While preparing for a Bible study lesson, and also reflecting on a recent evangelical encounter I had had with an atheist, something struck me…
Why do secular humanists call themselves secular ‘humanists’?
The reason that this question popped into my head was because I had been preparing a Bible study lesson on Commandment Six:
“You shall not murder.” (Deut 5:17)
In preparing the lesson, my goal was to raise the awareness of, or to further illuminate the value of human life, with the hope that such would motivate everyone I was preparing teach to consider more deeply the criticalness of evangelism. When we look at Commandment 6, what we see is God’s emphasis on the value of human life. The reason why human life is so valuable to God, is because we are image bearers of Him (Gen 1:26-26).
Why is this important?
It’s important because we, like God, and unlike animals, have the capacity to recognize morality, logic, and beauty. The recognition of such is not a part of animal capability. Such is strictly unique to humans. These attributes are what differentiate us from animals. In light of the ‘humanist’ label that secular humanists give themselves, secular ‘humanists’, however, ironically promote the idea that we are no different than animals. But, if secular ‘humanists’ are right, and we are essentially the same as animals, then why do they use the label ‘humanist’ to describe themselves? In other words, why not label themselves secular ‘animalists’? Wouldn’t that at least be more consistent?
I’ll tell you why they don’t…
Because, they are image bearers of God.
Image bearers of God know by default that they are not animals, as shown above. We also know this because the secular ‘humanist’, who claims that they are really just an animal, actually differentiate themselves from animals by using a label which could never describe an animal: ‘humanist’. Their pride in recognizing their unique human distinction won’t tolerate it, and it’s quite telling. They actually think like a Christian!
Scripture offers some great insight as to how important we are to God. Look at what the psalmist reflects upon:
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (ESV)
There is something special about us. So much so, that God is “mindful” of us.
The NKJV points to something extremely profound with the same verse:
“What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You VISIT him?” (NKJV)
God is not only mindful of man, but God also visits man. He doesn’t visit animals. God makes Himself known… to all men. But, what’s even more amazing, He dwells in those who recognize that they have violated His purpose and who also trust in Him (Jesus Christ) as their Savior:
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
However we (Christians) may label the secular thinker in our minds, either a ‘humanist’ as they prefer or an ‘animalist’ as I suggest, they are fellow image bearers of God who need Christ. They know by default that God is there and that they have violated His purpose, but what they don’t know by default, is that they matter. They matter to the God whose image they bear, and they need to be told who He is and what He did. They need to be told that God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to the cross, 2,000 years ago in Palestine, exclusively for those who mournfully recognize that they have violated His purpose and who also trust in Him as their propitiation. When repentance and trust are actualized, God, the Holy Spirit, then dwells within them… and seals them for eternity.
Evangelism is the means by which this happens.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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