Insights Into Humanism

Robert L. Waggoner[1]

Humanism is the primary modern philosophical enemy of Christianity. Even so, most Christians know little, if anything about it – what it is, or how it functions. The term “humanism” has been around since the Renaissance, although only recently has the man on the street began to use it. Many who do use the term do not sufficiently understand its ideals and concepts.

To help clarify this lack of understanding, “humanism” and some of its related terms will be defined within their historical and philosophical contexts and some short working philosophical definitions of modern humanism will be given. Humanism will be shown to be a method for making decisions. Major philosophical concepts of humanism will be briefly noted, after which terms that modify humanism will be discussed. Finally the seriousness of humanism will be demonstrated by noting its progress in its opposition to Christianity.

Humanistic Terms Often Need Clarification

Humanism is often confusing to people because the primary meanings of many of its basic words have changed. Humanism is often associated with related words such as “humanist,” “humane,” “humanities,” and “humanitarian.” Words may sometimes have dual meanings. However, their primary meanings are generally consistent with the time period in which they are used. Modern humanism frequently promotes its acceptance by utilizing confusion created by words that have dual meanings. A proper understanding of humanism requires knowledge of how a particular word is used within its historical or philosophical context. The original meanings of words related to humanism are generally best understood within their historical context. The current meanings of these words are generally best understood within their philosophical context.


Although “humanism” is a philosophical, religious and moral point of view as old as human civilization itself,”[2] and although “humanism traces its roots from ancient China, classical Greece and Rome, through the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment to the scientific revolution of the modern world,”[3] the primary impetus toward the development of modern humanism comes from the Renaissance era, and was strongly re-enforced by the so-called age of Enlightenment.

Petrarch (1304-1374) is considered to be “the father of the new humanism.”[4] A steady stream of professional humanists came after Petrarch. For Petrarch and his peers, humanism meant veneration for the works of ancient humanity, especially the literature of Greece and Rome. Although the content of humanistic studies at first included early church history, Renaissance humanism clearly emphasized non-Christian literature.


Most humanists of the early Renaissance, being Catholic, would have claimed themselves to be Christians. Strictly speaking, a “humanist” then was a scholar who engaged in the study of “humane” literature. It was then called “profane” to distinguish it from biblical literature. The “humane” literature then studied was primarily the classical Greek and Latin languages and the ancient non-Christian literary documents written in those languages. Since these scholars studied primarily the “humane” literary works of humanity, their studies were categorically referred to as the “humanities”.

The word “humanists” during the Renaissance era simply described an individual who was a student of humane literature. Although a “humanist” may still be a student of humane literature, the term today does not necessarily refer to a student of humanities. That’s because as Renaissance humanists studied ancient humane literature, they began to accept the beliefs, values, and concepts they read from non-Christian literature. It was not long until they came to prefer a sort of human autonomy rooted in the belief that man is his own judge – totally independent from God. God was either removed from their portraits of reality, or God was placed in the far distant background, and man was positioned at center stage.

Because humanists rejected God in practical matters, the word “humanist” came to mean not only one who studied ancient works of humanity, but also one who believed ancient non-Christian human ideals and values. Whereas the word “humanist” had originally designated what a person did, it came in time to designate what a person believed. The word “humanist” may now describe one who is not even a student of the humanities, but who nonetheless believes those concepts that have come to public consciousness from “humane” literature.


The study of humanities for university students today differs from the study of humanities by Renaissance humanists. University students today generally read modern translations of ancient literary words such as Homer’s Illiad and The Odyssey, and the Latin works by Ovid and Virgil, etc., although they do not generally study these works in their original languages. Moreover humanities as studied by modern university students is not limited to literature. Rather, the study of humanities generally includes many other type works of humanity in such fields as music and the arts, in addition to a historical study of the Renaissance humanists and their works.


Like the words “humanities” and “humanist,” the word “humane” sometimes undergoes changes in its meaning. Whereas it was once designated non-Christian literature, it is now often used to imply human conduct that is kind, tender, merciful and compassionate. This meaning of “humane” is changed because of its association with a concept of modern humanism about the nature of man, namely, that man is basically good.

