Not long ago, the great Western democracies were unashamedly Christian in their politics and education. Of course, not everyone was a genuine Christian (re-born of the Holy Spirit and adopted into God’s family). In addition, not everything done by those nations was ‘Christian’, but the worldview of almost everyone was basically biblical.
Consequently, state institutions sponsored Christian celebrations. Parliaments had daily Christian prayers. School assemblies had prayers and Christian hymns, and the readers used for teaching reading contained many Bible passages.
This has largely been lost. Apparently we can’t have Christian activities anymore; state-sponsored things have to be ‘secular’. But what is ‘secular’?
Secular: “Not connected with religious or spiritual matters” (oxforddictionaries.com). So secular effectively means materialistic or ‘God-less’.
‘Secularism’ was coined by British atheist George Holyoake in 1851. ‘Atheism’ evoked opposition, and therefore hindered the promotion of the godless worldview, and so Holyoake coined the term ‘secularism’. Atheists later adopted ‘secular humanism’ for the same reasons; it sounds much nicer than ‘atheism’.
So secularism is atheism. Countries that were once Christian have become secular (atheistic) in their public institutions.
How has this happened? I think there are several factors:
The invention of a creation myth that allowed for aggressive atheism. This is cosmic evolution. God did not create; the universe made itself. Man invented God. Before Darwin, the only option for someone who did not want Jesus as his Creator and Saviour was deism, belief in an unknowable creator-deity, as opposed to the God of the Bible. This explains why atheists are at the forefront of getting evolution taught without competition in schools and universities.
This materialistic creation myth took over the universities because it appealed to the intellectual pride that thrives in such institutions—man determines his destiny, not God. And teachers, politicians, government bureaucrats, journalists, and judges got their ‘higher’ education in these institutions.
Evolutionism then invaded the public school system, because new generations of teachers had been trained in the evolutionized (secular) universities. Aiding and abetting this transformation were those of an atheistic mind-set amongst the ruling elite who promoted secularism as the only ‘fair’ route for taxpayer-funded enterprises. Dissent was easily quashed by appealing to the ‘experts’ (on education, law, science, sociology, etc.) at the universities!
Meanwhile secularists promoted mass immigration from countries that had no Christian ethos. Then they argued that Christian content had to be removed from public life because it might offend someone who was not a Christian. Complaints from the actual immigrants were rare, but it was another effective lever to impose atheism as the state religion.
Atheists have been very actively promoting their views (secularism) at every level of society, but especially in academia, politics, and the media.
Meanwhile, Christians have been sleeping on the job of being salt and light in the world, with the widespread development of a ‘private faith’ mentality where ‘faith’ is in a separate box to academia and politics. There is often a lot of activity ‘in church’, but much less outside.
Creation magazine provides a strong counter to the many facets of cosmic evolution, the philosophical foundation of secularism. This includes big bang cosmology (see p. 50), geology with its false ‘deep time’ (22, 26, 38, 47), evolutionary biology (21, 29, 52, 56), wayward archaeology (44), and of course we present the Bible’s true history of the world (30, 40, 44). CMI’s new book and documentary, Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels, powerfully refutes the secular creation myth (18).
Creation equips and encourages Christians to get involved in countering the secularism of our day. May you use this edition to be salt and light in your community!
I think much of it is a failure on part of the church to confront the spirit of liberalism and humanism. That is why Christians must boldly stand up for that which is Biblical.
Grahame G., Australia, 3 November 2014
Hallelujah! I am so glad someone has said this. Thanks Don!
If only our churches, Christian politicians and Christian voters would understand it and warn everyone and fight (legally) for freedom from the dominance of godless religion in the public sphere (schools, politics, media, public areas, community events etc etc).
Oh that Christians would sincerely realise that we are engaged in a bitter war "to the death" and we cannot "lie down and die" and let "secularism" win by default.
Oh for a return to love of God and His word and the broadcasting of His Truth in every field and by every means available to us.
Again, thanks, Don and CMI!.
R. R., United States, 3 November 2014
@Jo L, et al.
I think part of the problem with Christians not doing much is the silly, but wide-spread, belief that being Christian is about doing/saying 'nice things', so those that adhere to this notion will naturally avoid any sort of confrontation. Not only that, but they'll immediately call those that actively confront opposition "un-Christian", "unloving", and all sort of other adjectives, which is IMHO, even worse because they're actually opposing those that are trying to do the real work by means of emotional manipulation.
