Christian Secular Humanist?


It’s a question I’ve asked myself lately. Can you be a Christian Secular Humanist?

In today’s climate in the UK (where I’m based), although I think it applies to Europe, the USA and Canada as well, Secular Humanism seems to be very closely allied with Atheism. Atheism being defined as a disbelief in a god or gods. Christianity and Atheism are very much set against each other although the two do have areas where dialogue should be encouraged and welcomed.

I was reading about Anne Rice, American writer best known for her vampire novels although has latterly written two fictional accounts of the life of Christ, although believing in Christ (though not Christianity) calls herself a secular humanist. There is a huge comments thread on her Facebook page running to over a thousand comments where this is discussed with many differing views voiced.

Some people feel there is no contradiction between being Christian and being Secular Humanist, as you can believe in a higher power, supernatural being, and want the best for your fellow humanity. Others believe Secular Humanist precludes reference to any higher power.

So, my question…

Can you be a Christian and a Secular Humanist?

Thanks in advance for any input.



  1. So much of our challenges in life are in the semantics. To believe in a higher power or in the historical Jesus is not the same to many as being, “Christian,” or, “Born again.” To me, a pastor of an Evangelical Church in the US, you can’t have a relationship with the Living God, be filled with His Spirit, and hold to a humanist or naturalist world view. You can, “Believe” in the historic Jesus, and in a higher power and hold such a world view. However you can not experience the power of the Living God, have your life touched and transformed by His miraculous love, and hold such a view. Just my thoughts. God’s blessings to you! Brian H. Fontaine

    • I agree, semantics is responsible for alot! Different people calling themselves the same things have differing ideas on what their particular label actually means. To bring it down to its basic elements, some appear to feel you can be a Christian, a follower of Christ, and Secular, in the sense of believing all views should have an equal footing and none favoured, whilst Humanist, in the sense of desiring the best for humanity. Of course, it all depends how you define each term and many Secularists and Humanists would disagree what I’ve just said. If you define Humanist in terms of ‘pure naturalism’ excluding anything beyond this physical world then that’s certainly not compatible with Christianity. Thanks for comment.

  2. Yeah, it’s called Protestantism (mileage varies according to user). You can even be a Christian Existentialist, if you want. Go check out Paul Tillich’s *Dynamics of Faith* for starters.

  3. In one sense, every Christian should be a “Humanist” (my dad insists we’re the only true humanists, but he has somewhat peculiar views). “Secular” is more doubtful, since that generally implies non-religious. Then again, even the term “Christian” is hard to define properly – which I’m sure that you as a “true Scotsman” are aware of! 🙂

    In the sense ordinarily given to those terms, it seems like contradiction, since “Secular Humanists” tend to insist on atheism as part and parcel of the definition.

    But what would you mean by putting the terms together?

    • Actually I’d agree, in a sense Christians are the only true humanists as we have a foundation for humanity, made in God’s image, which gives us value and worth. If we’re just a bundle of accidentally combined molecules then, at root, we have no worth. I agree these days ‘Christian’ is taken in many ways itself. I’d still define Christian as a follower of Jesus, having given their hearts, lives, all to him.

      Christian Secular Humanist put together depends on the individual in question and their definition. Definitions change and expand and contract over time. Christian Secular Humanist would be a follower of Jesus who believes in separation of church and state and that no one view should dominate, and also believes in doing their best to promote the human good for all. I realise there’s a huge amount in there but it’s an attempt at a basic definition.

      Thanks for comment.

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