Christianity and Humanism



            In our society today we are faced with a challenge to our very core in the values and rules we place on our lives.  There are forces in our world that constantly challenge our belief system that we must meet daily.  In his book “Understanding the Times” David Noebel outlines these challenges to our ethic in a way that should cause each of us to wake up and take note. 

            There is nothing more dangerous to our core belief system than those who constantly attempt to change ethical values in our society.  Humanist ethics completely leave God out of establishing what is right and wrong.  The Christian looks to the inspired word of God, the Bible, as the source for all things right and wrong.  Within this struggle the two very opposite sides are in constant struggle to guide society.  The Humanist applies the same principles to ethics as he does to atheism, naturalism, and evolution.  This principle being that man has evolved on his own and is charge of his own destiny.  The Christian views the Bible from the point of view as stated in Jeremiah 10:23, “I know, O LORD, that a man's way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps (NASB).”  We look to God for direction in our lives.

            The dangers that the Humanist beliefs bring are the very destruction of the fabric that this country was founded upon.  The traditional family as we know it is in dire jeopardy.  The Humanist does not believe in absolutes.  He believes there is no standard of authority.  With the rise of homosexual marriages, pre-marital relationships, divorce, and the acceptance of extramarital relationships, our morals are in ever increasing danger of being eroded away. 



            The one factor that separates the Humanist from the Christian is the very existence of God.  The Humanist derives his positions based on the premise that God does not exist and man has evolved to what he is.  The Christian puts his complete trust in the Almighty.  Without God, there are no absolutes, with God there are absolutes.  Noebel points to the fact that “God’s very moral nature is absolute and unchanging.”[1] 

            The Humanist believes in ethical relativism.  This concept believes there are no moral absolutes and right and wrong are determined by society.  They believe the ever changing society brings with it ever-changing norms.  These norms are determined by what people will accept and feel comfortable with.  I have to ask is this the true freedom for which they long for.   Can one truly be free and at the same time hold the belief system that there are no absolutes?  There has to be a standard by which our lives are governed.  Ethical relativism, better known as situation ethics is determined by whatever the group determines.  With this as the standard, there is no way to determine right and wrong because it is ever changing.  Noebel stated it best when he outlined the greatest problem with ethical relativism,  “In the end, however, the biggest problem with ethical relativism is still that basically anything can be construed as “good” or “bad” under the assumption that it is all relative to the situation in which a man finds himself.”[2]

            The Secular Humanist declares that the Christian’s view of morality leaves no room for freedom.  They argue how one can be truly free if we are subject to the one God who has set our moral code into being.  This belief stems from their total disbelief in God as the Supreme Being of the entire universe.  What is not realized is that our very lives are a gift from God and when we live according to his will we will be free, free from sin.  It would seem that the Humanist tries with all his might to refute the idea of sin at all.  If man can determine his own set of moral values, there would be no sin, no transgression of the law.  The result of this would be complete and utter chaos because there would be no standard by which to go by.  How can any Humanist say what is absolutely right or wrong?  It would be up to the group to decide.  Which group do you listen to?  I believe in the end you would be forced to concede to which group had the most power or wealth or both.  This would be a constant struggle because power will ultimately change hands.  The process for determining “good” and “bad” would begin all over again.  We should be thankful because we believe in God.  He has set all standards for us and left it up to us to obey them. We are truly free in Him.

            The greatest problem the Humanist faces is the decision over what is actually right and what is wrong.  To determine what is right or wrong is to validate the fact there is a moral code.  That assumption leads one to have to admit that all of the evil that exists in the world is not evil at all.  They have a hard time coming to this conclusion, thus creating various schools of Humanistic thought.  Some Humanists believe in a limited number of basic values but shy away from the foundation on which these values are placed, while others feel that there is no absolute morality and any moralities that are accepted are only accepted to satisfy the need of man at that specific time.  Christians however recognize the ability to recognize the moral code which we hold comes directly from God through the revelation of his inspired word.  Christians have no problem embracing the concept of moral absolutes.  “The Scriptures have great ethical power because they reveal an infinitely moral God.”[3] These absolutes are revealed to man within the pages of the Bible.  From the beginning, God has placed moral absolutes for man to respect and obey.  Christians look to the examples in the Bible to pattern our lives by.  We find within these sacred pages the foundation of morality that we are to live by.

