International Coalition "For Humanism!"
About us

Dmitry Ivanov

On Secular Humanism

Secular humanism is a thought direction founded on an atheistic basis which accepts man as a highest value but at the same time contraposes man to God, denies any higher sense and any spiritual reality. Secular humanism accepts the animal and social nature of man, but denies the spiritual one, and in essence this is its main problem. The nature of man is spiritual, and denying it means denying man himself.

The secular humanists speak much about human reason, dignity, freedom and responsibility, but they judge God and spiritual reality very primitively and in old-fashioned way. They consider God, if there is one, certainly a tyrant, enslaver, whose basic purpose is to have man as a slave with no dignity or responsibility. Opposing such a horrific fairy tale character they call themselves humanists. It is more correct, however, to speak not about humanists but about ghost fighters.

Indeed, many secular humanists, those of Russian Humanist Society for instance, are occupied basically with exposing superstitions of any kind sorcery, ghosts Well, they are welcome to fight the ghosts, but why call it humanism?

The secular humanists claim that they are extremely objective, that they do not accept anything supernatural or transcendent, that they are guided exclusively by reason and recognize only what is objective and scientifically grounded. Its impossible to deny however, that the very psyche of man, his consciousness (together with reason by which they are guided) relates to the category of the Ideal, the Subjective which does not have objective existence, and thus to the category of the supernatural and transcendent. The secular humanists are subjective in their views the same way as the others, the only difference is that instead of trusting in afterlife they trust in the scientific knowledge. Such worshipping objectness, such bondage to the external certainly hinders them in understanding the human nature, as a consequence of reducing man to the level of objects. The secular humanism considers man primarily as a thing, an object among other objects, and calls this reduction realism and common sense.

In so doing, quite inconsistently, they declare the dignity of man. But what kind of dignity man considered as an object may have? A man without inner spiritual, transcendent relation to the world and the mankind, to the past and the future is just a separate pointless object, by pure accident existing in the chaos of material world and possessing no more dignity than any other object. The writer Andrey Platonov, an atheist, wrote in one of his works, that man is essentially only a worm, and a worm is just an empty tube. Such a conclusion is inevitable if you reject the spiritual dimension of the Universe and you are consistent. Denying transcendent interrelation of everything existent, we come eventually to individualism, where a man has nothing left but himself as a physical individual. And this empty individual with no spiritual relation to the world can not be a microcosm open to the macrocosm, it can not be the measure of all things because it is just one of the things among others. Man can be the measure of all things only in being related to the world, spiritually akin to it, transcendentally containing the whole world. This is why denying the spirituality is denying the dignity of man. The freedom the secular humanists care so much for is a freedom from the spiritual connection to the world and people, a freedom to be an empty indifferent atom, a freedom not to be a man. Presenting an individual isolated from the world as a value looks more like a zoo then humanism.

The secular humanists declare that man can manage without any higher sense and is free to fill his life with any sense basing on his own critical reason. Paul Kurtz, the father of the modern secular humanism, says in his Secular humanist declaration: For secular humanists, ethical conduct is, or should be, judged by critical reason, and their goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals, capable of making their own choices in life based upon an understanding of human behavior Nor do we believe that any one church should impose its views of moral virtue and sin, sexual conduct, marriage, divorce, birth control, or abortion, or legislate them for the rest of society. In another passage Paul Kurtz declares that everybody should have the freedom to cultivate and publish the fruits of the moral and religious freedom, however unpopular they may be. In fact, the freedom from any common moral is propagandized. Every secular humanist is supposed to determine the morality on his own, reasoning from the critical reason he has at his disposal. Here again we are dealing with a wish to atomize man, to make him fully autonomous, to tear him out of higher whole the state, the nation, the mankind. Just for comparison we can imagine that some cells of the human body suddenly decide to break the laws of organism and to start existing under their own autonomous program. As is well known, the cancer cells behave exactly in this way

Paul Kurtz writes: It should be noted that secular humanism is not so much a specific morality as it is a method for the explanation and discovery of rational moral principles. But what these rational moral principles can be? Moral values derived not from the spiritual nature of man but solely from the social one are obviously emasculated, devoid of real content, and the works of the secular humanists are abundantly dressed with such empty words about humaneness. What is rationally based humaneness? Here it is: we recognize that man is not only an animal but also social being and that in the interaction of men with each other a certain optimum is gradually formed which in essence is the humanist ethic. However, this atheistic approach denies the inner spiritual connection between people, leaves them separated and consequently keeps them in under the power of bestial individualism, only spiced with social expediency. In such an approach there is no inner unity among people, there is an aggregate of reasonable animals treating each other in a right way.

A good example to see this is the guiding moral principle of the secular humanists, the so-called golden rule: dont do to the others what you dont want them to do to you. It is evident that this rule is just a variant of the Commandment You shall love your neighbor as yourself acceptable for the secular consciousness. An atheistic consciousness recognizes that there is a reason to treat the neighbor kindly, it is rational. Nevertheless, the inner connection between people, the fact that me and another person in a certain respect are one, identical, we coincide with each other transcendentally, that is the spirituality in true sense, is emasculated. The unity disappeared, the co-existence is left. But however peaceful and rational it may be, it denies the unity. Rational egoism is only a sort of egoism. So it turns out that this golden rule fits very well into the modern liberalism position, where the profits and individualism are cultivated, and all champions of liberalism call themselves humanists

However, the position of liberalism leads into a dead-end because it supposes no development, no transformation. Man understood as an object cant transform. A tin with rational worms or peacefully coexistent tarantulas has no future. The mankind has no way out on the path of individualism.

Paul Kurtz does not declare just a secular humanism, he declares a democratic secular humanism bringing intentionally his doctrine and the principles of the American politics together. But everybody can see today, that the democracy the USA is bringing to the world is not a democracy at all, but the totalitarianism and segregation of nations. The Humanist Manifesto 2000 performanced by Paul Kurtz seems to be destined to promote the perverted and so disastrous globalization of the world under the aegis of the USA. Thus a democratic secular humanism of Paul Kurtz turns out to be a wolf in sheeps clothing

Enough of the empty pseudo-humanist declarations! Enough denying a higher sense for man and calling this non-sense humanism! Its time to say that humanism means recognition of the Spiritual in man, recognition of the fact that the world is transcendentally united, the world is a Whole, the world is spiritual, and there is an inner relation between people, and on its basis the transformation of mankind is possible. Man is not an incidental product of the evolution but a necessary link in the development of the Universe. All the living of the Earth is capable of integration into one organism, the noosphere, and man has the most important destination in this process. It is time to say that the way out of the individualist consumer madness is in spiritualizing the mankind, so that the mankind discovers the spiritual dimension, which is nothing else but the general inner connection. The true humanism is a holistic world outlook which asserts mans kinship with the Universe, the high destiny of man as the continuator of the Creation, and the purposefulness of history. The destiny of humanists, our destiny is to turn the mankind to the Spiritual Reality, away from the bestial features it is now concentrated on, and to show that the true humane is here, the true freedom is here and that the way out of the Global Crisis trap is only here.

Main Materials Conferences About us Contacts Links
Rambler's Top100 Young Humanists' League