On the Necessity of Religion in the Public Square

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…without a Deity of some sort we cannot truly comprehend the moral needs of civil society. (link)

I argue that humanists and atheists actually do have some sort of religion, no matter how hard they try to say otherwise. If you consider religion as a system of beliefs, then humanists and atheists are quite active in the proselyting of their religion.

Their religion is a little different from Christianity and Judaism and Islam in that humanist and atheists do not believe in magical sky gods or any kind of intelligent being anywhere guiding the course and destiny of the universe.

Their religion, instead, is the worship of ideals and practices. For instance, to the humanist, the ultimate ideal, the thing they believe is the ultimate good is humanity, or that which benefits humanity. (Forget for a moment the circular logic there: “that which is good benefits humanity” means, literally, “what is good is good for humanity.”) To the atheist, they believe, generally, in logic and reason and truths that can be arrived at through deduction.

Of course, we who worship the God of the Bible point out that these people are worshiping idols that are dumb (cannot speak) and powerless to save. We know why that’s a really, really bad idea. World history is full of examples of how these kinds of religions go bad.

But in a way, they are worshiping an aspect of our God. Yes, our God loves mankind and wants what is good for the human race. At the same time, our God is a God of reason and logic, of science and facts. But these are not the only attributes of our God. Our God is alive. Our God speaks. Our God gives us specific direction and our God cares about us individually as a father does for his own children.

As long as a person worships good and truth, I can see them being a valuable asset in our society. That’s why I really don’t have a beef with humanists or atheists as it is generally practiced by the public at large. These people can sometimes be convinced into believing a living, breathing embodiment and author of their ideals, though it is difficult for them to overcome their past experience with bad leaders and members of certain faiths. These people tend to be sincere and kind and generous, although comparatively not as much as the church-goers.

However, and this is a huge caveat, there lies danger! Do not think for a moment that the extreme advocates of humanism and atheism are interested in what they claim to be interested in. The ultimate aims of these movements, as seen by their most vicious advocates, isn’t moral good or truth, but instead, to dethrone the other religions from our common minds, and bring in a new era of guiltless sin. It is this kind of atheism and humanism that is dangerous, the kind that says, “My heart and mind agree: doing such-and-such is wrong. However, this happens to coincide with what Christ and Moses teach, so I am going to warp my logic and thinking to turn wrong into right, and right into wrong, just to spite them.”

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2 Responses to “On the Necessity of Religion in the Public Square”

  1. slfstx Says:

    I believe Sir John that you have the main premise wrong.
    “to the humanist, the ultimate ideal, the thing they believe is the ultimate good is humanity, or that which benefits humanity.

    It is more about human concerns, human dignity, rationality and human capabilities. They don’t believe the “ultimate good is humanity.”

    Study up some more I think you will find it edifying.

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