To the Christian mind, socialism or progressivism, as it is called in America today, is the epitome of evil. However, to the socialist mind, it is the essence of morality and virtue. Most believers in Biblical Christianity find it difficult to comprehend how anyone could support a philosophy that has resulted in the enslavement, torture and murder of millions of people, just during the past century alone. In attempting to understand the slavish devotion of millions of people to the doctrines of socialism, it is important to realize that it is much more than a philosophy of politics and economics. It is also a religion. More specifically, it is a division or “sect” of a religion. That religion is Humanism, the established religion of modern America and most other nations of the world today.
As a religion, Humanism is the mirror image of Christianity, which is a monotheistic religion that worships and glorifies the God of Creation, revealed in the Bible and worshiped by most of America’s Founding Fathers. Humanism is a polytheistic religion worshiping and serving the creature more than the Creator. Humanism has many gods. Its two major ones are, the human race en toto, and its political systems — “the State”. Its lesser gods include science, human reason, and nature — including the earth and its creatures. Just as Christianity has many divisions or denominations, Humanism also has many divisions or sects, but rejects both the Christian God of Scripture and the Scriptures themselves.
Background of Humanism
The lure of humanism first appears in the creation story of the Garden of Eden, in the dialogue between Eve and the serpent recorded in Gen. 3:1-6.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
“And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die’.”
“And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
The history of mankind is the history of man’s efforts to cast off the boundaries established by God and creating or becoming our own gods, determining for ourselves that which is right or wrong, good or evil. That is the essence of Humanism, which is normally divided into two types, religious or secular. Our purpose here is to examine the influence of organized and focused Humanism on our culture, economy and government. Since both religious humanism and secular humanism share the same worldview and the same vision for America and the world we do not distinguish between the two.
Modern Humanism traces its beginnings back to the sixteenth century Unitarian movement started by Ferenc Dávid in 1565 in opposition to the reformed theology taught in the Churches of Switzerland. David was court preacher to János Zsigmond Zápolya, Prince of Transylvania, a historic section of what is today Romania. David rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and later came to believe and teach that Christ’s existence began with his birth. A similar movement sprang up in Poland at about the same time as the one in Transylvania. This group was known as the Polish Brethren and was completely suppressed by the established church. One of its best known leaders, Michael Servetus was burned at the stake.
Eventually Unitarianism spread to the colonies among the dissenters to the Calvinism preached in the Congregational churches. In the mid to late-eighteenth century two momentous events transpired in America, the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. Proponents of the enlightenment sought to apply science and reasoning to human nature, religion and society. The Great Awakening was a time of widespread religious revival. Along with the tremendous growth in the more traditional Christian churches like the Congregational, Presbyterian, and Baptist, Unitarian congregations also experienced considerable growth as a backlash to the “hell fire and damnation” preaching styles of evangelists like Jonathan Edwards, John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield.
The eclectic mixture of Calvinism, Armenianism, and scientific reasoning crated ambivalence in America’s religious climate that continues to this day. Many of the Founders attracted by the intellectual nature of the enlightenment were drawn to the Unitarian point of view. The Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography lists John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson and several others as Unitarians. Although Jefferson never joined a Unitarian congregation he makes it clear in his correspondence that he embraced the Unitarian philosophy of his day. In a letter to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, June 26, 1822, Jefferson writes, “I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States, who will not die an Unitarian.”
In 1791 Joseph Priestly, an English scientist, philosopher, and Unitarian theologian, fleeing persecution in London, migrated to America. He settled in Philadelphia where he became the Pastor of a Unitarian congregation. Philadelphia served as the seat of the federal government from 1790 until 1800 while buildings were being erected in the District of Columbia to house the new government. Priestly became one of the leading ministers in Philadelphia with many government officials regularly attending his sermons. He developed a close friendship with Jefferson and is credited with providing the encouragement and inspiration for the famous Jefferson Bible.
In America, the early Unitarian movement (as opposed to an organized religion) was led mostly by Congregationalist ministers or former ministers. Unitarians at the end of the eighteenth century still clung to many of the doctrines taught by the Congregationalists. Most had a strong faith in the providence of God, believing He ruled in the affairs of men and nations, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. They rejected the divinity of Christ, however, as well as the infallibility of the Scriptures and the doctrine of original sin. Since Unitarianism is primarily a free thought movement, it has no creed or firm theological position. Although most held the scriptures in high regard they did not consider it to be either infallible or the final authority in matters of religion. Their primary source for religious truth was nature, science, and human reason which were to be used in understanding Biblical teachings.
As time went on Unitarian teachings gained widespread acceptance among the “intellectual” classes. In 1805 Unitarian Henry Ware was elected Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, a school originally founded to train Congregationalist ministers. The Arminianism that had become popular during the first Great Awakening mixed with the teachings of Calvinism from the Reformed movement and Unitarianism from the age of reason to form the religious “soup” that produced the second Great Awakening in the nineteenth century.
The influence of Unitarianism can be seen in the work of the antebellum reformers of the early and mid-nineteenth century. Brook Farm, one of the more famous utopian communes of that era, for instance, was founded by former Unitarian minister George Ripley and his wife Sophia in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Although many of the utopian communes were started by reformers not connected to the Unitarian movement, they all were based on the Unitarian doctrine, the “perfectibility of man”. Although the belief that man was a being created by God was still widespread, many rejected the Creation Story and the story of the “fall” in the Bible as myth. The common belief among the reformers was that man’s development was progressive and the utopian communes were designed to help that progression along. It would be some time before they found a satisfactory answer to how mankind came into existence.
