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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Secular Humanists Pretending To Be Christians

Jun 12, 2020

Sadly, many Christians seem indistinguishable from secular humanists:

There is much more to being a Christian than simply claiming to be one. All sorts of folks think they are a Christian, or pretend to be a Christian, but they are nothing of the sort. We see this in various areas, but it is certainly found in radical leftists who like to add the adjective “Christian” to their latest campaigns and agenda items.

Progressive Christians are a case in point. They use God words but know little about the real God of the Bible. Instead they simply push all the usual left-wing agendas, disguising them in religious language. See more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/01/23/progressive-christianity/

And plenty of lefty trendies also like to use the designation Christian when it suits them. Plenty of the social justice warriors for example fit the bill here. I have these folks attacking fairly often, claiming I am the one who is not a Christian, because I do not go along with their hyper-left agendas and beliefs.

I recently had one such gal telling me how fed up she is with me and how she will not come to my site again. My crime? Simply exposing radical leftism at work. She is a self-professed socialist and hardcore leftist, yet she had the gall to say I was the fake Christian, and she was somehow the real deal!

These folks are often Christian in name only. What they really tend to be are card-carrying secular humanists. As such, they will often more or less look like this:
They prefer the Guardian, the New York Times and the Age to the Bible.
They think in socialist and Marxist terms and concepts instead of biblical ones.
They see sin as class divisions instead of our own moral rebellion against God.
They see salvation as the overthrow of capitalism, whites, and the West.
They would rather read the Gospel According to Marx than the Gospel According to Mark.
They adore prophets like Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, George Soros, and Greta Thunberg instead of Jeremiah or Isaiah.
They cherish heroes like Marx and Lenin, Che Guevara, Mao, and Malcolm X, while paying lip service to Jesus.
They are happy to use the Bible when it suits their purposes, but it is only theological liberalism, which matches their political liberalism.

See more on all this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2017/07/15/theological-liberalism-progressive-christianity/

So just what is secular humanism? There is plenty of room to move in defining this, depending on where you are coming from. Some align it with atheism and aggressive hostility to Christianity, while others are less hardcore in this regard. Some see it a full-blown worldview, while others see it more as a political and cultural movement.

One can also argue about how it arose in the first place. A recent book argues that it springs out of the Christian worldview, and could not exist without these theological foundations. See Theo Hobson’s God Created Humanism: The Christian Basis of Secular Values (SPCK, 2017, 2018).

The latest edition of Understanding the Times by Jeff Myers and David Noebel (David C. Cook, 1991, 2016) says this about secular humanism:

Secularism is derived from the word saeculum, which is a Latin term for a span of time, typically a generation. . . . Secularists’ concern is for the current age (as opposed to eternity) and human beings (as opposed to God). Regardless of their personal theological commitments, Secularists seem to believe that all public considerations – education and government, primarily – must be based on materialism, the idea that only the physical world exists.

Secularism, as with other worldviews, offers a comprehensive view of reality. The authors continue:

To Secularists, any reference to the supernatural is ignorant, superstitious, or both. . . . Secularists are people of faith. They have a thorough faith in the scientific method, the theory of naturalistic evolution, and materialism. They have faith in what they consider to be reasoned arguments that are self-evident to all who are not deluded by other faiths. Above all, they have faith in their own human capacities.

Plenty of books could be mentioned here which represent this point of view, but simply reading the three Humanist Manifestos (1933, 1973 and 2000) will present you with all you need to know about their beliefs and values. But see here for more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2007/05/22/secular-religion/

Image of The Drama of Atheist Humanism
The Drama of Atheist Humanism by Array Amazon logo

With so much great material already available on secular humanism, it might be best if I simply finish by quoting from some excellent titles. These volumes cover various aspects; philosophical, theological and sociological. All the books mentioned are well worth getting.

Two Catholic priests who wrote important books on atheistic philosophy are worth citing here. They note how secularism is not sustainable, and how it tends to destroy everything in its path. The French writer Henri de Lubac (1896-1991) penned a now classic book in 1944 called The Drama of Atheistic Humanism (Ignatius). In it he carefully examines the beliefs of people like Nietzsche, Comte, Marx and Feuerbach.

