Category Archives: Our World – Our Society

Articles about issues in our world and in our society. The focus is understanding our secular society, how it got this way and where we seem to be going. Articles are from a Biblical perspective and often are applicable in understanding the “End Times” in which we live.

OUR SECULAR SOCIETY

There is no doubt in my mind, the most challenging aspect to living in this world as a follower of Jesus Christ is always telling the absolute Truth of God to a secular society that often doesn’t want to hear, or know, anything about Him.  This isn’t a new problem, as we can clearly see similar issues described in Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation.  But, as scripture also tells us the signs of the end times to look for, we also see we are living and ministering in these unique times, so it is important to examine some of the aspects that have formed our society into what it is today.

In the mid-1800’s, a secular humanist movement began to emerge and infiltrate in our society with the goal of removing the God of the Bible from all aspects of the world in which we live.  Today, we see organizations like “The Freedom from Religion Foundation”, the “American Civil Liberties Union” (ACLU) and many others demanding that virtually everything Christian be removed from the public eye.  Government, our courts and many of our politicians have sided with these organizations and have legislated Jesus and all that He represents to be scrubbed from public view.

In the name of “human rights”, “diversity”, “tolerance” and “compassion”, our government tells us we have certain “entitlements” and one of those is the freedom to live as WE want to live, not how religious doctrines tell us we should.  It seems ironic that as Christianity is being attacked in our country and throughout the world, there is no “religion” more loving, tolerant or compassionate and supporting of human rights than Christianity.

Secularism is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
sec•u•lar•ism \ˈse-kyə-lə-ˌri-zəm\ noun
1851 : indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations — sec•u•lar•ist \-rist\ noun — secularist also sec•u•lar•is•tic \ˌse-kyə-lə-ˈris-tik\ adjective[1]

Secular humanism is defined as:
secular humanism noun
1933 : humanism 3 especially : humanistic philosophy viewed as a nontheistic religion antagonistic to traditional religion — secular humanist noun or adjective1

It is important to note that in the definition of secular humanism, that it is “antagonistic” to traditional religion.  The term “antagonistic” is quite the opposite of “tolerant” and suppresses “diversity” while it is being sold to the world as being both.

We should not be tempted to lump secular humanism into the larger category of “atheism”.  Although secular humanists don’t believe in a transcendent God, and thus could be defined as “atheist”, there are many different atheistic philosophical worldviews that have distinct differences.  For example, Jean-Paul Sarte wrote in “Being and Nothingness” (Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, Philosophical Library, 1956, abridged edition, Citadel, 1964.) that there never was a God, thus there is no God and never will be a God. He is an example of a “traditional” atheist as we might think of atheism.  Friedrich Nietzsche wrote in “Gay Science” (published in 1882) that the term “God” is a God-myth that was once alive in the minds of men who believed and lived by those mythological principles, but that myth died and is no longer a viable view in today’s society.

Another version often referred to as “dialectical atheism” which was described by Thomas Altizer in “The Gospel of Christian Atheism” (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1966).  The term “dialectic”, is essentially an intellectual exchange of ideas between two interacting forces, elements or ideas with the goal of seeking to resolve the conflict.  Altizer’s resolution stated that the God once was alive, but when He became incarnate through Jesus Christ and was crucified and died, that God really died too, and it has taken all of these years for man to realize this.  One major problem with this is the resolution is not based on a foundation of absolute truth, just supposition that affirms a current worldview.

Although there are a number of atheistic views like this, they all deny, at least, the current existence of God, and thus are “atheistic”, or “agnostic” at the least.  The “Humanist Manifesto 1” was published in 1933 by thirty-four humanists outlining their philosophy.  There are 15 basic affirmations, which include:

    • “Humanism asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantee of human values.” There are no God-given values to discover; therefore values are relative and subject to change[2]. This is the rejection of moral absolutes, which we will see begins a downward spiral away from God in the secular worldview.
    • “Religious humanism considers the complete realization of human personality to be the end of man’s life and seeks its development and fulfillment in the here and now.” This is where we find the substantial growth in materialism, because why not? If this is all we will ever have or achieve, get all we can while we’re here! If there is no eternal life after death, our only purpose is the “here and now”.
    • “Believing that religion must work increasingly for joy and living, religious humanists aim to foster the creative in man and to encourage achievements that add to satisfactions in life.” Life is basically all about “ME”.
  • “The humanists are firmly convinced that existing acquisitive and profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate and that radical change in methods, controls, and motives must be instituted.” This is also the basis where we see the Marxist and Leninist anti-capitalistic worldviews that promote and teach that the proper world order is socialized via government and cooperative in nature to promote “fairness” in society rather than giving everyone the opportunity to “excel”. This is part of the basis for socialism and the many social programs we have seen enacted in our own country over the past hundred years.

