“The Mission of God” – and humanism…

One of the books I read recently was Christopher Wright’s absolutely epic “The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative“. By epic I mean in both senses – this may be the largest book I’ve ever read, and also this book is completely life-changing. It is an overview of the Bible as God’s story, written to explain His plan for the world to humanity rather than our story written to try to describe or explain God. Why is this revolutionary in the 21st century??? Well, one strength is that it  shows history from a God-centred perspective rather than a humanist one. Now this is not my area of academics, so I’m a bit out of my league in commenting – I readily admit that!!! But perhaps it will be amusing if I do so anyway. 😉

I’ve listened politely to preachers who decry the “humanist position” and heard historians complaining about the effects of the Enlightenment. But, I have to admit I’ve secretly taken these comments with a grain of salt as, I am, after all, human and think there must be various advantages to taking this key fact into account. I’m also a Christian (just stating that upfront before I continue), and I believe humans have common needs – I’m happy to call these “rights”. I even believe that human behaviour should be governed by conventions lest another Holocaust is to occur. Interestingly, the most negative reactions from other Christians against humanism (that I’ve seen) have been in response to the field of psychology. I feel that in this instance, I’ve perhaps entered the debate a little too late to comment – not only is the discipline well entrenched now, my mother is a well qualified one, so there’s little use protesting!!!

I figured I should learn some more… and with the help of my Google friends I found an International Humanist and Ethical Union,  which I checked out. Humanism seems as I thought, very pro-human, but also seems to be the cool cousins of Atheism… (http://www.iheu.org/about). Some comments I thought I could resoundingly yell “Amen!” after;

Our vision is … a world in which human rights are respected and everyone is able to live a life of dignity.

And then, other comments I think “ah, no, not so much”. Such as,

“To promote Humanism as a non-theistic life stance throughout the world”.

This is because I believe there is a BIG and very real Theos, i.e. God. But I also think, and maybe this is a bit simplistic, that if God made humans and died on the cross for them (do you ever think about that – GOD on a cross??!?!), he must be pretty interested in us and our welfare. I know I’m only now catching up, but I don’t see why we can’t substitute ‘theistic’ in there…  Anyways, so that’s a blonde’s take on humanism…

Getting back to Wright’s book, there is something important in his thought that The Bible is unique because it is not only inspired by God, but that it is God’s story. He doesn’t ignore the fact it was written down by human hands. God wasn’t here auto-writing through people, but something far beyond the scope of understanding of the authors took place at the time – Paul has an incredibly high view of Scripture both old and new, e.g. Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope“. I believe that unique, divine inspiration is contained in these books and I esteem them as texts around which the Church has gathered in liturgy, in practical application, and in seeking the meaning of human life.

There is a section in Wright’s book that deals with the way humans deal with God. He outlines a human need for and tendency to promote gods, suggesting that if we do not have a God (with a big g) then we will and do promote gods (with a little g)… gods that are paler shades of the one, true living God. In this book, it identifies these  as idols and identifies them in the Bible by function, pointing to places in the  text where the Israelites chose to promote something else rather than worshipping YHWH. Wright identifies the things we are likely to promote as little ‘gods’ as:

–       things that entice us

–       things that we fear

–       things that we need

–       things that we trust

He traces the need for deity back into the primal religions Judaism encountered, and outlines God’s unfolding revelations of love in the Bible as God’s response… revelation which enabled the Jewish people to see God’s nature throughout different parts of their history, even when they failed to esteem Him and enabled other things to take a greater place in their lives. Wright shows how God proved he could be all these things, and more – their Jehovah Jireh, the God providing all their needs, answering their fears and proving Himself desirable and trustworthy.

The revelations continue – Wright explains each Biblical book as first a book from God to us, and secondly, an opportunity to see our behaviour through the eyes of YHWH. Anyways, so God is pretty interested in humans, as I mentioned before… and I do wonder if it’s possible to have a theistic humanism…. because it’s impossible to separate our spirituality from our being. But (sigh) there aren’t any Liberals around to debate with (you can see my last post and if you are one please let me know… I have a number of questions for you!!!)… So I guess I’ll have to continue to ponder, and eventually hopefully a theologian will take pity on me and enlighten me as to why it’s a much bigger debate than simply adding “theistic” into the definition of humanism.

(And for those of you who received half a post on the email last time, my apologies!! I’ve updated the post now so it makes some sense… not much). I bet you can’t wait until I’m doing Anthropology #101… 😉

4 thoughts on ““The Mission of God” – and humanism…

  1. I love big words, but I’ve given up on ‘humanism’ and ‘post-modernism’ because they believe many different things to many different people.

