Tag Archives: How did society get like it is?

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.

SECULARISM, PLURALISM AND PRIVATIZATION

As our country has followed much of the world and moved into a more and more secular society, secularism has a profound impact on people’s thinking, how they view the world including spiritual and social issues, and can even have a strong impact on issues such as crime and civil unrest.  As Christians, it is important that we take a look at our society as it is today, and where it may be heading if we do nothing.  Let us examine some of the specific evidence we see in the world today.

Secularism

  • When God is removed from the view, thoughts and minds of a society, then something must replace God, and that is “self”. As shown earlier, it’s all about “me”. The media, magazines, many Self Magazine Cover 2politicians and political activist groups glorify and promote the personal, social and “health” benefits of making live all about “me”. When we begin to see ourselves at the top of the power chain, there is no need for God in our lives, because we believe WE are in control. The first Commandment God gave Moses was “I am the Lord your God and I will not have any other gods before me.” Lucifer’s “sin” was he elevated himself above God and was thrown out of heaven. When we elevate ourselves above God, what is the difference?
  • One of the first casualties of secularism is morality, orME Magazine Cover fundamental moral laws. If one were to acknowledge the existence of absolute moral laws, then there would logically have to the acknowledgement of a “moral law giver”, God. If there is no God is society, then the maker and judge or morality is the replacement for God: man.
  • The general philosophy of secularism is that traditional religious ideas, their established institutions and their interpretations and doctrines have lost their social significance in today’s post-modern society. In the 1960’s we began to see the evidence of the casualty of this thinking and the insignificance of traditional moral values when our society began to lose its sense of shame. In particular, sexual freedom and diversity began to spread as we saw a rapid decline in traditional morality replaced by sexual perverseness. For example, one need only watch movies and television shows from the 1950’s and see the difference in the 1970’s and beyond to see the dramatic differences in sexuality, profane language, violence etc. In 1936, the movie “Gone With the Wind” was banned at many theaters Gone With the Wind Movie Poster - 1936because Rhett Butler said to Scarlet O’Hara when she inquired of him as he was walking out the door and said: “Rhett… if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?”, he responded: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” That was sufficient to violate the moral standards of the time. Compare that to the language we see on television, let alone in the movies today. Thus we can easily see the pervasiveness of the thinking that the traditional morality of the Bible has lost its significance in today’s society.

Pluralism

… pluralization, which sounds like a practical and worthy idea; and in many ways, it is. In pluralism you have a competing number of worldviews that are available, and no worldview is dominant. But smuggled in with pluralization was the absolutization of relativism. The only thing we could be sure of was that all moral choices were relative and there was no point of reference to right and wrong. This resulted in the death of reason.” (Defending Christianity in a Secular Culture, an Interview with Ravi Zacharias by Richard L. Schoonover, associate editor of Enrichment journal. 2009)

  • One of the natural consequences of have competing worldviews, is the term “competing”.  It obviously means there is competition to win people to a particular worldview and thus to maintain a truly neutral pluralistic society, new “rules” must be established to assure no one religion or worldview is “superior” to another theoretically giving each person in the secular society the freedom to choose and change their worldview at any time without repercussions from the society.  However, “theoretical” objectives rarely manifest in “reality”.  Thus we see the post-modern secular humanist worldview being the emergent worldview in today’s secular society.  This is not only in the United States, but has flourished to a much greater degree throughout Europe and other parts of the world.
  • One of the “rules” for true pluralism had to be the rejection of “absolutes”, otherwise a view or religion claiming to be absolute would elevate itself above the others.  Likewise, dogmatism is also rejected for the same reasons.  Christianity is both absolute and dogmatic and expressed by Jesus in John 14:6John 14:6
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

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    where He said: “I am the truth, the way and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me.”  Jesus didn’t say He was “a” truth, but “the” truth.  Using “a” would have been pluralistic, but “the” is exclusive, and such exclusivity cannot be tolerated in a secular society that claims “tolerance” as a fundamental principle.  Further, Jesus’ statement in John 14:6John 14:6
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

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    is also dogmatic claiming there is no other way to the Father, or eternal life, except through Him alone.  Thus we have the dilemma of reconciling reason using the basic premise of the “law of non-contradiction”, that either Jesus is telling the absolute truth, or not.  If not, then Jesus is lying and the world is telling the truth.  If Jesus is not lying, then the world must be the one lying, both cannot be true.
  • For this reason, Ravi Zacharias said in the statement above that the absolutization of relativism got smuggled in because if it is absolutely true that all beliefs are relative, that that position in itself is an “absolute” and internally violates its own principle also called “internal inconsistency” in logic.  It is one of the tools used to determine the truth of a statement, and if there is internal inconsistency, then it cannot be absolutely true.  Thus, since Jesus’ statement has no internal inconsistency in its position, it logically is the true statement.

We see this post-modern secular humanist position even in key global documents being formulated and adopted by countries around the world.  Consider the opening paragraph of the Preamble of the Earth Charter:

We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future.  As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny.  We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.  Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

First of all, one must ask “what is so critical about this moment in earth’s history vs. other times?”  Also note, that the word “Earth” is always capitalized as it is the deity of the naturalist.  Consider:

“…the future at once holds great peril and great promise.”   When in history did the future NOT hold both great peril and promise?  Did not the prospect of Christopher Columbus’ journeys to find new merchant routes hold great peril and great promise?  Finding, exploring and settling the “new world” of America held great peril and great promise.  Man going into space and exploring the moon held great peril and great promise. (“Examining the Earth Charter”, Tom Kendall (2002))

When we look at the evening news, we see Christians being persecuted in northern Iraq and throughout the Middle East and Africa.  We even see it to the level of genocide as we did in WWII Germany.  Now, that’s peril!  And if the world view is truly “pluralistic”, and all religious views and cultures are to be equally embraced, why are such atrocities allowed to continue at a time when cameras are recording everything?

