Secularism: Christian Worldview with R.C. Sproul

SPROUL: There’s a real sense, I think, that every Christian is a missionary. If we go back to the New Testament, and we see in the book of Acts, that when persecution arose in Jerusalem we read that all of the Christians were scattered except the apostles.

And those who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the Gospel. That is the way the Christian church was born—not simply with the ministry of the clergy or the apostles or even of the deacons but it was the rank and file Christians that took the Gospel wherever they went in the ancient world.

But in our church today we make a distinction, don’t we, between a professional missionary and a layman who is not a missionary? But in Biblical categories every Christian, in a sense, is a missionary, because every Christian is called to participate in the mission that Christ has given to the church.

Well when I look at what we do with missionaries before we send them into a foreign country what do we have them do? We don’t just select a missionary, put them on an airplane, have them arrive in Timbuktu or someplace like that and say “ok, do your thing.”

Before a missionary can go to the foreign field that the person has to undergo in-depth study of the culture to which they are going. They have to learn the language; they have to learn the customs; they have to be able

To understand the way people think and the way they behave in the land to which they are sent as missionaries. Now let’s assume that you are missionaries to the United States. What’s your preparation? It’s not enough simply to know the Gospel, to know the content of Scriptures, the subject

Matter that you want to communicate and bear witness to your culture. It is also very important that you understand the culture in which you are acting out your role as a missionary. So that’s the purpose of this series of lectures.

It’s to try to get a handle on the culture as it now presents itself to us as Christians. I think it would be a dreadful mistake to assume that the American culture is predominantly a Christian culture. Certainly we live in a nation that has had an enormous influence from the church and

From Judeo-Christian value systems. It’s not that our country is pagan. Our country has been strongly influenced by Christianity. Some have said that we have been influenced in the degree that people are influenced when they receive a shot of inoculation to prevent a disease that you put a minor dose of the

Disease in the inoculation so that they have just enough of it to be immune to the real thing. And some have maintained that that’s what has happened here in the American culture, that we’ve had just enough Christianity impacting our society as to make us immune from the real thing.

There’s a sense, as I said, in which our nation is not pagan. Paganism is a pre-Christian situation. It’s a situation that exists where the Gospel and the light of the Gospel has never been manifest in a particular environment, but that’s not true about America.

Ours is what I call a “secular” environment, a “secular” society. And the secularization of the American culture is a post-Christian phenomenon, not a pre-Christian—”pre-Christian” is pagan; “post-Christian” is secularized. Now, I think it’s also important for us to understand that our culture is, and has been, a melting pot.

We don’t live in a culture that is monolithic. What is monolithic? A monolithic culture is a culture where only one definable worldview or value system is operating, and there’s kind of a uniformity as you find in some nations.

You go, for example, into Red China and you see a uniform system of thought that everybody is supposed to embrace—it’s taught in the schools, it’s advertised in posters, and even the uniformity comes down to literal uniforms. People dress in the same way as there is this enforced conformity, but that’s not been the

American ideal. The American ideal has been—we are a melting pot, so that there are all kinds of different beliefs and philosophies competing for acceptance within our society and within our culture. And if a Christian is going to be able to communicate to this culture, he has to be

Aware at least of the dominant systems that are operating within our culture. As I said, we’re not monolithic but the term that we use is pluralistic, and we’ll have a separate study, a separate lecture, just on pluralism. But the various schools of thought that are most dominant, I believe, in our culture today

Include the ones that I’m about to put up here on the blackboard, and we’re going to look at each one of those individually in the lectures to come. First of all, there is the influence of what we call humanism.

As I say, we will a separate lecture defining the content and the perspective of humanism. Secondly, there is the influence of existentialism. How many of you think that you could give a good definition of existentialism? How many of you have never heard the word existentialism? All right, just a couple.

Most of you have at least heard the term existentialism, but it’s one of those terms that we hear bandied about in the culture but very few people are able to give concrete definition—we will have a separate lecture on existentialism.

