This article continues from part I
Humanism: a brief definition
So now we come to Christian humanism. What is it? And what has it had to teach us about the world and about humanity? As a preliminary definition, I offer the following:
Christian humanism is a longstanding philosophy of culture that has drawn from the doctrines of Creation and of the Incarnation for its understanding of the world, of human nature, and of our culture-creating work dedicated to serving our full flourishing as embodied, rational, social beings living in the world. And this Christian humanist philosophy has upheld the central value—often mistaken for the innovation of a secular Enlightenment—of universal human dignity and equality, with its eventual social outworkings in rule of law, democratic government, free trade, and the fostering of human work as the exercise of creativity and rationality to steward and improve the world’s resources. Arguably in the past two centuries the result of these and other outworkings of Christian humanist values has been tremendous growth in global economic prosperity, even as these values have become almost entirely separated from the Christian faith that originated them.
To get to a point-by-point summary of how Christian humanism can help us address the American Christian faith-work problematic, we need to sketch key moments of its development. And to ground this historical sketch, we begin with biblical and doctrinal sources:Continue reading