What in the world had I gotten myself into this time?
Sure, when I’d moved to volunteer in Uganda for a semester after high school, I had expected some out-of-the-way adventures. But growing more and more tired, becoming disoriented, collapsing outside of a cottage on the banks of Lake Victoria, and being rushed to the nearest village’s clinic because a quick finger-prick test confirmed I had malaria?
I hadn’t planned on this.
But soon there were other things to worry about. Like the needle going into my hand, connecting me to an IV. Suddenly, a nurse appeared with—of all things—a bowl of watermelon. “Eat this,” she said. So, there I stayed, an IV in one hand and a fork in the other, staring at the ceiling of a clinic in Africa while the medication trickled its way into my veins.
Talk about a plot twist.
The next time I moved away from home and faced being connected to an IV, I had a better idea of what to expect. This, I knew, would be a longer treatment process: not a matter of hours, but a matter of years. And this would not be medical medication, but a mental medication. What had I gotten myself into this time?
When we students sit in classes or crack open textbooks in mainstream education systems, we connect ourselves to a type of philosophical IV. Day after day, drip after drip, the IV delivers doses of secular humanistic teachings which oppose a Biblical worldview straight to the minds of students worldwide—students who will lead the future.
What Humanists Believe:
The cornerstones of these teachings, as they appear in the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) Humanist Manifesto III, exclude God from any involvement in human origins, ethics and meaning.1 Basically, secular humanism states that we were “created” without God, so we don’t need Him to give us moral advice or to help us lead good lives. “Good without God,” in fact, is the AHA’s slogan. And according to the International Humanist and Ethical Union, a UNESCO-partnered organization which envisions creating a “humanist world” through strategically promoting a humanist worldview and influencing international policy,2
“Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance that affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. Humanism stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethics based on human and other natural values in a spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. Humanism is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.”3
This is the worldview which mainstream education delivers to students’ minds through the philosophical IV. At any cost to society and the church, the medication is persistent, pervasive and persuasive.
That’s why it’s so crucial for Christians to understand the facts about this IV.
Here are just a few:
Fact 1: The IV is a spiritual agenda.
If you don’t believe me, just ask John J. Dunphy, who famously penned these words in 1983 for a Humanist magazine essay entitled A Religion for a New Age:
“I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being. These teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool, daycare, or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism, resplendent with its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian ideal of “love thy neighbor” will finally be achieved.”4
Decades later, we don’t have to look far to see how well this strategy to establish a thoroughly “post-Christian” culture has worked. As humanist superstar Charles Francis Potter foresaw back in 1928,
“Education is…a most powerful ally of humanism, and every American school is a school of humanism. What can a theistic Sunday school’s meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?”5
Fact 2: The IV is ubiquitous
By maintaining that humans resulted from unguided natural processes, Humanism makes a broad statement about the nature of humanity: we are not created beings. This statement, then, affects our interpretations of everything that has to do with human nature—which accounts for a lot of study fields! Students learn science, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, history, health and many, many further topics only as filtered through the lens of a humanistic worldview. Every student, no matter what they are studying, is destined for a thoroughly counter-Scriptural education—and not just during any one age range. Look at the K-12 curricula in your local school district or browse the course descriptions on your nearest university’s webpage, and you’ll probably find that hallmarks of humanist thought are enforced at every level of education.
It’s not just in any one country either. Of course, doling out “humanism scores” to different countries’ education systems is tricky business. But because naturalistic explanations for human origins are such a central tenet of humanism, one easy way to spot humanistic education systems is by checking how strongly their national academies promote this perspective. So far, 68 national and international academies6 have pledged to teach evolutionary human origins.7 To see how vehemently these and other worldwide academies may exclude God from the origins discussion, consider the following words from Resolution 1580, The Dangers of Creationist Teaching in Education, which the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe published to its 57 member nations in 2007:
“If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights, which are a key concern of the Council of Europe. …The Parliamentary Assembly therefore urges the member states, and especially their education authorities to… firmly oppose the teaching of creationism as a scientific discipline on an equal footing with the theory of evolution and in general the presentation of creationist ideas in any discipline other than religion, (and to) promote the teaching of evolution as a fundamental scientific theory in the school curriculums.”8
Fact 3: The IV has consequences.
For decades, our culture has been raising entire generations of young people on the humanistic intravenous—and the effects are chillingly clear. Just scratching the surface of some of these consequences, past and future, would take a whole book series. But even on an intuitive level, it’s hard to look out the window or scroll through the news while denying that our cultures’ trajectories are taking our nations far, far away from the paths of God. We cannot leave our foundation for absolute truth, morality and ethical principles without social consequence.
Considering our secular cultures’ trajectories and the relative lack of young people left in the church, it seems like the agenda to build a humanist world is working. Meanwhile, through a long history of fear, synchronization and compromise, the church has largely allowed itself to become muzzled from comment on moral issues—to “sit” and “stay,” chained back from interfering with the march of post-Christian culture. But here’s the good news:
Fact 4: The IV has an antidote.
There’s no easy fix, of course. But I believe that churches, families and individuals can equip themselves and their associated students with strong spiritual, intellectual and interpersonal foundations to respond to each drop of the philosophical IV as it comes. You might call it “preventative evangelism”—equipping students to resist false messages, to defend true messages, and to maintain a close walk with God now, so the church won’t have yet another generation to re-evangelize later.
Because nobody will go looking for an antidote unless they know they’re being medicated, a good place to start countering the IV is by raising awareness about it—its purpose, prevalence, and consequences—within the church. Then, we can focus on administering the antidote to students who know they’re being medicated.
Remember though, that we can’t expect to last long in the battle for our culture’s young minds if we abandon our fortress by leaving the foundation of an uncompromised Scriptural worldview. But from a stance on this foundation, we can live out the words of the Apostle Paul:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NJKV).
Given the current strongholds against the knowledge of God in our culture, there’s no escaping that have a lot of work to do.
So—let’s get started.
Notes and References:
- American Humanist Association. Humanism and its aspirations: Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933. https://americanhumanist.org/what-is-humanism/manifesto3/ [Retrieved 07-03-2018]
- International Humanist and Ethical Union. About IHEU. https://iheu.org/about/about-iheu/ [Retrieved 07-03-2018]
- International Humanist and Ethical Union. What is Humanism? https://iheu.org/humanism/what-is-humanism/ [Retrieved 07-03-2018]
- Dunphy, J. 1983. A Religion for a New Age, The Humanist, p. 23, 26. Full republished essay is available at: https://medium.com/@johnjdunphy/a-religion-for-a-new-age-f812839c4cb8
- Potter, C. F. 1930. Humanism: A New Religion. p. 128. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
- Note: Academy here refers to a state-supported organization overseeing national academic standards, especially in the sciences.
- Inter-Academy Panel. 2006. Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) statement on the teaching of evolution. Inter-Academy Panel. http://www.interacademies.org/13901/IAP-Statement-on-the-Teaching-of-Evolution [Retrieved 07-03-2018]
- “The dangers of creationism in education”. Committee on Culture, Science and Education (Resolution). Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. October 4, 2007. Resolution 1580. http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-EN.asp?fileid=17592&lang=en [Retrieved 07-03-2018]