A third “ism” that has had a tremendous impact on our culture that most laymen have never heard of is the “ism” called positivism. How many of you have never heard of positivism? See, there’s some more here, more than have never heard of existentialism.

And also, there’s the influence of a very ancient perspective or philosophy that we call hedonism. How many of you have never heard of hedonism? How many of you have heard of hedonism? You have … You have heard of that. Ok, all right.

And then there is, as I said, pluralism and relativism … And there’s one other “ism” that I’m going to incorporate up above with positivism which we call pragmatism, which is a distinctly American life and worldview. All right, let’s see how many I have there—five—humanism, existentialism, positivism, pragmatism, hedonism,

And pluralism and its corollary relativism. All right, those are going to be the systems of thought or philosophical perspectives that we will be examining in this brief course. But what I’m looking for today is this: is there an overarching, generic, holistic philosophy

Or value system that would in some sense incorporate all of these? It’s been said that no society can survive, no civilization can function without some unifying philosophical perspective. Even if you have all different kinds of views competing, there must be some kind of overarching

Atmosphere or environment that makes it possible even for these to coexist in a given society. And when the historians and the philosophers seek the common term, the common basic generic lowest common denominator that incorporates features of all of these, usually the term

That we hear is the term secularism, and that’s what I want to look at in the time that we have left today. Let me do my handiwork here with the eraser and we’ll start again with this word: secularism.

Obviously, when we see that word, we see that we have a root and a suffix. And my favorite method of teaching is to do word studies and break these concepts down into its constituent parts so that we can get a hold of them. There’s the word “secular,” and then there’s the suffix.

Now let’s start at the back and work our way forward. Anytime we see this three-letter suffix, “ism,” what do we see? What do we find? What’s it saying? What’s it do to the word? You’re allowed to answer my question, you know. What does it do? What does “ism” do to a word?

AUDIENCE: It makes it a state of being. SPROUL: It makes it a state of being. Little bit more than that. AUDIENCE: A philosophy. SPROUL: A philosophy, a system of thought. What we call a “veltunchung,” a way of looking at the world, a view of the world, a value system.

It’s one thing—how many of you believe in humans? And think that being human is a good thing? It’s one thing to be human; it’s another thing to be a humanist—that is one who embraces humanism. We all exist, but we’re not all existentialists, are we?

You put that “ism”, existentialism, on the end of the root for existence and you’re talking now about a philosophical system, a whole way of looking at things. You want to be practical, but does that make you a pragmatist? Of course not.

All right, so we see that the suffix “ism” takes the root and elevates it to the level of a philosophical system. Now the word “secular” is a perfectly good and positive word in the Christian’s vocabulary. Historically the church has always had a good view of that which was regarded as being secular.

I’m thinking in terms of the whole of the history of the church. In the Middle Ages, for example, men were ordained to a specific role in the priesthood that was called the secular priesthood, because those were men who had offices that took them

Out of the arena, or the institution, of the church to minister out in the world where they were specific needs that needed the healing touch of the church, or the priestly mission of the church. There’s a sense in which I was ordained as a secular clergyman, because I was ordained

To the teaching ministry, not to an ecclesiastical office within a local congregation. So I was commissioned to go to the university and to be a teacher out in the world, if you will, in the secular world that can be distinguished to some degree by that sphere that we’ve set

Apart and called the church, or the sacred realm. But so often in Christians’ minds the distinction between sacred and secular is the distinction between the good and the bad, but that’s not the way it was meant to be in the development of church history. It was simply a different sphere of operation. Ok?

Now the word secular has its origins and its roots in the Latin, in the Latin language. It comes from the Latin word “saeculum,” which means—Do we have any Latin scholars in here? What does the Latin word “saeculum” mean? What’s its translation?—It means the word “saeculum” means in the original Latin “world.” Ok?

