Last week the British Humanist Association (BHA) handed out free books to upper primary and lower secondary pupils titled What Is Humanism? How Do You Live Without a God? And Other Big Questions for Kids. The authors, Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young, said the following about the book’s purpose:
Millions of people in this country and all over the world work out their philosophy of life, and how to live, without referring to religion. Schools quite rightly spend a good deal of time and effort exploring the ideas and philosophies of the world’s great religions, but the ideas of humanism, secularism, and atheism are largely ignored. The mismatch between what is believed and what is taught is surely wrong. Our book aims at opening up a discussion about what humanism is, and how people live their lives as humanists. Throughout the book, readers are encouraged to ask questions, in order to help them think for themselves and thus to counter prejudice.
Of course the members of the BHA are free to have their views taught in schools (after all, we live in a free country), even though school children are already being indoctrinated with humanistic thinking in their science lessons through the teaching of Darwinian evolution. However, the humanists’ appeal that their view is “non-religious” is simply a ploy to get children to think there is a neutral position when it comes to the existence of God. Yet one of the definitions of religion given in the Oxford English Dictionary is “a pursuit of interest followed with great devotion.” Under this definition of religion, humanism is certainly religious. Many humanists spend much of their time railing against the Creator they don’t believe exists and upholding their cause with great devotion and faith. Furthermore, humanists themselves have a worldview based upon certain beliefs, such as the belief that the universe, including life, came about by natural processes. This is a belief based upon faith—blind faith!
The humanists of the BHA say that they want children to know that humanists can live “happy, ethical, and fulfilling lives without religion.” But do they also let them know the consistency of their position? Humanism is founded upon Darwinian evolution which sees humanity as the end product of blind chance and, therefore, has no basis to account for such things as ethics. The reason humanists can live happy, ethical, and fulfilling lives is because they are made in the image of God and, therefore, have inherent value and worth (which is not the case if you are just the product of chance). It is also the reason they can make ethical appeals. The fact that the Law of God is written on their hearts is why they have a sense of right and wrong (Romans 2:15). In their article about the book, the BHA website goes on to say,
Humanists are non-religious people whose values include looking to reason and science to gain an understanding of the world around them and relying on empathy to make moral choices.
Although the BHA says it looks to reason and science to gain an understanding of the world around them, their belief system cannot even account for these things. Reason and science are only possible because the triune God exists. Humanists tend to think that science is the answer to all of life’s questions; however, there are many concepts that science cannot account for, even if they are rational to accept them:
- Logical truth: Logical truths cannot be proven by science. Science presupposes logic, so to try to prove it by science would be arguing in a circle.
- Metaphysical truth: It is rational to believe the external world is real, but it cannot be proven scientifically. It is necessary to believe the world is real before going out to investigate it.
- Ethical beliefs: Statements of value like “good” or “evil” cannot be scientifically proven. Ethics tell us what people ought to do; however, science (scientists) at best can tell us what people really do. For example, when someone is shot dead, science can tell us the impact the bullet made, but it cannot tell us whether the act was good or evil.
- Esthetical beliefs: Beauty, like good or evil, cannot be proven scientifically since it is subjective judgement, dependent on personal preferences. Whereas one person may see beauty in a sun set, another may not.
The reality of the matter is that reason and science are the outworking of a particular worldview: the Christian worldview. On the other hand, the humanistic worldview ultimately ends up in irrationality because they have sinfully taken the truth about God’s world and convinced themselves that it is not true (Romans 1:18–23).