Those wishing to strip religion from the public arena and ensure that it has no sway over any public policy or matters of government oftentimes point to various Nordic and European countries as models for how good things can be when faith has no public voice. They work hard at trying to produce facts on the higher education levels, lower crime rates, and other various statistics that support their case of secularized societies being ‘better’ than those where religion has a strong presence.
“See,” they say, “how well these countries operate without superstitious beliefs that clearly afford no tangible benefit?”
Last monthI posted a critique of the movie The Hunger Games. It came to my attention that Fred Edwords posted a short piece at the American Humanist Association’s website addressing the general evangelical response to the movie. He linked to my original article and broadly addressed my comparison of the society of The Capital to where today’s societies are leading. Mr. Edwords had two main points of contention that I feel need to be addressed.
Secular vs. Agnostic Society
The first point of contention that I considered the society in The Hunger Games to be secular and not merely agnostic. Edwords claims that there was no mention of God (which he’s correct), thus the society must be concluded to be secular. He implies that that distinction removes the society from critiques of agnosticism. But is there really a distinction between secularism and agnosticism that allows such an escape?
In order for a society to avoid either label of “theistic” or “atheistic”, it cannot affirm or deny either. It must simply hold the position that God’s existence cannot be known. This position is called “agnosticism”. Secularism necessarily entails “agnosticism”. Since secularism necessarily entails agnosticism, secularism is subject to critiques of agnosticism by the necessary connection.
This past Sunday night, my wife and I went to a gay friend’s “Christmas” party. It’s always an opportunity to enter into the Midianite camp as Gideon had been directed to do to overhear what the Midianites were saying about Israel. It’s also been a wonderful opportunity to share our faith and to shake loose some stereotypes about Christians.
One lovely woman – a spiritual healer – refused to believe that I was an Evangelical Christians: Continue reading
I personally do not care for the term “Christian Nation” because it implies a Church-State union that is contrary to the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution. History teaches us that whenever religion has become politicized, it has been abused. We see this phenomenon in the history of Christianity and in many Islamic nations today. However, I also believe that the public understands the Establishment Clause to be far broader than what was originally intended by the founding fathers.
Our nation was born out of rebellion against England, where the government established an official state religion (the Anglican “Church of England”) and openly discriminated against any contrary view. They recognized the dangers of such a state and ensured through the Constitution that this would not happen in the United States (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”). However, this short, 10 word phrase has taken on such an expansive meaning in recent years that I think it behooves people to go back and look at the original text.
In his post in the online journal American Thinker called “Secularism Ongoing Debt to Christianity,” Secular Atheist and author John D. Steinrucken made quite a surprising admission. One only need to read the title of the article to see that what followed was a drastic departure from the normal anti-religious rhetoric coming from more prominent Atheists and Secularists. And what a change indeed. Rather than claiming that “religion poisons everything,” Steinrucken actually asserts that religion, more specifically the Judeo-Christian conviction, actually is the efficient cause for the wide-spread liberty and freedom that secularism has enjoyed in the West since its inception. Not only does he assert that Secularism was fostered in what could loosely be called “Christendom”, but actually that the fate of Western Secularism is intertwined with the survival of the Judeo-Christian worldview in the West as well. As goes the latter, so goes the former as it were.
Today’s secularism is an aggressive bulldozer. It will not tolerate any competition, pushing aside any opposition to its reign. Arrogantly, it believes that it can retain the benefits of Western civilization, while discarding its foundation – Christianity.
Alexis de Tocqueville, French statesman, historian and social philosopher, wrote “Democracy in America” (1835). It has been described as “the most comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the relationship between character and society in America that has ever been written.” According to Tocqueville, freedom and morality both found their American incarnation in Christianity: Continue reading