The World According to Tim LaHaye: Chapter Five - The Secular Humanist Web
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 08:42:01 AM EST
Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates (author info)
Left Behind The publisher's blurb for Tim LaHaye's 1980 book, The Battle for the Mind: A Subtle Warfare, gushes that it is a “shocking, detailed exposé of the humanist onslaught, as well as a positive, practical handbook for waging war against this subtle infiltration.” So LaHaye has been preparing for this "war" for over 25 years. No surprise to find this frame of an apocalyptic battle between good and evil in the Left Behind book series and video game.

LaHaye believes that "Secular Humanism" is a religion that has subverted America in defiance of God's will.

According to LaHaye, the “five basic tenets of humanism” are Atheism; Evolution; Amorality; Autonomous, Self-Centered Man; and Socialistic One-World View (pp. 86-93). LaHaye belives only Godly "pro-moral" people should hold public office in America, arguing that it "is this socialistic, one-world bent of the humanist’s mind that renders him unqualified to hold any government office in the land—particularly national government” (p. 93).

“The problem with this idealism is that humanists have a basic misunderstanding of the nature of man. They consider man inherently good, whereas the Bible pictures humanity as fallen, sinful, and untrustworthy. Humanists naively envision a utopian world millennium, when all countries renounce war and man is engulfed by peace, prosperity, and brotherhood,” ( p. 92).

Oh, heavens, not that! Notice that there is only a subtle hint of the apocalyptic millennialism that surfaces later in the book where the Tribulations are discussed openly. Christian evangelicals, however, catch the code, because they know that the "utopian world millennium" is the End Times reign of Satan's henchman, the Antichrist, who urges that "all countries renounce war and man is engulfed by peace, prosperity, and brotherhood,” as part of a plan to trick Christians into letting their guard down and the Devil in. This is one reason fundamentalists like LaHaye are suspicious of global agencies such as the United Nations.

The "Battle" LaHaye refers to is with the vast sinister web woven by the secular humanists and their agents:

Humanist Organizations

  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • American Humanist Association (AHA)
  • Ethical Culture Society (ECS)
  • National Education Association (NEA)
  • Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
  • National Organization for Women (NOW)
  • Unions

The Media

  • News Networks
  • Television
  • Radio
  • Newspapers
  • Hollywood Movies
  • Magazines
  • Porno Magazines


  • Ford
  • Rockefeller
  • Carnegie


  • Public Education
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Textbooks
  • Government

Federal Government

  • Supreme Court
  • State Government
  • Government Bureaucrats

(from charts on pp. 141, 183)

This conspiracy theory by LaHaye is similar to the one spread for decades by the John Birch Society.

According to LaHaye, it is a mistake for Christian to sit around and wait for God to punish the wicked and unbelievers in the Tribulations that herald the End Times. In a section titled "Is Humanist Tribulation Necessary?"

"Most knowledgeable Christians are looking for the Second Coming of Christ and the tribulation period that He predicted would come before the end of the age. Because present world conditions are so similar to those that Bible prophesies for the last days (see 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 2 Peter 3:1-15; Matthew 24:6, 7, 37,38), they conclude that a takeover of our culture by the forces of evil is inevitable; so they do nothing to resist it. This is unscriptural! We are commanded to resist the devil and to put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand the evil day (see Ephesians 6:13)," (p. 217).

Tim LaHaye has been a professional Christian Right activist for over 25 years. According to the website of Beverly LaHaye's Concerned Women for America, her husband Tim "holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Conservative Theological Seminary and has been awarded the Doctor of Literature degree from Liberty University." The small Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon later shortened its name to just "Western Seminary." Tim’s website states that “LaHaye holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Theological Seminary.” That’s a bit of a fib, since “Western Theological Seminary” is the name of an older, more prestigious, and far more mainstream theological seminary in the Midwest .

