Monday, December 30th, 2013
The quote above pretty much sums up the essence of modern day humanism, and the way people see things in popular culture. “Live a good life” (whatever “good” means). The subjective variableness of that viewpoint is apparent for all to see, especially as it guides both Hollywood and the D. C. Beltway. The idea is that whatever will be, will be, que sera sera. There are no winners, no losers eternally speaking. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to hear in a secular university philosophy class or a convention of the American Association of Humanists. But it was actually spoken by Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He was the last of the so-called Good Emperors, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. Stoicism, humanism, whatever label you put on it, it’s godless and empty. It has no more to offer suffering humanity than it did when Aurelius orated. This shallow sentiment is just an excuse for benign neglect of human need and disregard for objective morality. And remember, it wasn’t printed in an anti-Christian blog and posted on the Internet but was uttered more than 1,800 years ago. There truly is “no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Gods, no gods, whatever, different strokes for different folks – that outlook has never totally disappeared from the thoughts of man. No worry, according to Aurelius, at worst you’ll just “be gone.” But the Bible teaches that after death each of us will be somewhere, in one of the Father’s mansions (John 14:2) or the furnace of fire where teeth gnash (Matthew 13:42). The theological ambiguity of Aurelius is as spiritually deadly today under the guise of humanism as it was in the waning years of the Roman Empire.
So much of what passes for Christianity today, especially in America, is embarrassing, unnecessary, and sometimes downright foolish. Odd manifestations of what is passed off as God’s power. Self-appointed witch-hunters condemning all those who do things differently. Universalists masquerading as evangelicals. It’s enough to make one wary of Christianity in general. Thank God it’s not my job, your job, or anyone’s job to sort it all out. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 13:29-30 that no one should claim divine appointment to decide ultimately who and what is real and genuine. That is God’s job and he makes no mistakes in his judgments.