In 1973, the “Humanist Manifesto 2” was published which updates some of the principles in the post-modern era.  These include:

  • “Promises of immortal salvation or fear of eternal damnation are both illusory and harmful.” The secular humanist is, today, also an “evolutionist” affirming that science has not found evidence that life survives death. However, since scientific method requires observation and repetition in developing that proof, it is impossible for science to prove that life survives death; however, it is also impossible to disprove it.
  • “Reason and intelligence are the most effective instruments that humankind possesses.” Thomas Paine, one of our country’s founding fathers, believed this philosophy even when he signed the Declaration of Independence. He wrote a pamphlet that was published beginning in 1794 called the “Age of Reason” which was one of the early writings challenging institutionalized religion and the legitimacy of the Bible. An interesting side-note and study is a reference to the “Age of Reason” as part of the Georgia Guidestones found in Elberton, Georgia.
    Georgia Guide Stones Marker - Age of Reason

The sixth principle states: “In the area of sexuality, we believe that intolerant attitudes, often cultivated by orthodox religions and puritanical cultures, unduly repress sexual conduct.”  About the same era where the “Humanist Manifesto 2” was published, we saw a dramatic rise in abortion, sexual promiscuity, birth control rights, divorce, etc.

  • “The separation of church and state and the separation of ideology and state are imperatives.” This belief says the “state” (government in general) should not favor any particular religious view through the use of public funds or in the promotion of a particular ideology. Since its publication, we have seen a dramatic increase in the demand to remove “Christ” from Christmas, remove all nativity scenes from public view at Christmas, and essentially cleanse the country of anything religious, particularly Christian in nature. They claim the United States Constitution requires a “separation of church and state” but what the Constitution states is that the Government shall not impose an particular “religion” on its people. Interestingly, “secular humanism” was recognized by the United States Supreme Court as a “religion”, thus the government imposing these beliefs on the people are in reality the true violation of the Constitution.
  • “The principle of moral equality must be furthered through elimination of all discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, or national origin.” The Bible doesn’t discriminate either, but they don’t consider that as a relevant basis for truth. Thus, they promote redistribution of wealth, minimum wages, welfare to all who need it and the entitlement “rights” we see constantly promoted and enacted that go far beyond “need”.
  • “We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move toward the building of a world community.” This may be the scariest of all as it is a move toward the “one world government” we see described in the Bible’s book of Revelation; the “new world order” that is led by the figure the Bible refers to as the anti-Christ. In essence, it replaces the “supernatural” with the “supernational”.

 

 

[1] Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

[2] Geisler, N. L. (1999). In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

NATURALISM

In our quest to better understand the society in which we live today, we must look back into the past and see from where we came in the emergence and evolution of humanism in our world.  One worldview that has been around a long time and is prevalent in today’s world is “Naturalism”.  This worldview is the underpinning of today’s scientific community and many intellectuals.  It is basically taught in schools, in our societal structures, psychology etc.

As Christians, we believe in a transcendent God who created the universe and everything in it.  For the naturalist, anything pertaining to God, and creation, is vigorously opposed as we often see in debates, for example, comparing creation and evolution.  The naturalist believes the universe was not created, but instead, it always existed and will always exist churning out newer and more adaptable species through evolution.  It is like one of those closed biosphere models we sometimes see where plants grow in their own closed system and never need to be watered.  Given billions and billions of years, evolution will adapt plants and animals (including the human “animal”) to the biosphere’s environment.

