America is clearly a divided nation, as we are witnessing the clash between the secular and Christian worldviews. Our country was originally founded by both Christians and deists, with the latter rejecting the supernatural but affirming a generic God and biblical morals. These founders somehow came together to draw up a constitution consistent with biblical principles—the right to life, liberty, and property—but not endorsing any particular religion.
This created a “secular” country in that America had no official national religion (the First Amendment), though America was still a religious nation. However, over time “secular” came to be associated with atheism and being anti-religion. This view, known as secularism, has its roots in deism, whose practice of stripping Christianity of the supernatural eventually led to removing God from the picture entirely. Modern secularism is really political atheism, as secularism has adopted the goal of completely eradicating religion from the public sphere. Rather than freedom of religion, secularists desire freedom from religion. Secularists do not just want a separation of church and state—they want a separation of God and state.
The Religion of the West
Secularism has become the religion of the modern Western world. Its adherents have expunged God, the Bible, and prayer from schools, courts, and congress (and even football games!). And they have replaced them with their own objects of worship, namely unrestrained pleasure, a twisted view of equality, and the almighty state. Be assured, secularism is a worldview, if not a religion. Man is a religious being, and he cannot escape worshiping something. Nor can he escape the important questions of life, such as origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.
Though not stated systematically, secularism does provide answers to these basic questions of life. As for man’s origin, secularism has thoroughly embraced Darwinian evolution. Humans are not made directly by God but are the products of natural forces over millions of years (naturalism). You may not think this issue is important, but the secularists certainly do. That’s why biblical creation is prohibited in government schools, while evolutionary theory is required.
As for meaning, secularism says you create meaning in life by whatever makes you happy (even if that means dressing up like the opposite sex!). Secularism rejects the very concept of God and thus rejects any overarching purpose God has for the world we live in. Meaning has become completely subjective for the secularist.
As for morality, secularism has no consistent moral code. The only values secularists seem to hold dear are the right of sexual license, the right to abortion on-demand, and the right to tax (and redistribute) at whatever rate the government sees fit. If one were to identify a foundation for secular ethics, it would have to be its concept of “equality.” Secularism pushes for “equality” between the sexes, races, and classes.
But there has been some slight of hand here. Traditional Christian morality has affirmed that all humans are equal in worth because we are all created in the image of God. But secularists use equality to mean that everyone is the same. Secularists thus want to abolish differences in ability, gender, and even wealth. But this is obvious nonsense. Men and women are different in many ways, the most obvious being that women bear and nurse children. And not all people have the same intellectual ability or work ethic. It therefore follows that not all people are going to acquire the same amount of wealth throughout life. Secularism cannot distinguish equality of function from equality of worth, leadings its followers to deny reality.
When it comes to destiny, secularism embraces the view that there is no life after death. This makes for a grim view of life on earth. According to secularism, we are grown-up germs who eventually cease to exist, but while we are here, we should do whatever makes us happy. Such a worldview makes any real foundation for morality impossible, which is why we are seeing such moral chaos in the West.
The Inconsistencies of Secularism
Ultimately, secularism is unviable. It not only makes little sense of the world, but it is also inconsistent in the doctrines it propounds. For one, though secularism claims to bring “progress,” it is actually self-destructive. Secularism places little emphasis on the family and instead makes relationships entirely about what makes the individual happy. It is no wonder that our secularized society has witnessed the rapid rise in divorce and illegitimate births, as well as a birth rate that has dropped below replacement levels (1.9 children per woman). When a relationship is all about “me,” it leaves little room for the spouse and children. Secularism can claim to be advancing society, but it is actually destroying society by weakening the nuclear family—the cornerstone of civilization.
A second inconsistency can be seen in secularism’s so-called “tolerance” of alternative views. Secularism claims to make room for all beliefs, a view known as pluralism. This, however, requires that one deny objective truth and the reality that some beliefs are mutually exclusive. Not only is such relativistic thinking illogical and naïve, but it also runs into practical problems—such as secularism’s dealings with Islam. Pluralistic academicians and politicians want to make room for all religions, so they seek to embrace Islam as a “peaceful religion.” This results in the ridiculous practice of political leaders refusing to identify violent groups as Muslim, even when the groups themselves identify as such (Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, etc.). Such violent behavior does not fit into the pluralistic worldview of secularism. Unfortunately, this denial of reality leaves many Western nations entirely unequipped to deal with the threat of Islam. Instead of acknowledging the violent and oppressive history of Islam, they have welcomed Islam with open arms.
It is interesting to note that though secularists are pluralistic and willing to go to great lengths to tolerate a multitude of beliefs, including Islam, they are unwilling to tolerate orthodox Christianity. Conservative Bible-believing Christians are called “bigots” for asserting traditional beliefs about marriage, sexuality, and gender. This intolerance of Christianity reveals that secularism’s claim of tolerance is really a façade. Secularism is not really willing to accept all beliefs—it is simply a ploy to gain political advantage.
Ironically, secularists are just as dogmatic in their rejection of biblical Christianity as Christians are in their opposition to the advancement of secularism. But secularists use the language of “tolerance” in order to paint themselves as peaceful and inclusive—and Christians as bigoted and intolerant. This has been a wildly successful tactic. It just so happens to also be downright treacherous.
If secularism were so inclusive and welcoming, it would not exclude Christianity from the public sphere. Thus we see the true nature of secularism—rebellion against God. Secularists do not really want diversity of views; they want the eradication of Christianity. The tolerance language works with most religions because they are minorities wanting to find acceptance in America, and they do not pose the problems that Christianity does.
Christianity is not only the majority and historical religion of the West, but it is also the only consistent and viable alternative to secularism. Secularists know this. And in an attempt to avoid having their consciences and minds continually challenged by Christians, they seek to keep Christianity out of the public sphere. Key to this goal is the public school system. Secularists, like all educators, know that children are the future of the nation. And for generations now in America, young minds have been trained to think that God and religion are not necessary to education, politics, or life in general.
Hence we have the clash of worldviews in the West. Secularism appears to be winning the day, but it cannot win in the long run. It is inconsistent, destructive, unlivable, and just plain false. The truth will prevail, but that does not mean it will be without its challenges. Christians must press on in the faith—praying, worshiping, evangelizing, and educating their children in the way of Christ. We must press on in hope that the light of Christ will overcome the darkness.