Wednesday, January 9, 2019 -
Aside from my time in the Word and prayer, I got to know one of the men in our unit, called “T.” We shared our stories and built a rapport, I believe. More to come, I’m sure. He is serving a 5-year sentence relating to dealing drugs.
The rest of the day, besides handing out apples at “lunch” as my job today, was spent reading Herbert Schlossberg’s “Idols for Destruction.” The nearly 50-page chapter I read today deals with the idol of humanity – basically a treatise on how humanism has destroyed our world – and it all started with Eve falling to Satan’s temptation, “You will be like God, having knowledge and power.” He fed her pride, which would grow her appetite for self-worship.
It is a fact that all forms of humanism reject the Christian view of mankind. But humanism deifies the individual. It is in fact a religion in and of itself. And it thrives on sentimentality, the doctrine of the privacy of sentiments, elevating it into a principle of truth! “Humanism thrives on sentimentality because few religions are more dishonest in their doctrinal expressions.” It makes reform a crusade against standards. But in actuality, “any conception that has love without law as its ethical principle will be relativistic and self-serving and without any means off arranging a priority between rival goods.” That means “right and wrong become questions of risk versus reward, and morality then is purely a matter of calculation.” “But all laws are conceived, obeyed (or not obeyed), and enforced on the basis of faith in their legitimacy. If the Christian faith that bolstered the legitimacy of the common law loses credibility, common law will not long retain its own persuasiveness.” Paul confirms in Romans 3:31 that faith and law are opposed only as principles of salvation, not as principles of conduct. And if faith may not be opposed to the law, neither may love. Sentimental love negates the law by asserting priority over it. But Paul linked the performance of the duties of Christian love with keeping the law.
All forms of humanist sentimental ethics have one common characteristic: subjectivism. But man’s capacity for self-deception and self-justification is almost infinite. That is the reason sentiment as an ethical principle must lead to disaster. The law of God is the only answer to that. The law of God is the only hedge to that. “Now if I do what I do not want,” wrote Paul, “I agree that the law is good” (Romans 7:16). That is, if he recognizes that he has no self-righteousness, that the humanist delusion is fraudulent, then he needs the law to identify and restrain the evil that he might do. But the law of God only serves such a purpose if statutory law and the citizen recognize it. If lawmaking, however, is considered an expression of human autonomy, it will be idolatrous and eventually, tyrannous. Statutory law then will be used to justify anything.
The term “humanitarianism” was actually co-opted by a group of eighteenth-century theologians who affirmed the humanity but denied the deity of Christ. It later became an ethical arm of the religion of humanism, which can best be explained as a form of “ressentiment,” which begins with a perceived injury that may have a basis in fact, but is more often occasioned by envy for the possession or the qualities possessed by another person.
Altruism is another word we Christians use today, which also has its source in this ressentiment. Altruism glories in the praise of the weak and base, even at its own expense. It is best interpreted as a counterfeit of Christian love, informed by the ideology of humanism and powered by ressentiment. The fake love of altruism perverts the sense of values so that sickness and poverty approach the statuses of virtues, contrary to I Corinthians 13:6.
All of these lies which are fed to the public result in the opposite effect of its stated intention, such as bringing equality and reducing poverty. Instead, poverty is being consistently redefined to fit its own purposes and promotes the idea that we should all be consumed with envy and seek ways to have other people’s possessions. (It is fitting that the war on poverty should come at the same time as the apogee of materialism.) It also creates a dependency which is the distinguishing mark of the culture of poverty (at least in this country). It was humanitarian policy that fostered destructive change that brought us the social security system, which helped break the family ties that once provided old people with both financial security and companionship. Humanitarian policies now try to deal with the pathologies stemming from the replacement of the extended family by the nuclear family.
Humanitarianism also changes victimhood from accident to essence. It expands the category of the victim until it swallows the entire person. And the same humanitarian destiny that perpetuates victimhood on one imposes permanent guilt and material loss on the other.
The culture of the West, infused as it is with Christian values, is superior to any other, and all the valid charges against the West are indications that it has betrayed its own heritage. And the West cannot export prosperity without also exporting the culture that made it possible.
Today the state is the power behind the lever of modern humanitarianism. The real targets – redistribution of money and power.
Modern humanism has a view of both life and death that is diametrically opposed to the Bible’s teaching. If man is a product of chance and time, then killing is an action, like any other, that must be judged on pragmatic grounds, humanists believe. And ressentiment reverses the normal hierarchy of values by placing utility above life itself. The life of human beings must be judged according to their usefulness for the wider community, they say. It is no coincidence that humanitarian policy has reached the zenith of its influence at a time when death propaganda is so much in evidence. It includes abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. As Christians, our view of death – as of life – is very different than that of humanists. Death is the consequence of sin, and sin is “the sting of death” (I Cor. 15:56). Death is the enemy and the last to be destroyed (I Cor. 15:26). But in Christian perspective, the only comfort in death comes from the assurance of resurrection! Hallelujah!
Humanism’s misuse of “love” is especially troublesome because it borrows Christian terminology, befuddling much of the church. Indeed, I have often also wrongfully used their terminologies of humanitarian and altruism.
Schlossberg concludes, “After the vision of human perfectibility was incorporated into the democratic faith, the biblical view of man as a sinner began to fade in the popular consciousness.” The plunge is not sudden…but eventually, with the remnants of Christian principle entirely gone, sentiment will rule completely.
Morality based on individual sentiment means anarchy and the disintegration of society.
Keep in mind: these were the prophetic thoughts of a man writing over 35 years ago.