The Bible does not teach that mankind is basically good. Rather it declares that by Adam sin entered into the world (Romans 5:12), that everyone sins (Roman 3:23; 3:10), and that therefore all everyone is in need of salvation (Romans 1:16, 17; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:9). This does not mean, however, that all people are basically evil. Rather, the Bible declares that people are free to choose whether they will do good or whether they will do evil (John 5:28-29; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

The humanist portrayal of mankind as basically good reflects the strong influence of modern humanism upon our culture. Moreover, cultural acceptance of humanity as “humane” has now influenced the general concept of humanism, so that many, who do not realize the horrible consequences of modern humanism, mistakenly think that a humanistic lifestyle is one of compassionate concern and caring for humanity.


Likewise, the word “humanitarian” has also changed its meaning from what it was originally. “Humanitarianism was the term originally applied to the followers of a group of eighteenth-century theologians who affirmed the humanity but denied the deity of Christ. It was later used when speaking of the Religion of Humanity, and it carries the subsidiary meaning of the worship of the human race. It is only recently that humanitarianism has come to imply almost exclusively the doing of good deeds that help people. That recent usage should not be allowed to obscure the origins and motivations of humanitarianism. It is above all a religious term.”[5]

Just as words related to humanism have had their meanings changed, so also the meaning of “humanism” itself has also changed. Whereas “humanism” once referred to respect for classical writings of antiquity, the term has now come to mean a respect for human (as opposed to Godly) values that are recorded in these non-Christian documents. Modern humanism must therefore be understood within its philosophical context, not its historical origins.

Humanism May Be Defined Philosophically

There is no single philosophical definition of humanism that is a commonly accepted standard for everyone. There are about as many definitions as there are scholars who discuss the subject. Nonetheless, some basic ideals of humanism may be perceived through reviewing some short working philosophical definitions.

“Simply defined, humanism is man’s attempt to solve his problems independently of God.”[6]

“Humanism is the religion which deifies man and dethrones God.”[7]

Humanism is “a pre-occupation with man as the supreme value in the universe and the sole solver of the problems of the universe.”[8]

“Humanism is a philosophy which affirms the value of what is human, or which holds that humans have value in and of themselves.”[9]

“Humanism is the viewpoint that men have but one life to live and that human happiness is its own justification and needs no sanction or support from supernatural sources; that, in any case, the supernatural does not exist.”[10]

“Humanism is the placing of Man at the center of all things and making him the measure of all things.” It “means Man beginning from himself, with no knowledge except what he himself can discover and no standards outside himself.”[11]

The basic idea of humanism was expressed by the ancient Greek, Protagoras (c. 485-415 BC) when he said, “Man is the measure of all things, of things that are, that they are; and of things that are not, that they are not.”[12] Humanism sounds positive, being for man. However, to the Christian, humanism is really negative, being against God. “Humanism is a polite term for atheism.”[13] In practice, humanism is a system of beliefs about humanity that excludes God from reality and makes man the judge of all things.

Humanism Is A Method For Making Decisions

However helpful scholarly definitions may be, humanism cannot really be understood until it’s realized that it is primarily a method to be used in making moral decisions. As Paul Kurtz puts it, “[s]ecular humanism is not so much a specific morality as it is a method for the explanation and discovery of rational principles.”[14]

This method is best understood when illustrated. Below are three paragraphs of a magazine article designed for teenagers.[15] As you read these paragraphs, see if you recognize modern humanism. You’ll notice that the word “humanism” (or its related terms) does not appear in these paragraphs. However, some basic concepts of modern humanism are there. Ask yourself whether you agree with the ideas expressed in these paragraphs. Here’s the first one.

“Decisions are an essential part of living. You have to make decisions every day of your life, from deciding what to wear to school to deciding what type work you want to do for the rest of your life. You even have to decide whether or not you want to have a sexual relationship. This is what the decisions section is about.”

That paragraph is primarily introductory. While there may be nothing within it with which we would disagree explicitly, an older generation than ours would have been shocked to read that there are implied alternatives regarding “whether or not you want to have a sexual relationship.”

Godly people understand that a “sexual relationship” outside of marriage is sinful. “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18) “Flee fornication” (I Corinthians 6:18), and “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28), are but a few prohibitions from God on this subject. For all who respect God’s authority, there is no reason to even consider the question of “whether or not you want to have a sexual relationship.”

Now read the second paragraph.

“We’ve asked a doctor, a minister, two parents and three teenagers to tell us how they feel about sex. These are their opinions and not necessarily yours. We only hope that when you read their letters, you will be able to understand why they made the kind of decisions that they did. This will hopefully help you find the why’s behind your decisions.”

