Editor’s note: This column first appeared in the April 2006 AFA Journal.
September 2021 – My email address is public so, as you can imagine, I get plenty. Mostly just advertisements for Mexican banks, Canadian drugs, or items of an extremely personal nature. Extremely personal.
And, because of the nature of my work, and the fact that I am somewhat opinionated, I get my share of detractors.
A couple of weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a young college student named Clark who was upset with me for several reasons. He began by saying that our country’s Founding Fathers were not Christians, but rather deists. When I pointed out to him that deists believe that God is not active in the affairs of men, and America’s Founding Fathers – even Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin – believed in divine providence and prayer, he changed the subject.
His other problem was the fact that I am opposed to same-sex marriage. He said people like me foster hatred toward homosexuals and that AFA was made up of a bunch of fools.
I told Clark I am a Christian, and I believe in the Holy Bible as the Word of God, and that is where I get my values. I cited the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. He told me my moral compass was broken.
I asked him what he believes. He told me he is a humanist and believes in the innate goodness of man. So I asked Clark to define “good.” He didn’t offer a convincing answer.
Basically humanists believe that man is god. Any form of religion, to the humanist, is man-invented superstition. It is unprovable. Humanists find Christianity particularly bothersome.
Humanism teaches that there are no moral absolutes. While the Christian and the Jew would say the Ten Commandments are given to mankind by Almighty God as rules by which to conduct ourselves, humanists do not believe there is such a rule book for life. While Christians believe that to violate a commandment is to sin against God (that requires repentance), there is no such concept of sin to the humanist.
While one might not agree with the Christian view of morality (and even Christians sometimes disagree on context and definitions), at least we have something to point to – the Bible – and a logical reason why it then affects our thinking and our behavior so strongly.
However, as I found out with Clark, while a humanist finds fault with Christianity, he has nothing to offer as a superior value system. He has no moral value system other than the one each man makes up for himself which, in the end, comes down to being a matter of personal opinion. And personal opinions, like noses, are something we all have.
To Christians, morality is objective truth given to us by God. To humanists, morality is subjective opinion given to them by, well, themselves.
What I found with Clark, as I have with other humanists, atheists, and agnostics, is that they revel in pointing out hypocrisy among Christians. And while hypocrisy is a bad thing, it does not negate the truth of the Christian message. It merely means that Christians are exactly what the Bible teaches all human beings are – sinful creatures in need of help from God. We need to be saved from our sin that separates us from God (salvation), and we need the power of God to live the life He desires us to live.
Clark and I went back and forth with each other. Each time I asked him for some resource outside himself to prove the validity of his beliefs, he would change the subject.
I challenged Clark that if the Christian value system is such a bad one, name a better one. He has not done that to date. But if you think about it, when Clark tells me my moral compass is broken, isn’t he passing judgment on me? And that is precisely why he wrote me in the first place, telling me (with regard to homosexual marriage) I had no right to judge other people.
Clark, you are confusing me.