“Where are the humanists?” is a question that was posed Friday by the New York Times regarding the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn. where 20 first graders were murdered along with seven adults.
Sandy Hook Elementary school lost 20 of it’s first graders and six staff members to a murderer who then shot himself. Later it was found out that Adam Lanza, the shooter, had killed his mother as she slept by shooting her in the face before going to the school. He broke into the locked school and began slaughtering students and staff with a stolen gun.
Almost immediately, clergy and Christian groups began gearing up to go to Newtown to feed and comfort those grieving. Interfaith vigils were immediately scheduled to give everyone a place to grieve together. As all this was playing out before the world, families turned to prayer and their churches. God was not kicked out at a time of such grief but instead everyone welcomed God, and signs were posted around Newtown and the country saying, “Pray for Newtown” or “God bless Newtown”.
Even those in the sports community showed their support by writing words of prayer for Newtown on their hands and helmets. Moments of silence were held all over the country at sports events, business meetings and political events, and more bowed their heads on December 14th than had bowed them in years. Churches all over the country dedicated their Sunday morning services to grieve with Newtown as eyes tired and swollen from tears were red for days afterward.
The Newtown victims’ families and friends never called out for the “humanists” to come comfort them. It’s understood that only God can truly comfort a grieving heart. In a time of perplexity to this degree which is spoken of in scriptures that is to occur in the last days, people truly felt it on December 14th. You knew where you were when you heard the news. The horror of the event made it’s mark.
No humanist groups arrived. No buses of self-loving atheists, agnostics, secularists, freethinkers and the like piled in with comfort. They have nothing to offer.
What are they to say? “This is why you are to live your life to the fullest”? These children were six and seven years old. The humanist concept is a cruel one when presented to the parents of these tiny babies who never had a chance to live their lives. Their lives were cut short in a very cruel way.
Humanists have nothing to offer in a situation like this. They have to pick and choose who to sell their “snake-oil” to. Maybe at a funeral of a 100-year-old Grandpa it could be tolerated, as they may have lived a prosperous and long life. But after staring down the barrel of a gun, the question becomes “where are they now?”
This can’t be all there is. These first graders never got to experience a long and full life, which is the most important theme of the humanist who says, “ live life to the fullest,” proclaiming that this life is all there is. Again, there is no comfort they can give to the parents and loved ones of the 20 slain six and seven-year-old’s from their point of view.
The “reason” banner that the humanists march to offers little comfort. They can’t come to a grieving situation and offer “reason” because “reason” as they present it is cold and harsh, and for the parents in the Newtown situation there is no reason. The whole thing was senseless. There is only hope that something lies beyond this point: That even though their bodies lie dead, their soul is somewhere better where they live on. Cold, hard reason of humanism does not offer that, and whatever it does offer pales in comparison to the hope that comes from true faith in God.
The humanists understand this, and they don’t even try to come to where grief is. Now, a marriage service is somewhere you can find a humanist enjoying his life quite well. As The New York Times quoted Mr. Ray, 62, “’When people are in a terrible kind of pain — a death that is unexpected, the natural order is taken out of order — you would do anything to take away the pain,’ he said, ‘And I’m not going to deny that religion does help deal with that first week or two of pain.’
‘The best we can do as humanists,’ he continued, ‘is to talk about that pain in rational terms with the people who are suffering. We have humanist celebrants, as we call them, but they’re focused on doing weddings. It takes a lot more training to learn how to deal with grief and loss. I don’t see celebrants working in hospice or in hospitals, for example. There are secular people who need pastoral care, but we abdicate it to clergy.’”
Maybe this is for the best. Some humanist leaders seem bothered by the fact that they had nothing to offer and could not create “community” in a way that could get the humanists together. The “ones”, as they are aptly called, maybe should leave the deeper things of the spiritual to those familiar with it.
The families of the 20 children understood this, as they all had religious funerals. The New York Times also stated “The former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee asserted that violence like the Newtown shootings occurs because ‘we’ve systematically removed God from our schools.’”
If you don’t believe this then be informed that the shooter who was a former student of Sandy Hook school was not particularly religious, but was involved in the “Goth” movement which may have involved Satanic worship, as found upon official analysis of the smashed computers he left destroyed in his home.
The idea of humanism as a religion has been scoffed at by the humanist movement for years, but when it suits them they try to fit into the faith community as we see by this statement by Anne Klaeysen, 61, leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, “’We send out letters, we send out press releases, we’re on Meet-up, but we feel people don’t pick us up. We’re not proselytizers. But the religious landscape has changed so that we have to market ourselves.’” (NYT)
In the end, God is the only one who can bring real comfort to a person’s soul after losing a loved one to the afterlife. These children did not get to live out their lives and do the amazing things they were capable of, but they truly are living their lives for eternity beyond their earthly dreams as they are forever protected and loved by God in heaven. Unlike the thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy, Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 10:26-30)
Here then is hope. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
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