Of Religion, Humanism and All That

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Of Religion, Humanism and All That

By

Muyiwa Awe

 

culled from THISDAY November 16, 2003

I had already written a Tract with the title: Humanism as a Religion when my attention was drawn to the article by Mr. Ade Bokini published in THISDAY Newspaper issue of 15 July, 2003. My intention in writing that article was to expose the pretentions of Humanism to be merely a philosophy when in reality it has become a religion to many. All what Mr. Bokini has written has confirmed the need for such an exposure. I shall comment briefly and generally on Mr. Bokini's article and on humanism so that readers can come to their own conclusions.

Mr. Bokini says he was moved to write his article titled Between Religion and Humanism because of what I wrote in response to Professor Wole Soyinka's article in the media debate that ensued after his speech to the National Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates' Confraternity, in which I and the Christian ministry I lead Fullness of Christ Evangelical Ministry (FOCEM) received unfavourable mention. Mr. Bokini says he is saddened by my reference to humanism as a religion with man as its god. He says my statements are expected of believers, especially those of the fundamentalist and Pentecostal type. I am glad I did not disappoint him. Stopping short of calling me a fanatic as Orok Edem one of those contributing to the media debate did, Mr. Bokini concluded his article by lumping me with the Talibans of Afghanistan and the Ayatollahs of the Sharia States of Nigeria. I know that in circles of humanists, being called a fanatic is a term of abuse sublimally linking the person so called to violence. I abhor violence; I have always abhorred violence, even before I became a Christian. Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace. Mr. Bokini does not like my constant references to the Bible, but that is where my faith is planted and no humanist can uproot me. So, Mr. Bokini and others of like mind, here goes the fanatic again: The word of God, the Bible says Christ is our peace who has made both one, and has broken the middle wall of partition between us. Peace is concerned with breaking walls of separation between opposing groups so that they do not resort to violence. It is concerned with reconciling those torn apart by war. Therefore, if anyone calls me a fanatic for Christ, I ask, what is wrong with that?

Mr. Bokini states that it is also well known that the Bible contains 19,000 den?onstrable false statements including the claims in 14 places that the earth is flat. Did he discover this by his own research efforts or are these statements part of the articles of faith of humanists written by heroes of the Humanist faith such as those he mentioned in his article Albert Schweitzer, Betrand Russell, Copernicus, Hume and Descartes? Humanists search through the Bible with magnifying glasses looking for demonstrable false statements while they ignore the truths in bold print staring them in the face.

Mr. Bokini says: It is amazing that Professor Awe can claim that God has committed some work into his hand. I am sure a scientist of the stature of Professor Awe cannot expect the thinking world to accept that literally without any further evidence. What evidence does the thinking world of Mr. Bokini want? If I say that my Father in heaven communicates with me and has committed some work into my hands, and Mr. Bokini says God does not exist, how can I convince him? He says both Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and Bill Gates of Microsoft are humanists and that if either of them got a call from God to do all they are currently doing for humanity, they are much too humble to declare it to the world the way we do in Nigeria. But I ask, what is the humility involved if they do not declare that a God they do not believe exists has committed certain things into their hands? Surely, they would by Iying if they made such claims.

As the English saying goes: You cannot have your cake anu eat it. No one is one saying that only Christians can perform humane and good works, so what point is Mr. Bokini trying to make here? God created all things including humanists for His pleasure, and He can use humanists who do not acknowledge Him for His purpose.

Mr. Bokini says he is living in a postChristian era in London with others in Germany, the Scandinavian countries, France etc. Shall I congratulate him or commiserate with him? We who believe in Jesus Christ eagerly await His coming for us at the Rapture. Later, He will return in glory with us and His holy angels at His second advent when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever. So the Christian era has only just begun and it will last for eternity.

