NEW YORK – Despite its anti-religious stance and lack of a theistic belief, Secular Humanism is a religion just as Christianity is one, argued a Christian scholar.
David Noebel, president of Summit Ministries, drew from his book, Clergy in the Classroom: The Religion of Secular Humanism, to discuss some of the parallels between the two religions while addressing students at The King's College in New York City on Thursday.
After all, one doesn't have to look far to see resemblances, according to the Christian scholar, who was invited to speak as part of the school's Distinguished Visitor Series. The interview was conducted by Dr. Marvin Olasky, Provost of The King's College and editor-in-chief of World magazine.
For starters, Christianity has the Christian Ichthys as one of its religious symbols while Secular Humanism has a developing religious symbol: the Darwin Fish. And like Christianity, Secular Humanism has clergy members that perform social ceremonies and preach a faith that is just as dogmatic: theological atheism, naturalism, spontaneous generation, and moral relativism, among other beliefs, Noebel points out in his book.
The author also references in his book the 1943 decision by the Second Circuit to grant conscientious objector status to Mathias Kauten, not on the basis of his belief in God, but on the basis of his "religious conscience."
"Secular Humanism is a religion. It's just as religious as all the other religions in the world," Noebel asserted to students.
"Now, they deny it to the last drop only because they were caught. They caught themselves on conscientious objectors so they had to declare themselves somewhat of a religion."
Secular Humanism is among the worldviews taught at one of Summit's Student Worldview Conferences, a two-week program that teaches young evangelical Christians how to defend their faith and Christian worldview against major competing worldviews.
Noebel founded the ministry 48 years ago to equip Christian students entering secular colleges and universities. He said at least 30,000 people have been through Summit's programs even though for years many people told him young Christians would never be interested in studying the Christian worldview.
Though earlier programs taught on fewer worldviews, the current curriculum at Summit teaches six worldviews. The latest edition of "Understanding the Times," the textbook used in Summit's young adult program, compares biblical Christianity against Islam, Secular Humanism, Marxist-Leninism (or Communism), Cosmic Humanism (or New Age), and Post-Modernism.
In the textbook, Noebel reviews the six worldviews by examining their positions in ten different categories, including theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, political, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics and history.
"The heart of the Christian worldview is that Christ is the key," he said. "Christ is the foundation stone of all these areas and we tie him into how he influences all these areas."
Noebel noted that while the worldviews associated with Christianity and Islam have the largest number of adherents, it is Secular Humanism that has caused more Christians to walk away from their faith.
He attributed the trend to the dominance of secular humanist ideas and teachings in public schools, saying secular humanists "run" the public school system from elementary school to graduate schools.
"Out of Secular Humanism, the one big appeal has always been Darwinism," he said. "More Christians have probably stumbled in their faith over Charles Darwin than just about anyone else, more than Karl Marx."
Concluding his talk, Noebel urged students to study the worldviews in order to be effective witnesses for Christ to a generation that is undergoing severe secularization.
"They should know them inside and out because they are going to live it – this generation for sure."
"We have a responsibility to our generation," he added. "We fulfill that responsibility the best we know how and the rest is up to God."