Did you notice the implication in that paragraph? What is implicit there is explicit in the next paragraph.

“The decision of whether or not to have sex is not a one-time thing. Each time that you have or do not have sex, when the opportunity arises, a choice is made. It takes careful thought. Think about your feelings, important people’s opinions that you value, your religious beliefs, and any other thing that influences how you think, feel, or behave. You are the only person who knows what is right for you. The final decision is yours.”

Do you agree that you are the only person who knows what is right for you? Did you notice that in these paragraphs appealed to the only human authorities? These paragraphs do not appeal to Divine authority – God, Christ, or the Bible. Nor do they suggest that any human authority is better for you than you are for yourself! In other words, these paragraphs teach that you are sovereign in determining your own conduct!

In contrast, the Bible teaches that God is the only sovereign being (Genesis 1:1; 14:19; Exodus 8:22; 15:18; Deuteronomy 4:39; I Chronicles 19:11-12; Psalms 22:28: 24:1; Acts 17:24-31; Romans 14:11). The Bible teaches that man needs guidance from God because “the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).

Placing humanity at the center of all things, and making humanity the judge of all things is the primary belief and method of modern humanism. While modern humanism may be considered a type of atheism, it is unlike atheism in that it does not generally argue about the existence of God. Its method is simply to assume that God does not exist. By assuming that God does not exist, humanism dismisses God as irrelevant and makes man his own God. Because humanism rejects God and the Bible, moral decisions can then be based only upon what man learns from nature through natural experiences and observations. While all men may glean from the best of human wisdom in arriving at personal moral decisions, in the final analysis, each man determines for himself what is right and what is wrong.

This belief and process of modern humanism is boldly declared within basic documents of humanism. Humanism affirms that “moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human needs and interest.”[16] “We reject all religious, ideological, or moral codes that denigrate the individual, suppress freedom, dull intellect, dehumanize personality. We believe in maximum individual autonomy consonant with social responsibility . . . the possibilities of individual freedom of choice exist in human life and should be increased.”[17] The sixth article of Humanist Manifesto II declares that “individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their life-styles as they desire.” The fourth item of A Secular Humanist Declaration states that “secularists deny that morality needs to be deduced from religious belief or that those who do not espouse a religious doctrine are immoral.” And the conclusion of that document includes the statement that “secular humanism places trust in human intelligence rather than in divine guidance.”

Philosophical Concepts of Humanism

Modern humanism is a method of thinking that dethrones God and deifies humanity. It is also a philosophical worldview that has certain well-defined major concepts. While all humanists do not necessarily subscribe to every aspect of these concepts, they are generally agreed upon a broad consensus. These concepts are clearly documented by Humanist Manifestos I and II, A Secular Humanist Declaration, and A Declaration of Interdependence: A New Global Ethics.[18]

Major philosophical concepts of modern humanism can be summarized under three basic categories – God, nature, and man. Concepts regarding the first two categories can be quickly and easily summarized. Regarding God – humanist generally believe either that God does not exist, or that, if he does, he is not relevant to mankind. Humanists therefore believe that theism is unrealistic and detrimental to humanity. Regarding nature – humanists believe that the universe is “self-existing,” that nature is all there is, and that all things within nature, including mankind, evolve by chance.

Humanist concepts regarding mankind are not so briefly summarized. Humanism is essentially a human-centered philosophy. It is concerned primarily with mankind’s physical and moral natures. But these must be understood, according to humanists, by human reasoning, scientific observations, and critical thinking rather than by divine revelation.

Humanists realize that tensions exist between themselves and theists and that if humanism is to prevail over theism, then God and Divine revelation must be excluded from the process by which people acquire knowledge of all things. They therefore insist upon the right to inquire freely about everything and to act according to their own understandings of humanity and nature without social or legal restrictions imposed upon them by believers in God. If humanists are to achieve their desired freedoms and objectives, they think it essential to their cause that public policies in governmental, professional and social areas of human life not be determined according to Divine revelation, but only from knowledge gleaned by human reasoning, scientific discoveries, and critical intelligence.