I said a secular priest is one who ministers in the world. What does the Latin word “mundus” mean? Anybody know? “World.” Remember Athanasius? St. Athanasius, what was on his tombstone? “Athanasius Contra Mundum”—Athanasius against what? The world. All right, so that “mundus” also means world.

Well both words mean the same thing in the original Latin, what was the difference? Well, the people in the ancient world understood that as human beings they lived in time and in space. We still talk that way, don’t we?

That our life is spatial; it’s geographical; there is a certain “whereness” to my life. I live here. I am here; I’m not somewhere else. And there is also a time frame in which I live. Jesus talked about this place or this generation—this age. Ok? The present age.

So in the Latin the word for this world, thinking in terms of time is “saeculum,” and the word for this world in terms of space is “mundus.” Now what in the world, what in the “mundus” or the “saeculum” does this have to do with our culture?

Well “saeculum” or the secular had to do literally with this time, this world in the present time. The secular realm is this world in this world, in the present time. Now what happens to the word secular when you add the “ism”?

The basic overarching theme of secularism is this: That all of reality, all of life, every human value, every human activity must be understood in light of and judged by the value or the norm of this present time. Where’s the point of conflict between secularism and Christianity? Can you see it coming?

The New Testament Scriptures, the Biblical worldview is always concerned about long-range considerations. The Bible teaches us that we were created for eternity that the heart of the New Testament message is that Christ has come to give us life, a life that wells up into what?—eternal life.

And that at the very beginning of our understanding of the world we read in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning,” what? “God created the heavens and the earth.” So that if we look at the earth and we see that it has a beginning in space and time,

But before there is even a world, if I can use the term “before,” there is One who transcends the world; One who stands above the world; One is outside of the restrictions of this space and time order that we call the world—namely, God.

“In the beginning God …” And we as part of the most core dimension of the Christian faith, we believe in a transcendent God—a God out there, a God who is beyond the confines of this planet. A God who is transcendent and a God who is what?—eternal, and that all judgments that

God makes, all things that He does are done from the perspective of what?—of the eternal. Now in philosophy we call that that God considers everything “subspecies aeternitatis.” Now that’s just a fancy Latin phrase for a very simple idea that means that God considers

Everything under, “sub” means under, under the species or the “auspices,” the auspices, or from the perspective of the eternal. In fact, the admonition and the rebuke that Christ brings to this world is that men are only thinking short term; they’re thinking in terms of the now and only the now instead

Of the future consequences of their behavior—long term. And Jesus says that He comes from above; He descends from the eternal realm. And He calls the Christian to live his life in light of eternity, and that his values are to be measured by transcendent norms of eternal significance.

I have a column that you know of in “Tabletalk,” our magazine, and what’s the byline, what’s the title of the column? “Right Now Counts…” what? “Forever.” Why do I choose that byline? Just to be cute? I did it because I said if there’s only one message that I can give to my generation,

And I can say the same message over and over and over again until people begin to think about it, it’s that. That’s the one voice that I want to scream from the streets—right now counts forever. What you do now has eternal significance.

And I did that consciously aware of the fact that we are being pressed upon by every side from the philosophy of the secularist who says, bottom line, right now counts for what?—right now. There is no eternity; there is no eternal perspective.

You’ve heard it said a jillion times “there are no absolutes;” there are no abiding principles by which human life is to be judged, is to be embraced, is to be evaluated. All reality is restricted or limited to the now. We see it in different phraseology in theology.

We’ve seen an attempt in twentieth century theology to produce a secularized gospel. Remember the Death of God movement? One of the most important books that came out of the Death of God movement by Dr. Van Buren was called the “Secular Meaning of the Gospel,” in which he talked in terms of synthesizing

Classical Christianity with the philosophy of secularism. But how can you do that without declaring the death of God? And you see the death of God, in the terms of the loss of transcendence, the loss of the eternal, means for you the death of man—because it means that history has no transcendent

Goal, no eternal purpose, that the meaning of your life is summed up in the words on the tombstone—born 1925; died 1985—that’s it. You have a terminal point, a beginning and an ending with no ultimate significance. This is called the theology or the philosophy of the “hic et nunc”—”the here and the now.”

