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“I visited a church in the suburbs, and there was this blowhard preacher talking about how television rots your brain. He said that when we are watching television our minds are working no harder than when we are sleeping. I thought that sounded heavenly. I bought one that afternoon.” —Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
Wading through currents of social media recently, I came upon a Christian preacher declaring we only pray to God, not the universe. He said, “If you want to address God, don’t talk to his handiwork. Talk to him.”
I felt inclined to counter. (I usually always feel inclined to counter, really.) So I offered, “If God IS all and is in all, then how can anybody but God be The Universe? If instead of calling the name of Jesus, someone calls Yeshua or Emmanuel instead, does God ignore them? ‘The Universe’ is not one of your names for him. But it could be someone else’s for the same God you worship.”
The man responded, “Those are his names: Yeshua, Emmanuel. But God never called himself the universe. Humanists did that. Research Secular Humanism and you’ll see this is not semantics. It’s a human attempt to eliminate GOD.”
And so, I did. And the next day, when he asked me what I found in my study, I told him, “What I found was surprising. The surprise was, I think I want to be one!”
One manifesto that defined the Secular Humanism ascribed to the following principles:
- Need to test beliefs – A conviction that beliefs must be weighed and tested, not simply accepted by faith.
- Reason, evidence, scientific method – A commitment to using reason in seeking solutions to problems and answers to important questions.
- Fulfillment, growth, creativity – A primary concern with 3 things for all people.
- Search for truth – A constant search for truth.
- This life – A concern for the here-and-now and a commitment to making it meaningful through understanding ourselves and those who differ from us.
- Ethics – A search for principles of conduct that enhance human well-being.
- Justice and fairness – an interest in eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
- Building a better world – With reason, an open exchange of ideas, good will, and tolerance, we can make a better world.
These are all things I’m passionate about! I immediately got jealous and thought, “That sounds heavenly. It’s not fair, Jesus. Why do they get to do that? How come we can’t do that in church?”
You might have noticed I’ve grown very weary of believing what I’m told without question. Right now, it is critical that I test my beliefs, because if I suspect they aren’t real, I will never act upon them. The more people discourage me from testing them, the more I want to ask, “What’s the matter? Are you afraid that if mine aren’t real, yours might not be either?”
And for the love of God, I wish we used more reason in the church! Some Biblical traditions we continue because they’ve always been done, not because they are particularly helpful or functional.
Sometimes, people get strong-armed into serving in ministries out of guilt or obligation, even when they are no longer fulfilled or growing in the arena.
The theme of my blog is a search for truth. This became necessary when I discovered principles in my faith that have seemed to not hold true.
I’m fascinated by the wonder of an afterlife with Jesus, but right now matters. African-Americans were often constrained to lower class society, while being promised a reward in the sweet by-and-by. Since I walk now as a free man, my forefathers clearly decided, “I want some of that reward right now.”
Moreover, I don’t want to establish some sterile world of laws and social customs where Christians are the only ones who are happy. We’re only about 33% of the world, and I’d really rather not have the other 4.7 billion people on the planet resenting me for making them miserable. Why can’t we spend more time working toward a world that benefits more than just those who claim Jesus as savior? Isn’t that just a little selfish?
I don’t want to eliminate God. I want to do more things that matter! Can we not embrace some of the same positives that secular humanism offers without losing Jesus? Are the things I listed above ungodly?
I believe we can do them without eliminating God, and we must. Frankly, they just need to be done. But moreover, humanity as a whole just doesn’t have the solutions to all of our problems, and I believe we need to reserve room for God to supply the enormous void of all that we simply do not know.
So be honest. If you could accomplish with it without going to Hell… would you want to be a secular humanist?
- Why I Believe In God – You might not believe me, but I didn’t start out poking holes in Christian theories. Take a look at a picture of me as a regular, newly persuaded believer.
- Stop Making Sense – I know I have to be a man of faith, but here’s how I deal when things just don’t make enough sense.
- For Believers Who Have Considered Apostasy When Faith Isn’t Enough – There are some good reasons to question your faith. In this entry I came face to face with one of mine.
- Worship, Unconscious – If you can’t get God to respond to you, consider this.