The Happiness of Man

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 1, 2015 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I talked about how for Christianity the purpose of all things is to be for the glory of God. But that is not the only belief/philosophy out there. Today, I am going to dig into the philosophy of Humanism. Humanism, in a nutshell, is described as: “The end of all being is the happiness of man.”

When most of us think of Humanism, we think of Secular Humanism and such mindsets often come in the form of atheism, Evolution, agnosticism, etc. It is called Secular Humanism because it is the philosophy of “all things serve the purpose to make man happy” but without any religious affiliation. Does that mean there is a thing called “Religious Humanism”? Yes it does, but very few think about it that way. That will be for next week.

Humanism is ultimately the deification of mankind, that man is the ultimate realization of why things exist and for why things happen. It is the idea that everything that happens and exists is for the purpose of pleasing man or for the benefit of man. The problem is that who gets to determine what is pleasing and what isn’t? Some suggest there is a universal standard, that ‘everyone knows’ what is good or bad, but without an external, objective standard, such as Scripture, how can they know this?

The early humanists understood this problem so they answered it with relativism: that standards of truth are not concrete, that each man can determine which is best for them to do. It is easy to see this philosophy in commons phrases such as: “If it feels good, do it.” Or “if it is right/wrong for you that does not make it right/wrong for me.” The mentality of these people was that of rebellion against authority, particularly Godly authority. As a Christian, the theme of Judges quickly comes to mind: “Each man did what was right in his own eyes.” All one needs to do is skim through Judges to see that this phrase is repeated numerous times.

If relativism is true, each person can do whatever he/she feels like doing. Last year a very dangerous fad called “Knock Out” was popular. The idea was basically people would go around, walk up to a complete stranger, and with one punch, try to knock them out. This idea went viral because of the thrill and the pleasure of succeeding. Was this really pleasurable? For the thug, it was for the moment. For the victim, it was not pleasurable at all. But under relativism, by what basis could we call this wrong?

Proverbs 14:12 tells us, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” And this leads to a question. If sin is so bad, if the end result is destruction, why do people sin? Why do they relish it and enjoy it? The answer is very simple. Sin is fun. We do enjoy it. Sin loves the smell of sin and the smell of death. Sin hates that which gives life because it exposes what it really is. Jeremiah says that the heart is wicked and deceitful. Humanism is the practice of putting these sinful, wicked, deceitful emotions on the highest pedestal and in all we do, all that happens is to feed and serve this wicked, evil, sinful heart. And the only hope to escape the grasp of this monster known as ‘sin’ is by the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Many Humanists claim that they are shaking off the chains of “religion” and are now free to do whatever they want. In reality, they have not shaken off chains at all. They have simply exchanged what they think are chains for much heavier ones. When one rejects the truth and exchanges it for a lie, they imprison themselves to that lie. They think they have the freedom to do what they want, but they enslave themselves to that want. They cannot escape it. Alcoholics, drug addicts, smokers, porn addicts, thieves, thugs, and yes even murderers. They start it and it’s just pleasure. Then they try to stop and they can’t. Some want to stop. Some don’t. These people love what they do too much to stop because of the ‘high’ they get from the pleasure. They thought religion prevented them from doing what they wanted to do, and instead they are imprisoned by that very desire so that is all they are able to do. We see the results of this in Numbers 11 when the Israelites complained for quail and God gave them more than they could handle. We also see this generally revealed in Romans 1 where they exchange the truth for a lie. They exchange the only freedom-giving standard for a much stricter imprisoning standard… and they think they are free.

Now, I want to make clear that pleasure in itself is not inherently evil. God gave us pleasure. The issue is what is the source of the pleasure, and if we are worshiping that pleasure. And pleasure, like many other things, can be used or abused. Sin is a corrupting agent that can only cause decay. It will make us think what is pleasurable is good, but such pleasure can never satisfy. Drug addicts cannot get satisfaction with what they have, so they try to get stronger stuff. Porn addicts don’t get off with simple still photos, they have to go to more and more and more. Why? Because what we once got pleasure from becomes commonplace and it just doesn’t do what we liked it to do anymore. The only satisfying pleasure that will not wear out is an intimate relationship with God Almighty.

Humanism is a false philosophy but loves to tickle ears. But this was just about Secular Humanism. And while this idea is so directly and obviously contrasted to Biblical Christianity, Satan is very clever and found a way to get us as Christians to embrace it. The way to mix oil and water is to keep stirring it. If you let it settle, the two will separate. And Satan continues to stir the pot. It is easy to spot Secular Humanism, but the real trick is to spot Religious Humanism. And it is rampant in society today. Stay tuned next week to find out what it is and how it has infiltrated and penetrated American Christianity.

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