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The Failed Model of Secular Humanism by Jeffrey Ludwig, June 26, 2018

Maslows-28-needs.png“No god will save us,” declared Humanist Manifesto II (1973), “we must save ourselves.” Secular humanists seek to develop and improve their ethical principles by examining the results they yield in the lives of real men and women. This paltry view has gained tremendous momentum over the decades since 1973.  This was followed by humanist declarations in 1980 and 2003.  And, at the same time, identity politics, multiculturalism, feminism, abortion, homosexual marriage rights, and globalism have been mounting a challenge to the Christian West, especially in the USA, that is relentless.

The unbelieving ones – the secular humanists of the Left -- who advocate service to humanity can be seen as trying to have godliness without God, without Jesus Christ or without the Trinity.  Satan is a deceiver.  The battle cry of the humanistic social service brigades is that we can have His mercy and His good works, without Him.   This belief is overwhelming our society.  It is a phony model that purports to offer the goodness of Christianity without Christ.

 

They say: We don’t need God to be good or do good. We don’t need God to give us gifts because we now have the Kuder Interest Inventory that will enable us in a scientific way to know the gifts we have via the stuff that interests us.  We have the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory that enables us to decipher our deep psychological strengths, weaknesses, or even our aberrations.  Thus, with these and other assessments, we do not need Almighty God to show us how to maximize our doing good in this troubled world (no, they won’t use the word “fallen” or “sinful”).

 

Thus goodness and love and their application in our world is not pouring out from the throne of grace into our spirits where attitudes, actions, and intentions are activated by a spirit of godly love. Rather, the behavioral norms of our actions are objectified and falsely are assumed to contain the entire meaning of goodness and love.

 

Although Freud introduced many ideas about personality that radically challenged religious faith, this writer believes that the theories of Abraham Maslow pertaining to his Hierarchy Of Needs has represented the greatest of challenge by the secular humanist left-leaning crowd since the 1940’s.  Below are Maslow's 28 "needs" that define our motives, behavior, attitudes, etc.  His Hierarchy portrays us as needs-meeting creatures, not creatures with souls and spirits in need of God's spirit of love, forgiveness, and a discriminating conscience that is edified by His Holy Spirit.  

 

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In the Hierarchy, there is no mention of Almighty God. Instead, morality is consigned to being only two of the twenty-eight categories connected to Safety and Self-actualization.  At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization, not the purpose of life listed in the Westminster Shorter Catechism, written in the 17th century, which states that the purpose of life “is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  Thus, there is a complete reversal of focus. Self becomes pre-eminent, and Almighty God is pushed off-stage by this atheistic/humanistic chart.

Look at the six areas being actualized:  First, “acceptance of facts.”  Yet, the preeminent fact of existence is that we were created by God and for God, and that He is personally involved with revealing His love to a lost and fallen world.  Second, lack of prejudice is affirmed here as early as the 1940’s.  But this lack of prejudice inherently has a prejudice against people of faith who believe in salvation, believe in Christ as their Lord in Savior, and believe that the only way to heaven is through saving grace offered by Jesus.   

Third is “problem solving.”  This model of problem solving does not include prayer, does not include the Word of God with its great wisdom and purpose, and does not include the examples of the heroes of faith, and how they overcame a multitude of problems by faith in the Living God.  Fourth, self-actualization includes “spontaneity.”  The greatest source of so-called spontaneity is a quickening of the spirit to the presence of God and to the Godly requirements of the multitude of situations in which we find ourselves.

Yet, Maslow is using the term merely in the sense of developing a personality that is flexible and not held back by rigid, unchanging thought and behavior patterns.  Thus, the spontaneous person will not adhere to rigid, unchanging moral teachings – I’m thinking here as an example of the Ten Commandments – but responds to change wholeheartedly, without reservation.

Looked at this way, a Maslowian might well feel he or she is being spontaneous by responding with unaffected joy at the shifts in morality of the past 2-3 decades.  The spontaneous person embraces change. For example, divorce has skyrocketed during the post-WWII years; sexually transmitted disease has become rampant; cohabitation is becoming more popular with each passing year; the porno industry has captured the time, money, and imaginations of tens of millions of men on the internet; and there is a gossip feeding frenzy regarding the immoral habits of celebrities.

Pedophilia is being publicly defended as a legitimate activity, and being HIV-positive is something, according to signs on NYC subways, that can be handled by partnering with one's doctor and various city agencies. Out of wedlock births were 5% in 1960 and are now about 40%.  And recently, my jaw dropped while waiting for a New York City subway, as I saw a large poster of four smiling young women adorning the wall of the station announcing a new medication that would help the users (in this case, presumably, women, but also homosexuals and transgenders) not to become HIV-positive by contracting that virus from a bed partner.

Now we rise to a point near the top of the pyramid. In second place in importance is “creativity.”  Here he is not speaking about Almighty God’s creativity in creating the universe nor of His creativity in communicating His Word to a lost and fallen world, nor of the unique mode of salvation coming through God’s own Son dying for the forgiveness of our sins.  No. Here creativity is our ability to escape the routine, the humdrum, the feelings of same old/same old that dog our lives and lead us into temptation and evil. No. It’s not the flesh, the world, and Satan who are diverting us from the straight and narrow. Rather, we lack creativity in dealing with life’s problems and thus succumb to negative/destructive behaviors instead of growing, being positive and successful, and valuable contributors to the social order. This is pure humanism. Find your way in life through your creative muse. In this way, you feel special, you grow, and you enjoy success.

At the pinnacle of the pyramid is “morality.”  To avoid the criticism of psychology as being immoral or amoral in that it often promotes “acceptance” (sic) of all behaviors even if described for thousands of years as aberrant, even if in violation of the Ten Commandments, and even if repudiated by right thinking people – Jews and Christians – for over 3000 years, Maslow, still attached to his moral Jewish upbringing, puts morality at the top.  Thus, there is an element of ambiguity as we rise to the highest level because through acceptance of facts one may have to accept that he or she is a lustful, perverted sex addict, but morality would require that they reject this part of themselves and change.  The therapist has the power to help the person to change even as he or she accepts the way the person is without finger pointing or shaming the person.

Morality thus does not originate in God, nor depend upon God for rewards and punishment, nor does it need the power of God to be transformed unto that which is the acceptable, good, and perfect will of God. (Ro 12:2)  Morality is not standing on the rock that is Jesus Christ. (1 Co 10:4)  It is not being yoked to Him because His yoke is easy and His burden light. (Matt. 11:30)  Dear friends, this greatest and utmost reality of Father, Son Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit is excluded entirely from Maslow’s pyramid.  In what sense then could the joyful wonders of Christian community and Christian life exist in a world that supposes it is meeting Maslowian “needs.”

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

11Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

13Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  (Romans 12: 9-13)

 

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