Commentary: Humanism's Flooding Influence (Part Two)
Humanism is Carnality
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 26-Dec-09; 9 minutes
We went through a number of definitions of humanism last Sabbath which said essentially the same thing. That is that humanism has its basis solidly in human reason, and it rejects God and His standards of moral and ethical behavior. You may not be aware, but humanism's influence pervades virtually every discipline: astronomy, archaeology, biology, paleontology, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, medicine, demography, even meteorology and, of course, the big one for us, theology.
One of these definitions clearly stated that humanism is an alternative to religion. In a word, humanism is a way of life. Because of people's ignorance, we must understand that though they may be following humanism's doctrines, they do not realize that they are practicing humanists. In many cases, this is because they are unfamiliar with the terminology. If they knew, they honestly, in many cases, be horrified. Because they do not know, they can go to church regularly, pray, and give every appearance that they are converted Christians. They can sincerely believe that they love Jesus, and they will openly witness to co-workers of Christianity, giving testimony of what they believe regarding Him, and much of what they say will be true.
Well, how can this confusing circumstance be true? Listen to the converted apostle Paul's testimony regarding his former religious conduct. This is taken from Philippians 3:2-8. I'm going to tell you, this is pretty salty language for the Bible. I kid you not.
Philippians 3:2-8 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
What was the difference between the Paul who wrote this and the Paul who experienced what he wrote? The major difference was that Paul who wrote was converted. The Paul who experienced what he wrote was as unconverted as a jackrabbit. Despite that, he was about as zealously religious as a person can get.
Now, what does this have to do with humanism? Very much. Remember I also said last week that humanism has existed since Adam and Eve. Paul wrote that the Jews,
Romans 10:2-3 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.
Humanism is just a fancy modern title for with the Bible calls "carnality." It's just another name for what the Bible calls "walking in the flesh." Have not the humanists established their own righteousness and not submitted to God's? The unconverted Paul reasoned himself so righteous that he took it upon himself to persecute those who really were righteous. His standards then were very different from when he became converted and worshipped God and was led by the Spirit of God.
The Pharisees, brethren, were humanists. The Sadducees were humanists. The scribes were humanists. The Essenes were humanists. The Sanhedrin was humanist. The general public was humanist. Herod was a humanist, and Pontius Pilate was a humanist. All of these groups were, to some major, antagonistic toward one another because each had, by their own human reasons and standards, made different judgments about matters of interest. They rarely were one with each other.
Because of the present saturation of humanism in our times, like the world in Jesus' time, this age can never be one any more than they could. The only major religious body today that appears to be truly concerned about humanism is the evangelicals. Now, we would probably be categorized as being among them by the world. But we know by means of their doctrines that despite their enthusiasm for God like the unconverted Paul, they too are humanists. Where does that leave the Church of God? The answer is, standing alone in the midst of an antagonistic, humanistic world.
This is the major reason why Jesus said what He did in John 15:17-21:
John 15:17-21 These things I command you, that you love one another. “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
The conclusion of this, brethren, is that it's not going to be very much longer that we are going to stick out like a sore thumb.