Tim LaHaye graduated in 1978 and gained national attention with a series of two-day seminars built around family counseling. LaHaye quickly became a player in the emerging Christan Right of the late 1970s, becomming a board member of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, founded in 1979. Another early board member was D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida. 1979 was also the same year Beverly LaHaye established Concerned Women for America, a large national organization that networks and trains Christian women as grassroots political activists.

The Moral Majority was cooked up by a coalition of Christian Right activists and ultraconservative political strategists who planned to take over the Republican Party. In 1979 Christian Right activist Robert Billings of the National Christian Action Council invited a popular televangelist, Jerry Falwell, along with Ed McAteer of the Religious Roundtable to a meeting with ultraconservative political strategists. The strategists were direct-mail wizard Richard Viguerie; Paul Weyrich (an agent of Joseph Coors, Weyrich helped create the Heritage Foundation in 1973, and later founded the Free Congress Foundation); and political organizer Howard Phillips, a 1962 Harvard graduate (and founding board member of Young Americans for Freedom in 1960) who Nixon had appointed in 1973 to gut social welfare programs at the Office of Economic Opportunity. Phillips founded the Conservative Caucus in 1974.

These godfathers of the New Right were looking for a way to link political activism with the emerging Christian evangelical subculture being networked through the medium of televangelism. They decided that abortion could be used as a wedge issue to mobilize voters in a way that would split the Democratic Party. This was the meeting where the idea of a “Moral Majority” was cooked up, and Jerry Falwell was picked to lead the new organzization. Billings became the executive director of the Moral Majority. The next year LaHaye urged Christian evangelicals to battle the secular humanists by building a Moral Majority (pp. 182-185, 200-203). LaHaye went on to help found the Council for National Policy, which Billings, McAteer, Falwell, Weyrich, Phillips, and Viguerie also joined. LaHaye was named the first president of the CNP.

So Tim LaHaye's 1980 book, The Battle for the Mind: A Subtle Warfare, developed the script for LaHaye's fictional Left Behind book series, and the video game, both of which see mortal combat for God in the approaching End Times as needed to crush the Satanic secular humanist conspiracy.


Russ Bellant. 1994. “The Council for National Policy: Stealth Leadership of the Radical Right,” Front Lines Research, Planned Parenthood, 1:2 (August 1994), online archive.

Sara Diamond. 1989. Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right. Boston: South End Press, p. 60.

Jean V. Hardisty. 1999. Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. Boston: Beacon Press, pp. 79-84.

David D. Kirkpatrick, “Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy,” New York Times ( August 28, 2004): 10, online archive.

Tim LaHaye. 1980. The Battle for the Mind: A Subtle Warfare. Old Tappan , NJ : Fleming H. Revell.

Jeremy Leaming and Rob Boston, “Behind Closed Doors: Who Is The Council For National Policy And What Are They Up To? And Why Don’t They Want You To Know?" Church & State, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, (October 2004), (accessed June 14, 2006 ).

Matthew N. Lyons, “Business Conflict and Right-Wing Movements,” in Amy E. Ansell (ed.), Unraveling the Right: The New Conservatism in American Thought and Politics, (Boulder: Westview, 1998), 80–102, p. 91

On birth of the New Right:

D’Souza, Falwell, pp. 105–118;

Martin, With God on Our Side, pp. 200–201;

Diamond, Spiritual Warfare, pp. 49–63;

Berlet and Lyons, Right-Wing Populism in America, 222.

On LaHaye:

by Chip Berlet

"Left Behind Video Reflects Bigoted Apocalyptic Violence of Original Fiction Series," (6/12/2006)

"LaHaye and Jenkins: Why is the Criticism Left Behind? "

The World According to Tim LaHaye: A Series
Part One: Hunting Down the Enemies
Part Two: Pre-Trib Perspectives
Part Three: Satanic Secular Humanism
Part Four: Secular Humanism as False Religion
Part Five: The Secular Humanist Web
Part Six: The Council for National Policy
Part Seven: Humanists Attack the Family
Part Eight: The Age Old Conspiracy

Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates

The Public Eye: Website of Political Research Associates

Chip's Blog

Well, it is true that LaHaye thinks that secular humanism is evil, but since a number of us here at Talk2Action are involved with organized religion, I would hope you do not think of me or my colleagues as evil.