Humanists believe that humans have only a physical nature. They deny that mankind is spiritual, or that humans have life after death. Humanists believe that mankind is self-sufficient through the use of reason and critical intelligence. That is, they think that humanity needs no Divine guidance or direction from any source other than humanity. Humanists believe that humanity is basically good. That is, they think people do not sin, and therefore that people have no need of eternal salvation. Since humanity is assumed to be basically good, then whatever mankind does which does not encroach on others’ freedoms is also thought to be good. Thus, the use of pornography, by those who desire it, is sanctioned by humanism.

Humanists believe that man is a moral being. Morality to humanists, however, does not mean the same thing as it does to Christians. Christians believe that moral standard is set by God. It is absolute, constant, and fixed by God in scripture. For humanists, however, moral standards are relative, situational, and autonomous. That is, for humanists, morality is pluralistic, determined by each person for himself. A person is moral, according to humanism, whenever he or she does whatever he of she thinks is right. For Christians, however, a person is moral whenever he or she does whatever God says is right.

Humanists believe there is one moral principle that is universal to all people. That’s the principle of “moral equality.” By that, humanists mean that all people are morally equal. Therefore, all discrimination, whether based on age, sex, religion, race, color, national origin, etc., is considered to be immoral. Humanists apply their principle of moral equality to all people in two major ways. One is related to sex, the other is related to economics.

As applied to sex, the humanistic principle of moral equality means that men and women have equal authority, rights, and functions, in every aspect of life. In other words, there should be no distinguishable differences of authority between men and women in society, and neither should there be distinguishable differences of sexual roles between men and women. In practical terms, this means that husbands should have no more authority over their families than do their wives, that wives should have no more responsibility for house-keeping than do their husbands, and that husbands should have no more responsibility for providing for their families than do their wives. It also means that marriage is but only one legitimate arrangement of convenience for cohabitation between men and women. It means that homosexual and lesbian marriages are just as permissible as are heterosexual marriages. It means that unmarried couples living together are equally as respectable as are married couples and that “short of harming others or compelling them to do likewise, individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire.”[19]

As applied to economics, the humanistic principle of moral equality means that society “should provide means to satisfy basic [individual] economic, health, and cultural needs, including wherever resources make possible, a guaranteed annual income.”[20] In other words, humanism is generally opposed to an economy based upon capitalism. It usually insists upon an economy based upon socialistic premises. In practical terms, this means that there should be no economic categories of the rich and the poor, but that all individuals should be economically equal. It means that individuals are not necessarily responsible to provide economically for themselves and their families, but that civil governments are responsible for providing economic needs for all their citizens. It also means, whenever this principle is carried to its logical conclusion, that nationalism must eventually be eliminated, and that in its place must be established an international one-world government. Since economic growth and development is worldwide in scope, humanism declares that “it is the moral obligation of the developed nations to provide – through an international authority that safeguards human rights – massive technical, agricultural, medical, and economic assistance, including birth control techniques, to the developing portions of the globe.”[21] Humanists believe that in order to help less-developed nations become more self-sufficient “we need to work out some equitable form of taxation on a worldwide basis.”[22]

Modifiers of Humanism: Secular, Religious, and Christian

Any assessment of humanism would not be complete if it did not include an understanding of terms that sometimes are used to modify the word “humanism”. Three major terms often used to modify humanism are “secular,” “religious,” and “Christian.” Confusion often surrounds these terms as modifiers of humanism just as confusion surrounds the word “humanism” itself.

Secular Humanism

The most common term now used to modify humanism is the word “secular,” which comes from the Latin saeculum. It means ‘time’ or ‘age.’ Secular is that which pertains to this world, temporal, related to, or connected with worldly things. Secularism knows nothing of the majesty of a sovereign God who transcends and rules over the universe.

In contrast to secularism, Christianity promotes belief in God and in heavenly and eternal things. No one doubts that Christianity is a religion. Humanists want people to equate religion with concerns about God, the church, personal salvation, and things heavenly and eternal. Since humanists reject beliefs about God, personal salvation, eternal life, etc., humanists want people to think of humanism as secular, not as religious.

A major modern popular concept of the secular is that there are certain areas of human life and activity that may be legitimately separated from religion. These areas of life are now generally presumed to include politics, the arts, education, science, commerce, entertainment, economics, foreign affairs, environmental issues, industry, journalism, transportation, business, civil governments, etc. By applying the term “secular” to all these areas, humanism identifies itself with all these areas, and seeks to separate them from the influence of religion.