Consider that when most people read about Paul publicly confronting Peter about his behavior between Jews and Gentiles (or Elijah taunting false prophets in 1 Kings 18:27), people tend to accept it as correct and justified, but then, for whatever reason, when other Christians do it today, they oppose it. You have to wonder what some are really thinking when they oppose their own side...
Don Batten responds
1 Peter 3:15 does enjoin us to present a defense of our faith to non-believers "with gentleness and respect". That does not of course mean being backward/weak in providing the rationale for believing, but it should temper any tendency to be abusive. But even giving a defense respectfully will evoke angry responses. We must be careful that such responses are due to the truth being told and not due to us being obnoxious.
Jesus even said, "love your enemies", etc. (Matthew 5:44), which is an incredibly high standard. This has been a distinguishing mark of Christians from the earliest days of the church.
The greatest strength is to tell the truth without apology, motivated by a love for the lost.
Jim J., Canada, 3 November 2014
Excellent summary of what has happened! I look forward to getting my January 2015 copy of Creation magazine!
I would suggest that “secular humanism” is an oxymoron, given the definition of “secular” that Don has quoted.
John J. Dunphy explicitly identified Humanism as a religion (Dunphy, J.J., A Religion for a New Age, The Humanist, January–February 1983) writing, in part, “… teachers must embody the same selfless dedication as the most rabid fundamentalist preachers, for they will be ministers of another sort, utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level—preschool day care or large state university. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new—the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism …” (See, for example, http://creation.com/darwinist-david-barash-theological)
The doctrines of this “religion for a new age” are spelled out in detail in The Humanist Manifesto II and include atheism, materialism (matter is self-creating) and evolution as well as moral relativism, situational ethics, sexual license, abortion and euthanasia.
As Don notes, Humanists have been inordinately successful at having their religion taught, promoted and encouraged in schools, the media and politics, to the exclusion of Christianity.
David C., United Kingdom, 3 November 2014
Your point ‘Meanwhile secularists promoted mass immigration from countries that had no Christian ethos.’ Can you give me examples of this secularist immigration promotion please? Do you perhaps feel unhappy that non Christian refugees and migrants have been allowed the opportunity to take refuge in the UK? Even if these migrants and refugees are possibly fleeing persecution, discrimination, mutilation, rape, torture? I am pretty sure that you do not want to be seen as overtly racist simply because the new kids on the political block are reshaping people’s attitude towards immigrants and especially because your UK HQ is in the heart of an extremely culturally diverse centre of the UK. ‘Secularists promoted mass immigration..no Christian ethos’? Which kingdom are you coming from? and which kingdom are you all heading to with this?
Don Batten responds
That mass migration has been promoted by secularists hardly needs proof (it has happened following the secularisation of governments that were once Christian in their ethos).
My statement was not meant to imply that we should not help refugees, whatever their religion. Christians are enjoined by the Bible to help the fatherless, widows, the foreigner, etc. But that does not constitute 'mass migration'. The 'mass migration' has been of people who are not fleeing any persecution at all; it predates the modern refugee problem caused largely by heightened conflicts in Islamic regions.
This has nothing to do with 'race'. Last time I checked, religion/culture and race were two entirely different things. We stand squarely against racism (check Racism Q&A).
However, we also reject the modern idiocy of cultural equivalence; that all religions/belief systems are morally equivalent. This modern view is so non-sensical it beggars belief that anyone thinks that way. Anyone with eyes to see just has to ask the question, 'Which religions/belief systems are at the root of the evil deeds being perpetrated today?' (and there is more than one).
Greg B., United States, 3 November 2014
There are three views of how the Sovereignty of God is to personally impact our lives. 1. Outright reject it, which is the atheist view. 2. Accept it and submit to it as blind, but wise Authority and do not resist it in any manner. 3. Accept it and submit to it as ordained by God, but not forget that Christians have been called to a Dominion Mandate (Gen 1:26-28) to rule and subdue this creation including earthly rule, not by violent rebellion, but by the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, most of the evangelical Church today embraces the second view that encourages Christians to "sleep on the job" and allow evil to overwhelm every segment of culture, except perhaps their own private personal piety portion. Is our Sovereign Lord pleased with this mentality? Does He condone the cowardly escapism of today's Christianity?