He said this: “It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism.” And American author Vincent Miceli (1915-1991) wrote a very valuable book in 1971 called The Gods of Atheism (Arlington House).

He also offers a very thorough assessment of these important and influential intellectual figures of the past few centuries. In the book he said this:

Moses failed to write the following commandment: ‘Thou shall not be an atheist.’ Instead his first commandment read: ‘I am the Lord thy God . . . Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.’ It was as if Moses had written: ‘Atheists are not godless men; they are men addicted to false gods’. Thus, the battle of love to which the Christian is honourably called today is the struggle to liberate his atheist neighbours from enthrallment to false gods and to help these neighbours find the True God.

Or as G. K. Chesterton put it in his 1908 classic, Orthodoxy: “The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world.”

The 1982 volume by James Hitchcock, What is Secular Humanism (Servant Books), is also worth quoting from. He writes: “Modern Secular Humanism has been stained with blood from its very birth.” And again: “The Terror was the first example of a familiar modern phenomenon: a movement to remake the world in the name of humanity gives birth to a murderous and destructive fanaticism.”

He also said this:

The ultimate failure of Secular Humanism is in the fact that of its very nature it promises what it cannot fulfil. . . . In the Twentieth Century, mass slaughter has been perpetrated not by religious believers in opposition to heresy but by secularists convinced that their plan for a worldly utopia is the only possible one. . . . In modern times much greater suffering has been perpetrated in the name of humanity than has ever been done in the name of religion. . . . The great seventeenth-century Christian apologist Blaise Pascal wrote, ‘He who plays the angel plays the beast.’ When man aspires to a higher place in creation than the one to which he is entitled, he ends up in a lower place.

Francis Schaeffer also spoke much about secularism. Here are a few representative quotes from his 1981 volume, A Christian Manifesto (Crossway Books):

Humanitarianism is being kind and helpful to people. The humanities are the study of literature, art, music, etc. – those things which are the product of human creativity. Humanism is the placing of Man at the center of all things and making him the measure of all things.”

“These two world views stand as totals in complete antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural results – including sociological and governmental results, and specifically including law.”

“We must never forget that the humanist position is an exclusivist, closed system which shuts out all contending viewpoints – especially if these views teach anything other than relative values and standards. Anything which presents absolute truth, values, or standards is quite rightly seen by the humanists to be a total denial of the humanistic position.”

“We must realize that the Reformation world view leads in the direction of government freedom. But the humanist world view with inevitable certainty leads in the direction of statism. This is so because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state.”

And a few more quotes of his from The Great Evangelical Disaster (Crossway Books, 1984):

“Rightly defined, secular humanism – or humanism, or secularism, or whatever name you may wish to use – is no bogeyman; it is a vicious enemy. . . . Humanism is the deviant denial of the God who is there, with Man defiantly set up in the place of God as the measure of all things.”

“Do you really understand that the biblical view of man and the secularist view are a total antithesis – and as such, they result in a totally conflicting view of human life, with totally different consequences?”

Finally, this quote from the late Ravi Zacharias:

The problem with secularization is as it sweeps over a culture and takes root, you begin to lose definitions in the process. How do we define right from wrong, moral from immoral? …When secularization has done its work, it will lead to a generation that has lost its sense of shame. You show me a human being without a sense of shame, and I will show you a human being who will stop at nothing. Secularization literally comes from the Latin word “saeculum” which means “worldly.” There is no transcendent moral order.

Biblical Christianity and secular humanism are indeed two competing worldviews. Yet what I said at the outset still must be addressed: Why are there so many people calling themselves Christians who in so many ways are really just secular humanists?

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10 Responses to Secular Humanists Pretending To Be Christians

  • Evolutionists is why. Compromised on Gen 1, the rest is deduction from there.

  • My church’s senior pastor will be moving onto a wider role soon, after 18 years at the helm, & leading the church back on track, after dealing with the effects of serious error.
    His predecessor was asked to leave, after teaching some “funny stuff”; he has subsequently written several books, & declares himself a “secular humanist”.

