Brother Ron Barnes
Founder and Pastor
Statement of Faith
About Brother Ron
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Brother Ron answers your questions about religion, spirituality and ministry
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Dear Brother Ron
Can you be a Christian and a Humanist? I didn't think this was possible because I believe Humanism does not believe in supernatural beliefs or a belief in a God. Your response is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Humanism clearly rejects deference to supernatural beliefs in resolving human affairs but it does not necessarily reject the beliefs themselves; indeed some strains of Humanism are compatible with some religions. In focusing on the capacity for self-determination, humanism rejects the validity of transcendental justifications, such as a dependence on belief without reason, the supernatural, or texts of allegedly divine origin. Humanists endorse universal morality based on the commonality of the human condition, suggesting that solutions to human social and cultural problems cannot be limited to a particular dogma. As Humanism encompasses intellectual currents running through a wide variety of philosophical and religious thought, several strains of Humanism allow it to fulfill, supplement or supplant the role of religions.
Humanism got its start during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. This period is often referred to as the Renaissance or rebirth. Many of the early humanists were devout supporters of the church. They believed, however, that people were able to form their own opinions and morals without depending on guidance from a religious organization. In contrast to St. Augustine, who believed that, since man is inherently sinful, he is capable of only sinful thoughts, Renaissance humanists promoted the dignity of man and encouraged others to develop to their full capacity.
In order to do this, a person must work on
developing all aspects of himself. This includes developing the mind, body
and spirit. The difference between humanists and the religious is that most
Christians depend on guidance from a religious organization to help them
develop their personal standards of conduct and belief. Humanists believe
that man is capable of developing standards without such guidance. But the
ideals advocated by the humanists and the churches are remarkably similar.
In other words, humanism advocates the same things Jesus preached-love and concern for each other, charity toward the less fortunate and upright moral standards. Since humanism advocates logic over belief in seeking this truth, many people feel it is in conflict with spirituality. While humanism may not be compatible with organized religion, I find nothing in its philosophy which would keep a person from trying to emulate the life of Jesus. Since I define a Christian as one who patterns his thoughts and actions after Jesus, I find no conflict here.