Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Secularism in America

"Do not love the world or anything in the world.… The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:15, 17).

Every Christian is a missionary, a person sent into the world by Christ to take the principles and message of His kingdom to bear on all areas of life. For the next several days we shall study world views which are in competition with the biblical/Christian worldview.

We cannot say that America is a Christian nation today. In the past, America has been strongly influenced by Christianity, but sadly, that influence has been waning for some time. America is not, however, a pagan nation. Paganism is a pre-Christian phenomenon. Paganism exists where the Gospel has never impacted a culture.

America today is a secular society, and by secularism I mean a post-Christian situation. Secularism takes elements of the Christian heritage, but removes God and orthodox Christian foundations from them, replacing them with some kind of worldly philosophy. Secularism takes various forms, such as existentialism, pluralism, pragmatism, hedonism, humanism, and relativism. We shall look at these in more detail in the days to come.

What is the unifying, foundational, and overarching philosophy that undergirds all of these “isms”? As I mentioned, it is what we call “secularism.” The word secular comes from the Latin saeculum, which means both “world” and “age.” That which is secular, then, is that which is in this present world at this present time.

Christians are indeed “secular,” since we are concerned as missionaries and as people with “this world at this present time.” When ism is added to secular, however, we get a philosophy that is opposed to Christianity. Secularism is a philosophy that says all of reality and every human value must be judged only in the light of and in terms of this present world and time. Secularism eliminates eternity. It eliminates the Christian long-range viewpoint that alone puts this world in proper perspective.

Secularism embraces a “closed universe” which excludes the possibility of God or anything else intervening from the supernatural realm. What foundational truths are necessarily excluded by this view? What danger does this worldview pose to your faith?