When my brothers, I have two, were in high school my parents decided that we were capable of staying home alone over a long weekend. I believe it was their anniversary so they took a little trip to the Fort Worth area. When we arrived home from school we found a note on the table with a list of do’s and do-not’s.
Somewhere we have a picture of the ‘amended’ list we made within the first five minutes of our freedom. On the list were things like, “do not have friends over.” My younger brother, and his friend who was already violating the rule by being ‘over’ marked out the word “not.” Now the list read “Do have friends over.”
As you can imagine we followed that newly amended rule. Like wild wolves smelling blood on the air, we had seven of our rowdy, sweaty, wild-eyed friends come spend the night. We pulled all of the mattresses and pillows from the beds and couches and stacked them knee high in the living room. We ripped our shirts off and christened the room our wrestling arena.
That night I got kicked in the teeth, hard. It left me with a massive headache and covered in blood. It busted my lip so bad that even today I have a lump on the left side of my mouth where the scar tissue still reminds me of our crazy night of amended rules.
That was night-one of our freedom. Within 12 hours of our release into the wild, we broke every rule on the list, and had the scars to show for it. I can’t imagine what kind of trouble we could have gotten ourselves into if we were free for an entire week. Even as it was, we knew our parents would return soon, so we kept our wild behavior to an acceptable level. The trouble we would have gotten into, if we truly had no parents at all is unthinkable.
The secularization of Humanism is a kind of freedom that the world is not ready for. There is an incredible danger in the implementation of secularization even when it is coupled with humanism. In most every society in history, there has been some type of religion present which, when working adequately, restrains the cruelty of those in power. When the state isn’t working the way it should, those of faith can make a case for a higher morality, based on theism, and help right the course. Some religions are better at this than others. Some are not so good. Where does secular humanism fall on the scale?
There is enough historical data available to consider Secular Humanism’s ability to restrain cruelty in political spheres. History has shown that humanism is not powerful enough to bridle the potential cruelties available to those in power, especially when they are awarded the moral autonomy that secularization offers. Although humanism has at its ideological core, many wonderful ideas about equality, progress, and human well-being, this ideal is hardly enough to defuse sufficiently motivated parties.
This is normally where a universal moral code provided by theistic philosophies would be employed to course correct those in power, or remove them if need be. Unfortunately for Secular Humanism, it is secular. On a personal level, the consequences of secularization are mitigated by limited personal powers. However, when secularization is coupled with the dynamite of political power, the results are devastating. Whatever is gained by humanism regarding equality, progress, and human well-being is more than outweighed by the heinous acts that secularization allows. This is not some distant theoretical concept but instead has been proven by history. This could hardly be demonstrated more clearly than in the well-known events of the 20th century.
It should be noted, that although there are no nations that have been professing secular humanist states, there are plenty that have been secular, and simultaneously held humanistic goals. Their governments have not self-identified as secular humanist regimes, but they provide a basis for analysis of what a secular and a humanist state might look like. Secondly the nations under consideration were inspired by Secular and Humanist doctrine.