The ethical bankruptcy of humanism

Clark pinnock copyAlthough the world cries out for justice, the basis for it has been disintegrating now that the vagaries of human will have come to replace faith in divine justice and eternal law. Although there is still a broad cultural consensus that it is right to be committed to the well-being of others, the rise of secular humanism makes it more and more difficult to support and explain any such obligation . . . All that the secular humanist has is his own present existence. Nothing has a rational claim to be of greater value for him. Therefore, no ethical claim which involves self-sacrifice, unless it promises due recompense, can win his assent.

The secular humanist who performs an act genuinely altruistic and self-sacrificing is presupposing the falsity of his humanistic beliefs. Loving our neighbour is not a rationally defensible ethic within the humanistic system. It is an ethic theologically grounded in the gospel and respected long after the erosion of faith because of its recognized rightness. It does not and did not grow out of humanistic soil. Logically speaking secular humanism is ethically bankrupt and its assumptions about reality when taken to their logical conclusions turn out to be inhuman and anti-human. The world’s deepest problems are moral and spiritual, not economic and technological.

–Clark Pinnock

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One thought on “The ethical bankruptcy of humanism

  1. We are born into a world of good, which we did not create. Not just material things, but ideals, like justice, liberty, and equality. And spiritual values, like courage, joy, and compassion.

    We benefit from what others, in good faith, have left for us. In return, we sacrifice selfish interest when necessary to preserve this good for others. For the sake of our children, and our children’s children, we seek to understand, to serve, to protect, and perhaps, humbly, to enhance this greater good.

    It is an act of faith to live by moral principle when the greedy prosper by dishonest means. It is an act of faith to stand up for right when the crowd is headed the wrong way. It is an act of faith to return good for evil.

    We have seen Hell. We have seen gang cultures whose rite of passage is an act of mayhem or murder. We have seen racial slavery, persecution, and genocide. We have seen revenge spread violence through whole communities.

    We envision Heaven, where people live in peace and every person is valued. It can only be reached when each person seeks good for himself only through means that are consistent with achieving good for all.

    If God exists, then that is His command. If God does not exist, then that is what we must command of ourselves and of each other. Either way, whether we achieve Heaven or Hell is up to us.

    The point of God is to make good sacred. We trust that, each time we put the best good for all above our own selfish interest, the world becomes a better place, for all of us, and our children, and their children.

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