TO CHEW ON: "And they said, 'Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower whose top is in the heavens, let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.'" Genesis 11:4
On April 15, 2010 the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland began spewing its magma and ash clouds in earnest. It took only a day until thousands of flights in Europe and America were grounded.
The ability of such a relatively small and commonplace natural event to impact the lives of millions of people on earth illustrates how fragile our life on planet Earth is and how out of human control. The systems which are the very foundations of our civilization are vulnerable. We've seen this before. Events like 9-11, computer viruses, physical plagues and pandemics, natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes bring proud human societies to their knees.
Humanism, a thought system that looks to and depends on human wisdom for the answer to all of life's questions, is attractive to our proud, independent, ambitious human spirits. The seeds of this worldview were planted by Satan in Eden (Genesis 3:5). It was flowering nicely at the time of Babel (our reading today)and continues to proliferate till our time. Dreams of reaching heaven by a building then have morphed into continuing attempts to defeat gravity, illness, even death. And human discoveries have led to innovations which benefit us all, impacting how we travel, communicate, and the length and comfort of our lives. But despite all that, we humans are still not in control. God is.
He works in the lives of individuals (Proverbs 16:9) and rulers (Proverbs 21:1). He can frustrate the plans of the wisest (Isaiah 44:25) and control the destiny of nations (Jeremiah 18:7) He can punish oppressors and mete out justice (Isaiah 49:26). Nature is in His power (Job 26:5-14).
In view of this, we may be tempted to take the opposite approach from the humanist and become passive, saying, What does it matter what I do? It's all controlled by God anyway.
Two scriptures come to mind. (Clicking on the linked words, below, takes you to the verse in four different translations.)
- Jesus told a story (Luke 19:12-26) of a man who lived passively . His master scolded and punished him when he found the man had done nothing with the money he had been given. It shows us that we will be held responsible for how we steward our talents and opportunities.
- James speaks about making plans (James 4:13-17). The upshot of his advice is - make plans but view them with realism and humility.
PRAYER: Dear God, You have all power and might over nature and people. Help me to live realistically before You today, stewarding everything You have given me and acknowledging You as the source of it all. Amen.
MORE: What do humanists believe?
The Humanist Manifestos are documents which outline the basic tenets of humanism.
Here is the original "Humanist Manifesto i," dated 1933.
The most recent version, Humanist Manifesto iii, was revised in 2003.
What strikes me about the ideas in them is how familiar they are! Isn't this the worldview of science, education, and the media?
Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.