A Question I Was Asked:

Is Modern Humanism Different to Renaissance Humanism?

Is modern Humanism different to Renaissance Humanism? I really need to know because of a question that was put to me recently.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Yes, absolutely - very different. But first let us ensure that we know exactly what 'renaissance humanism' is, or was.

The Renaissance was a period in European history, roughly from the 14th to the 17th century, regarded as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe, for some this marks the beginning of the Early Modern Age.

The intellectual basis of the Renaissance was its own version of humanism, derived from the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, such as that of Protagoras, who said that "Man is the measure of all things." This new thinking quickly became manifest in art, architecture, politics, science and literature. But this was not opposed to God, nor to Christianity, in fact it supported Theism. It said, we are made in the image of God, let us start to reflect that more fully in every area of life. Erasmus, for example, saw himself as a humanist. He has been called the greatest of the Christian humanists. At the time of the Reformation (which is when he lived), he was critical of Catholicism but sought to tread a more middle path between Catholicism (he himself was a priest), and the new Protestantism, above all he sought the best translation of Scripture which was possible. So this true form of humanism was entirely pro-Christian.

Modern Humanism

In complete contrast to this, a new form of humanism has grown up in the last 150 years or so which is almost completely atheistic. It sees humanism as being in complete contrast to any ideas of a God, or of a supreme being. It (effectively) says, we don't need God, mankind can accomplish everything because of his 'humaness.' It is a true child of macro-evolution, accepting all of those teachings. It manifests itself in such bodies as the A.C.L.U. (American Civil Liberties Union), a group which regularly and persistently attacks Christianity. It is leftist, and very 'human rights' based, always attacking the teaching of Christian Creationism. So the new 'humanism' is really a form of outright atheism, nothing at all like the men of God of an earlier time who were saying, 'we are made in the image of God, let us start to take advantage of that in all areas of life.'

Robin A. Brace. May 3rd, 2017.