Mr. Bokini says: As some of us grew older, we acquired knowledge that gave us evidence to make it possible to be weaned out of the myths and mythology fed us in the name of religion. Some of us were persuaded by the likes of Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell who suggested that religion belonged in the infancy of the human race, and that with the coming of age of the race it should be discarded. Some of us were persuaded by the rationalism of the likes of Copernicus, Hume, Descartes and others. I was also persuaded by the philosophies of these men in the past. In my secondary school days, in my teenage years, I was introduced to Godless humanism and its god of human reasoning when I read The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (17371809). He attacked Christianity and ridiculed supposed errors and inconsistencies in the Bible. Albert Schweitzer (18751965), theologian and medical missionary, replaced the Christian principle of love for God and for one's neighbour with veneration for life human, animal and vegetable together with a denial of the possibility of communion between man and God. When I was a postgraduate student at the University of Cambridge, England, from 1956 to 1960, Bertrand Russell (18721970), philosopher and atheist, was my hero. But when I came to believe in Jesus Christ, I discarded these vain and empty philosophies of men which are now enshrined in the Humanist Manifesto drafted by Paul Kurtz, professor of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Our God is simply wonderful. While I was looking for a particular document recently, I stumbled on my baptismal and confirmation certificates. The first shows that I was baptized in a CMS (now called Anglican) Church as an infant, nine (9) days after I was born, and the second shows that I was confirmed in May 1956, a few weeks before I sat for my first degree examinations in physics at the University College, Ibadan, (now University of Ibadan). But I became a Christian in the true biblical sense of the word when I was fiftyeight going to fiftynine years of age, and after twentyfour years of being a full professor of physics! In all the intervening years, I was a nominal "Christian". Only nominal Christians can be moved by the arguments of Mr. Bokini and others in his Movement. Even his calling us sanctimonious nitwits cannot move me. A nitwit is a silly or foolish person, and I can assure Mr. Bokini that I will be even more "foolish" for my God and His Christ in what he calls my twilight years if that will advance His work in Nigeria and the world at large. Twilight denotes a period or state of obscurity and gradual decline, but I can again assure my young humanist friend that I have only just begun to shine, and by God s grace my light will continue to shine like the first glean of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day, as the word of God, clearly states.

Mr. Bokini says that people like me ignore the fact that the same Bible endorses atrocities the likes of which Nazism and the worst African tyrants never equalled. This is a lie of Satan, the spirit that is behind the Humanist Movement. God said to Prophet Ezekiel: Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. The idol god of humanism is man but behind the idol is Satan himself, the god of this age who has blinded those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. Satan continues to spill out lies such as the one above, and humanists swallow them. I challenge Mr. Bokini to quote which chapter and verse of the Bible supports his statement.

The basic difference between a humanist and a genuine Christian is that the humanist believes there is no limit to human knowledge, reasoning and the philosophies of men. The Christian believes that man is limited in knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Beyond this limit, he exercises faith in the unlimited God who created him in His own image and likeness.

I admire honest men even when I disagree with them. Did Mr. Bokini read the article by Alhaji Gboyega Arulogun, former Commissioner for Information in Oyo State, on pages 29 and 30 of Guardian Newspaper of Sunday, August 10, 2003? After pouring encomiums on Mr. Richard Taylor, his mentor, colleague and friend of many years, Alhaji Arulogun concluded his article as follows:

I hardly discuss religion with people because I believe it is a personal matter between you and your God. I don't care whether you are a Christian, a AIuslim, a Taoist, a Buddhist, a Confucian, an African traditionalist (Sango, Oya, Osun, etc) but I care if you are not a humanist. A11 religions practice humanism. Richard and Allegra (his wife) are Humanists. The greatest religion, I believe is Humanism. That is their religion.

That is an honest and honourable man, not someone who wants to fool and confuse us with philosophies which he has hardly digested, and references to the Bible which he cannot understand, because such understanding comes from the Holy Spirit whose existence he derisively denies.

Humanism as a Religion
Humanism is the belief that man, his accomplishments and the ideals of human society are the supreme value of the universe. Humanism teaches love of life, love of this world with the individual living well, enjoying all that human effort can offer, and being passionately interested in the world. Secular humanism opposes all that is supernatural.

Religion is usually regarded as the belief in and worship of a supernatural controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. This worship of God or gods flows from a feeling of dependence on, and responsibility towards the Deity (deities). Humanism is not a religion in this sense.

But religion also means an object of conscientious devotion and scrupulous care as one reputable dictionary puts it. It is in this sense that humanism has become a religion to many people in different parts of the world. Our concern in this article is with secular humanism, but we shall make a passing reference to Christian humanism later. The god of the humanist is man who is turned into an object of veneration, an idol. Humanism rejects belief in a personal God who is exalted above the universe, infinite, perfect, and beyond limitation. Thus, the humanist does not believe in God of the Holy Bible, who is God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. A humanist is either an atheist or an agnostic. An atheist says categorically that there is no God, while the agnostic says that God is unknown and cannot be known. Many consequences flow out of this atheism or agnosticism.

