If anyone is wondering what is happening to our society, a little time spent reading the Humanist Manifesto of 1933 will provide considerable illumination. Here are some excerpts:
Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life. The intelligent evaluation, transformation, control, and direction of such associations and institutions with a view to the enhancement of human life is the purpose and program of humanism. Certainly religious institutions, their ritualistic forms, ecclesiastical methods, and communal activities must be reconstituted as rapidly as experience allows, in order to function effectively in the modern world.
A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established to the end that the equitable distribution of the means of life be possible. The goal of humanism is a free and universal society in which people voluntarily and intelligently cooperate for the common good. Humanists demand a shared life in a shared world.
It follows that there will be no uniquely religious emotions and attitudes of the kind hitherto associated with belief in the supernatural.
The manifesto speaks often of freedom, yet implicitly acknowledges the need of coercion to attain the kind of freedom that it envisions. This kind of thinking did not spontaneously spring forth in 1933, but had been brewing in the minds of “great thinkers” during previous generations. The manifesto codifies this thinking into a plan of action with specific goals. It is all couched in the language of freedom, but now that it is happening many of us feel like our freedoms are in danger of disappearing.
It is implicit in the manifesto that this utopian vision of freedom can only be attained by the suppression of religion. The Christian faith is not named, but is obviously the principal target.
Humanist Manifesto II appeared in 1973. In addition to reaffirming the goals of Manifesto I, it adds this little zinger.
The state should encourage maximum freedom for different moral, political, religious, and social values in society.
Again, if one reads the full manifesto it comes out that this “freedom” will require some considerable coercion. Plus, only certain kinds of “freedom” will be tolerated. Thus we find ourselves dangerously close to the territory of George Orwell’s 1984, complete with Newspeak and “Big Brother is watching you.”
Despite the danger, the churches have been remarkably silent about the approaching danger. Even worse, many denominations have outright endorsed the principles of the Humanist Manifesto. I believe we are coming to a time of shaking out, when those who want to be faithful to the Christian faith as taught in the Bible will find it necessary to detach themselves from “Christian” organisations that are really fronts for humanism.
I do not believe in the efficacy of political involvement to turn our society around. The course of our society has been set not by politicians but by the relentless propaganda of the humanists in the schools, the media and throughout all strata of our society. What we need is an army of individual Christians who are solidly grounded in the faith and able to clearly articulate the simplicity of the gospel to their families and neighbours.
We have one advantage on our side: humanism does not work; the humanist form of freedom does not produce the happiness that it promises. The time has come for Christians to point out the failures of humanism, to say that the emperor (Big Brother) has no clothes.
The Bible has the answers that satisfy the real needs of humankind. It has the answers because it has its origin in the One who created us, who knows us inside and out and knows what it will take to truly satisfy the longings of our heart. Those answers cannot be forced on anyone, but those who seek their happiness and fulfilment in God will find it.