One of the several podcasts I enjoy listening to is the excellent and thought provoking “Mission Log.” Devoted to exploring the “teachings” of Star Trek in broadcast order, they recently made it as far as “The Next Generation.” A thoroughly Secular Humanist slant pervades the podcast (as it does much of Trek) and I constantly find myself frustrated with the way they try to achieve a Christian Ethical Ideal in the absence of the basis of those ethics. (That basis being outside, divine assistance and Grace.) That is the nature of SH.
In a recent episode, they made a typical claim that exposes what is (to me) a naïveté of humanistic atheism. Referencing a moment in Star Trek where life is respected and defended, they said, “I would like to think that everyone on Earth right now would make the same choice…” And this as multiple wars rage while they record their show!
The ultimate naïveté of Secular Humanism is not simply the failure to see humanity as broken as it is, but rather the failure of those individuals to see their own capacity for evil. They see humanity as essentially good, and that our/their own ideas of goodness are enough to make us good. What they fail to see is that their best possible scenario (as unachievable as it is) is still a mixture of good and evil. However small the mixture of evil is, it will still gum up the work of their envisioned utopia.
There is a fundamental mistake in our understanding of our knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was really more of a Tree of Experience. With our simply having known Good for a time, it does not follow that we understand a Good and certainly not a Best. We can recognize Good, but can’t hope to replicate it alone. Secular Humanism deludes itself into thinking that it can achieve the Good of the Christian ethic and ideal without Christ. It has the benefit of observing an example, but hopes to replicate it without the very ingredient that makes it possible.
The best examples we have of Good in this world—and even they are flawed—are the examples of the Kingdom of God as seen in the 2,000 years of Christianity. Secular Humanism itself could not have come into existence without that history. And those examples are flawed because they are a mixture of forgiven sinners living (and failing) in Grace and unredeemed people using the Church as simply a human, cultural, and religious institution. Humanism can replicate behaviors, but only at best achieve an approximation to church failures without the element of Grace. The want to toss out human religion (with reason) but ignorantly also toss out the Divine that makes any true Good possible.