_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 09:42:22 AM EST
No, you all are not evil, but the LaHaye-type believers would think that you are because you are actually questioning their motives and beliefs. Their particular faith demands total obedience. Questioning any religious authority would be like questioning God himself. To them, the folks here would be in the same category as secular humanists.

The irony is that Jesus would probably prefer to hang out with secular humanists, and call the uber-Christians "Pharisees".

by Lorie Johnson on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 10:31:04 AM EST

Something I have observed about the people that LaHaye and the other fundamentalists call Secular Humanists.

They are dedicated to TRUTH, as I am.  Many of the ones I know ARE Christian, but not of the type like Lahaye and co.  Many of the others who are not Christian are that way because they were burned by fundamentalist churches.

Another observation (from being in the battle against creationism for years)... the fundamentalists/dominionists have no problem with telling lies or misleading people.

by ArchaeoBob on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 10:28:06 AM EST

I've been wading through a lot of Fun-Dominionist dogma, and apparently, it is OK to be deceitful, and even outright lie if the goal is 'saving' a soul. There is even a verse in the Bible that talks about being all things to all people to win a soul.

I always counter that with Matt. 23:15-

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Heck, the entire 23rd chapter of Matthew is a Big Clue Stick for the La Haye sorts. Not that they'll ever apply it to themselves...

by Lorie Johnson on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 10:36:29 AM EST

"...a lot of Fun-Dominionist dogma, and apparently, it is OK to be deceitful, and even outright lie if the goal is..."
There is a concept of cheap grace that Dietrich Bonnhoeffer warned against, in which there is no condemnation of any bad behavior once a person is a Christian. My opinion is that we see a lot of that bad philosophy in the religious right. I'm not saying that all politically minded religious people are that way, but a major portion of religious right politicos think that the ends justify the means, something Jesus never came close to saying.
As far as viewpoints, it seems to me that some people are amazingly unaware that they are completely upside down from a healthy outlook. I used to be a rabid republican ditto-head myself, and my family still is, so I know what I'm talking about. What has turned me around is seeing the overwhelming corruption and complete disregard for Christian principles by these leaders of ours who so unashamedly claim to be Christian. If that doesn't open people's eyes, I don't know what would.
Did you happen to catch the 'Stand Up Sit Down' interview on XM radio's Comedy Channel last night with George Carlin? It was great. I recorded it and I'll try to make a transcript of relevant portions, but basically he said that if you are saying that we should have peace instead of war, that we need to love each other and give each other a hug, that we need to have a closer relationship to God, that you will be killed. He said that government, business, and organized religions want you dead because you're interfering with their goals. (Please notice that he did not say believers, but 'organized' religion, and I know there are a great number of real believers, truly spiritual people, in the church.)
It's frustrating. I feel exhausted talking about it because it just knocks the wind out of me. But when things are so bad that peace, love, and charity are outright denigraded, when war, destruction, torture, murder, and greed are defended, my friends we are in a world of trouble.

by Tin Soul on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 01:48:36 PM EST
He said that government, business, and organized religions want you dead because you're interfering with their goals. (Please notice that he did not say believers, but 'organized' religion, and I know there are a great number of real believers, truly spiritual people, in the church.)

I make a distinction between 'religious' and 'spiritual' myself. The high irony is that many of the modern-day Pharisees would not call themselves 'religious' at all- that is a perjorative they use for the mainline faiths.

This can be a very frustrating subject to pursue, sometimes. It's like being in Alice's Wonderland at times, with the upside-down and backwards ways of thinking that are considered 'normal' by the religious, who at the same time condemn me for actually sifting Jesus' sayings from what Paul interpreted. I had to finally kick religion to the curb to maintain my sanity. I did not have enough mental yoga moves to maintain some of their beliefs- and a straight face too.