Carl Sagan, a well-known astronomer, wrote: “The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” (Cosmos. New York: Random House. 1980. Pg. 63).  At least for me, that statement doesn’t give me much to look forward to.  Ten pages later he also said: “It is all a matter of time scale. An event that would be unthinkable in a hundred years may be inevitable in a hundred million.”  This is the fundamental difference between the naturalist belief that the earth and the universe are billions and billions of years old, vs. the Biblical worldview of creation that would put make the earth about 6-8,000 years old.  The law of non-contradiction says they both cannot be true.  Thus, it isn’t likely to see any resolution between the Christian and naturalist worldview.

Another major conflict in the worldview still remains in Genesis 1, just as creation.  The naturalist believes we are just animals; physical beings like the cows and puppies.  Here today… gone tomorrow.  Again, that doesn’t leave me, at least, with much hope for the future.  It also may explain why the #1 question people have is “Why am I here and what is my purpose in life?”  With that worldview, there isn’t much purpose, just another animal in a speck of time.   This worldview is in direct contrast to Genesis 1:26-27Genesis 1:26-27
English: World English Bible - WEB

26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

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which says God made man in His own image with a body, mind (soul) and spirit.  Paul also affirms this in his first letter to the Thessalonians: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.[1]

Another major difference is where each worldview claims its source of “truth”.  Christians believe the Bible is the source of “absolute truth” and thus it is the source of all we believe.  Naturalists cite science and philosophy as their sources of truth.  Without going into a lot of detail about either of these, philosophy is man’s intellectual “opinion”, not necessarily fact, and science, although helpful in many respects, is often wrong.  If either were “absolute”, once stated, the science or philosophy would never change.  Because it is not “absolute”, and both have radically changed over time, one cannot rely on either to build a solid foundation for life let alone a worldview.  Science once said the world was flat, but the Bible states many times “as far as the east is from the west” but never the north from the south.  That means even in ancient Biblical times, the writers of the Bible had supernatural knowledge that the earth was a globe spinning on an axis, less they would have also said as far as the north is from the south.  Even Isaiah wrote: “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”  (Isaiah 40:22Isaiah 40:22
English: World English Bible - WEB

22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants of it are as grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in;

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)  The Bible hasn’t changed.  Science has changed over time.

Yet in spite of this evidence, our educators have taught us that science is the ultimate source of truth.  We need only look at the thinking of young people in our universities and those graduating from them, that they have been mentally programmed to believe this philosophy of truth that in reality has little or no basis.  Math is an absolute science; however, other forms are not so absolute.

 

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (1 Thes 5:231 Thes 5:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

SECULAR HUMANISM

Naturalism is the underpinning of Secular Humanism.  Humanism, as a philosophy that values human beings, is not inconsistent with Christian beliefs and the Bible, as God placed so much emphasis on human beings that He created us in His own image.  So it is not the word “humanist” that is so much of the problem, it is the “secular” part, which means to be absent of a God or Supreme Being.  Put them together and you have the first problem with Secular Humanism: It’s all about “me”.  In other words, God has been replaced by man as the supreme.  Thus, the result of putting man in charge of whatever makes him happy is the abandonment of an absolute moral law.  Morality is whatever pleases us, whatever may be “politically correct”, and sounds and looks good to other people.

To recognize there is an absolute moral law would require one to acknowledge there is an absolute moral law GIVER: God.  Since naturalists, and thus secular humanists do not believe in the existence of God, then there is not absolute moral law giver except man, and we tend to easily accept whatever “feels” good to us.  Many may remember the saying that was popularized in the late 1960’s and 1970’s: “If it feels good… do it.”  That pretty much sums up man’s moral law philosophy.  However, societal trends in political correctness, such as compassion, diversity, human rights and freedoms, etc. also have a strong impact on what the world considers as “moral”, but there is inherent conflicts even among the “politically correct” regarding its finer points.  There is probably no better illustration than in the movement to “empower” women to choose to have abortions, and the “rights” of the unborn babies.  By definition, if man were indeed the absolute moral law giver, there would be neither conflict nor changes in moral standards to meet the personal desires of various groups.  However,  since even secular, naturalist, humanist mankind cannot successfully navigate to an absolute standard, it becomes evident, at least to those with a Christian worldview, that man cannot be the giver of absolute morals or truth.