In college (and throughout life for that matter) you will encounter the increasingly prevalent philosophy of humanism — the idea that we can be good, moral people without God or a higher being of any kind. In some ways I agree with this idea, because we all know some very good people who don’t believe in God. These people aren’t serial killers or rapists — they are productive, loving members of the human race that, for whatever reason, have rejected the illogical idea of faith. And faith by nature is illogical, so no argument there.
Here’s the main reason humanism doesn’t cut it for me: It fails to address the selfish nature of humans, and it fails to address evil. As such, it doesn’t provide a solution for either of these.
Now we hear the word “evil” and immediately remember President Bush’s speech following 9/11, where he denounced what happened that day as pure evil. He said the people who did it were evil. So right away I need to clarify my own views: I believe that people are not evil, as evil itself only comes from one source, which I believe to be Satan. But humans are inherently selfish, and when left unchecked this selfishness can lead them to do evil things.
Let’s talk about selfishness for a minute. The extremists who crashed into the World Trade Center believed they were killing themselves and others for Allah, who in their belief, honors such acts with great things in the afterlife. So at it’s base level they committed this atrocity to get something for themselves. They were being selfish. You can be selfish too, as can I.
Case in point: parenthood. Every day I have two needy (though adorable) children demanding that I put selfishness aside. Ironic, isn’t it? Parents let go of their own selfishness so they can attend to the needs of small children, who themselves think the world revolves around them! But unselfishness even in parenthood doesn’t come naturally for many people. We have parents everywhere abandoning their babies, mothers killing them in their cribs, locking them in basements for their whole lives, selling them on eBay. We see neglect and abuse of every kind. And all these evil things begin with the selfish heart! The same selfish heart that I battle on a daily basis — that you will also struggle against if you ever find yourself wrapped up in something miraculous, like helping the poor or feeding the hungry or parenting a child. These worthy pursuits come at a cost to our own lives, and we need help beyond the human condition for the task. What solution does humanism offer?