I just read an article by a theologian with a lot more education than I. He is well-versed in philosophy and quite well-written. I enjoyed the piece because it gave me food for thought.
He thinks that humanism is poorly founded and based on principles that just don’t add up. And, here’s the thing, I guess he could be right.
“Humanists tend to be condescendingly dismissive of theism and oblivious to nihilism. Meanwhile, they blithely extol the virtues of critical thinking, curiosity, and science, apparently unaware of the incoherence at the heart of their own worldview.” – William Lane Craig
The incoherence he references is this: Humanism is an offshoot of Naturalism. He feels that naturalism is a poorly founded philosophical viewpoint. (Naturalism, by the way, is the belief that there are no supernatural forces at work in our world.)
He says that humanists are not critically thinking about humans. Why should we be of such value without a God? What natural force would have caused humans to be so important?
Why is it of such concern to theologians that humanism be explained?
Well, they could say if we can’t explain it rationally then we shouldn’t espouse it. That’s not a terrible argument. But, the way I see it, it is perfectly natural and rational for a species to work together, evolve and protect one another. It’s not illogical or incoherent to me at all.
So, in response:
- He is entitled to his opinion, as am I.
- I do not appreciate being painted with a broad brush as someone who is dismissive, condescending or oblivious.
- I believe in the power, BUT NOT THE SUPERIORITY, of humanity. I have often wondered if we wouldn’t be better off if we let the dolphins take over… I am not totally kidding. We have made a real mess of things here on this planet.
- Critical thinking, curiosity, and science are never bad things. Sorry. i don’t trust anyone who is not a proponent of such things. I feel that they must have something to hide.
- I am a proponent of caring for other humans, but not just humans. i also believe in looking after and preserving animals, nature, art and much more. I can rationally explain why. Protecting our world and all living things is good for humanity, good for society, and (at the end of the day) good for me and mine. So, there’s that human instinct for survival kicking in.
- If I critically think about the issue, I can tell you without pause that many humans are “bad.” I think it is unfortunate and sad that this the case. However, any person who THINKS can tell you that not everyone is good. I just don’t believe that the “badness” and evil within humanity somehow offsets the good. I do believe that there is more good than bad. I do believe in humanity. I do love people.
- But, if humanism is hard to swallow, so be it. It’s not my job to “convert” religious people. As long as they are not hurting others and are basically “good” then I have no issue with their theism.
- If evidence of a God were to be presented tomorrow, I would accept it… given that it was good evidence. But, that wouldn’t change my basic Humanist beliefs, which (at their core) center around the fact that humans are worthy and important and that human life, no matter what, should be preserved, celebrated and cherished.