Can Secularism Do It -- By: William Harrison
BSac 65:258 (April 1908) p. 331
Can Secularism Do It
The following statements will at once indicate the principles and positions which distinguish some of the schools of modern unbelief, and which have been advocated by a number of individuals around whose names no little fame has already gathered.
“To us it is conceivable that in some minds the deep pathos lying in the thought of human mortality—that we are here for a little while and then vanish away, that this earthly life is all that is given to our loved ones and to our many suffering fellowmen—lies nearer the fountains of moral emotion than the conception of extended existence.” 1
George J. Holyoake, who passed away a few years ago, at the advanced age of eighty-nine years, and who was a recognized leader of Secularism in England for many years, declared, in his “Principles of Secularism,” that “Secularism proposes to regulate human affairs by considerations purely human.” And it is a primal tenet of the Secularistic school that, “whatever we do, our motives must be sought only within the circle of the present.”
The late Mr. W. R. Greg, one of the class of so-called “serious skeptics” “so characteristic of the present day, appeared to be in full sympathy with the foregoing sentiments,
BSac 65:258 (April 1908) p. 332
and in his “Creed of Christendom” he has the following remarks: —
“It is only those who feel a deep interest in and affection for this world, who will work resolutely for its amelioration; those whose affections are transferred to heaven, acquiesce easily in the miseries of earth, give them up as hopeless, as ordained, and console themselves with the idea of the amends which are one day to be theirs. If we had looked upon this earth as our only scene, it is doubtful if we should so long have tolerated its more monstrous anomalies and more curable evils. But it is easier to look to a future paradise than to strive to make one on earth; and the depreciating and hollow language of preachers has played into the hands of the insincerity and the indolence of mankind” (p. 251).
Some time ago, Winnewoode Reed, one of England’s literati, died, and among the last things which he penned was the following: —
“I have given up the old Gospel, with its immortalities, and have accepted the religion of humanity, which is love virtuously, honor the planet on which you dwell, and then, first and noblest of animals, die, and go to the dust, and that is all.”
In these selections, which could easily be multiplied, we have the representations and claims of...
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