Nick Spencer and Angus Ritchie set out “Why Christians should believe in humanism, and humanists in Christianity”
In this essay, Angus Ritchie and Nick Spencer argue that Christians ought to be more aware – and more proud – of their humanist credentials, rather than allowing humanism to become a cipher for atheism. Were it not for Christianity, they argue, the core ideas of humanism would simply not have developed in Europe.
They go beyond a mere celebration of Christian humanism, however, to argue that the Christian faith provides a much firmer foundation for humanist beliefs than evolutionary atheism. Taking their cue from the authoritative definition of humanism by the International Humanist and Ethical Union, they argue that a commitment to reliable rationality, to moral realism and to human dignity can only be secured on a theistic basis. Ultimately, atheism saws through the branch on which humanism sits.
Just as the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, so the price of humanism is philosophical rigour. The Case for Christian Humanism provides that rigour, thereby attempting, in T.S. Eliot’s words, “to point out the weak points in its defences, before some genuine enemy took advantage of them.”