Do you have to go to the library and get a dusty tome of philosophy, a heavy weighty treatise on moral philosophy to be exposed to these ideas? Where else do you see it? AUDIENCE: The media’s full of it. SPROUL: The media is full of it.

You know my favorite illustration of it is the beer advertisement: “You only go around life once, so do it with gusto.” And you see the guy out in the sailboat and this wind is blowing his hair and the salt spray is splashing at his face, and he’s having a fantastic time right now.

Ok? Pepsi calls it what? “The now generation.” Do it now. Do it now, because the message that comes through—you better get it now, because there is no tomorrow ultimately. Now we’re going to consider hedonism later, but one of the themes of the Epicureans who

Were hedonists in antiquity, one of … the bottom line of their philosophy was, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you die.” Contrast that with Jesus. “Lay up treasures in heaven.” Think in terms of eternity, long-range implications.

Do you see this touches us most heavily, not simply in how we handle our bank accounts or how we speculate philosophically, but it touches us at the level of how we invest our lives, because life is an investment?

And the question that modern man has to answer is he going to invest his life for short-term benefits or for long-term gain? And every time you are faced with a moral decision, the temptation to do something now that may have harmful after effects, you are caught up in the tension and the conflict

Between two worldviews right now. Do you live for the present? Or do we live for eternity? Because, again, at the core of our Biblical understanding of life and of our moral behavior is that there are actions and that every action not only has a cause but it also has what?—a

Result or a consequence. And the consequence takes us to tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. What did Shakespeare say? “Creeps at its petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time.” But for the Christian there is no last syllable of recorded time.

Our lives are forever, but beyond the secular or the “saeculum” there is the eternal. And that’s what the Christian faith is all about. Why should a person be worried about salvation in terms of personal redemption if there is no eternal dimension? What is the mission of the church if secularism is correct?

Why should we be concerned about redemption of individuals? All we can really do—and churches get into this—all we can really do, is minimize pain and suffering for a season. We can never really offer ultimate answers to the human predicament, because for the

Secularist there is no ultimate answer because there is no ultimate realm. This side of eternity is the exclusive sphere of human activity. It’s not by accident, as we will see, that for the most part those who buy into secularism, who are thinking people, ultimately embrace a philosophy of despair.

And that despair, it’ll manifest itself in a host of ways—escapism, through drugs, alcohol, and other forms of behavior to dull the senses from the message that is being proclaimed and being screamed from every corner of our culture—There is no tomorrow ultimately.

It is a philosophy of despair, and it is right now competing for men’s minds in the United States of America. What we’re going to look at in the weeks to come are the constituent elements that make up secularism—humanism, you’ve heard of secular humanism, there’s also secularistic

Existentialism, positivism, and those different philosophies may be in the collision course with each other but they all embrace one common point; namely, the denial of the transcendent and of the eternal. Look for it in your culture. Be aware of it when you see it.

For we need to understand the world in which we live.

#Secularism #Christian #Worldview #R.C #Sproul

The Rise and Fall of Secular Humanism: Only Two Religions with Peter Jones

JONES: This second lecture will deal with one of the powerful influences on our culture today, namely I’m looking at the rise and demise of secular humanism. I think it’s important that we understand today’s culture. And I really am so happy that there are young people listening to me because while some

Of you my age will say, “You’re saying what exactly what I understand and have lived through.” Sometimes our young people have difficulty figuring out what’s happening because they have not lived through this kind of thing. So I address them in particular.

And to understand our culture, we need to see that there are two fundamental ideologies that I will show at the end of my lectures possibly are really the same because they’re Oneist, namely secular humanism and revive paganism. They’re very different but at the end of the day, they are in their fundamental orientations

Of the world — Oneist. You know when I first came in 1964, I mention how amazed I was to see Christian America. And the other thing that amazed me was how much people lived in fear of communism. There were commies behind every bush.

