look too good if it can be shown that they in fact are just as religious, indeed just as fundamentalist, as any theist. But religious they are, and some of the more honest of the secularists have been admitting it all along.
Indeed, in the early days the secular humanists made no attempt to disguise their religiosity. One person who should know is David Noebel. He has been following this issue for decades, and has had plenty of debates and interaction with the secularists. His many publications have ably documented this religious aspect of humanism.
In a recent article for Christian Worldview Network (May 17, 2007), he lays out some of this documentation. It is worth summarising some of this information here. He demonstrates that for well over a century, the humanists have both been declaring war against religion – especially Christianity – while also seeking to set themselves up as an alternative worldview and religion.
As far back as 1893 “Thomas Huxley declared war on God and determined to ‘overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity.’ Huxley stated his goal as the replacement of the Christian worldview with what he termed ‘the church scientific.’ Huxley’s science was Darwin’s theory of evolution via natural selection. A generation or so later Thomas Huxley’s grandson, Julian Huxley, former president of the British Humanist Association, took up the task to ‘develop a scientific religion’ which he termed ‘evolutionary humanism.’ It was to be a secular religion to replace the Christian religion (the goal of Secular Humanism from its inception) and it was to be a religion without divine revelation. Julian Huxley was an atheist like his grandfather.”
He continues, “About the same time John Dewey, another atheist (and socialist), wrote his groundbreaking work entitled A Common Faith published by Yale University Press in 1934. Dewey openly declares that Secular Humanism is ‘a religious faith that shall not be confined to sect, class, or race. Such a faith,’ says Dewey, ‘has always been implicitly the common faith of mankind. It remains to make it explicit and militant.’ Dewey understood the importance of destroying one faith (Christianity) by another faith (Secular Humanism).”
Such quotes can be cited at length. Indeed, Noebel has uncovered numerous such examples of humanists themselves declaring that secularism is indeed a religion. Yet for the most part contemporary humanists deny any religious aspect to their thinking. I have had secularists on this site argue the same with me.
But it seems the cat has finally been let out of the bag: “But the guessing game over whether or not Secular Humanism is a religion can now stop because Secular Humanism’s canon, Free Inquiry magazine, edited by Paul Kurtz, has now admitted that the 1933 Humanist Manifesto was written ‘for the explicit purpose of proclaiming humanism as a new religion.’ (February/March 2007, p. 65) Of course, if that is true, and it most certainly is, then Humanist Manifestos (1973 and 2000) are likewise ‘religious’ because all three proclaim the same religious dogma including atheism, naturalism, evolutionism, ethical relativism, etc. In fact, when Paul Kurtz wrote the preface to Humanist Manifesto I and II (Prometheus Books) he stated, ‘Humanism is a philosophical, religious, and moral point of view’.”
Noebel offers some other interesting facts: “A number of years ago Paul Kurtz was asked the question about whether or not Secular Humanism was a religion. His answer: ‘The organized humanist movement in America is put in a quandary, for the Fellowship of Religious Humanists, the American Ethical Union, and the Society of Humanistic Judaism consider themselves to be religious. Even the American Humanist Association has a religious tax exemption.’ What Kurtz failed to mention was the American Humanist Association was founded ‘as a church.’ One can verify that fact by simply calling the Internal Revenue Service U. S. Department of the Treasury (1-877-829-5500) and ask the staff for the current status and background of the American Humanist Association located at 1777 T Street in Washington, D. C.”
So what is the big deal about all this? The real issue is this: right now Christianity is excluded from the public school system in America, while humanism is not. If it can be clearly shown that humanism is also a religion, then it too should be banned from public education. Says Noebel:
“Secular Humanism is just as religious as Christianity! Both have a fish as their religious symbol and yet this is one point the Humanists continue to deny else they too will be eradicated from the public schools, and their agenda to indoctrinate the next generation … will come to a crashing halt. The Secular Humanist’s sex education, pro-homosexual programs have been a big-bertha weapon in their quiver to destroy Christian morality. Their other major weapon has been Darwinian evolution, which agrees with Stephen Hawking that the human race is ‘a chemical scum on a moderate-size planet’.”
Thus it was nice of Kurtz to finally spill the beans. Now maybe we can see a real level playing field, at least in the realm of education. If Christianity is religious and therefore to be driven from public education, so too should secular humanism.