Using twitter, I came across a tweet by Stephen Fry. He tweeted regarding the British Humanists campaign to lobby towards the abolition of state funding for what are known as ‘Faith’ schools in the United Kingdom. From a Christian point of view, this predominantly identifies schools provided by the Church of England. These schools are popular with everyone, no-matter of faith, usually have excellent standards, and involve a provision for schools in poorer areas. My own children used to go to such a school, and one thing you could not say is that only Christians were selected. If I remember correctly, the admissions policy put non-church pupils and Muslim pupils ahead of some Christian pupils. However, to the BHA, none of that matters. Their line is that religion is deluded, even evil and we want none of our money going to that bunch of idiots. Never mind the fact that most of the bedrock of their ‘civilization’ including scientific inquiry is based upon the freedom that Christian principles bring. Their denunciation of anything religious, is almost religious itself in its’ faith and commitment.
Surfing the web, I came across the Charity Commissions’ decision to allow the ‘advancement of humanism/secularism’, the same status as ‘advancement of religion’ in terms of being a charitable benefit to humankind. This means that the BHA can fund raise and call it charitable work to take a small minded, small world agenda, and bankroll bashing anyone who is religious, or who has any trace of religion in public life. What I love here, is that on one hand the BHA are quite happy to be afforded the same status as a religious faith when it suits them, and not when it does not suit them. They certainly don’t believe that religion enhances public and personal life, and are quite happy to ‘charitably’ funnel funds to further this discriminatory agenda.
Humanism is a faith. It probably takes more faith to solely believe in the goodness and all conquering nature of humankind than it does in God. Our world is blighted by the personal and communal failings of humankind. We kill one another, insult one another and maim one another. We are capable of great things, but we cannot escape the fact that as a species we are not whole. We cannot conquer our own nature. If we could, peace would reign supreme in our world. It doesn’t! To blame religion for this, is intellectually naive at best. However, that is what many in the humanism/secularism camp would have us believe.
Out here in Africa, to be honest their arguments look pathetic. Here is a continent that is ravaged by disease, war, pain and suffering. It is a continent that has great potential, wonderful people and massive resource. It is easy to believe in humanism when your world is comfortable, secure and well funded. It is another thing when you are desperate, suffering and poor. God is the only hope for these people, it is the only hope that they carry. Most people in this world are poor and see life for what is really is. More people believe in God in this world, than do not, vastly more. Are the poor deluded, stupid, misguided and desperate as the humanists would have us believe, simply because they believe in God, or is it because they are not the cosseted in this world? They see God in their every day lives, helping them, giving them dignity amongst the life they endure.
Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Richard Dawkins is refusing to debate William Lane Craig? Humanism is morally, ethically and emotionally bankrupt as a faith. It has nothing to say on the great questions of this world. All Dawkins, Hitchens and the rest of his rabble rousing ultra atheists and secularists can do is hurl insults, innuendo and bravado at people of faith who are equally as reasoned, intellectual and articulate as they are. Even in British society this will eventually be seen as untenable.
To believe in God as I do, is to believe in hope beyond ourselves. It is to believe in justice that is ultimate and all pervading, and to believe in love that is offered to everyone whether they are rich or poor is perhaps one of the most human things I do. I recognise that I am incomplete. I am capable of great things but I battle with my inability to master my own nature that doesn’t do what I want it to do. In that I am a humanist! I realistically recognise my humanity and gratefully acknowledge the divine help on hand to live a life worthy of what I was created to be. This is the hope of everyone, even the villagers I work with here in rural Zambia.
My faith makes a positive difference to millions. Secular Humanism would be very hard pushed to claim that.