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troubleinharlem's avatar

Is there such a thing as a Christian humanist?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7978points) January 20th, 2011 from iPhone

Can that work, or is it just an oxymoron, and why?

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22 Answers

Seelix's avatar

There were lots of them in the Italian Renaissance, if you’re going with its original meaning.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Yes and no. The term humanism means something different when used today than when it first came about. It originally came about in the 1300s, and meant that one did not see a conflict between realizing humanity’s potential and having religious faith. Today humanism has an intrinsic level of implied secularism.
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CaptainHarley's avatar

I suppose you could stretch a point and state that I am one. Interesting question! : )

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Seelix : well, I was thinking more of a new-age humanistic sort of thing.

CaptainHarley's avatar

This is going to be difficult to explain in a short-answer forum like this one, but basically, I don’t believe in “man, the measure of all things,” but I DO believe in man, God’s Agent to the rest of the universe. Being human is mostly about responsibility as a fully conscious being. We are to be protectors, husbandmen, nurturers, which places us in a unique position among living things, not to lord it over them, but to be God’s Agents in taking care of them. A job, I might add, at which we have so far mostly failed.

Blackberry's avatar

Some say there is, but I don’t see how it would work.

janbb's avatar

The term “secular humanist” has been used to distinguish a non-religious humanist from a religious one so I would say yes, there can be.

Qingu's avatar

This depends entirely on how you define the words “Christian” and “humanist,” but I can think of at least two Flutherites who I would call Christian humanists: @mattbrowne and @iamthemob.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@Qingu : how would you define them, then?

Qingu's avatar

Christian: someone who believes Jesus was resurrected in a salvific manner. Metaphorical resurrection/salvation are included.

Humanist: someone who bases their morality on human concerns.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@Qingu – GA.

There is also the question of whether you can be a Christian and follow the teachings of Christ without accepting his divinity and the literal truth of the resurrection. If you can, then Christ’s teachings would, to you,be human-derived and therefore humanistic.

CaptainHarley's avatar

So then, what do you call someone who believes in ( certainly ) most of the basic tenets of christianity and in the virtually limitless improvability of humanity?

jaytkay's avatar

You don’t have to believe in the supernatural to be a Christian. If you believe in Christ’s teachings, you can be a Christian atheist.

While most sects require belief in God and the supernatural, they can’t define “Christian” for other people.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@jaytkay : How can you believe in Christ’s teachings, but be an atheist still? I can’t wrap my mind around that one.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@troubleinharlem You just look at Jesus as a guy who said some good things – like love thy neighbor. To be a Christian, you must believe in 3 things: Christ, Death on the Cross, and Resurrection. I personally believe that Jesus was a real guy who lived about 2K years ago and had some good ideas. That’s different from believing that he was divine, the Son of God, and was resurrected on the 3rd day.

Qingu's avatar

I don’t like defining “Christian” so broadly that people who are merely fans of some of Jesus’ philosophy are Christians.

I’m a fan of John Stuart Mill’s philosophy but I wouldn’t even call myself a “Millian.” And unlike Jesus, John Stuart Mill was not the central figure in a 2000 year old religion based on his supposed resurrection.

Ultimately people will use whatever labels and definitions they want to use, though I think it would be much clearer if religious labels tended to be used more narrowly. I also don’t like calling myself a “Jew,” despite being born to Jewish parents… because I don’t believe in the Jewish god Yahweh.

Brian1946's avatar

Perhaps Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, could have been considered a Christian humanist.

Rarebear's avatar

Of course. They’re not mutually exclusive at all. Humanism doesn’t mean atheism.

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