"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ to do good works" (Ephesians 2:10)
You have a right to be human.
It is a God-given right. You were created a human being ... different from animals ... a spiritual being who can know and worship God who is Spirit. However, if you deny God, then you have forfeited the right to be human. The alternative is to revert to being the animal you physically are.
Our subject is "secular humanism" and "human rights." The question we will try to answer is: What happens when man refuses to recognize God's authority and reserves the "right" to do his own thing?
Man was created in the image of God. He has an "inborn" sense of what is good. Therefore, much of what the humanist advocates as "good" is good. When he talks about justice for the oppressed, he is "right on." When he proposes that the rich share their wealth with the poor, he is saying what Christians ought to be saying. When he seeks to protect our resources and improve our standards of living, he is making sense.
The real problem with secular humanism is not in what it advocates.
The problem is that it makes the "human mind" the judge of what is right. It refuses to accept God's authority. This refusal to accept God as the "Criterion Setter," and its substitution of man as the "authority" for human behavior, is the essence of the evil of secular humanism.
A good illustration of this is seen in a popular TV show. An army doctor is against war. He is against bigotry. He is compassionate. He loves children. He will deny himself and work long hours to save life. He is a "good" guy. He does what Christians ought to do. Yet this same doctor is profane and vulgar. He sleeps with any willing nurse. He is a "man of the world" and is totally nonreligious. The whole thrust of the show is that man is within his "rights" when he lives as he pleases. What he does is his own affair. He doesn't have to feel guilty because he has not violated his own idea of correct behavior. The inference is that there is no "Higher Authority" to whom he has to give an account for his actions.
Now, if the "human mind" is the authority on what is good or bad, then even the "good" that a humanist does is suspect. Why? Because it is "good" only because he thinks it good. There is no way in which his good is in obedience to a "Higher Authority." There is no "oughtness" in what he does. Neither is there intrinsic value in his goodness because he would do just the opposite if, in his judgment, the opposite was good. He reserves the "right" to be the judge ... to "do his own thing" ... which is secular humanism ... not so pure, and not so simple.
This "right" to "do our own thing" is anything but right. How can human beings live together in peace ... how can they be compatible ... if "being human" is another way of saying, "I can do as I please"?
I can understand the "right" of animals to "do their own thing." "Animal right" is the right of the fittest. In the animal world everything is done instinctively. Rules and boundaries are enforced by the supremacy of the strong. There is no appeal to "Higher Authority" ... no doing a thing because it is "right." In the animal world, might makes right. If human beings adopt "animal rights" as a rule of thumb, then this is a "dog eat dog" world, for sure! Anything goes ... if you can get by with it!
But is this what we mean by "being human"? By "human rights" do we mean "if it feels good, do it"? Are we to live by instinct and impulse? Is there nothing that separates the human from the animal? It seems to me that the very term "human rights" indicates a more dignified right... an intelligent right... a just right... a right whose "rightness" is measured by an Authority outside ourselves ... by the One who is the Author of "rightness."
Yet we are being sold a sordid substitute. We are being told that "human rights" is the right to live like animals ... or even worse than animals ... if we want to. Human rights, we are told, is the right to kill our unborn children ... to parade our perversions ... to pander our passions ... to satiate our sex drives ... and to "do our own thing" whether others like it or not, which is one way of saying that "rightness" is measured by an Authority outside ourselves ... by the One who is the Author of "rightness."
All of which leads to some pretty sorry situations. Those who promote the "animal right" of the darter fish would take away the "human right" of an unborn child. Our passion for human rights has teen-age children in open rebellion against their parents ... a rebellion backed by the courts! Again, atheism and non-biblical theories of creation enjoy unlimited access to our schools while the Bible is banned. The promotion of doubt is granted, while the promotion of belief in God is restricted! It's incredible!
This warped idea of human rights touches every age group.
A small boy was heard to say, "Kids are human beings, too." He was defending his "right" to interrupt when his parents were talking. What he failed to take into account is that human beings are human to the degree that they are not animal. Being a human being doesn't give one the right to be rude ... or cruel... or selfish.
Secular humanism is very subtle and insidious. Its subtlety is due to the fact that humanists do so many good and wonderful things. It is insidious because it rules "Higher Authority" out and substitutes, instead, the "human mind" as the judge of what is right and wrong.