    Humanism, for example, can mean a worldview where man is the central and supreme being — which would be a sad world to live in. Or it can mean, as I think it did for Erasmus, a respect for each human being and a delight in their education and development as befits their being made in the image of God.

  2. Humanism has been defined in various ways, but virtually all modern usage would say all humans are intrinsically equal, and have “rights,” including a right to vote/sanction laws, and that humans can therefore make any laws they want, as there is no higher Authority.

    Humanism is intrinsically opposite to God’s Plan as presented in full Christian Scriptures when analyzed knowing original key word meanings, lineage and “mystery” identities, and always knowing who is being addressed {lineages again, each with different roles.}

    The Lord [YHWH] is the Lawgiver [all Bible Law & examples, not just 10 Commandments; Godlaw not ended by Jesus! Mat 5:19]. He is our Judge and King. He will save us [ones addressed, not all humans: Jesus does NOT pray/intercede for all the world, John 17:9]
    The above ideas are compressed into Isa 33:22.

    Humanism contradicts this!

    Humanism contradicts this by saying: humans are supreme, and the source of Authority and law. Humans can make any laws they damned well want! Exactly how they can go about this varies, but most modern humanists push democratic regimes – such as the orchestrated and financed conspirators now pushing revolts in N.Africa & Middle East.

    [Controllers plan to steer public attitudes and political winners, to impose regimes more humanist in nature than Islamic law, which is contrary to humanism, and contrary to God’s Bible Law. Both can’t be from God! Christ’s view is right. So Islam is also manmade law.
    Ironically a Jew, George Soros, and cohorts who manipulated an end to Christian Serbia control over Moslem Kosovo (so a forceful Moslem state will be inside Europe and cause Europeans to fear Moslems so they’ll defend Israel!) – these ones push the new revolts!
    That is my best intelligence on that. See “Exposing Democracy Promotion in the Middle East” by Maidhc O Cathail (argonium79 on http://www.youtube.com April 2011)]

    Note that democracy is a black box mechanism, not an ideology or Open Plan. Few see moneyed Controllers of education and media who discredit folks contrary to their plans, while seeking to control both sides in disputes, and veer towrd objectives of Controllers. Edward Bernays, openly said that in democracy the government is not controlled by ones who seem to run it, but by insiders… his types! He was the “first public relations council” who pushed things like: smoking tobacco, USA entering World War I, fluoridating public water, listening to CBS (a new radio network) and his Uncle Freud’s psychoanalysis!
    Finally he instructed PR leaders and even publish his methods in “Propaganda” 1928.
    (He was a Jew, not Christian. But ironically he promoted the pork industry… for others! It seems he never fought in WWI, avoided smoking and drinking public fluoridated water.)

    In reality this is what democratic humanism means! It destroys us!

    Commercial (state-licensed) churches love to mis-read Roman 13 and claim we’re to follow manmade law, but that contradicts God’s Order and Plan (such as Isa 33:22). It is illogical that God’s Laws could be bad, and our plans/laws be better! We look forward to return of Jesus our KING, a warrior (Rev 19:11-21), to rule all arth (Zech 14:9), when he comes in clouds from heaven above, at the right hand of (his Father) Power (Mat 26:64). These are the “Higher Powers” (higher in authority, and from above physiclly) we are to obey… in Rom 13. These are the real powers to obey and fear! Indeed, we’re not to go to manmade law court, but appoint our own to judge things (via Godlaw) I Cor 6:1-6.

    Now humanism also assumes all humans are equal. But in reality no two persons are born exactly equal! Equality is false!! And ethnic groups also differ. Some differ a lot according to explorers like Philippe Rushton, Arthur Jensen & Richard Lynn ( “Global Bell Curve,” removes location bias to test race differences) Self-identified “race” agrees amazingly well with different clusters of DNA details in broad tests by Neil Risch – so it isn’t just a social contruct as some agenda-folks recently claimed! And God’s law differetiates between groups: races and lineages within that. Indeed, some are indicted for total removal! Read Obadiah (all) and Mal 1:1-4 (referenced in Rom 9:13 New Testament validity too!) So the notion all humans have rights is also false.

    1. Hi! Thanks for posting… I know of a ministry called Watchman… I hope you’re not affiliated with the one I know, it does some things to pull down the body of Christ… which is the Bride after all – but I’m sure it’s a different one you’re from. I have black family, and am quite comfortable in saying that their value is equal to my own. They are very intelligent, articulate and some are Christians. My husband Tim’s mother was born in Bolivia, South America. As missionaries they believed that the Bolivians were completely and utterly equal to their own value – to the point where they gave up a comfortable life in the Western world to share God’s love with them. I don’t believe that all people are the same, but they do share the fact that they are the object of God’s affection. So I think we have plenty that we both agree and disagree on… thanks again for your post.

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