Humanists argue that religious people should confine their religion to matters of worship and attending to the spiritual needs of individuals in their private lives. They argue that religion is only a private matter, and that therefore Christians should have nothing to do with these public matters. Many who profess Christianity seem to have accepted this humanistic way of thinking. Humanists have deceived many professed Christians into believing that the categorical distinction between the secular and the religious is a proper distinction. It is not! The Bible never makes a categorical distinction between the secular and the religious. In fact, the modern concept of the secular, as distinguished from the religious, is never found in the Bible. This categorical distinction is a relatively modern concept, unknown to history until after the time of Thomas Acquinas (1225-1274 AD).

Religion touches all areas of life. The Christian religion is just as concerned with life in this world as it is with eternal life. For Christians, there is no area of life that should not be regulated by the word of God. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). Any Christian who thinks his religion is only a private matter has too limited an understanding of Christianity. Christians cannot be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, or a leavening influence within the world unless the Christian faith is applied to all public and private sectors of life.

Religious Humanism

Humanists have not always wanted people to think of humanism as secular. They now want people to think of them as secular because that now seems to be to their advantage. There was a time, however, when humanists thought it was to their advantage to be known as a religion. They then used the word “religious” to modify humanism. Although modern humanists do not now generally refer to their philosophy as a religion, and although many of them will object to modern humanism being classified as a religion, it is nonetheless true that modern humanism is indeed a religion.

Modern humanism claims to be a religion. Claims made by humanists that humanism is a religion date back more than a century. “As early as 1872, Octavius B. Frothingham wrote Religion of Humanity in which he used the doctrine of evolution to establish a humanistic, naturalistic concept of religious and ethical values.”[23] In 1930, Charles F. Potter, one of the signers of Humanist Manifesto I, wrote a book entitled Humanism: A New Religion. The first sentence in the preface states, “The purpose of this book is to set forth . . . the main outline and principal points of the new religion called humanism.”[24] Many other statements in that book also claim that humanism is a religion. The signers of Humanist Manifesto I believed that the circumstances of their world had “created a situation which requires a new statement of the means and purposes of religion.”[25] They believed that “to establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present.”[26] They declared that in “order that religious humanism may be better understood, we, the undersigned, desire to make certain affirmations which we believe the facts of our contemporary life demonstrate.”[27] Humanist Manifesto I affirmed fifteen principles. Of these, eight use language that requires recognition that humanism be considered a religion. The last paragraph of that document begins with the words, “So stands the theses of religious humanism.”[28] Forty years later, Paul Kurtz stated that Humanist Manifesto I “was concerned with expressing a general religious and philosophical outlook”[29] He also noted that Humanist Manifesto II also addressed itself to “the problems of religion.”[30]

In addition to claiming to be a religion, humanism has religious characteristics. Among these are faith assumptions, attempts to answer basic and ultimate religious concerns, creedal statements, etc.[31] Moreover, humanism has been legally declared, on several occasions, to be a religion. The U. S. Supreme Court declared in 1961 that among “religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, secular Humanism and others.”[32]

Humanists apparently do not now wish for humanism to be considered a religion because – with the prevailing concept of the secular as opposed to the religious, if humanism were generally thought of as a religion – humanism would then have no better standing in the popular mind than is now generally given to Christianity. Moreover, humanism would then not be able to identify itself with the secular. In short, religion was once held in high esteem in this country. Now, however, religion is out, secularism is in!

As religion, humanism is a form of self-worship. Humanism as self-worship in our society manifests itself in two primary ways. One is the quest for things (materialism) and the other is the quest for pleasure (hedonism). The quest for these makes many moderns act like they think humanity is only physical and temporal. Whereas humanism emphasizes self-hood, Christianity emphasizes self-denial (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). For Christians, material things and pleasurable experiences are not evil in themselves, but their singular pursuit causes modern man to forget the spiritual nature and eternal destiny of his soul. Christians should remember that Jesus taught that in order to gain life, one must lose it (Matthew 16:25; Luke 17:33; John 12:25).