During the second Great Awakening a new reform element emerged with the preaching of the “social gospel” and the widespread popularity of millenniumism. This new wave of reformers attempted to create “Heaven on earth” and bring in the Millennium Kingdom through social reform. The temperance, abolitionist, feminist, prison reform, asylum reform and the settlement house movements were all reforms inspired by the social gospel and the developing religion of humanism.
With the ratification of the Constitution in 1788 the United States became the first civilized nation in history not to have an established religion. For the first time man could allow his imagination to run free in matters of religion, believing, teaching and preaching whatever his fantasy could conjure up without repercussion. New churches were formed and old ones split as congregants followed the new doctrines of their latest charismatic leaders, resulting in the nine hundred or so divisions we currently have among the self-identifying Christian churches in America. Without the objective authority of the Bible, Unitarians, the unchurched and nominal Christians gravitated toward the developing humanism, the “natural” religion of man without God.
In the 1850’s, two books were published in Europe that were to have a lasting effect on American religion, culture and politics. They were Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto and Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Both of these books furthered the development of the humanist philosophy. They provided answers to the two basic questions of existence, “where did we come from?” and “where are we going?” Evolution theory validated the utopian efforts of the reformers. If man was not created, but came into being through the natural processes of evolution, then he must still be evolving. If man does not possess a sin nature as a result of the “fall”, then the evil we see about us must come from life experiences and the social environment in the culture.
Therefore, since mankind is in a state of perpetual evolution, it just makes sense that in order for that evolution to have a positive outcome, a proper environment must be created to guide man’s development. That is where utopian socialism comes in. An ideal environment for human evolution cannot be left to chance or the whims of individual men. It must be planned and controlled collectively, that is, by government. While the label of Marxian socialism has never been accepted by American socialists, its precepts along with Darwinian evolution theory were incorporated into the humanist religion destined to later become the de facto established religion of America. As Norman Thomas observed in 1944, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
By 1825 Unitarian ministers had formed a denomination known as the American Unitarian Association. For the next hundred years Unitarianism continued to grow as a liberal and forward thinking segment of Christianity. In 1867 two Unitarian ministers, David Atwood Wasson and William J. Potter, founded the Free Religious Association. Its stated purpose was to, “emancipate religion from the dogmatic traditions it had been previously bound to.” It opposed organized religion and supernaturalism, promoting the supremacy of individual conscience, reason and the perfectibility of humanity.
In 1927 a group of seminarians and professors at the University of Chicago organized the Humanist Fellowship and began publishing the New Humanist magazine. In 1933 a group of 34 Unitarian ministers and academics from America’s leading colleges and universities convened and drew up The Humanist Manifesto. The Manifesto has since had two updates, the first in 1973 and the most recent in 2003. The updates reaffirmed the principles expressed in the original and expanded its vision for a one world government with an even distribution of resources and incomes around the globe.
“We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community in which all sectors of the human family can participate. Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and a world order based upon transnational federal government.” Humanist Manifesto II (1973)
Corliss Lamont was a leading light in the Humanist Movement for most of the twentieth century. He authored many books on Humanism and Socialism, among them The Philosophy of Humanism and You Might Like Socialism. In a document titled “Humanist Support The United Nations” Lamont writes,
“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the United Nations, is in its entirety a Humanist document. Which could have easily been inspired by our own Humanist Manifesto”.
The first Directors of three prominent United Nations Departments were also prominent in the Humanist movement following World War II, Julian Huxley of UNESCO, Brock Chisholm of the World Health Organization, and John Boyd-Orr of the Food and Agricultural Organization.
Humanism supplies the underlying value system of American socialism, Progressivism, and America’s Democrat Party. The three organizations that have exerted the most influence during America’s journey from a Constitutional Republic to a Democratic Socialist state were, the American Humanist Association, The Unitarian Universalist Association, and The Democratic Socialists of America. The American Humanist Association has been particularly active in efforts to eliminate the influence of traditional Christianity from our national discourse and public institutions, working through the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU was begun in 1920 ostensibly to “defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country”. Corliss Lamont, mentioned above, served as Director of ACLU from 1932 to 1954, and until his death in 1995 was Chairman of National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee. This group successfully blocked Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Committee attempting to expose Communists in our government. History has shown that McCarthy was right in many of his accusations.
In the Introduction to the Humanist Manifesto I, the author gives the reason for the necessity of such a document as, “While this age does owe a vast debt to the traditional religions, it is none the less obvious that any religion that can hope to be a synthesizing and dynamic force for today must be shaped for the needs of this age. To establish such a religion is a major necessity of the present. It is a responsibility which rests upon this generation. We therefore affirm the following:…” He then goes on to list the basic principles of Humanism. It is ironic that the ACLU, a creature of organized Humanism that presents itself as a defender of the Constitution uses the First Amendment of that same Constitution to suppress religious liberty for Christians and to censor any attempts to teach Creationism in any of our educational institutions in favor of its primary doctrine, Evolution.
The ACLU with two hundred staff attorneys and thousands of volunteer lawyers working pro bono file hundreds of lawsuits annually designed to suppress Christianity and further the doctrines of Humanism. Although, according to its manifesto Humanism was organized to establish “a religion” “shaped for the needs of this age”, it is allowed to operate freely among government departments and officials, as well as our educational and other social institutions without sanction. Since it does not recognize any Deity or maintain places of worship, it is not officially considered a religion and is not subject to the restrictions of the widely held doctrine of “separation of Church and State”. Laws designed to further its doctrines as a result of its litigation and lobbying efforts among our state and national governments, however, make Humanism our de facto established national religion. The eighty-five members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, considered by the Democratic Socialist of America as its Washington lobbying arm, also serves as the chief lobby for Humanism in the nation’s Capitol.