By Donald Townsley
In Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language the word secularism is defined as “a system of doctrines and practices that disregards or rejects any form of religious faith and worship,” and in the New Expanded Webster’s Dictionary as “the elimination of the religious element from life.” These definitions well describe the secular-humanism that has been at work in our nation for over thirty years. It has gradually gained influence over the minds of many people. Many who have accepted the secularist view have become our national leaders in government! They have worked diligently to secularize our society and, sadly, have gone a long way toward accomplishing their goal.
The secularists say that there is no objective truth concerning what is right and what is wrong: that there is no such thing as ethical or moral truth everything is “relative.” They believe that “man is the measure of all things”: morals are “man-centered” not God-centered, so no one has a right to say that anything is wrong! To the secularist, ethics are relative and situational. They believe that morality rests on the basic needs of a society at any given time: that moral values come from human experience, and what may be right for today’s society may be wrong for tomorrow’s. They do not believe that man can have a permanent set of values as God has laid down in his word.
This secular society that we live in is becoming a society of pluralism. Pluralism is the universal acceptance of all beliefs. It is the tolerance of any kind of action: going out of the way to please people no matter what their moral conduct may be. Pluralism is about sensitivity and tolerance. It is not concerned about what is morally right or wrong from the standpoint of what God has said in his word; it is concerned with a greater diversity that will please the most people regardless of their moral conduct. (Note: The church is being affected with pluralism. Many congregations are dealing less and less with the moral conduct of the members because they want to please them, not correct them. Sermons on dancing, immodesty, marriage, divorce and remarriage and social drinking are being heard less and less as we become a pluralistic society. Yes, it is having its impact on the people of God!)
The biblical doctrine of morals has formed the basis of our laws and culture in America until recent years. Because of the influence of the secularists in our nation (and in our government) the consensus of what is right and what is wrong has shifted from the biblical doctrine of morals to the secularist view. This has brought great changes in our society. By rejecting God and his word as the standard for man in morality and accepting the views of secularism, we have seen human life de-valued. Human life is of very little value to many people in this country! Millions of little babies have been killed in the womb since 1973 because they were “unwanted” or “imperfect.” The suicide rate has increased by more than four-hundred percent since 1950; the teen suicide rate has more than tripled since 1960. Euthanasia is on the increase in this country. Dr. Jack Kevorkian has received much notoriety with his “death machine” as he has aided people to commit suicide, and some states are now engaged in a battle over euthanasia. In the past seven years murders committed by those who are 18-20 years old have increased 120 percent! Man seems to put very little value on human life, but God said that it is valuable and no man has a right to take it (Gen. 9:6; Prov. 6:17; 1 John 3:15; Matt. 2:11-12; 10:31).
The secular philosophers of our day are trying to make ethics independent of biblical teaching on morals. They are intolerant of anyone who holds and teaches that there are absolutes in morals based upon the word of God as the standard. So, the Christian finds himself in great conflict with secularism over what is right. These are “perilous times” (2 Tim. 3:1, NKJV) for the Christian. He finds himself living in a nation that he loves, where he has had great freedom, but now faces a government with court-enforced secularism! A school teacher can hand out condoms to students, but is forbidden by law to hand out Bibles! Students can engage in any kind of activity in school, but cannot talk about God or pray to him without threat of a lawsuit! The “gay-rights” movement is seeking to get laws passed that would give homosexuals equal rights under the law. If this happens it will have serious implications for Christians as they take a strong stand against the sin of homosexuality. In large cities such as New York and San Francisco homosexuality is being taught in public schools as an “alternate lifestyle,” and if this is being taught in large cities, how long will it be before it is taught throughout the nation?
Secularism exalts tolerance, not truth! People who stand up for the truth of the Bible are called “intolerant” and “a people filled with bigotry and hate!” Brethren, we face perilous times in the future because our nation and its people have undergone great changes morally. “In 1962, polls indicated that at least 65 percent of all Americans believed the Bible to be true. In 1992 polls indicated that only 32 percent do” (Chuck Colson, Can We Be Good Without God?).
As Christians we must stand up for the moral teaching of the word of God, and we must live it out in our daily lives (Rom. 12:1,2; Matt. 5:13-16). We must do more teaching showing that the Bible is the inspired word of God if we are to combat the unbelief that has come among us (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We must pray fervently for God to save this nation from destruction (1 Tim. 2:1-4). No nation in history has been able to stand for long when it loses its morals (Psa. 9:17). Gospel preachers must stop compromising on God’s moral standard for marriage and divorce and worldliness (1 John 2:15-17). Brethren, our souls and the survival of our free nation are at stake! Let those of us who preach the gospel do so with greater urgency and enthusiasm. Let parents and churches become more diligent in teaching our children about these matters! (Eph. 6:4; Psa. 78:1-8) Christians of the first century made an impact on the pagan world; Christians today can make an impact on secular America if we will revive the evangelistic spirit of first century Christians and preachers (Acts 8:4; 17:22-31; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). We must not let secularism, pluralism, or any “ism” affect our militant stand for Bible morals!
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 3, p. 2
February 3, 1994