Let us be men and women of dominion and seek to redeem that which belongs to our Lord Christ (Ro 11:36; Col 1:15-20). Do note physical violence is not needed, but we all should be skillfully wielding the Sword of the Word in this spiritual battle.
Ron V., Canada, 3 November 2014
As Jim J. (Canada) points out secular humanism is a religion or worldview, grounded in evolutionary thinking. While the definition provided for “secular” as not being “connected with religious or spiritual matters”, there certainly are metaphysical aspects as well for some of those holding to an evolutionary view. For example, Catholic mystic and evolutionist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, held evolutionist views that were at one time rejected by the Catholic church, but are now becoming main stream. Now considered in effect to be almost ‘patron saint’ of the New Age movement, he held to a view that all humanity is gradually evolving towards a mystical, pantheistic union with God. While the teaching and promotion of evolution has been important in the transformation towards a secular culture, I would suggest that the primary cause is the overwhelming influence of cultural Marxism (‘progressivism’ or political correctness) whereby the mission for socialism was to be spread by evolution, rather than by revolution. That is, capturing the culture through “the long march through the institutions”. The revolution is to be achieved by taking over the institutions of power and influence, such as the judiciary, education, the media, politics, and the churches. Thus, while some are perplexed by how many in the West today, including the liberal media and more astonishing some in the church, are protective of Islam and misconstrue Islam by portraying Muslims as victims, I would suggest that it is not surprising, but understandable. In that for the cultural Marxists, it is a case of a very simple wartime strategic maxim: "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", that is, they have a shared, hated enemy: Christ the King.
Don Batten responds
Marxism in all its forms is predicated on materialism/atheism, as is Fabian Socialism, which is the term for socialism by "evolution, rather than by revolution." In other words, the evolutionary mindset provides the philosophical foundation for Marxism/Socialism. That's why Marxist countries had/have evolutionary indoctrination 'front and centre' of their indoctrination ('education') systems. Marxism is an outcome of godless thinking, which puts 'man as the measure of all things', not God. Man sets the rules, not God. Remove the evolutionary mindset and Marxism has no purchase on people's minds (that's why Communist governments have been so active in persecuting Christians).
So the foundational battle remains at the level of origins; were we created by an eternal, all-powerful, supernatural being (God/Yahweh) for an eternal purpose, or did we evolve from the products of a big bang, where nothing exploded with no cause, for no purpose whatsoever? Is God in control or man?
Mark M., United States, 4 November 2014
This isn't so much "this happened," as "This was done." Since the French Revolution opposed the King of France and his reliance on Divine Right of Kings, the Enlightenment's worst features were codified and implemented as tools of Secular power seekers throughout the institutions of Europe--and later the USA.
Michael N., United States, 6 November 2014
Secular does not mean atheist. Secular means not religious. You want the government to be secular. What if the government decides the "True Religion(tm)" is Catholic and you're not a Catholic? Then you get to watch the priests and bishops dictate government policy, some of which will not agree with your particular beliefs.
Separation of church and state is good for churches. It means the Catholics worship the way they want and the Jews worship their way and you worship your way and the government doesn't interfere with anyone's worship. That's good for the Catholics, the Jews and you.
Don Batten responds
You say, "Secular does not mean atheist. Secular means not religious." Can you hear yourself? In other words, secular means atheistic (taking 'religious' to mean as you have clearly intended, having to do with belief in God).
You also misunderstand the concept of separation of church and state. This was never intended to mean the separation of Christianity and state, only that a particular denomination was not to be favoured as a state church.
All genuine Christian churches have basic doctrines in common that have been part and parcel of public celebrations until the recent invention of secularism.
Jews living in Christian countries never expected Christian celebrations to be removed from public life, just as a Christian living in a Buddhist country would never expect Buddhist celebrations to be removed from public life to avoid offending a Christian minority group. I have heard some Jewish commentators actually lamenting the secularism that has taken root in once-Christian countries; they would rather a Christian basis to public life than an atheistic (God-less) one, which is what secularism entails.