And of course the McCarthy investigation of communist agents was just finished and many on the left poopooed that but it’s actually been shown that there were many communist agents in America during that time. But we were worried because this godless system of communism or Marxism was spreading throughout

The world in this sort of a domino effect from the Soviet Union to China, to Korea, to Vietnam, to Cuba. And you know the ’60s revolution was very much a revolution against the Vietnam War whose motivation of course was to oppose communism.

So we have radicals who still actually now have power who were part of those refusing to denounce communism which is sort of interesting. So the threat in the ’60s was not a religious threat but a nonreligious materialism in its various forms. In its political form of course — atheistic Marxism.

But it is also had an intellectual form called secular humanism and that was something that we all realized and perhaps still realize as a fundamental opponent of the Christian faith. Humanism was celebrated in the Renaissance just before the Reformation as the rediscovery

Of the value of the individual human being and his reason over against the power of the church. And many of us have seen the importance of that movement and of course it’s easy to describe the work of Martin Luther as an expression, in a certain sense, of that humanistic understanding

Of the importance of the individual. But of course, like most things, its good parts can be turned to bad. And what you have you see is, from the intelligent use of individual reason which has produced the incredible successes of Western culture through science and technology.

So, that one day human beings would walk on the moon; this kind of thinking became more and more enamored of its own power and felt that it was the only way of relating to the world — that human reason was the source of truth.

And belief in a world created by God and of reason created by God was dismissed as religious superstition and myth. And so for modern man — religion had to go, and this is why we have known and recognized that secular humanism is a massive attack on Christianity.

So from the 18th Century on what’s called “The Enlightenment” — “the age of light” if you like; this view of reason as the ultimate source of authority for human existence developed in a powerful way. Optimism in what mankind could produce, its capacities to bring about a better world took

The minds of intellectuals by storm and of course invaded the university. So that, so many of our intellectuals bought into this system. Bringing about if you like this vision of a kingdom of man on earth, you can already see how Oneist that is, right?

If it’s simply depending on human beings to put the world together, it is a form of Oneism. It was known as the religion of humanism and it was particularly expressed by the French Revolution. I spent eighteen years in France, so I love the French but I see their weaknesses too.

In 1789, the Paris revolutionaries built an altar to the goddess ‘Reason’ in Notre Dame Cathedral, can you believe that? There was an altar right in the center of that incredible medieval church and they celebrated to goddess ‘Reason’. The French philosopher who was part of this French Revolution — Voltaire, was fundamentally anti-Christian.

He was a friend by the way of Benjamin Franklin, who himself was a very conflicted man because some of you know that Benjamin Franklin was fascinated by George Whitfield and helped pay for some of his campaign.

And yet he was also a friend of Voltaire, one of the leading atheists of the 18th Century. Voltaire came up with the famous phrase “écrasez l’infâme,” — “Crush that vile unspeakable thing.” This became the battle cry of The Enlightenment, but it was actually Christianity that was the vile and unspeakable thing.

And so there were thousands of heads of priests and so on that were separated from their bodies through the French Revolution. The Emperor Napoleon asked Pierre-Simon Laplace, — the great French scientist if he believed in God; he was reputed to have said, “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

This is a movement, a very powerful movement in the West, and as western history develops in the 18th and 19th Centuries, you find leading intellectuals actually predicting the end of religion. In the 21st Century, we should be seeing the end of religion according to these predictions.

Ludwig Feuerbach called Christianity a “delusion,” “a gigantic human projection.” You remember Karl Marx described religion as “the opiate of the people,” the sign of a wrongly ordered society. “Man,” said Marx, “is the supreme divinity.” By the way, another expression Oneism.

But these people didn’t want to be called religious by the way; they weren’t religious, they were rational. Of course why did they believe in their own rationality, that was a faith statement by the way. Friedrich Nietzsche declared “Gott ist tot,” “God is dead.”