  • People need to ask themselves: “Am I really a Christian?” We could call ourselves any number of things but that wouldn’t necessarily make it so. Someone asked me once if I had any singing experience and yes I do because I love to sing; but not everyone likes my singing. I’ve also had experience painting but I’m not a painter: I’ve tiled walls and floors but I’m not a tiler. I also had experience washing dishes and scrubbing toilets but that doesn’t make me the cleaning lady.

    The reality is that we really need to know where we stand; Hell will be full of “good people” and heavily populated with “Christians” [accent for emphasis] who never examined themselves. These are they who professed Christianity and yet will hear the terrible words from our Lord; Matthew 7:23 (NIV) “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”

    One of the easiest ways to find out what a Christian is; is by looking at things which a Christian is NOT; in other words, by a process of elimination
    1. You are not Christian just because you say that you are. Becoming a Christian means admitting that you are a sinner and that you need Gods’ help. I could say that I’m a millionaire but it won’t put a million dollars in my bank account.
    2. You are not a Christian just because you go to church and sing about it. Someone once said “going to church will no more make you a Christian than going to a garage will make you into a car”. I could sing until I’m blue in the face but that won’t change who I am.
    3. You are not a Christian just because you like Jesus. Jesus is popular with people who aren’t even remotely Christian; and with companies who use His name to promote sales of their merchandise. WWJE (eat) diet. WWJW (thongs) so you can leave your own special footprints in the sand etc. It’s NOT simply about the fellowship it’s about FOLLOWship, Christianity is not a club membership, it is a way of life.
    4. You are not a Christian unless you surrender your life to God, totally. You know that bit in the Lords’ Prayer where it says “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done”. Yes? Well it means right here and now, not some date in the future
    5. You are not a Christian unless you have the JOY of the Lord. Imagine that the word J-O-Y is an acronym for Jesus-Others-Yourself, Jesus first, others next and yourself last.
    6. You are not a Christian unless you have a servant heart. Remember faith, hope and love? 1 Cor13:13 – The greatest of these is love. Well believe it or not service = love in work clothes. Stop asking what your church can do for you and START asking what YOU can do for the church.
    7. You are not a Christian just because you look in a mirror and see a Christian. Our self-awareness can be limited by preconceived conceptions and we have to beware they are not driven by a sense of self-deceit; people see us differently to how we see ourselves. But God knows His own and He is not deceived; He knows who belongs and who doesn’t.

    Matt 25:31-32 ““When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

  • Wheat and Tare Bill…nothing more to say. Keep bring a voice please! We need you.

  • Rev 13:11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. And it had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon.
    (MKJV)

    The really big problem is people not realizing that atheism is a religious belief. This is why the public broadcasters and educational institutions are able to get away with not following even secularist principles and can continuously foist their atheistic religious beliefs onto people and yet not be brought to account.

    The fact is we know scientifically that the universe is magnificently and incomprehensibly finely tuned to allow for life and there are only two possible explanations. The first is that there is a master intelligence behind the universe. The second is that there must have been in the past, or currently be, a nearly infinite number of universes or whatever, and I mean an astoundingly and incomprehensibly large number of them, for our universe to appear to have been designed with such magnificent intelligence. Apparently, according to atheistic religious belief, stupendously massive amounts of probability are a reasonable replacement for intelligence. This, of course, is simply a religious belief. There is not the slightest evidence for these beliefs whereas we have absolutely masses of evidence for intelligence being behind this creation.

    We know, scientifically, that dumb molecules cannot reproduce and evolve. It is a reasonably easily scientifically demonstrable fact, and so there simply is no possible path from dumb molecules to the masses of information that must exist within DNA for even the most simple of cells to exist. The bare minimum amount of data needed to provide a system of reproduction (which is life in this world) is massive. Cells are manufactured by a system most similar, in our understanding, to computer controlled manufacturing, yet it is manufacturing that works from the inside out and recreates copies of itself. If you look at the internal-cellular processes they look exactly like the Biblical account of being “knit together”. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hk9jct2ozY )

    We know, scientifically, that the only known source of information is intelligence and the only things we know of, scientifically, to evolve are things we know are driven by intelligence. Transport systems evolve, computers and information systems evolve, manufacturing systems evolve etc. etc. (Transport, manufacturing and information systems are evident in our current knowledge of cells.) The fact is you absolutely must have intelligence to learn and retain knowledge (information) and so evolve. Without systems to gain and retain knowledge there simply is no possibility of evolution.

