Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The God of the West

The Pervasive Influence of Humanism

Society is shaped by humanist concepts such as existentialism, a philosophy which emphasises individual existence, freedom and choice.  It expresses the view that human beings live in an irrational universe, that life has no essential purpose and that we must make our own meaning by exercising personal freedom and choice.  People with this worldview believe that they are not answerable to anyone but themselves.

In such societies people pursue experiences, pleasure and instant gratification.  It is all about the here and now, and looking and feeling good. 

Other terms can also be used to describe aspects of a humanist society: narcissism (to love oneself above all else); hedonism (the pursuit of sensual pleasure and avoidance of any discomfort); relativism (having no absolute truth); and postmodernism (living according to what you feel is right for you).  In societies which are influenced by these ways of thinking, where right and wrong are considered merely relatives, some injustices and sins are ignored or overlooked and some are even celebrated. 

The Church has not been immune from this and there are elements within the Church that have been influenced by this prevailing humanist culture.

[Patrick Sookhdeo, The New Civic Religion: Humanism and the Future of Christianity (MacLean, Virginia: Isaac Publishing, 2016),  p.94.]

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