The tradition of Christianity was now being buried by these leading philosophers. Sigmund Freud in his book “The Future of an Illusion” speaks about religion in particularism his own Judaism as a “mass delusion, a collective neurosis which enshrines our infantile longing.”

He actually describes it as a serious pathological condition from which one needed to be healed. Really massive anti-religious mindset going on amongst the intellectuals of the 19th and 20th centuries. And that continues to this day in 1976, Richard Dawkins, one of the new atheists, in his book

“The Selfish Gene,” describes faith, quote, “as a kind of mental illness.” So here we have this rationalistic approach to eliminate faith and religion as a form of illness. And of course we saw this kind of thinking invade the church; that’s what liberalism is, you see.

Liberalism is the adaptation of the world’s kind of thinking and trying to make it Christian, that’s what liberals have done all through the ages since the beginning. Christianity, beginning with the Gnostics, who were the original liberals who tried to take pagan notions of the mystery religions and make them Christian.

So that’s the mechanism that liberals use. And when I was studying New Testament at Harvard, of course that was the great goal — to reinterpret the New Testament by demythologizing the supernatural. Demythologizing means taking away the myths and getting to the heart which really the

Heart was sort of a sense of one’s own existential being faced with nothingness; that was the real meaning of Christianity in the New Testament. So there was no miracles and certainly no resurrection of Jesus. And then of course, the mainline churches buy into this kind of thinking.

But of course, someone has said, “If you marry the spirit of the age, you will soon be a widower.” And we’ve seen mainline churches going down in their effect in our culture. And Liberalism thus defined the Gospel as mere social work, and saw Jesus only as an

Example not as a divine Savior, that was myth of course you see, so myth had to go. The Gospel was redefined in terms of Marxist politics. Liberation theology became all the rage, and Jesus was little more than a cake of 20th century revolutionary theory.

On a different level, the secular humanists were greatly influenced by Darwin, who would effectively eliminated belief in “God the Creator,” and proposed in place of “God the Creator” the idea of an unguided and impersonal process of natural selection.

Life came about by mere chance, and man was seen as the result of purposelessness and a mere natural process, that did not have him in mind by the way, and so we are really the result of chance.

It’s incredible to see how far people can go with that as an explanation for the incredible beauty and power of what we represent as human beings. The way our bodies have put together. The way our minds can function. There’s no valid explanation of this in secular humanism and yet so many liberal thinkers

Adopted it. Science was the only way of knowing anything about anything. And so, there was a belief that religion would disappear. When I came to the states in the ’60s, I was asked to read books on ‘the death of God’.

And this was all the rage and we were sort of told that this was the proof (and I wasn’t at an evangelical school and I don’t really blame my professors for seeing it this way, I saw it that way) that the death of God was the proof of the success of secular humanism.

That man no longer needed God as a hypothesis, he was now fine on his own. The final triumph then of secular humanism is to declare in America in the ’70s that God had died. Secular humanism had won. Now in a certain sense, these predictions have come true.

We’re seeing the decline of the Christian faith in the population as a whole. No longer are many people influenced by a Christian way of thinking and I don’t think we should hide our eyes from that. And in that sense we’ve seen the decline of attachment to the Christian faith.

Now, this is a massive change. People no longer actually believe in God the Creator and so they can do anything they want to, but that was not always the case. In 1890, the Supreme Court in United States defined religion as “one’s view of one’s relation

To his Creator, to the obligations they impose of reverence for his being and character and obedience to His will.” That was the statement of the Supreme Court in 1890. There was no other definition of God but of a personal transcendent creator.

But thanks in many ways to secular humanism, this is no longer the case in public discourse. So what is ‘secularism’ or secular humanism? Let me give you a simple definition, it comes in various names. As an intellectual discipline, it is known as “philosophical materialism,” that matter is ultimate. That’s the philosophy of materialism. As a religious expression, it is called ‘Atheism’, the faith belief that there is no God. There’s no — you can’t prove that rationally, right? So an atheist has to be in some sense a religious believer.

