Secular Humanism’s Awful Inhumanity

by Tom Gilson

You would think a movement calling itself “humanism” would promote human worth. You’d think it would distance itself respectfully from any movement that did the opposite.

You would think that, but you’d be wrong — at least in the case of secular humanism and the atheistic movement it aligns itself with.

I expect secular humanists would say Christians such as myself are the great offenders against human respect and dignity. We see ourselves, they say, as puny creations of a God who rules over all. We’re “sinners;” even “worms,” as one hymn puts it. We’re too weak to manage our own way in the world; we need a Father-figure to hold our hands. Above all we lack courage to face our own death without inventing a happy ending for ourselves — plus a “gotcha” for our enemies.

That makes us awfully small, doesn’t it? It would, except it’s all distorted. They’ve misunderstood Christianity badly, from their side of the ideological divide.

Humanist Manifesto III

I’m going to let the American Humanist Association tell the first part of the story, through the movement’s third (and most current) Humanist Manifesto. It sounds uplifting enough: “Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity. … The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is ours and ours alone.”

What’s not to like about that?

Humanist ethics include “long[ing] for and striv [ing] toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.”

Again, what’s to complain about there? Not much — but everything.

The problem — and it’s a huge one — is with…

Secular Humanism’s Awful Inhumanity