    So basic information theory, and much much more from science, is evidence that atheism is, without a shadow of a doubt, a religious belief – it is not a belief based on science and it needs to be treated properly as a religious belief and one with absolutely no material evidence to support it.

    I have no fear of secularism. Yes people are overwhelmingly stupid compared to God but we have the means to follow the evidence and if Christianity was given anywhere near the same privileges as atheistic religious belief is given, I have absolutely no doubt which belief will win out. This is the true evolution we need to see and it will only occur once atheism is correctly shown to be a religious belief and we can then be allowed to demonstrate clearly it is a religious belief for which there is zero evidence.

    I don’t expect atheistic religious belief to give up its current privileged position without a huge fight but this is the fight I believe is essential for God to find faith on Earth. It is only this special privilege that has been given to atheistic belief that has allowed so much misinformation, false ideas and the false terminology to proliferate that is the hallmark of modern secularism. Once atheism is forced to lose its privileged position and be treated as the religious belief it is, then the rest will fall like a house of cards.

  • Thanks Bill, for getting us thinking about why do some people identify themselves as Christian who are not. My easy answer is because people don’t know that they aren’t a Christian and Satan has blinded them so that they follow the broad and easy way rather than the straight and narrow way. If you tell them that they aren’t a Christian they wont believe you and as you said, they will tell you that you are the fake Christian. Or they are saying it to get people votes like Hitler so that the German people would follow him. Also it looks good and caring at the moment as Christians brought us our morales, freedom, education, inventions, etc. But underneath it all I’d have to say the apostasy white horse of Revelation 6 is still riding around trying to get as many people rounded up into false beliefs so that there is confusion everywhere and wars break out, followed by famine, disease and death.
    Jesus said ‘you will know them by their fruits’ in Matthew 7:20 but as portrayed earlier – not everyone who goes to church or is brought up as a Christian or speaks words from the Bible is a Christian and everyone makes mistakes sometimes so it is hard to discern but one characteristic is that the Christian usually repents.
    I often wondered why we call these progressives ‘lefties or leftists’ and then in Matthew 25:41 Jesus says ‘Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels’. It is even hard to discern who of our leaders are really Christian when they say they are Christian or have clergy fathers eg Bob Hawke, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Tony Abbot, Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison or US leaders like the Kennedys, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Bill and Hilary Clinton, George Bush x 2 and Donald Trump? That is why it is our job to keep praying for Godly leaders so that the same sex marriage, abortion and euthanasia laws are repealed and the Bible is once again taught in schools instead of evolution.

  • Well we might regard Michael Moore as a ratbag with some justification. But his “Planet of the Humans ” was to say the least “interesting”. We should thank him for it. But the big question is how do we Christians respond. And it’s a very big question.

  • Yes John his doco exposing the green energy movement was a good film – one of the few worthwhile things he has done.

  • How disarming and evil is this captioned picture.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4d783b6f37cb2050b4b1bf0eab87c01673a38ac129922314d3f3acd3af158bcf.jpg

    Jesus is depicted as saying;
    “I never told you to hate anybody.
    I don’t care where they’re from,
    what they look like,
    who they’re in love with,
    or who they worship.
    Why is this so difficult?”

  • I hate the term secularists because these people are really anti-theists. Secular truly is religiously neutral it neither promotes not detracts from religion. Most don’t understand that since anti-theists have taken the word for themselves. Most things in the world are secular some good some bad. A few things are religious (holy) in nature and a few things are profane in nature. On a spectrum I would put it profane, secular bad, secular good, religious(holy). Secular is a perfectly acceptable term ruined by those pretending they aren’t following a god (they are their own god).

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