Christian Humanism

Just as the term “religious” preceded “secular” in modifying humanism, so also did the word “Christian” precede “religious” in modifying humanism. There are two senses in which the word “Christian” has been used as a modifier of humanism. The first sense is of Catholic scholars like Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More in England who studied ancient classical literature, but who professed belief in Christ. The other sense relates to persons of more recently times, like C. S. Lewis and other Christian apologists. For them, humanism meant something different from that indicated by modern humanism. For them, humanism referred to the dignity of man as created by God and made in Cod’s image. Man’s eternal worth, his dominion over nature, his immortality and his creative ability were central concepts of Christian humanism. Even here, however, many who considered themselves Christian humanists had so compromised Christianity with naturalism that they were often more in tune with modern humanism than they were with Christianity.[33]

The strength of modern humanism is such that, for all practical purposes, the expression “Christian humanism” is now a contradiction in terms inasmuch as genuine Christianity is generally realized to be just the opposite of humanism. Paul Kurtz, a leading spokesman of modern humanism and former editor of The Humanist magazine, says “Humanism cannot in any fair sense of the word apply to one who still believes in God as the source and the creator of the universe. Christian Humanism would be possible only for those who are willing to admit that they are atheistic Humanists. It surely does not apply to God-intoxicated believers.”[34]

Humanism Is Now The Primary Philosophical Enemy of Christianity

Until the 1960s the word “humanism” was seldom heard by the man on the street. Most Christians seem to find it difficult to believe that in the battle for the mind of modern men, humanism has confronted Christianity and now appears to have greater influence in the Western World than does Christianity. Christians know that biblical morality has severely deteriorated since mid-twentieth century, but Christians have generally not known why.

Now, all of a sudden, Christians are beginning to learn that humanism has ruling control over every discipline of study in all public elementary and secondary schools, and in all state colleges and universities; that humanism is the major ruling philosophy in all major professions such as law, medicine, the media, sociology and psychology; and that it’s values dictate most policies of our federal and state bureaucracies. Humanism rules in industry and commerce, in the arts and in foreign affairs. Humanism has turned the Christian world upside down – a reversal from accomplishments of apostolic Christianity! (See Acts 17:6).

A thought provoking assessment of changes humanism has brought about in modern America is given by William A. Stanmeyer. He writes that . . .

“in the watershed generation since World War II, secular humanism took an aggressive, intolerant, even imperialistic stance. Through variegated cultural and legal changes, secular humanists have modified the public order so that it no longer reinforces Christian values or supports private religious efforts to transmit traditional standards, norms, and values to one’s children. Society’s public policies and laws are no longer a simple extension of the basic commitments and priorities of the Christian individuals who make up that society. In field after field of human endeavor, an extraordinary transformation has take place, as if a butterfly has reversed the process of metamorphosis and changed from a beautiful winged flutterer back to an ugly crawling caterpillar. A society not long ago Christian is now pagan, and the change took place right before our eyes! At the risk of some over-simplification one could summarize the metamorphosis this way: three decades ago, the secular humanist voice was scarcely heard in public policy; two decades ago, it was one among a few; one decade ago, it became the loudest and most influential; in the decade to come, it will seek to silence all other voices. As they seek to gain control of the organs of public policy, the secular humanists will attack enclaves of Christian communal life, such as schools, hospitals, and other charitable organizations transfused with religious commitment. Their goal will be to reduce Christian influence on public morality to the most token and accidental sort”[35]

After giving numerous examples of how humanism has changed, and is still changing our society, Stanmeyer then says, “an ominous pattern is developing: a multifaceted campaign is mounting to remove Christian influence from society entirely - from its schools, its medical practice, its social service institutions, its laws.”[36]


We who claim to be Christians have allowed humanism to make fundamental changes within our culture. Humanism will continue to change our culture until and unless we Christians understand it. We must rise up against modern humanism, “stand in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30), do battle against it where it is most operative and powerful, and restore the principles of Christianity to the cultural and legal foundations which govern our society.

[1]Copyright © by Robert L. Waggoner, 1987, Revised, 2001. Permission is granted to reproduce and distribute this document for non-commercial educational purposes when unaltered provided that copyright and authorship is given. All other rights reserved.

[2]Paul Kurtz, “Preface,” Humanist Manifestos I and II. (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1973), 3.

[3]Paul Kurtz, Same as above, 15.

[4]Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Old Tappan, N. J.: Fleming H. Revell Company. 1976), 58.

[5]Herbert Schlossberg. Idols For Destruction: Christian Faith and Its Confrontation with American Society. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983), 50, with footnote, “See the Oxford English Dictionary, Vol. 5, 445; also Encyclopedia Brittanica, 11th ed., 1911, Vol. 13, 872.”