I don't have XM radio- I'd love a transcript.

by Lorie Johnson on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 04:30:48 PM EST

I differentiate between 'religious' and 'spiritual' myself, religious being everything based on works, the church building, the edifice, all that stuff that is exraneous to the core of the faith, spirituality. 'Litmus test' is a highly overused term that I am really beginning to hate, but it fits here. I think the practice of religion has become a 'litmus test' for petty people to make judgements over who is the wheat and who is the chaff. Forgive me for mixing metaphors, and that is just my humble opinion.

As to the XM Comedy Channel's interview with George Carlin that I mentioned in my previous post, first I have to say a few words.
For one thing, everyone should know he uses lots of expletives, but we're all adults here I think. Secondly, although he says a lot about how he doesn't care, I think that he really does,
because otherwise he wouldn't be quoting Herman Goring and expressing his disgust at where we are going as a nation. Anyhow, make your own mind up. Here's some excerpts from his 108 minute interview:

Carlin gives this quote:
"Of course the people don't want war, but after all it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger." --Herman Goring at the Nuremburg trial.

On the use of euphemisms:
Sonny Fox: "Aren't they basically the result of political correctness?"
Carlin: "No...well, yes, to some...small extent...Euphemisms have always been used to make things go down easier for people whether
it's, forget political correctness for the moment, think of political leaders, political parties, political messages. They always have used euphemisms, euphemistic language, so that, to disguise what they're talking about...

On the news:
Sonny Fox: "How do you ignore the news... without screaming and running out the front door..."
Carlin: "I don't give a s---."
Sonny Fox: " you look at what's going on politically?"
Carlin: "I don't give a s---. I mean, who gives a... I don't care how this country winds up... I don't care what happens to America, I don't care what happens to the human race. I gotta tell you
something. I divorced myself from homo sapiens, the species I'm a member of a long time ago. And I divorced myself from this culture... I am emotionally detached from this adventure. To me
it is a great comic theater that's going on. I say this, when you're born in the world, you're given a ticket to the freak show. If you're born in America you're given a front row seat. You have a
choice to be there, 'fixing' the freaks, that's what
environmentalists do, ACLU lawyers, people with petitions on the court. They want to fix the freaks. Uh, others are the freaks. And we watch them, Michael Jackson, Joey Butafuoco, we got Mike Tyson, these are the freaks we got...And then there are those who really watch the freaks, and some of us write reviews about the
freak show. That's what I do. I say, 'Oh, there's a good one I gotta get that down...It's all amusement to me..."

Then the interviewer does an exercise with George where he says a name, and Carlin responds with a description.
Sonny Fox: "Lenny Bruce"
Carlin: "A hero..."
Sonny Fox: "Bush"
Carlin: "Uh...pathological liar, that's a fact."
Sonny Fox: "Martha Stewart"
Carlin: "Interesting person..."
Sonny Fox: "Ralph Nader"
Carlin: "...I think he's an altruist...but he's just a bit weird."
Sonny Fox: "Uh, Arnold Swartzneggar"
Carlin: "Really weird! He'll be...president, and I said that before he even ran for governor. I looked at him one time, I heard the way he was talking, I heard that he was interested in politics. I said this man is going to be the president...You know why? Because the American people are f------- stupid...You know what's interesting to me? Working people have embraced the
Republican party. Working people are the people who get F------- the most by rich people. The Republicans are a rich man's party, who f--- the working man at every turn. They take away every
advantage, they take away every benefit, they kill unionism, they kill these benefits and everything. And these f------- people, like sheep, the great American cattle drive, they just f------- march. They [say] "Where should we go?" "Go over that way." "Okay, we'll go. Can I get a cell phone? Can I get a jet ski?" "Yeah, come on. We'll take you, we'll get you a laptop." "A laptop! C'mon honey, let's go! He wants us over here." They do whatever the f--- you tell them."
Sonny Fox: "Jesus Christ"  (104:28)
Carlin: "Uh, probably an interesting dude. Um, I'm not 100% convinced of his historical accuracy, if he existed, but I pretty much accept it, that there was a guy like that. And he was just another one of, listen, you know what they do in this world? If
you're walking around telling people to be nice to each other? You get killed. Budda, Jesus Christ, Lincoln, the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Medgar Evers. If you're saying, "Folks, calm down and give each other a f------- hug, they'll shoot you, they'll kill you, they'll f------- chop your head off, they'll nail you to some wood. You know who killed Jesus? Business and religion and government. If think about it, if you study those facts in that period, it was the Roman government; it was the Jews who didn't like him because they thought he was a radical Jew, and I'm sorry folks, but that's what happened. It wasn't f------- Methodists, it wasn't Calvinists, it wasn't Buddists, it was Jewish guys...and business interests, the people who didn't want this guy were, "We're gonna
share everything? F--- you... Kill the f---!..."

