Last Sunday, during the service at church, I took a minute to look around. I was dismayed at how many empty chairs we had. In and of itself, this was not surprising. According to a 2004-2006 Gallup Poll, only 32% of Washington residents say that they attend church on a weekly basis. The only states with a lower percentage are the New England states. The National Average is 42%. Given these numbers, I’m not surprised at the apparent consternation in the legacy media of late about America’s Christian Heritage.
Certainly, the campaign waged by secular humanists since the early 20th century has had its successes. History has been progressively rewritten to whitewash the influence of Christianity on our nation out of our history. What cannot be explained away is increasingly not taught, or treated as inconsequential and no longer relevant.
Now we find ourselves in a place where secular humanist ideals are upheld as neutral values, rather than simply different moral values than those generally accepted from the birth of this country to the 1940s. While those who knew better have occasionally let their knowledge slip into public fora, like the decision in Torcaso v. Watkins, in which Justice Black recognizes Secular Humanism for what it is: a religion, ["Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism and others."] these spoilers and thieves have largely been successful in creating the impression that their religion is not a religion, and in instilling it into the popular culture, and daily operation of law and civic life, while continually pushing, poking, and prodding the formerly dominant religious philosophy aside by constantly employing the false notion that the Constitution requires the complete separation of religion from any activity in which the state is even tangentially involved, and by creating the impression that a philosophy is only a “religion” if it has an element of the supernatural or professes a belief in a supernatural being. This handy definition allows the pernicious faith of secular humanism, which purports to depose God from his throne and install man in his stead, to be exempt from the crusade that secular humanists wage against all religions, but foremost, Christianity, in the public square.
Christianity is singled out for special vilification by these modern-day crusaders for 3 prominent reasons.
The first is that Christianity is at odds with the post-modern philosophy that the secular humanists have helped to usher in. Modernity sought to use academic disciplines, driven by rationalistic assumptions, to find truth that applied to every person, while discounting the role of the supernatural in its quest. Put another way, it sought truth without God. This lead to the various nasty breeds of the -ism political philosophies…marxism, communism, socialism, and imperfect and dogmatic scientific philosophies, such as Darwinism. The inherent problem in declaring science (as an archetype of rationalism) to be truth is that as knowledge advances, this truth is constantly rewritten in the form of paradigm shifts. Truth is only truth until someone finds the new truth. This subtle fact helped to usher in the current philosophy of post-modernism, which holds to a single core philosophy: The only absolute truth is that there is no truth. This allowed for the entry of spirituality into the modernist’s worldview, and at the same time allowed them to make it personal and flexible to whatever they chose to believe. Christianity, with its belief in one God, and the absolute truth he reveals to man in the Bible is, by its nature, at odds with the post-modern philosophy which denies all truth save its own.
Second, Christianity, with its stubborn belief in God’s truths, is seen as “judgmental”. This is something that any honest Christian would have to admit is correct. It is indeed judgemental, as it prescribes an accepted “code of conduct” and penalties for failure to adhere to it, with the full knowledge that such perfection can never be fully achieved by man. Christians often understand that they are not perfect, and that is only through God’s grace and his son’s sacrifice that they are forgiven. That is not a blank check to act as they would without such knowledge, but rather to continue to strive to live as they have been directed and to be the body of Christ in the world today. The rest of the world, believing as it does, that nothing they can do should be denied to them, look upon the prohibitions that would separate them from the desires of their hearts, and disapproval of Christians of the various sins, and lash out. They insist that there can be no consequences for their actions. They deny the very concept of sin, even as its consequences manifest themselves in their lives, and they seize upon only the parts of the faith that they think do not touch their beliefs or demand a change in their hearts as well as their actions. “Jesus is love.” they say. “You people hate, and that makes you hypocrites.” they say with the confidence of ones trying stubbornly to convince themselves. They do not want to hear about the Jesus who turned over tables in the temple. They do not want to know that they are like those in Romans 1:18-19. They have the knowledge, but refuse it. They cannot reconcile the Lord’s hatred of sin with his love for the sinner, a charge to Christians set forth in Jude 1:20-23, and thus are doomed to the belief that Christianity is irreconcilably hypocritical in its judgment, or more perversely, that it has been hijacked by extremists who fail to understand that God is love.
Third, regular study of the Bible and prayer changes people’s beliefs and behaviors. More than one critic has set out with the goal of discrediting the Bible and its message, and ended up converting. It has been the basis of law and the moral code of much of western civilization for centuries. While the secular humanists have celebrated their victories in marginalizing Christianity and separating its morals from the law, they have been less than successful in replacing it with a moral system that makes sense or keeps human depravity in check. The result is the emergence of a nascent savagery that our society is less able to effectively confront or turn back. We now live in a world where actions are increasingly governed by situational ethics, and then we are shocked at the decisions that are made. Children are increasingly at risk from predators who would steal their innocence. There is no shame. There are no boundaries. There are no remaining taboos. And even the secular humanists are confronted with behavior they cannot understand, despite their role in removing the framework that defined what was right and wrong for our society.
I do not believe that this battle between Christianity and Secular Humanism is one that our society can afford to lose. It isn’t lost on me that the men responsible for there being a United States of America believed in God…the God of Abraham (even Jefferson, and Franklin), or that he takes an interest in human affairs (Don’t believe me? Look up the definition of “providence”, then look at how they used the word in reference to their own endeavors.)
I am encouraged that there is a renewed interest in the history that is no longer taught. I am encouraged that many of the children of the most secular generation have been willing to start seeking a structure and discipline that they did not have growing up. I was even encouraged by the President’s willingness to invoke God last year in his ongoing quest to take of the nation’s health care system. After all, if a far-left Democrat like Barack Hussein Obama can dare to invoke a “partnership with God” as part of his plans to take over health care, then it just got harder for the Left to try to shove him back into that little box where they have tried to confine him for the last few decades. It just might be that we will see a revival, and that the secular humanists will learn about the true “Power of persuasion and the persuasion of power.”
Filling the empty chair in your church and mine will be a good start.