Humanism: It’s Not Just for the Secularist

I was thinking about the term “humanism” in the context of what evangelists may sometimes feel they have to do to communicate the message of what the sacrifice of Christ means.  I think that for particularly sensitive people, the idea that they were born so sinful as to have no merit can actually make it harder after they accept Christ. The old vestiges of how helpless and sinful they were as beings can kind of carry over in the brain, and linger. It may make it more difficult for the brain and mind to adjust. With a view that we all have inherent worth, maybe even just a seed of it, a person might be able to have with a mindset more in keeping with dealing with the old flesh (what some would call “ego” in other cultures) and moving out of it into the new man (or woman).  I think it keeps those in Christ in a place of proper humility, too, to see that others have value.

The idea of “Less of Me and More of Christ” can come off that we are born lower than low, or “zombies feeding on each other” as my friend put it.

In more positive terms, it means to me that we are not obliterating the self, but bringing it to fruition.  And to bring it to fruition, I believe in honoring that spark that we are born as and seeing the potential in it.  I believe in a calling for me that has to do with seeing the basic value in every person, and the realization that lack of change through denial of the regenerative example and work of Christ leaves one stymied and lost.

I admit I am still working on the relationship part, the frustration of the “accept Christ and you live” and how for some people, that may become a sort of permanent waiting station. I think this is because on a surface level, they feel stuck with the condition they were born into.  No matter how much they read the Bible and pray over scripture – the mind habit sometimes continues on without a change in the brain.

These people have unfortunate habits for how they sort things out on the inside.

For me, on the topic of intimacy with Christ, I think he talks to me in other ways that I don’t expect, and I have to look a little harder, like “Where’s Waldo?” But even though He is not there right now in the explicit, He is there in the implicit.

That’s why I like taking words like “humanism” and really studying them, to separate them out for themselves, away from context that has been added to them over time, to turn them around, upside down, and see if they have something in them that we haven’t seen before.


4 thoughts on “Humanism: It’s Not Just for the Secularist”

  1. From my perspective, we should never be made to feel lowly or wormish, because we were created in the image of God. God as Creator, God as Love, God as Light, God as Wisdom, God as Friend, etc. How can we be lower than scum when we consider Who our Father is? And when he created Adam, from whom we all descended, He said, “You are good! And you look just like Me!” (Quoted from the Children’s Storybook Bible, which is worthwhile reading for all of us!) And scripture also says that man was made a little higher than the angels, and higher than any created thing. That is US!!!!!! Scripture also says we are God’s inheritance, we are brothers and sisters of Jesus Himself, we have an inheritance in God, God loves us so much that he had a plan FROM THE BEGINNING to redeem us and bring us back to Himself. That’s who WE are! And that, I suppose, is why I see humanism as shortchanging us, and definitely as shortchanging God. We are spiritual beings, created in the image of God, who happen to be living this short period of time in a human body with feet of clay. (But this time on earth is temporary and passing very quickly. Then we will return to God, from whence we came!) There’s more, if you want to hear it. But do you see why I love God with all my heart and want to live my life for Him? I love you, sweet sister. I want you to know how very valuable and unique and privileged you are, how much God loves you and how He looks at you and smiles. And how important you are to me, too.

    1. Thanks Linda. I do appreciate your defense against humanism in any form. It has merit in that obviously, if we take the view off of God and onto ourselves, we can be misguided. I do think that the definition and explanation I use for humanism is not unGodly; I believe that the connotations people put on it when they stick the word “secular” in front of it is what makes people so uncomfortable. That’s why I take such effort to explain its meaning to me, not what it means to others! 🙂 But I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, either, or this would be a really boring world, I’m thinking.

      Humanism can only short-change us to the degree that we believe that it means no input from God, and I am certainly not saying that. I am celebrating that we are human beings, and that God thought human beings were important enough to send Jesus into human form to love us. I love God with all my heart, and I love humans with all my heart too. If they don’t say they believe in God just the way I do, I still see them as inherently lovely and worthy and love them. If I don’t, I am simply saying that somehow I stumbled onto the truth and that if they don’t accept it in the exact way I do, then there is no hope for them. There’s plenty of that going on. A “zombie-apocalypse” sermon is the current way that some try to explain what we were born as (we are born and have been living as zombies). This stuff is going on a lot, and it’s just my opinion that to embrace that without being able to embrace all of humanity and being love to them first is to live in a state of imbalance.

  2. Renaissance Humanism actually started out as a very didactic measure and only became secular when it became clear that the major religious authorities at the time had become complacent enough in their position to assume that they no longer needed to learn, that they already had the end-all-be-all position. When your constituency – be they elected, selected, or kin – witnesses expectation without flexibility, as the church denied Galileo’s evidence and observations in stubborn defense of Aristotle’s theories, then they must naturally turn elsewhere for reason.

    Humanism is a plea for reason at its core, and focuses upon the observable because it may be easily challenged, whereas that which is not observable must either be accepted or denied with no direct evidence. When the authority to council on that decision is abused, it cannot remain bound to the preservation of health. That is why, above all else, if Christ is to be potent, he must be communicated with others in mind – and if they do not favor that communication, then he must not be forced upon them. Both the religious and the secular have suffered much for the entertainment of egocentric pedagogy.

  3. Are you speaking of egocentricism in terms of a group-think majority that reigns in individual thought, or the egocentricity that the word “humanism” usually carries with it? Me thinks the former, but just clarifying to be sure.

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