            Biblical Christianity brings with it some inherent responsibilities.  Noebel points out that Christians are to even though self-love is not stressed in the Bible that it follows naturally from the understanding that we are all part of God’s created order.  We are to love our neighbor as ourselves.[4]  First of all, the demonstration of our love for God is demonstrated in how we treat our fellow man.  Secondly we demonstrate our love by being obedient to the teachings that are written.  This provides the foundation for all we believe.  If we truly believe the Bible to be God’s word, we will have no trouble following the moral and ethical principles laid down therein.

            The Humanist, as previously stated declares there are no moral absolutes.  He is willing to change his views as dictated by society or polling statistics.  There is always room for a shift in policy about virtually anything.  We see this in our country today as the political landscape tries to not hurt anyone’s feelings and accept them as they are.  I believe this is a step toward Humanism.  We have seen cities and states pass laws allowing homosexual couples to marry.  More and more we see the traditional family values being eroded away.  The failure on the part of the majority of people in this country to be very vocal in this matter has allowed the Humanist views to take hold and consequently make laws contrary to God’s law. Francis A. Schaeffer made the following quote in “A Christian Manifesto,”

“Most fundamentally, our culture, society, government, and law are in the condition they are in, not because of a conspiracy, but because the church has forsaken its duty to be the salt of the culture.  It is the church’s duty (as well as privilege) to do so now what it should have been doing all the time-to use the freedom we do have to be the salt of the culture.”[5]


 Christians must be more vocal in ethical matters and insure our voice is heard otherwise we will loose what freedoms we now possess.

            Christians understand that God has outlined for us what is right and wrong.  We also know there will come a day when God will bring judgment upon all of mankind.  Noebel quotes the apostle Paul in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and we understand that sin is a transgression of the law.  There is a higher code to which all men will be held accountable.  We understand that even though we will sin, break God’s law, we as Christians have a mediator, Christ himself, to speak for us and have our transgressions forgiven when we confess our sins.  We also understand that we cannot continue in the sins we commit; we must turn from our sinful ways in order to gain forgiveness.  This is because we recognize God as Supreme and his laws, his ethical code to be supreme as well.  We strive to do his will to please him. 

            The ethical system of the Bible stands as the greatest ethical system ever created.  It is timeless in nature.  By that I mean that it is just as applicable today as it was two-thousand years ago.  All aspects of morality are emphasized within its pages and the Christian strives to adhere to them.  Humanism on the other hand is not changeless.  It will change its views to pacify those who want to develop their own set of values. 

            I do not remember where I heard or read the following statement and as such I cannot give credit for it but I think it is extremely applicable to the acceptance of the Bible and it’s teaching regarding the Christian code of ethics.  “If a man has trouble with the very first page of the Bible, he will have trouble with the rest of it.”  Within this statement, Christians recognize God as creator and supreme in nature.   We must obey him for all men will be accountable to him in judgment.        



















Carter, Jimmy. Our Endangered Values, Simon & Schuster: New York, 2005.


Kurtz, Paul and Wilson, Edwin H.  “Humanist Manifesto II”, American Humanist

            Association, 1973.  <>


Noebel, David A. Understanding the Times, Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers,



Schaeffer, Francis A. A Christian Manifesto. Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, Revised

            Edition, 1982.


Trull, Joe E. Walking In the Way, An Introduction to Christian Ethics, Nashville, TN:Broadman &  Holman Publishers, 1997.






[1]Noebel, David A.  Understanding the Times, Ethics: Biblical Christianity, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1991), 238.

[2]Ibid.,  207

[3]Trull, Joe E.  Walking in the Way, An Introduction to Christian Ethics (Nashville, Tn:Broadman &Holman Publishers, 1997) , 40.

[4]Noebel, David A. “Ethics:Biblical Christianity” in Understanding the Times, (Eugene, OR:Harvest House Publishers. 1991), 255.

[5]Schaeffer, Francis A. A Christian Manifesto (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 56.