One of the prevailing myths of our day is that secularism is somehow neutral. The myth usually goes something like this: “We can’t all agree on everything so we therefore must take the neutral ground of secularity and go from there.” If you take any time at all to think about it, you’ll come to realize that this is not neutral at all, but to the contrary is a very offensive (nor PC offensive but literally like offensive, like a quarterback throwing the ball downfield offensive) position to anyone that disagrees with secularism.
As in yesterday’s post, we will turn to C.S. Lewis to help us shed a little light on this subject. In his book The Abolition of Man, Lewis masterfully deconstructs the liberal pedagogical practices that were beginning to invade Britain in his day. His main object of Lewis’ derision was a grade school English textbook that was teaching subjectivity to the students by “debunking” traditional values. Here’s what Lewis has to say:
A great many of those who ‘debunk’ traditional values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process. (pg. 706 in Signature Classics)
Lewis was arguing that a relativistic and subjective pedagogy was an insufficient way to teach a child. Moreover, he shows how this approach likes to assume a pedestal of neutrality and assumed correctness however, if one holds it up to its own critiques it does not stand. In order to bring this quotation to bear upon our current time we must rehash it into a similar debate about current topics.
Here’s the scenario:
- You have one person who is arguing that the President should not place his hand on the Bible when being sworn into office because this is not a Christian nation and that the public square should be neutral and secular where everyone’s beliefs and opinions can be heard.
- You have another person who believes that the president should have to place his hand on the Bible when being sworn into office because the world belongs to Jesus and we should all recognize his authority.
Inevitably, the first person will explain to the second person that its okay for them to believe that Jesus owns the world but not everyone believes that and in order to be fair we should create a neutral public square where Christians and non-Christians alike can debate and talk things out.
Now, on the surface this sounds all well and good and nice. However, when one begins to pry at the foundations of this argument they will not find much resistance. Unfortunately, Christians have not held the secularist to their own standards and have avoided any such prying. Christians have accepted secular presuppositions. The secularist says that not everyone believes in the Christian faith and therefore we should have a neutral/secular public square. Has the Christian ever thought to respond to the secularist by explaining that not everybody believes in secularism and therefore not everybody should have those beliefs imposed upon them?
This is where the real crux of the issue lies. There is no such thing as neutrality. The Bible teaches that the world belongs to God and everyone knows this to such a degree that God is just in condemning them (Romans 1). In order to agree with a secularist (that “not everyone believes in God”) one must disagree with God. Christians are commanded not to do this.
Unfortunately, due to the baptistic/individualistic culture of American Christianity, the Church in America has been duped by secularists into believing that the Christian faith is something personal and therefore private. The problem with this is that the Christian faith has never been (at its core) about personal belief. The Christian faith is about public/historic events. When Paul explains what the Gospel is in the first verses of 1 Corinthians 15 he describes the historical events surrounding the life of Jesus, not the personal professions of faith by the Corinthian believers. In order to assuage growing political pressures in the West over the last several decades, Christians have by and large abandoned the heart of the Christian faith: Jesus is Lord and every knee must bow to Him.
This is a big topic and I am beginning to feel like I’m walking out into some deeper waters so I will leave things here.
That’ll be all the food for thought for now.