Bible Answer

Responding to secular humanism

My sister, who I love dearly, is not a Christian. I started sending her information about Christianity and trying to chat to her about the Gospel, but in response she sent me information on human secularism, indicating this was her belief.  How should I respond? 

First, we commend you for your willingness to engage your family members in this important discussion. We know how challenging it can be to present the Gospel to family members, and we remember Jesus' words when He said:

Mark 6:4 Jesus said to them, “ A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”

Secular humanism is just the latest label for an age-old perspective that maintains human reason and wisdom are higher truths than religious faith. The information in your sister's response was simply copied from a well-known online resource for paganism and anti-religious viewpoints. 

Even though she appears to be engaging with you in this debate, in reality your sister is attempting to shut down the conversation to prevent you from presenting the Gospel to her. She was probably hoping the material she copied and sent you would put an end to your efforts. Most likely your sister is uncomfortable in engaging in this discussion personally, perhaps out of ignorance or an insecurity, and so she relied on someone else's words instead.

Ironically, this may be a good thing for your purposes, since it suggests she may be unprepared to defend her views and that the Lord may be at work to open her eyes. Since your sister side-stepped the conversation, we recommend you keep trying to engage her in the very thing she is avoiding: the truth of God's word.

Rather than responding to her copied content point-for-point (which just moves you further away from the Gospel and God's word), continue to speak from Scripture.  Explain the holiness of God and the sinful nature of men, explain the problem with our sin when it comes into the presence of a holy and just God Who must act in perfect justice, and explain the opportunity to escape that judgment by the grace of a loving God Who died for us. These are the facts your sister was probably trying to avoid as she threw up the smokescreen of describing secular humanism.

Finally, keep in mind that secular humanism is nothing new and nothing different. Since the time of Cain, men had tried to see themselves as independent of God and capable of finding truth apart from God. The reality of our accountability to an all-powerful, all-knowing God is both inconvenient and convicting, and so mankind has sought to suppress this conviction by changing the topic away from God and toward nature, science, fate, and other sources for human wisdom. Paul put it this way:

Rom. 1:20 For  since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen,  being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
Rom. 1:21 For even though they knew God, they did not  honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became  futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom. 1:22  Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Rom. 1:23 and  exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and  crawling creatures.  

In reality, the enlightened reason of human secularism is neither enlightened nor reasonable. The Bible says the so-called wisdom of men is actually foolishness. The unbelieving men are deceived by the enemy, yet have no appreciation for the depths and power of that deception. Paul taught again:

2Cor. 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
2Cor. 4:4 in whose case  the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving  so that they might not see the  light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the  image of God.

Nevertheless, there is reason to hope that your efforts to reach your sister will be effect.  God is capable of breaking through your sister's blindness and bringing her to a knowledge of the truth.  Paul says it this way:

1Cor. 1:18  For the word of the cross is  foolishness to  those who  are perishing, but to us who  are being saved it is  the power of God.
1Cor. 1:19 For it is written,
1Cor. 1:20  Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of  this age? Has not God  made foolish the wisdom of  the world?
1Cor. 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God  the world through its wisdom did not come to know God,  God was well-pleased through the  foolishness of the  message preached to  save those who believe.
1Cor. 1:22 For indeed  Jews ask for  signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
1Cor. 1:23 but we preach   Christ crucified,  to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles  foolishness,
1Cor. 1:24 but to those who are  the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ  the power of God and  the wisdom of God.
1Cor. 1:25 Because the  foolishness of God is wiser than men, and  the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Paul taught that the story of the cross of Christ was designed by God to sound foolish to those who think themselves wise, so He may shame human wisdom by His plan of salvation. God also delights, however, to save those who believe in the message of the Gospel by the power of God. And the foolish and weak message of the Gospel is far wiser than the so-called wisdom of men, and the power of the Gospel to save is far stronger than the strength of men to save themselves by their efforts at "reason."

Therefore, take heart in knowing that if God is at work through you to save your sister, then His efforts cannot be stopped, and your sister's adherence to pagan principles will one day give way to the truth of the Gospel.  In the meantime, continue to focus your conversation on the truth of the Gospel and don't get distracted in debates over things she copies from the internet and throws in your face. Like all unbelievers, she desperately needs to hear the very conversation she is trying to avoid.