The Two Ways…
Read an article the other day that alluded to people who use their religion to back up their opinion when presenting a point of view.
Doing so, in a way that puts some type of righteous 'sting' to their words-as if, if you disagree, then you are somehow not righteous.
I believe that is getting 'the cart before the horse,' as they say.
Rather, it would seem to me, that instead of your opinion informing your religion, that your religion should inform your opinion… if that is your honest intent.
Now, I'm no preacher, and I don't play one on television either. But, in a survey of the opening lines of Genesis-the first book of the Bible-there is (after the creation) a grand dispute among three camps as to which opinions mankind should hold.
There was God, Adam and Eve, and Satan.
But, one of the three camps fought dirty (and I think we all know who that might have been.) As a result, Adam and Eve were on their own from that point on.
They became free agents. You know, like in sports. Free to choose what they wanted to do. So that, we are left today with two options for decision-making: Following our own lead, or following the Other.
Again, I think we all know who that Other (that's Other, with a big ' O,') is.) Still with me?
To recap: Fall from grace…nature of sin.
That first type of choice are decisions based on self-interest. It has a label: Humanism. Sometimes called universality, or universalism. From the American Humanist Association website (and I know you are surprised that they have one) comes this definition of 'humanism': “A Progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural
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By Robert L. Hall
beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good…Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.”
Quite a mouthful, huh?
So, let's take a look-see at it.
First, it is 'progressive.' That means it changes or progresses. It evolves.
A great example of this is the great flip-flop of Sen.
John Kerry, when he said, 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.'
One of the monument inarticulate moments in history. Next, it says that humanism aspires to the 'Greater Good.” We'll take that up in a minute. For now, let's move on to three more qualifications. That is that it is informed by science, art, and motivated by compassion.
Informed by science.
Do you really want all your decisions to be informed by science? For what is science one day becomes fiction the next. Let's review: Used to be, folks thought the world was flat then that the sun and the stars revolved around the earth-I seem to recall Galileo being hauled into court by the Holy See for holding a different view: That the earth revolved around the sun.
Next, is life taken from art? I have been involved in art since I was eight years old.
I have taken courses on musicology-that is the history of music. Music has
instructed life. Life has always instructed music.
I will take one humorous example from history: The works of Beethoven.
On November 20, 1805, the success of the performances of his Opera, Fidelio, was hindered by the fact that Vienna was under French military occupation, and most of the audience were French military officers who had little interest in German opera.
One life event had overwhelmed the art presented.
Then there's the assertion that humanism is motivated by compassion.
Well, let's take a person who started out compassionate, but didn't fare so well in the end.
This man was a lawyer, and in his early years (motivated by compassion of course) campaigned for “Universal manhood suffrage.” (Did you get the importance of the word 'universal' in this? As in the alter-definition of humanism cited previously?) He also strove to work for “equality before the law” and “direct democracy.”
However, in his last days, he did the dumbest thing I think I ever heard a human being do. He went before an assembly of lawmakers and held up a piece of paper in their full view and said he had the names of traitors in high places on it and would be presenting it soon.
Only, that evening the assembly brought guards to his home, arrested him and had him executed, fearing that their names might be on his 'hit list.' That time was during the French Revolution, and the man who proclaimed he had a list of traitors to the cause, was Maximilien Robespierre.
Seems his humanism well had dried up, didn't it?
Maybe he was just too progressive?
Now, let's take the final point: That humanism strives toward the 'greater good.' I will only mention here a philosopher's words that I often invoke, because they are thoughtful and unbiased; Eric Hoffer-who did massive studies on the rise of mass movements. He said, “Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul.”
Now, if compassion is the antitoxin, then that infers human kind has been poisoned (i.e., nature of sin) and is in need of that antitoxin, so we can become better.
This is the exact opposite of what humanists espouse. And there, in addition, are the cautionary words of Carl Jung-one of the three fathers of modern philosophy- who had this to offer, which is so important in our own time, when socialists and leftist causes are replete: “The moral responsibility of the individual is then inevitably replaced by the policy of the State…the individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed, and educated as a social unit.”
So, there is your humanism.
Then…there is the
way: “Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” —James 1:21
Robert L. Hall is a resident of Marion and has a Bachelor’s Degree in music from the University of Memphis and a Master’s Degree from Florida State University. He is the pianist for Avondale Baptist Church and a writer of fiction on Amazon eBooks.