It considers religion outmoded, yet cannot make sense of human life

“Religion ceased to be a significant factor … between the First and Second World Wars.” Humanism raises this self-confident shout of victory in “Religions of the Future,” an essay by Tolbert H. McCarroll, editor of the Humanist (Nov./Dec., 1966, p. 190).

As an organized philosophical movement, humanism functions in the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the American Humanist Association, and other regional bodies. C. H. Schonk says that “humanism is … to a rather high extent the concern of the intelligentizia” (sic) (International Humanism, April, 1966, p. 27), and he hopes that the view will spread among ordinary men. Evangelical Christians can assure him that it has already done so, for in unorganized form humanism now permeates labor unions, political parties, and even large Protestant denominations where some say God is dead.

What Is Humanism?

If religion lost its significance between the two world wars, the precise date may have been 1933. In that year thirty or more distinguished ministers and professors (E. Burdette Backus, Harry Elmer Barnes, A. J. Carlson, John Dewey, John Herman Randall, Roy Wood Sellars, and others) published A Humanist Manifesto. On July 13, 1963, the American Humanist Association cautiously disavowed the economic pronouncement of Article XIV but by silence apparently approved the remainder.

This distinguished company of humanists said in 1933, “First, religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.” That is to say, humanism is atheism. And later in the manifesto: “Fifth, humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees ...

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