by Tin Soul on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 03:37:42 PM EST

it is OK to be deceitful, and even outright lie if the goal is 'saving' a soul

Heck, that's why the good Lord created crisis pregnancy centers.

by moiv on Tue Jul 25, 2006 at 09:24:38 PM EST

It's interesting to me that in so much of what comes from the "Christian" right, the teachings of Jesus are never mentioned.  Now one might think that the opinions of the Second Person of the Trinity might carry some weight on all of these issues, but apparently not.

Instead, Jesus is used a a kind of litmus test to separate the sheep from the goats.  The teachings of Jesus are not used in this way, but rather the metaphysical and theological beliefs about Jesus.

This is why I think a lot of these people are not really Christians.  Oh, they have the "right" beliefs. But there is virtually nothing of the Jesus of the gospels in what they say.

Rather, certain selected elements of Christianity are mixed with extreme right-wing politics to produce religious propaganda that is used to attack those who oppose them.

This is why I think the response of the Christian left should be to proclaim many in the Christian right to be heretics -- to be people who have abandoned the Jesus of the gospels in order to obtain political power.

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

by siguiriya on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 10:48:37 PM EST

My belief and understanding (and experience) that people are basically good is considered evil by people like LaHaye.

And the observation (and my direct experience) that organized religion tends to make people unashamedly evil is totally overlooked.

Sigh... I need to find another planet to inhabit.

by Lorie Johnson on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 09:24:54 AM EST

He left off the Unitarian Universalists. As if we weren't the home church of humanism!

I've long noticed that the 50s phobia about Communism, taken to its logical extreme, brings you to a place where any act of altrusim is evil. Even the free give-and-take of love and goods within families or communities is suspect (unless they're proper churches, of course). I think this is one thread in their hatred of gay marriage: nobody should be engaged in that kind of promiscuous altrusim unless they're in acceptable arrangments carefully controlled by church and government sanction.

It's all about power, of course. If people get in the habit of sharing their goods, what will become of free markets? If they're loved and affirmed in their communities, how can we provoke the necessary anxiety that will allow us to sell them goods or ideas? And if they get in the habit of making their own community decisions, how will we justify our control over them?

No, we can't be having any of that. Better just to label it all a sin, and let them live in fear as God intended.

The saddest part of all of this is that, for the first time, we as a planet are facing a fat menu of potential disasters that are threatening to wipe us out. Some of this is going to take global thinking, and a strong global community, to resolve.  Yet fundamentalists around the world are the single biggest obstacle to forming that community. Their prophecies regarding the end of the world may well be self-fulfilling: the fatal irony is that their own intransigence will create the very horrors that their eschatologies have promised them.

by Mrs Robinson on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 07:44:24 PM EST

I know this is going to sound counterintuitive, but I think the main problem is dualism, scapegoating, and conspiracism, not organized religion, Christianity, or even fundamentalism.

There are Christian fundamentalists who do not scapegoat, do not demonize, and their apocalypticism does not involve dualism or conspiracism.

_ _ _

Chip Berlet: Research for Progress - Building Human Rights
by Chip Berlet on Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 10:06:44 PM EST

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