Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverends Kremlin
The Double Language of Naturalism and Humanism
by L. Guyenot-Kremlin-Bicetre, France
Given that the attacks against family values, in the great majority, are of atheistic inspiration, it is important to clarify the ideological path which, in the West, has led from the rejection of God to the rejection of traditional morality, that is, from atheism to "amoralism."
In its vast diversity, atheistic thought rests upon two pillars. The purpose of this article is to expose in the open this often hidden base of our dominant culture. I have called these two pillars naturalism and humanism, independently of other possible definitions of these terms. They have been expressed since ancient Greece, but it is during the Renaissance, and even more during the Enlightenment, that they built new roots in the West. I will only deal with their modern formulations.
Naturalism is the theory according to which man is exclusively governed by natural laws, like animals and the rest of the natural world. It emphasizes the role of deterministic processes in human behavior. It is, of course, Charles Darwin (1809-1882), who provided the modern pseudo-scientific foundation of naturalist thought, claiming that there is no discontinuity between animals and man, the later being a product of pure chance and natural selection among animals. Most biologists since Darwin have espoused this view, projecting on man the methods and conclusions which they apply to their study on animal behaviors. Alfred Kinsey, originally a specialist of insects, is a famous example; by classifying human sexual behaviors (from masturbation to sex with animals) without any consideration on the psychological motives behind them, he implicitly presented them as < natural >. Philosophically, naturalists generally attempt to prove that human freedom is an illusion and that man is really governed by his instincts or conditioned reflexes. Freud, an unconditional darwinist, added the practical notion of the subconscious to support this view.
From the naturalist viewpoint, sexuality is an instinct and love is a disguised instinct, designed for the survival of the species. This view is represented, for example, by Desmond Morris' The Naked Monkey or, more recently, Robert Wright's The Moral Animal, in which we learn that man is genetically programmed for adultery. Since an instinct requires no education, the only acceptable sexual morality, for a coherent naturalist, is: no morality (or, for a politically correct naturalist: use of a condom for hygienic purpose).
Humanism is a philosophical tradition affirming the absolute self- determination of man. Humanism exalts human liberty to the extreme, proclaiming that man creates himself, individually or collectively, in function of his cultural, political and scientific choices.
Theoretically humanism is opposed to naturalism : where the naturalist says "everything is Nature," the humanist says "everything is Culture," and sometimes goes as far as to deny that there exist such a thing as "human nature." Note that, if naturalism comes from scientific theories, humanism is rather a philosophical proclamation. Since the Enlightenment, that is, since western philosophy has separated from theology, the vast majority of philosophers are humanists.
It is probably Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), a left wing disciple of Hegel, who gave humanism its most radical formulation, in The Essence of Christianity: man is not created by God, rather he creates himself; God is only "the projected essence of man"; in other words, man is God. Feuerbach had precursors, especially among French revolutionaries. The debate between theism and humanism can even be traced back to Plato and Protagoras.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) can be counted as a humanist, one of a mystic kind, although his thought contains elements of naturalism (and even Darwinism). He declared that "God is dead" and foresaw the emergence of a new self-created humanity, the "superman," who is "beyond good and evil."
However, it is surely Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) who pushed the humanistic logic to its most extreme and individualistic conclusions. For Sartre, human nature doesn't exist ("existence precedes essence"), nor is there any absolute criterion of good and evil. Unlike Feuerbach, however, Sartre saw little hope in man, whose life is a "useless passion."
The double language of atheism
Naturalism and humanism are two forms of atheism. The naturalist rejects God and replaces Him by Nature. The humanist rejects God and replaces Him by Man, or Humanity. The naturalist thinks that man is controlled by determinism, the humanist upholds man's absolute self- determination. These two positions are radically opposed. Yet, in the realm of mass-communication, they are constantly mixed and superimposed on each other, adding to the confusion. They constitute the double language "or the split tongue, or perhaps the collective "double bind," for those who know this psychological theory" of our atheistic culture. It tells us, on one line: "you're an animal, controlled by your genetically programmed instincts, such you might just accept it," and on the next line: "you are your own absolute standard, you have the right to live exactly as you choose." In brief, it proclaims, like some silly absurd wizard: "you are free to be dominated by your instincts."
Note that, in the monotheistic tradition, naturalism and humanism are the two foundations of sin: the sin of flesh (identifying with our animal nature) and the sin of pride (usurping the place of God).
Humanism (a la sauce) evolutionist
Naturalism and humanism are often combined in the following two step logic: 1. man is the product of a natural biological evolution on which he had no conscious control; 2. however, since natural evolution has given him conscience (and science), man can master his own evolution.
Evolution is not anymore merely "natural," it has become "cultural" and scientific. Culture has taken the relay from Nature. This simplistic synthesis of naturalism and humanism is very widespread among atheistic thinkers. It was the general doctrine of the nineteenth century quasi-religious and messianic faith in Science.
A classic example of this humano-evolutionist cocktail is eugenism, an idea invented by Francis Galton (1822-1911), a cousin and disciple of Darwin. Galton defined his "eugenic" science as "the science of the improvement of the lineage." With recent progress in genetic science, such frightening utopia reappears in some medical circles.
Marxism is another combination between naturalism and humanism. Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) were influenced by Darwin (from whom Marx had asked a preface for his Capital, which Darwin refused) but also by Feuerbach (whom they blamed for not completely doing away with the notion of God). The theory of class struggle and revolution is the transposition in human history of the law of natural selection, while the project of the workers' paradise and of the "new man" is an expression of the humanist dream, as shaped by French utopic socialists.
Feminism also exploited the humano-evolutionist type of discourse. They used a theory first formulated by Johann Bachofen and Lewis Morgan at the end of last century (and discredited by modern anthropologists), according to which monogamy and fidelity were imposed by males when they decided to control their lineage (and pass on their private property). With contraception and abortion, feminists say, women have now gained control of procreation, and monogamy and marriage have lost their function. A new mankind is in the making, which has transformed its own nature by separating sexuality from procreation.
The defense of "sexual minorities"
As already said, if naturalism and humanism, although contradictory, are so often combined, it is because they have both the same starting point "atheism" and the same outcome "moral relativism. In the naturalist sense, any behavior is considered a priori as a natural instinct; in the humanist sense, it is a cultural choice. And any moral criteria is attacked as, either a repression of our instincts, or a repression of our freedom (or rights).
This double language is used, on one side, to relativize the notion of family (understood, in the past, as including two parents of different sexes, but no more), and on the other side, to promote alternative sexual mores. Arguments used in favor of homosexuality illustrate well the contradiction of naturalism and humanism.
On the naturalist (scientific) tune, homosexual activists try to prove that their way of life is genetically determined (which, by the way, does not fit with Darwinism, since homosexuality, being infertile, should have been eliminated by natural selection).
On the humanist tune, they advocate freedom to choose one's sexuality. With great seriousness, one lesbian activist declared, at the United Nations Conference on Women in Peking in 1995: "Even though many people wrongly think that men and women are the natural expression of a genetic plan, sexual identity is in fact the product of human thought and culture, a social construction that creates the `true nature' of all individuals."
L. Guyenot graduated from U.T.S. in 1990 and is now working as a publisher in France.
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