Humanist Bible

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The Good Book: A Humanist Bible by atheist philosopher A.C. Grayling, released this month, is being billed as if it is an inspirational collection of ethical tidbits packaged in the familiar biblical literary style. But . . . .

Grayling has, in his words, assembled the “non-religious teaching of civilization’s greatest thinkers.” He has arranged them in two-column versified literary English with a humanist ten commandments. He claims that even Bible lovers will like his book. However, Isaac Newton, a Bible-believer, would likely be horrified to find himself featured on the very first page.

Grayling’s humanistic book presents the ideas most closely held by evolutionists in a flowery poetical way. Here is a quotation to illustrate:

The first inquirers . . . saw that nothing comes from nothing, so that discovering the elements reveals how the things of nature exist and evolve. Fear holds dominion over people when they understand little, and need simple stories and legends to comfort and explain; But legends and the ignorance that give them birth are a house of limitations and darkness.

The book glorifies the acquisition of knowledge and essentially accuses those who hold views other than those in the book of being mired in fear and ignorance. We as Christians at Answers in Genesis are neither anti-science nor anti-knowledge; we even have many staff members with earned doctorates. But we know that genuine truth cannot possibly contradict the revealed Word of the Creator of the universe.

Grayling claims that religious people will connect with the concepts in this book, which he says is not anti-religious. His book may not offend “religious people,” but it should offend Bible-believing Christians. Its feel-good humanistic philosophy may be enchanting to some, but to borrow from the philosopher Plato, “Everything that deceives may be said to enchant.”1 We as Christians should recognize that “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:26). (In fact, without God’s Word as a universal standard, there really is no rational basis for determining right and wrong.)

Grayling claims that the book will help people to get the “spiritual connection” they hunger for—to find meaning and purpose in life—by learning “to respect and relate to one another” and to “celebrate the good in the world.” But Jesus Christ has told us that He is the only way to be reconciled to God.

A final quotation from Grayling’s book should remind us of the eternal difference between man’s philosophy and God’s:

He who has learned to die has unlearned slavery. He is beyond any external power, or at any rate, he is it. What terrors has any experience of life for him? This is the final consolation: that we will sleep at evening, and be free for ever.

Yet God warns that death offers not freedom and consolation but rather judgment (Hebrews 9:27–28) Death is an enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). God’s Word warns us that without trust in the shed blood of Christ for salvation and the victory won by Him at His resurrection (which we celebrate next weekend), the prospects after death are indeed something to fear.

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  1. Plato, The Republic.


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