Atheism Culture Mind

Secular humanism is inevitably the enemy of freedom

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Here vjtorley cites the unspeakable Johansson case (Sweden), asking “Are secular humanism and freedom of thought ultimately incompatible?” The short answer is: Of course.

Secular humanism, as normally argued, denies the reality of the mind. On that, note this item at New Scientist on illusions, real and imagined*, which dramatically dismisses free will and just about everything else,

This might come as a shock, but everything you think is wrong. Much of what you take for granted about day-to-day existence is largely a figment of your imagination. From your senses to your memory, your opinions and beliefs, how you see yourself and others and even your sense of free will, things are not as they seem. The power these delusions hold over you is staggering, yet, as Graham Lawton discovers, they are vital to help you function in the world.

– Graham Lawton, “The grand delusion: Why nothing is as it seems” (16 May 2011)

The only freedom possible, if this folly were true – and the secular humanist believes it is – is the freedom of a dog in his run. The dog can do what he likes, except leave the run. Which is approximately what happened to the Johansson boy … snatched from the plane a few minutes from authentic freedom …

In Sweden’s secular humanist paradise, what the government did to young Johansson is wise, just, and good. In the same way, the kennel master feeds the dogs and confines them to their runs. He would be to blame if he didn’t.

Not only is secular humanism the enemy of authentic freedom, but authentic freedom must be the enemy of secular humanism.

* Imagined? There is nothing unusual about thoughtful people taking their own sources of bias or error into account, in which case the inevitable triumph of illusion is merely imagined by the secular humanist.

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

14 Replies to “Secular humanism is inevitably the enemy of freedom

  1. 1
    DrBot says:

    I don’t understand why secular humanism denies the reality of the mind?

  2. 2
    Upright BiPed says:

    Do I get to choose?

    …whether or not I believe in free will?

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    So everything is a delusion, except, of curse, Graham Lawton’s assessment of our delusions. Somehow he rises above it all. Hehe.

  4. 4
    M. Holcumbrink says:


    I am fully persuaded that not only is our will in bondage, but we cannot choose what we believe, either. We either believe it, or we don’t (or we are up in the air). So I would say that the phrase “choose to believe” is somewhat of a misnomer.

  5. 5
    Upright BiPed says:


    The motivation is self-evident.

    The mind, and the self, and free will (with their accompaniment of right and wrong) are direct falsifications of strict materialism.

    And pertaining to the ID debate, the presence of an authentic mind is an example of a causal factor necessary for the biological evidence of design – and therefore must be repudiated.

  6. 6
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hi Mike.

    I respectfully disagree.

  7. 7
    ellazimm says:

    For another view of the Johansson case see:

    Always good to hear alternate views I figure. That’s why I read Uncommon Descent after all.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    We’re not an alternate view! We’re the mainstream. Everyone else is the alternate. 🙂

  9. 9
    bevets says:


    The logic of materialist reductionism implies that science itself is the product of unreasoning material causes. No wonder the Age of Reason ends with the age of postmodernist relativism! And yet we still see the reductionists complacently describing religious belief either as a meme or as the product of a “God module” in the brain without realizing that they are sawing off the limb on which they themselves are sitting. If unthinking matter causes the thoughts the materialists don’t like, then what causes the thoughts they do like? ~ Phillip Johnson

  10. 10
    ellazimm says:

    Mung: depends on your ‘community’. 🙂

  11. 11
    M. Holcumbrink says:


    Regarding not being able to choose what we believe: Just think about it… Let’s say there are two possibilities, A and B, which are mutually exclusive and exhaustive, then that means I must believe one as true and the other as false (or remain agnostic regarding the two). Now let’s say I start out undecided, and that I must choose which one to believe to be true. If I choose to believe A, then that means that I did not believe it was true before I chose it. But then why did I choose A? What is it that prompts me to choose A if I don’t believe it to be true before I choose it to be true?

    If you say evidence prompts me to choose A, I would say that cannot be the case because by then it is too late. I have already believed A before I made my “choice”, otherwise why would I choose it? So by this example, I would say it is more accurate to say that evidence “opens our eyes” or “removes the blindfold”, and therefore causes us to believe certain things. But we cannot choose it.

  12. 12
    Upright BiPed says:

    Hi Mike,

    Being “undecided” … or responding to “evidence” … or remaining “agnostic” on an issue.

    These are all states empowered by free will.

  13. 13
    M. Holcumbrink says:

    But a person must be in one of the three states. He must either believe A, or B, or remain unsure. To say that he must choose one of the three implies a fourth state, but there are only three available. He must be in one of those states to begin with once he learns of the two possibilities of A or B. He is by necessity thrown onto one of the three states upon the revelation, and this before any decision can be made.

  14. 14
    M. Holcumbrink says:


    I would very much like to persuade you on this issue. Maybe we can discuss it in depth sometime over lunch.


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