I had the privilege of meeting Larry Johnson, author of ye shall be as gods, after he spoke at my church. I asked him to do an interview and he willingly agreed. Please forgive the longer than normal post and Enjoy! (If you haven’t read the review of this book you can check it out by clicking here: http://tcavey.blogspot.com/2012/01/ye-shall-be-as-gods-book-review.html )
What is Humanism?
Every person has basic beliefs about the world and how things work or ought to work including human life, social morality, government, education, family, and God. These beliefs form a worldview. Whether humanist or Christian, a person’s worldview is formed as he or she attempts to answer the basic questions of life: Who are we and where did we come from? How did we get into the mess we are in? How do we get out of the mess?
Humanism purports that man is the evolutionary product of Nature. All things supernatural are myths and therefore there is no God. This life is all there is and there is no conscious survival after death. Without a god, there is no right or wrong, no absolute truth. Therefore man does not have a fallen nature. Humanists believe the problems of mankind can be solved through reason (intellect) and science coupled with extensive social programs. Thus, humans are the masters of their own destiny. Man’s highest goals are happiness, freedom, and progress in this world.
What is the Christian worldview?
In the Christian worldview, God existed before the universe was created, and then God created the universe and all that is within it including the laws that govern that creation. Unlike all of the other elements of his creation, man was created with a free will. This part of the Christian worldview is called Creation.
Mankind’s free will allowed man to think and act in ways that were contrary to God’s plan and will for His creation. When man acted in ways contrary to God’s laws (truths), this disobedience was called sin, and as a result decay and death entered into God’s creation. This is called the Fall, and it affected not only man but all of God’s creation.
But as God is a loving God, he created a way through His Son, Jesus Christ that allows man to bring order to the chaos he created. This is called the Restoration.
Why do many Christians embrace (and even defend) elements of the humanistic worldview?
There are several reasons: (1) Lack truthful teaching for three generations about our nation’s founding on Christian/Biblical principles. (2) The insidious nature of humanism whose tenets of faith are often couched in feel-good or noble sounding ideals. (3) The humanists’ redefinition of key concepts such as freedom, democracy, and justice to conform to the humanist worldview. (4) The secularization of culture in which religion in general and Christianity in particular are banished from the public square. (5) The humanist generated false conflict between science and religion and between reason and faith.
How and when did humanism infiltrate our culture?
The humanist worldview is changing America’s cultural vision by capturing its institutions and leadership and imposing the humanistic philosophy throughout those institutions. When did this happen? First, we must realize this conflict has existed throughout mankind’s existence. Even though our nation was founded upon Christian principles, the humanistic erosion of those principles was present from the beginning.
Humanism was well advanced in Europe and other parts of the world in the nineteenth century and began spreading to American institutions where its philosophies infiltrated government, politics, the judiciary, education, the family, physical and human sciences, popular culture, economics, and religion. By the beginning of the twentieth century, that infiltration was accomplished to varying degrees, but by the middle of the 20th century, the humanistic philosophy began to dominate all of these institutions and their leadership.
You have written in your book of the close alliance between humanism and socialism in organizing society. Why is this so?
One of the key elements of humanism is the equal distribution of private resources and equality of income. This bond or linkage between humanism and socialism is well illustrated by an examination of Humanist Manifesto I and II. The Fourteenth affirmation of Humanist Manifesto I reads as follows:
The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and a radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted. 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. (emphasis added)
Humanist Manifesto II broadened the reach of humanism’s philosophy as regards government and economic controls:
Tenth: Humane societies should evaluate economic systems not by rhetoric or ideology, but by whether or not they increase economic well-being for all individuals and groups, minimize poverty and hardship, increase the sum of human satisfaction, and enhance the quality of life. Hence, the door is open to alternative economic systems. We need to democratize the economy and judge it by its responsiveness to human needs, testing results in terms of the common good. (emphasis in original)
The domination of a culture through the advancement of humanistic goals can only be achieved through the socialistic model for organizing society. As government gains greater and greater control over the “general welfare” of individuals through the control of organizations and means of production, the freedoms of the individual will decline correspondingly.
You have said that America is sliding into socialism, becoming Euro-America. How is this happening?
Beginning in 1936, the Supreme Court’s liberal interpretations of the “general welfare” clause of the Constitution have dramatically enlarged the powers of the federal government and encroached on fundamental property rights through its welfare programs. The American government as we know it in the twenty-first century has come to mean massive government involvement in almost every aspect of the individual’s “general welfare.” Under the 1936 ruling, the general welfare of the individual is not just encouraged, it is now supported.
A striking example of the difference between encouraging and supporting the general welfare of society was given by Charles Murray. Murray states that the totality of life, the “stuff of life” as he calls it, revolves around four institutions: family, community, vocation, and faith. In his lecture titled “The Happiness of the People,” he noted that personal success in one or more of these areas results in personal satisfaction, that is, a measure of happiness. He further stated that as America encouraged personal success in each of these areas, the nation thrived. The past American encouragement of success in each of these institutions was contrasted with the European support that each of these same institutions received over years through advanced socialism. The support given by European socialism has undermined those institutions. Faith is supported by providing and maintaining church buildings that remain empty. Generous childcare and maternity benefits are provided to the family, yet the birth rate has plummeted. Vocation is supported through workplace regulation but has led to low job satisfaction. Community is supported by creation of a “European Brand”, but in place of unity has come a growing cynicism in France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden. In effect, socialism has usurped the responsibilities formerly in the province of the individual and consequently “…sapped much of the energy, drive, and satisfaction from living.”
As government gains greater and greater control over the “general welfare” of individuals through the control of organizations and means of production, the freedoms of the individual will decline correspondingly.
Without a dramatic turnaround in the direction of America, the nation will follow the path of the failed European vision of a new world order. This turnaround will require a rejection of the humanistic worldview that pervades the institutions of American life.
Questions: Have you seen evidence of humanism overshadowing the Christian worldview in society, if so how? Do you agree that humanism can lead to socialism, please explain? Are there any questions you would like me to ask Larry regarding his book?
Ye shall be as gods can be purchased at Barns & Noble, Amazon, and http://www.anvilhousebooks.com – possibly other places but I’m not sure.