HOMILY
SECULAR HUMANISM

Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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There is a God. And we know that there is. We know this naturally, spontaneously and intuitively. We can confirm this knowledge with intellectual arguments, our own personal experience and the experience of the vast majority of the human race. But there have always been atheists, those who deny that there is a God. Until now they have been a quiet, negative, inactive minority. Today they have grown exponentially, especially in Western culture and particularly in the United Stated. And they have become vocal, positive and are now on the offensive. They are no longer quiet, negative atheists but active, positive Secular Humanists who threaten our God-fearing country and Christianity. What is Secular Humanism?

In their own words: “Secular Humanism is committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems. We reject efforts to try to explain the world in supernatural terms and to look outside nature for salvation. We believe in enjoying life here and now and cultivating moral excellence. We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings. We are formed to provide an opportunity for like minded people to meet and exchange ideas and to promote awareness of Secular Humanist viewpoints in the community. We strive to make the public aware of the importance of separation of church and state, to oppose the teaching of creationism and other religious exercises in the public schools and to provide a voice of reason when superstition is presented in the media.”

Our local Secular Humanists have a website, bloggers and post ads in public transportation and on interstate highways. On our interstate they have a huge bill board sign which reads: YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. They meet regularly at the Audubon Zoo. (I wonder if the zoo is symbolic.)

How did all of this happen? Nature speaks to us in exclamation points about God. “The hills are mute but how they speak of God.” Unfortunately, we live in an artificial, computerized, air-conditioned, concrete and steel, cyber world which speaks in exclamation points about man. How great man is! He can build these towering skyscrapers, construct the superhighway of communication, and explore outer space and the depths of the oceans.

Secular Humanism happened also because we live in what is called the information-centered society. This is the age of the World Wide Web and the Internet. The sum total of human knowledge has more than doubled in the last few years. Practically all of this knowledge is knowledge of secondary causes, proximate causes. The sheer volume of it obscures the knowledge of the primary cause, the ultimate cause, God. In such a society cyberspace replaces natural space. And virtual reality replaces natural reality. The “habitat for humanity” is no longer the beautiful natural world created by God but the synthetic, electronic world created by man. In such a man-made world it is difficult to become aware of God. And so we can become Secular Humanists by distraction.

The root of much of Secular Humanism is the conviction that belief in God and belief in man are contradictory. It is either God or man, you can’t have both. Christianity claims that God and man are not in opposition, but are complementary, they are correlatives. Only with God can man be authentically and fully man. Nothing is as inhuman as Secular Humanism, man without God. Without God human life is devoid of meaning. Cut off from his transcendental roots, man is lost, all his actions become absurd; absurd in the sense that some radical existentialists define as “man’s insatiable desire for life to make sense and life’s inexorable refusal to do so.” Or as Shakespeare put it, “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” If Secular Humanism is pushed to its logical conclusion it would be the ruination of human society. If there is no God there are no Commandments, and then, might is right. Without God there would be no solution to the misfortunes of life, no hope for the future. Despair and suicide would be the “final solution.”

More wars are fought, and more blood shed over God than anything else; and there is no God? We have an innate desire, an orientation, a thrust toward God; and there is no God? We have a lust for the knowledge and certainty about God; and there is no God? How frustrating must it be for the Secular Humanist to feel the innate, insatiable desire for God and at the same time deny that there is a God? How stressful must it be to be constantly running away from God when God is constantly drawing us to Himself. For more than 75 years the Soviet Union used the total power of a totalitarian state to wipe out what it said did not exist, only to destroy itself in the process.

We owe it to ourselves to become aware of the presence and action of God in our own lives, that God is living, acting and loving in me. We owe it to ourselves to be aware that I am “We” and “We” is mostly Thee. It will bring peace, security and joy. It will be a source of strength in the time of temptation. It will enable us to affirm God with the totality of the First Commandment, to let him become the center of our lives and the motivation of all of our actions.

We owe it also to others who do not have this awareness of the presence of God. God is present and active in everyone. Our obligation is to present God in such a way that they can recognize it as the answer to the deep longings of their heart and the fulfillment of their existence.

We owe it also to our country. The founding fathers of our country may have opted for the separation of church and state, but they did not opt for the separation of God and state. The Declaration of Independence begins with a strong affirmation of God. We pledge our allegiance to “one nation under God.” And we inscribe on our money, “In God we trust.” Without God there is no morality. And without morality there is no state. There is only the state of chaos, confusion, and corruption. Godless capitalism would suffer the same fate as Godless communism.

Finally, we must never forget that Secular Humanism is an act of faith. No one can prove that there is no God. You have to believe it. You have to make an act of faith in it. Secular Humanism is a religion, a non-theistic religion, a religion without God; a religion in which man is god, man is the supreme being. But which man? There are over six billion of them in the world today. And each one thinks that he is absolutely self-autonomous; that he is the “supreme being.” This creates pride, rugged individualism, competition, jealousy, anger, hatred, violence and war.

In the final analysis to believe in God is nothing else than refusing to believe that everything is pure chance without any meaning. If the Secular Humanist is right he will never know it. But if he is wrong he will never forget it. “God is a myth,” many say it with their lips. Many more say it with their lives. But “only the fool says in his heart there is no God.”



 





© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved