The Glaring Weakness of the Humanist Manifestos (Plus video of Ricky Gervais on the lack of an afterlife)

 

Ricky Gervais act outs atheist bewilderment and frustration in the face of nice Christian nonsense

Carl Sagan – Parents

Carl Sagan said that he missed his parents terribly and he wished he could believe in the afterlife but he was not convinced because of the lack of proof. I had the opportunity to correspond back and forth with Carl Sagan.  I presented him evidence that the Bible was true and there was an afterlife,  but he would not accept the evidence.

Today I want to take another approach to the issue of the afterlife and that is the pure and simple fact that without an enforcement factor people can do what they want in this life and get away with it. This is a big glaring weakness in the Humanist Manifestos that have been published so far. All three of them do not recognize the existence of God who is our final judge. (I am not claiming that this is evidence that points to an afterlife, but this post will demonstrate that atheists many times have not thought through the full ramifications of their philosophy of life.)

I had the unique opportunity to discuss this very issue with Robert Lester Mondale and his wife Rosemary  on April 14, 1996 at his cabin in Fredricktown, Missouri , and my visit was very enjoyable and informative. Mr. Mondale had the distinction of being the only person to sign all three of the Humanist Manifestos in 1933, 1973 and 2003. I asked him which signers of Humanist Manifesto Number One did he know well and he said that Raymond B. Bragg, and Edwin H. Wilson  and him were known as “the three young radicals of the group.”  Harold P. Marley used to have a cabin near his and they used to take long walks together, but Marley’s wife got a job in Hot Springs, Arkansas and they moved down there.

Roy Wood Sellars was a popular professor of philosophy that he knew. I asked if he knew John Dewey and he said he did not, but Dewey did contact him one time to ask him some questions about an article he had written, but Mondale could not recall anything else about that. 

Mondale told me some stories about his neighbors and we got to talking about some of his church members when he was an Unitarian pastor. Once during the 1930’s he was told by one of his wealthier Jewish members that he shouldn’t continue to be critical of the Nazis. This member had just come back from Germany and according to him Hitler had done a great job of getting the economy moving and things were good.

Of course, just a few years later after World War II was over Mondale discovered on a second hand basis what exactly had happened over there when he visited with a Lutheran pastor friend who had just returned from Germany. This Lutheran preacher was one of the first to be allowed in after the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, and he told Mondale what level of devastation and destruction of  innocent lives went on inside these camps. As Mondale listened to his friend he could feel his own face turning pale.

I asked, “If those Nazis escaped to Brazil or Argentina and lived out their lives in peace would they face judgment after they died?”

Mondale responded, “I don’t think there is anything after death.”

I told Mr. Mondale that there is sense in me that says  justice will be given eventually and God will judge those Nazis even if they evade punishment here on earth. I did point out that in Ecclesiastes 4:1 Solomon did note that without God in the picture  the scales may not be balanced in this life and power could reign, but at the same time the Bible teaches that all  must face the ultimate Judge.

Then I asked him if he got to watch the O.J. Simpson trial and he said that he did and he thought that the prosecution had plenty of evidence too. Again I asked Mr. Mondale the same question concerning O.J. and he responded, “I don’t think there is a God that will intervene and I don’t believe in the afterlife.”

Dan Guinn posted on his blog at http://www.francisschaefferstudies.org concerning the Nazis and evolution: As Schaeffer points out, “…these ideas helped produce an even more far-reaching yet logical conclusion: the Nazi movement in Germany. Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945), leader of the Gestapo, stated that the law of nature must take its course in the survival of the fittest. The result was the gas chambers. Hitler stated numerous times that Christianity and its notion of charity should be “replaced by the ethic of strength over weakness.” Surely many factors were involved in the rise of National Socialism in Germany. For example, the Christian consensus had largely been lost by the undermining from a rationalistic philosophy and a romantic pantheism on the secular side, and a liberal theology (which was an adoption of rationalism in theological terminology) in the universities and many of the churches. Thus biblical Christianity was no longer giving the consensus for German society. After World War I came political and economic chaos and a flood of moral permissiveness in Germany. Thus, many factors created the situation. But in that setting the theory of the survival of the fittest sanctioned what occurred. ” 

Francis Schaeffer notes that this idea ties into today when we are actually talking about making infanticide legal in some academic settings. Look at what these three humanist scholars have written:

 

  • Peter Singer, who recently was seated in an endowed chair at Princeton’s Center for Human Values, said, “Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all.”
  • In May 1973, James D. Watson, the Nobel Prize laureate who discovered the double helix of DNA, granted an interview to Prism magazine, then a publication of the American Medical Association. Time later reported the interview to the general public, quoting Watson as having said, “If a child were not declared alive until three days after birth, then all parents could be allowed the choice only a few are given under the present system. The doctor could allow the child to die if the parents so choose and save a lot of misery and suffering. I believe this view is the only rational, compassionate attitude to have.”
  • In January 1978, Francis Crick, also a Nobel laureate, was quoted in the Pacific News Service as saying “… no newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment and that if it fails these tests it forfeits the right to live.”

Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS , was on this very subject of the Nazis that Lester Mondale and I discussed on that day in 1996 at Mondale’s cabin in Missouri.  In this film, Allen attacks his own atheistic view of morality. Martin Landau plays a Jewish eye doctor named Judah Rosenthal raised by a religious father who always told him, “The eyes of God are always upon you.” However, Judah later concludes that God doesn’t exist. He has his mistress (played in the film by Anjelica Huston) murdered because she continually threatened to blow the whistle on his past questionable, probably illegal, business activities. She also attempted to break up Judah’s respectable marriage by going public with their two-year affair. Judah struggles with his conscience throughout the remainder of the movie and continues to be haunted by his father’s words: “The eyes of God are always upon you.” This is a very scary phrase to a young boy, Judah observes. He often wondered how penetrating God’s eyes are.

Later in the film, Judah reflects on the conversation his religious father had with Judah ‘s unbelieving Aunt May at the dinner table many years ago:

“Come on Sol, open your eyes. Six million Jews burned to death by the Nazis, and they got away with it because might makes right,” says aunt May

Sol replies, “May, how did they get away with it?”

Judah asks, “If a man kills, then what?”

Sol responds to his son, “Then in one way or another he will be punished.”

Aunt May comments, “I say if he can do it and get away with it and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he is home free.”

Judah ‘s final conclusion was that might did make right. He observed that one day, because of this conclusion, he woke up and the cloud of guilt was gone. He was, as his aunt said, “home free.”

Woody Allen has exposed a weakness in his own humanistic view that God is not necessary as a basis for good ethics. There must be an enforcement factor in order to convince Judah not to resort to murder. Otherwise, it is fully to Judah ‘s advantage to remove this troublesome woman from his life. CAN A MATERIALIST OR A HUMANIST THAT DOES NOT BELIEVE IN AN AFTERLIFE GIVE JUDAH ONE REASON WHY HE SHOULDN’T HAVE HIS MISTRESS KILLED?

The Bible tells us, “{God} has also set eternity in the hearts of men…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). The secularist calls this an illusion, but the Bible tells us that the idea that we will survive the grave was planted in everyone’s heart by God Himself. Romans 1:19-21 tells us that God has instilled a conscience in everyone that points each of them to Him and tells them what is right and wrong (also Romans 2:14 -15).

It’s no wonder, then, that one of Allen’s fellow humanists would comment, “Certain moral truths — such as do not kill, do not steal, and do not lie — do have a special status of being not just ‘mere opinion’ but bulwarks of humanitarian action. I have no intention of saying, ‘I think Hitler was wrong.’ Hitler WAS wrong.” (Gloria Leitner, “A Perspective on Belief,” THE HUMANIST, May/June 1997, pp. 38-39)

Here Leitner is reasoning from her God-given conscience and not from humanist philosophy. It wasn’t long before she received criticism. Humanist Abigail Ann Martin responded, “Neither am I an advocate of Hitler; however, by whose criteria is he evil?” (THE HUMANIST, September/October 1997, p. 2)

On the April 13, 2014 episode of THE GOOD WIFE called “The Materialist,” Alicia in a custody case asks the father Professor Mercer some questions about his own academic publications. She reads from his book that he is a “materialist and he believes that “free-will is just an illusion,” and we are all just products of the physical world and that includes our thoughts and emotions and there is no basis for calling anything right or wrong. Sounds like to me the good professor would agree wholeheartedly with the humanist Abigail Ann Martin’s assertion concerning Hitler’s morality too! Jean-Paul Sartre noted, “No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.”

Christians agree with Judah ‘s father that “The eyes of God are always upon us.” Proverbs 5:21 asserts, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Revelation 20:12 states, “…And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done (their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors) in accordance with what was recorded in the books” (Amplified Version). The Bible is revealed truth from God. It is the basis for our morality. Judah inherited the Jewish ethical values of the Ten Commandments from his father, but, through years of life as a skeptic, his standards had been lowered. Finally, we discover that Judah ‘s secular version of morality does not resemble his father’s biblically-based morality.

Woody Allen’s CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS forces unbelievers to grapple with the logical conclusions of a purely secular morality, and  the secularist has no basis for asserting that Judah is wrong.

Larry King actually mentioned on his show, LARRY KING LIVE, that Chuck Colson had discussed the movie CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS with him. Colson asked King if life was just a Darwinian struggle where the ruthless come out on top. Colson continued, “When we do wrong, is that our only choice? Either live tormented by guilt, or else kill our conscience and live like beasts?” (BREAKPOINT COMMENTARY, “Finding Common Ground,” September 14, 1993)

Josef Mengele tortured and murdered many Jews and then lived the rest of his long life out in South America in peace. Will he ever face judgment for his actions?

The ironic thing is that at the end of our visit I that pointed out to Mr. Mondale that Paul Kurtz had said  in light of the horrible events in World War II that Kurtz witnessed himself in the death camps (Kurtz entered a death camp as an U.S. Soldier to liberate it) that it was obvious that Humanist Manifesto I was way too optimistic and it was necessary to come up with another one.  I thought that might encourage  Mr. Mondale to comment further on our earlier conversion concerning evil deeds, but he just said, “That doesn’t surprise me that Kurtz would say something like that.”

I noticed in Wikipedia:

The second Humanist Manifesto was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, and was intended to update the previous one. It begins with a statement that the excesses of Nazism and world war had made the first seem “far too optimistic”, and indicated a more hardheaded and realistic approach in its seventeen-point statement, which was much longer and more elaborate than the previous version. Nevertheless, much of the unbridled optimism of the first remained, with hopes stated that war would become obsolete and poverty would be eliminated.

_________________

This is Lester Mondale’s obituary from the American Humanist Association:

R. Lester Mondale of Fredricktown, Missouri died on August 19, 2003, he was ninety-nine years old. Mondale was the last living signer of Humanist Manifesto I (he was the youngest to sign in 1933). He was also the only person to sign all three manifestos.

An AHA member perhaps since the organization’s founding, he received the AHA’s Humanist Pioneer award in 1973 and the Humanist Founder award in 2001. Mondale became a Unitarian minister after being raised a Methodist.

He was very active with the American Humanist Association, the American Ethical Union and served as president of the Fellowship of Religious Humanists in the 60’s and 70’s. Humanists Vice President Sarah Oelberg says that Mondale’s death marks “truly the end of an era” and AHA Director of Planned Giving Bette Chambers calls him “a great man, a great Humanist.”

Lester is survived by his wife, Rosemary, and four daughters: Karen Mondale of St. Louis, Missouri; Julia Jensen of St. Cloud, Minnesota; Tarrie Swenstad of Odin, Minnesota; and Ellen Mondale of Bethesda, Maryland. Also surviving him are his three brothers: Walter Mondale, former vice president of the United States, Pete Mondale, and Morton Mondale. Lester Mondale was also a proud grandparent of seven and a great-grandparent.

 

The Mondale siblings: Lester, Walter, Mort, Pete, and Clifford and Eleanor Archer (adopted sister); credit: University of Minnesota Law Library Archives

______________

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 1

Uploaded by  on Sep 23, 2007

Part 1 of 3: ‘What Does Judah Believe?’
A discussion of Woody Allen’s 1989 movie, perhaps his finest.
By Anton Scamvougeras.

http://camdiscussion.blogspot.com/
antons@mail.ubc.ca

________________________

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 2

Crimes and Misdemeanors: A Discussion: Part 3

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

 

The Bible and Archaeology (2/5)

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