[6]Tim LaHaye. The Battle For the Mind. (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1980), 26.

[7]Homer Duncan. Secular Humanism: The Most Dangerous Religion in America (Lubbock, TX: Missionary Crusader, 1979), 7.

[8]John Eidsmoe. The Christian Legal Advisor (Milford, MI: Mott Media, 1984), 180.

[9]Norman Geisler. Is Man the Measure? An Evaluation of Contemporary Humanism. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), 104.

[10]Corliss Lamont. The Philosophy of Humanism. (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1949).

[11]Francis Schaeffer. The Christian Manifesto. (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1981), 23-24.

[12]Milton C. Nahm, ed. Selections From Early Greek Philosophy. (Crofts, 1934), 239, as cited by A. James Reichley. Religion in American Public Life (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1985), 42.

[13]James Curry, President of American Humanist Association. Quoted from FAC-Sheet #18-A, “Humanism,” Plymouth Rock Foundation, O. Box 425, Martborough, NH 03455-1425.

[14]Paul Kurtz. “A Secular Humanist Declaration”, Free Inquiry, Vol. 1, No. 1, Winter, 1980/81, 5.

[15]The source of this article is unknown to me. I received it as a clipping from a friend.

[16]Humanist Manifesto II, Third.

[17]Humanist Manifesto II, Fifth.

[18]Humanist Manifesto I was drafted by Roy Wood Sellers. It was first published in The New Humanist, (May/June, 1933, Vol. VI, No. 3). It was signed by thirty-four people, including John Dewey. Humanist Manifesto II was first published in The Humanist, (September/October, 1973, Vol. XXXIII, No. 5). It was signed by 114 prominent persons, including Isaac Asimov, Edd Doerr, Anthony Flew, Sidney Hook, Lester Kirkendall, Paul Kurtz, Corless Lamont, Lester Mondale, and B. F. Skinner. A Secular Humanist Declaration was drafted by Paul Kurtz. It first appeared in Free Inquiry, (Winter, 1980/81, Vol. 1, No. 1. 3-6). In that issue it was endorsed by fifty-eight people from eight countries, among which were Isaac Asimov, Joseph Fletcher, Sidney Hook, Floyd Matson, and B. F. Skinner. Twenty-three additional endorsements too late for publication then arrived for listing in the next issue. A Declaration of Interdependence: A New Global Ethics first appeared in Free Inquiry, (Fall, 1988, Vol. 8, No. 4, 4-7). It was endorsed by fourteen Humanist Laureates of the Academy of Humanism. This document was also endorsed by the Board of Directors of the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the Tenth World Congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

[19]Humanist Manifesto II, Sixth.

[20]Humanist Manifesto II, Eleventh.

[21]Humanist Manifesto II, Fifteenth.

[22]Paul Kurtz, “A Declaration of Interdependence: A New Global Ethics,” Free Inquiry, (Fall, 1988, Vol. 8, No. 4, 6).

[23]John Eidsmoe, 189. (See chapter 12, “Humanism as an Establishment of Religion,” 179-199).

[24]Charles F. Potter, Humanism: A New Religion, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930).

[25]Paul Kurtz, Humanist Manifestos I and II, 8.

[26]Same as above.

[27]Same source, 7.

[28]Same source, 10.

[29]Same source, 3, opening statement in Preface.

[30]Same source.

[31]For further discussion of humanism as a religion, read Chapter 12, “Humanism as an Establishment of Religion,” of John Eidsmoe, The Christian Legal Advisor, 170-199; and Homer Duncan, The Religion of Secular Humanism and The Public Schools, (Lubbock, TX: Missionary Crusader, 1983)

[32]367 U.S. 488 (196), footnote 11.

[33]For a discussion of “Christian humanism,” read Chapter 8, “Christian Humanism,” of Norman L. Geisler, Is Man The Measure? An Evaluation of Contemporary Humanism, (Grand Rapids: Baker book House, 1983), 95-107.

[34]Cited by James Hitchcock, What Is Secular Humanism? Why Humanism Became Secular and How It Is Changing Our World, (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1982), 15, 17.

[35]William A. Stanmeyer, Clear and Present Danger: Church and State in Post-Christian America. (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Books, 1983), 4-5.

[36]Same source, 7.