Humanism teaches that humanity and all that exists in the universe consist only ot matter anu energy which have been shaped into their present form by chance. It denies the existence of knowledge which cannot be discovered by man; everything is known or can be known by man, and the supernatural does not exist. It teaches that angels do not exist, nor do Satan and his demons. If God does not exist, He could not have created anything. In particular, human beings are the product of the process of chance and evolution.

Humanism rejects the Bible as God's inspired revelation to man, but asserts that human reasoning determines the appropriate mode of behaviour (ethics) of society. Moral standards are not absolute but relative, and are determined by what makes people happy, gives them pleasure or seems good for society. Human selffulfilment, pleasure and satisfaction are the highest goals to be pursued. These goals are to be achieved through education, scientific and technological advances, economic re distribution and human knowledge. Biblical truths, morality and standards are rejected as irrelevant and therefore worthless. Humanism maintains that human life terminates at death.

Humanism has dethroned God and has substituted an idol god man as worthy of worship. This process began with Satan who taught Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden that they could be like God. Speaking to Eve, Satan said:

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

To the atheist who is convinced without any shadow of doubt that there is no God, the Bible says: The fool says in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

The Bible also speaks to the agnostic who asserts that God is unknown and cannot be known as follows:

Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.

Since Satan was demoted from his exalted position as the anointed cherub in heaven as a result of pride, he has been busy stirring up rebellion against his Creator, God. He is behind every false religion and every cult in the world. He is the real god of humanism.

The humanist says there is no God; there is no resurrection; there is no punishment for sinners or rewards for the righteous; there is no heaven or hell. The word of God says:

For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.

Some professing Christians think that they can mix humanism with Christianity; they call themselves Christian humanists as distinct from secular humanists. This is the lie of the Devil which has led to the introduction of such concepts as Liberalism, Neo-orthodoxy and the Social Gospel into Christian theology. However, the denial of some or all the basic Christian truths such as: the inerrancy of the Holy Bible, the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Jesus Christ, the reality of Hell and eternal punishment, the Fall of man, Man's sinfulness, the Atonement, the miraculous and the supernatural, has robbed these concepts of their validity. The Bible says that in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons. It appears that the latter times are already here with us, but he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.

Sometime last year, a liberal priest belonging to one of the mainline Christian denominations in the United Kingdom proclaimed that he did not believe in the Virgin Birth. He was promptly defrocked before he could pollute his flock further. The Anglican Communion worldwide is now grappling with the problems created by humanists in priestly garbs. Recently, there came the cheering news that an homosexual theologian of the Anglican Communion who was to be made the Bishop Reading, England, declined the honour following weeks of debate on the propriety of such an elevation. However, in Concord, New Hampshire, USA, the Episcopal Church the North American branch of the Anglican Communion elected an openly homosexual bishop a few weeks ago. Liberal Anglican bishops are ordaining homosexual priests and approving homosexual marriages with men marrying men, and women marrying women! The Bible calls such practices abominations. God rained fire and brimstone from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. The Holy Spirit speaking through Apostle Paul, condemns such practices in our New Testament dispensation. When priests are polluted with manmade doctrines, the damage done to their flock is incalculable, for if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Fortunately for us in Nigeria, the Primate and Metropolitan of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola, has strongly condemned these developments and dissociated the Church he leads from them. He insists that these are the works of Satan. He and others within the Communion who stuck to the Christian faith based on the Holy Bible were called bigots. The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was roundly condemned for her principled stand against humanist priests professing Christians who want to be part and parcel of the postChristian era. The Yoruba have a phrase to describe such people: Ko s' eku, ko s' eye neither a rat nor a bird; in one word, a bat. Humanists would prefer Christians to be bats rather than eagles that soar high in the spirit on the wings of faith. I will rather be an eagle on Christ's wings than a bat on the wings of humanism, and if humanists see me as a fanatic for Christ, so be it.

Jesus Christ has said it all: No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve the eternal God and the god of humanism. No true Christian can be a humanist; that is the bottom line. Christianity provides for the wholesomeness of man without making him into a god. Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full. His gospel provides all things that pertain unto life and godliness, and humanism has nothing to add to them.

Jesus Christ continues to knock on the door of the humanist's heart; will he let Him in? After all. He died for humanists too. Mr. Bokini, I parted ways with Bertrand Russell and his crowd long ago, and there is no going back. Never! But when you and other humanists come to Christ, I will receive you and welcome you with open arms.

 
  • Awe is a Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Ibadan, and President, Fullness of Christ Evangelical Ministry (FOCEM).
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