Turn Back, Oh Man


“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible”. ~ Thomas Aquinas

hu·man·ism ˈ(h)yo͞oməˌnizəm noun :an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.

I recently “rediscovered” the soundtrack to Godspell,  a 1970’s Broadway musical and film about the life and message of Jesus Christ. It was a rare offering in the “Age of Aquarius” which was a portal for the New Age humanistic movement that captured the psyche of many in the 1960’s and on.  In re-listening to the soundtrack, my heart was filled with sadness, as I realized how far away we have fallen from truly pursuing a God who loves, a God who saves but also, a God who is Sovereign and will not be mocked.

If the statistics be true, “religion” is on the decline. In particular, the Christian faith, be all denominations, is losing it’s place in hearts and minds.  With the Pope visiting the US this week, the subject of “religion” has been brought back into sharp focus in the public psyche.  Indeed, I watched a program on TV just last night about the decline of Christianity and the abiding question is “why?”  

There are many complicated answers to that, some of which can be directly tied to the church itself…(to be discussed another time), but I do think that a primary reason is that we don’t want to be told we are wrong or sinful and humans want always to feel in control of their “goodness.”    There was a time in our country when the scriptures in the Bible defined culture, rather than the culture defining what it will accept in scripture.  

How many times have I heard personally and in the public forum that the Christian church needs to modernize? That it should reflect the needs and wants of the people, not the truths of scripture – which are “old-fashioned, judgmental and hard to accept”.  If this be true – than God and His word, should be eschewed – because as He claims about himself, he is unchangeable.  If God can be influenced by man’s will, rather than His Will be done, then He is nothing more than man’s puppet.  He is not omnipotent, and provides no grace, justice or mercy.  Or worse, God is a mere creation of human imagination and there is no Creator at all.

In this New Age, we also have a new faith – and it begins and ends in faith in the power and importance of the human being to “be ye own gods”. (Click here for further explanation).  It is humanism.

Humanism is all about me….my desires, my rights, my needs, my choices, my definitions.   In humanism, we can pick what tenants we may or may not live by, and who, if any has authority over our consciences. (man, of course, not some divine entity).

In humanism, your truth is yours and my truth is mine.  Therefore, there is no absolute truth – and this way, in the name of feelings, harmony, inclusion and good will, we can all live together in our aqueous pink man-made bubbles. In humanism there is room for everyone and everything, (never mind that to agree in multiple truths is a fallacy – because then there are actually no truths, so what is the point of any form of “truth- based” morality at all)?

This kind of thinking is frightening.  Don’t get me wrong, it is not because it isn’t desirable to pursue acceptance, equality and peace among people, that is God’s desire too.  

But be forewarned people – God is the only one who gets to define TRUTH.

In ignoring the standards and truths given to human kind by a benevolent Creator, humanity is choosing apostasy.  We are collectively running away from God’s plan for humanity. Humanism will lead, is leading people to a path of spiritual destruction.    The Bible is not just the ramblings of some old guys from way back when.  It is the meant to be a standard of truth, a letter from a loving Father to his children that can lead them to life everlasting and a better, useful and spirit-filled existence on earth.  It is not meant to be random guidelines that can be picked over for the parts we like either.

But God.

He says  “I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end”.  He is the same yesterday as He is today and will be tomorrow.  That is a God I can believe in, a God I can follow, whose character and love is trustworthy and doesn’t change with the weather (or the wants of men). Contrarily, if it is true that there is no God, or a demigod of our definition then God’s word is not truth and we are just the result of some great cosmic experiment.  If it be so then it is reasonable to conclude this:

We come from nothing, are nothing and nothing we do or say (even in humanism) matters.  In the end, nothingness goes to nothingness.  Eew, that doesn’t “feel” good. What a dark proposition.

So, back to the song from Godspell (which by the way, comes from an old hymn of the 18th century). Though I brought to bear the concept of humanism taking hold in the late 20th century, there is really nothing new under the sun and man is and has been always in pursuit of his own ways and version of truths.  But because we have a Creator who loves all his creations, He continues to seek to call us to be His children.

In scripture, we are told that God tarries while He waits for us to come to our senses.  But His patience will not last forever.  We humans would be wise to seek God while He can be found, to call on Him while He is near…and just as Jesus warned the disciples that He would be with them for a time and then would not be found here on earth (in human form)- the same will eventually be true for us. God calls all to turn back oh man and forswear our foolish ways – and in that, turn to Him and be healed through belief in His Son Jesus Christ – the source and standard of truth.

Turn back, O man
Forswear thy foolish ways, 
Old now is earth
And none may count her days
Yet thou, her child
Whose head is crowned with flames
Still will not hear
Thine inner God proclaims
Turn back, O man 
Turn back, O man 
Turn back, O man 
Forswear thy foolish ways

song lyrics from Godspell, The Movie

Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? Isaiah 2:22

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the LORD. Jeremiah 17:5


5 thoughts on “Turn Back, Oh Man

  1. Thank you! Great post and message!! I had forgotten about that song! Yet I would go biblical to “Turn to God and be healed” and “Return to God and he will return to you” as “Turn back” brings up visions of Lot’s wife who turned back to Sodom and Gom. and was turned to a pillar of stone. Seems the powers that be who are inhabited by the spirit of the world are trying to turn us all back to the old covenant where human beings are separate from God and under laws, when the gospel of God says are living in His Kingdom, time fulfilled, and now and forever free in Christ, under only God and his new covenant with his children! God bless you!!


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