The Secular Humanistic World View Versus
the Christian World View Francis A. Schaeffer
Copyright by Francis A. Schaeffer. 1982. (Part I)" The Secular Humanistic World View versus the Christian World View and The Biblical Perspectives on Military Preparedness." A speech given at the Mayflower Hotel, Washington. D.C.. June22, 1982. Reprinted with permission. (Part II, dealing with the biblical perspectives on military preparedness is at: v06n4p17.htm )
The theme I've been asked to speak on tonight is rather a double one, but actually these two halves are not in conflict. As we shall see, they really make one unity:
The Secular Humanistic World View
versus the Christian World View
The Biblical Perspectives on Military Preparedness.
First of all, we must be very careful to define what we mean by humanism. By humanism we are not talking about humanitarianism. Humanitarianism means being kind to people, and as Christians we should be humanitarian even more than anyone else. We must be equally careful not to bring into confusion the difference between humanism and the Humanities. A study of the Humanities is the study of human creativity - often related to classical learning, but also to the whole of human creativeness. And as such Christians above everyone should be interested in the Humanities. Many of my books, films, etc. deal with a Christian consideration of the Humanities - being thankful for the creativity which is a natural part of Man because people are made in the image of God.
Then we must ask what humanism is, which we must contrast with great clarity to the Christian world view. We must realize that the contrast goes back to two different views of final reality. What is final reality? In the Judeo- Christian world view, the final reality is the infinite-personal God who truly is there objectively whether we think He is there or not. He is not there just because we think He is there. He is there objectively. And He is the Creator. He is the Creator of everything else. And we must never forget that one of the distinguishing marks of the Judeo-Christian God is that not everything is the same to Him. He has a character, and some things agree to His character and some things conflict with that character. To this God (in contrast to Buddhism and Hinduism for example) not everything is the same, and, therefore, there are absolutes, right and wrong, in the world.
As we come on the humanist side - to the final reality which is being taught in our schools and which is much of the framework of the thinking and writing of our day - the final reality is thought of as material or energy which has existed in some form forever and which has its present configuration by pure chance.
The real issue is the question of final reality. The difference lies in what the final reality is: Either the infinite-personal God to whom not everything is the same, or merely material or energy which is impersonal, totally neutral to any value system or any interest in man as man. In this view, the final reality gives no value system, no basis for law, and no basis for man as unique and important.
Beginning about eighty years ago, we began to move from a Judeo-Christian consensus in this country to a humanist consensus, and it has come to a special climax in the last forty years And today the consensus in our country and the western world, is no longer Judeo-Christian, but the general consensus is humanist.
All the things that have come into our country which have troubled us are only the inevitable results of this world view. If you hold this world view, you must realize there is no source of knowledge except what man can find for himselt all revelation is ruled out. Knowledge never can be certain; and there can be no value system except that which is totally arbitrary.
And more serious than the personal arbitrary value systems is the fact that it leaves us only with arbitrary law. There is no basis for law. Law becomes only the decision of a small group of people, and what they decide at a given moment is for the good of society. And that is all because the final reality gives no clue as to what law should be, and it is left up to a group of people, the Supreme Court, or whoever they are, to make their own decision as to what is good for society at the moment. So you have relative personal values and arbitrary law, and you will also have the loss of any intrinsic value of the individual person. This is the reason that today in this country we accept what would have been an abomination just ten years ago, and that is abortion growing on into infanticide, the killing of babies after they are born if they do not come up to someone's standard of value, and on into the drift toward euthanasia of the aged. This is all a natural result of the accendance of this other view concerning final reality and the lowering, therefore, of any view of human life. In their view, the final reality has nothing to say about any real value, any unique value to human life. In our country, this shows itself in many ways, but it most clearly shows itself in the syndrome of abortion leading to infanticide, leading to the euthanasia of the aged. .
The First Amendment, of course, has been stood on its head. The First Amendment was that there should be no national state church for the thirteen colonies, and that the federal government should never interfere with the free expression of religion. Today it has been turned over by the humanistic society, the American Civil Liberties Union, and so on, and the First Amendment is made to say the very opposite, that Christian values are not allowed to be brought into contact with the governmental process.
The terror is, that in the last forty years, civil government and especially the courts, has increasingly been the vehicle to force this other world view on the total population. It is government that has done it by its laws and court rulings
And then, we must say with sobriety that the United States does not have an autonomous "manifest destiny." Consequently. if we continue to insist in walking down this road, at some point, as God is God and not all things are the same to God, we who have trampled so completely on all those amazing things that God has given us in this country, can we expect that God does not care? So we must not feel that we are only playing intellectual and political games. lfthis God exists and not all things are the same to Him we must realize as we read through the Scriptures that those who trample upon the great gifts of God one day will know His judgment.
Editor's Note: This is the first of two parts of Dr. Schaeffer's address. Part II, dealing with the biblical perspectives on military preparedness (disarmament and pacifism) will appear in the next issue of the CSSH Quarterly. v06n4p17.htm