A result of secular humanism is "adult" movies ... meaning that it is only children who need restriction ... that adults can indulge every passion, feed every fancy, abuse every sensitivity, and "go the limit" so long as they do not infringe on the right of others to do, or not to do, the same. It is sick, and it is disgusting! Secular humanists talk of the "human rights" of homosexuals, drug addicts, drunkards, pornography peddlers, extramarital "mixers," and the protected crooked and criminal. The thing that scares me is that perversion and violence are now considered legitimate forms of behavior. If a man throws a fire-bomb, or shoots a president, we are urged to understand that, in that man's mind, he was doing society a service. Therefore, it is society, which refused to right a wrong, that is to blame, and not the man who fired the shot or threw the bomb. Heaven help us!
This "right" to unrestricted freedom is destroying our humanity. We are "human" only to the degree to which we deny ourselves for the sake of others. The man who thinks only of himself... who must have his way regardless ... is living like an animal... and God never intended that men live like animals. Yet many men live like animals ... and the Bible tells us why. Let me explain.
When man was created a "human being," he was created different from animals. He was created in the image of God. He was created to be "good" as God is good. But man blew it. He sinned. And because man "did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God"... God gave them over to shameful lusts ... to live like animals (Romans 1:24,26,28). And what God did in the beginning, God still does today. He gives men over to live like animals because they refuse to live like humans beings!
What does this all mean?
Where does secular humanism lead us? If I am my own god ... if "rightness" is relative ... if my idea of "right" has as much place in the sun as yours ... then humanism is absolutely right and the mess we are in is consistent with that "rightness"! If I am my own judge of what is right, then who is to challenge me if I say that it is right to bum your house, or to steal your wife, or to loot the grocery store? "Oh," you say, "but that would be infringing on the rights of others!" Hold it a moment... hold it! Who said that it is wrong to infringe on the rights of others? What authority are you appealing to when you say that? Since you have rejected any "Higher Authority" and have opted for every man to be his own authority, why are you challenging my right to bum your house? It can't be wrong if I don't think it is wrong!
I'm the judge of what is right, am I not? It may not be right for you, but it is right for me ... and that is all that counts!
On the other side of the coin, we have said that secular humanism has many "good" things going for it. My humanism ... my idea of right and wrong ... may lead me to honor the rights of others. It may make me a more disciplined person. It may prompt me to do many charitable works. All of which is "good" except for one thing. I am doing it, not because God says it is good, but because I think it is good. And that is the fallacy of secular humanism. I am still making myself the judge of what is right and wrong. I am not submitting to "Higher Authority." I am not recognizing the God of all "goodness" who is the only true judge of what is good. There is not "obedience" in my goodness ... no submitting of my will to God.
Once we are convinced of the fallacy of secular humanism, we must find an "authority" by which to measure our behavior. Society can set a "standard" ... and does, but standards set by fallible men are fallible standards. We have many good laws. We have a wonderful constitution. We have a great country in which to live. But we also have laws that allow for gambling, liquor, divorce, prostitution, X-rated movies, abortion, and pornography. Society makes allowances for its weaknesses. Therefore, society is a poor judge of what constitutes "righteousness." The fact that society approves sinful behavior does not make it right.
We must reject secular humanism which advocates that every man is his own authority. We must recognize that society is a poor judge of "rightness." What, then, is to be our authority? We must submit to God and His Word. You see, not only must the authority be outside ourselves ... but it must be from a pure and powerful source. In fact, it must be Divine. This is why the believer turns to the Bible as the written authority on "rightness." The Book is our measure of "humanness." The more a man lives by the Book, the less like an animal he is, and the more like Christ he becomes.
Which brings me to my conclusion. You claim the right to be called a "human being." On what are you basing your claim? Is it on a humanistic "right" to do as you please? Is it on a legal "right" established by a fallible society? No, no, my friend! You must believe the Bible. You must be "recreated" through the "new birth." You must be conformed to the image of the Son of God. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works" (Ephesians 2:10)
Claim your "human rights," friend. Claim the "right" of sonship ... and the "right" of Christ-likeness! Let God make you the kind of "human being" you were created to be!