Pluralism is all about “Human Rights” and “freedom” but where is the freedom for these Christians and what about their “human rights”?  This problem isn’t new, it’s been around a long time, we just haven’t heard much about it and it is certainly not taught in government classes in schools.  Consider:

Let’s look a bit further into what the international “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” adopted and proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) on December 10, 1948. (Note: Information regarding this U.N. Resolution is quoted from, and can be found on the official U.N. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights web site at: http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm)

Article 18 – Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Article 19 – Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

So far, it sounds like it is a very acceptable policy toward giving all people the basic rights of free speech, religion and free expression we have all been blessed with by the Constitution of the United States.   What sounds like the world was given the same basic human rights that we enjoy in the U.S., is taken away in Article 29.  It states:

Article 29
1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Oops!  You’re free to speak, think, worship and believe anything you want, as long as it does not disrespect the rights and freedoms of others, and isn’t contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.  The term “intolerance” is one often used in the politically correct vocabulary today to talk about one group violating the rights and disrespecting another group.  Stating that “Jesus is the only way” in front of a Muslim mosque, is “intolerant” and violates the principles set forth by the U.N.  A young man was arrested in Canada in the late 1990’s for doing just that and was sentenced to several years in a Canadian prison for “hate speech”.  Since that time, “hate speech legislation” has been introduced into the United States Congress and is still a topic of much debate.  We may see a similar revocation of our “free speech” revoked in the not to distant future. (“Examining the Earth Charter”, Tom Kendall (2002))

Pluralism is only a “theory”, and one that simply doesn’t work because there is no absolute basis for “truth”.  It would be great to allow all human beings the freedom to choose their own “religion” and beliefs, as God is the giver of “choice”.  That’s the main message of the Bible: Choose Jesus, or any other choice is not choosing Jesus.  The world does not like this because it is both dogmatic and absolute.  So is Jesus’ statement in John 14:6John 14:6
English: World English Bible - WEB

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

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“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Another very interesting United Nations document is the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance Proclaimed and signed by the Member States of UNESCO on November, 16 1995.

1.3 Tolerance is the responsibility that upholds human rights, pluralism (including cultural pluralism), democracy and the rule of law. It involves the rejection of dogmatism and absolutism and affirms the standards set out in international human rights instruments.

I believe this provides adequate evidence that Pluralism is not a choice, it is a requirement, and claims of “truth” as in John 14:6John 14:6
English: World English Bible - WEB

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

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are required to be “rejected”.  Considering our Constitution does not require the “separation of church and state”, but forbids the “State” to impose a religious worldview on our citizens, then requiring pluralism through secular humanism is a violation of Constitutional rights, as the Supreme Court of the United States upheld that “secular humanism” is in fact a “religion” recognized by our government and the courts.

Privatization

In the same interview quoted earlier, Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias went on to explain Last is privatization, which is an accommodation to the religiously minded. If secularization and pluralization were going to hold sway, what does society do with the large number of people who are spiritually minded?”

“Being spiritually minded was okay as long as people kept their spiritual beliefs private and did not bring them into the public arena. The irony of this was the fact secularization — which had its assumptions on absolutes and anything of the metaphysical nature — was allowed into the public place. In fact, its very trust was to bring it into the public place. But anyone who believed in a spiritual Essence, an Ultimate Reality, and the fact there were transcendent absolutes that needed to be adhered to was told to keep those beliefs private. That ultimately paved the way for the loss of meaning.”

  • Privatization simply means if you are going to believe these dogmatic absolutes, then “keep it to yourself” and out of the public view.  In recent years, we have seen law suits, threats of law suits, and even Supreme Court decisions affirming privatization and ordering the removal of virtually anything “Christian” out of the public’s view.  Crosses have been removed from along our roadways, nativity scenes removed from the public square at Christmas time, and even the word “Christmas” has been replaces with “winter holiday”.  Recently, even a private restaurant in South Carolina received national attention because they automatically gave customers a 15% discount on their meal if they prayed a blessing over it.  The “Freedom from Religion Foundation” threatened to sue them and they stopped offering the discount.
  • However, in the name of “diversity” and “tolerance”, other worldviews competing with Christianity have been virtually ignored by these groups so they would not “offend” them in any way.  Without the “competing” worldview of Christianity, reason gets lost because absolute truth has been lost.

We should also consider the evidence also found in the UNESCO Declaration of Principles on Tolerance

1.4 Consistent with respect for human rights, the practice of tolerance does not mean toleration of social injustice or the abandonment or weakening of one’s convictions. It means that one is free to adhere to one’s own convictions and accepts that others adhere to theirs. It means accepting the fact that human beings, naturally diverse in their appearance, situation, speech, behaviour and values, have the right to live in peace and to be as they are. It also means that one’s views are not to be imposed on others.

In other words: PRIVATIZATION is a requirement of our society, just like pluralism.  So do we really have the right to believe and worship as we please?  You decide based on the evidence.