As a political form, it is practiced as ‘Marxism’ and various forms of socialism. And for many people, it’s simply a default way of thinking of living without any notion that God exists. That’s probably the way most people practice this kind of thinking.

But in all these expressions of secularism, it’s a consistent rejection as a mere ancient superstition, a sort of a holdover from the Middle Ages and we must refuse that kind of mythology if we want to really do our world good. Now, this kind of a view still dominates the western universities.

Some of you young people that go to schools around here will confirm that your professors — many of them believe in this kind of rationalism or secular humanism. However, this is not the whole story. Just as these philosophers of the 19th and early 20th century were predicting the end

Of the withering away of religion in a kind of ironic turn of events. We are now seeing the withering away of secular humanism, did you realize that? You probably don’t always see it, but this is happening and many people are talking about it.

And the withering away of secular humanism, (oh let me just say it) the proof is, how many people now say, “I’m spiritual but not religious?” In other words, they are making a claim to spirituality which doesn’t fit with secular humanism, right? — That’s superstition. Any kind of faith is superstition.

Well, the reasons why this movement of secular humanism is on the decline and indeed is withering away, is that while it was so optimistic and full of self-confidence; secular humanism produced two devastating World Wars that produced the death of millions. In some of its socialistic expressions it became totalitarian fascism.

And some of its great leader was Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot that produced the murder of countless millions, in the name of secular humanism. That doesn’t give a movement too many honors. And of course from that — you have wild industrialization, ecological disasters; but as I was indicating

Earlier, one of the real problems is that many people have begun to feel that without some kind of spirituality they can’t exist in this world. And that’s what secular humanism does; it leaves us with a soulless materialism without any sense of a meaning in a spiritual way of thinking.

And so secular humanism produced a profound sense of alienation from the rest of the universe. So we human beings, you see, are isolated in this massive cosmos, and we have no real relationship with the outside and so we have a profound sense of alienation. Have you met people like that?

They are looking for a sense of wholeness. “W-H.” (I didn’t say holiness, I said whole-ness) they want to belong somehow to more than a mere physical. But there is another reason why secular humanism is in decline. It is severely weak as a philosophical system. What do I mean by that?

Well, you see, to be a secular humanist, you have to believe in the validity of human reason. But in order to believe in human reason, you have to presuppose it. So to demonstrate that, you have to presuppose it. So it’s a perfectly circular way of thinking, does that make sense?

In order to prove reason, you have to presuppose it. And to presuppose it, that’s a faith statement that the world is rational. You don’t have all the information, right? You don’t sit outside of the cosmos and look down, ‘Oh yeah, that’s rational’. You have to presuppose that.

And some scholars have realized that this is not a ground for establishing secular humanism. The postmodern critique of secular humanism which argued that all major ideas are simply human notions and they are not scientific or philosophical, included the critique of secular humanism oddly.

So postmodernism — the thinkers of whom were probably the sons and daughters of secular humanist turns around and eats up their parents. There are two reasons really why secular humanism is on the decline. The first, is it really cannot stand against true biblical theism.

The conversion of Antony Flew — the great atheist is an example of that. He stated this, “It is simply inconceivable that any material matrix or field can generate agents who think and act. Matter cannot produce conceptions and perceptions such a world has to originate in the living source, a mind.”

The greatest atheist of the 20th century finally has to admit that secularism cannot justify the human mind. Isn’t that beautiful? But then, finally, there’s a new way of thinking. It is the thinking of this new spirituality. David Miller, who was a professor at Syracuse University, and was one of the ‘death of God’

Theologians actually said, “At the death of God, you will see the rebirth of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome.” That’s not secular humanism. That’s a justification of a belief in all the gods. What did Miller know that we didn’t know as we read him in the ’70s?

Well, he was a devout follower of Carl Jung. And that will be the subject of my next lecture. Thank you.

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