Thoughts on the State of our Culture
For well over a century a kind of secular orthodoxy has settled into the culture. The results of this atheistic religion are occurring every day, continue to be counted, but some have already been tallied. For one, we can look at the body count during the last century. Millions of children have been aborted all over the world with our own country being no small contributor to those numbers and fifty to one hundred million people have been killed under the godless ideologies of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. Friedrich Nietzsche, an atheist, warned us in the nineteenth century that if we killed God by casting him out of our lives, we would loose the moral foundation that the Christian Faith had brought. His prediction has proven true, and in the twentieth century mankind certainly paid the price.
What has the secularist view of “progressive illumination afforded by unaided reason” brought us? I believe it has brought us more efficient ways to kill the unwanted, but it has not brought a curbing of the desire to kill. For all of our scientific breakthroughs, for all of our pride in what we called settled science, we have failed to solve the problem of the evil desires of the heart. Secularism has not given us the why to life, ultimate purpose, meaning, or hope for the future. We must ask then, have the secularist been correct in their prediction that we can do very nicely without a personal God and the transcendent leverage and restraint his commands place upon individuals and society? In the Bible, God says, “All that hate me, love death”. The twentieth century checked that box. To return to Nietzsche, he contemplated the consequences of God’s departure from our world. What would that world look like? Here is what he said:
“You will never pray again, never adore again, never again rest in endless trust. You deny yourself any stopping before ultimate wisdom, ultimate goodness, and ultimate power while unharnessing your thoughts. There is no avenger for you, no eventual improver, there is no reason for what happens, no love in what will happen, no resting place for your heart where it has only to find and not seek. You will resist any ultimate peace; you will only want the eternal recurrence of war and peace. But if you want to renounce this, who will give you the strength? This is the horrifying price when we have finally “unchained this earth from its sun.”
Secularists want us to believe we are doing very nicely and making progress. “We certainly have more work to do, but making progress.” Even Nietzsche knew that you couldn’t have it both ways. You cannot knock out the props of ultimate transcendent authority, especially one whose moral standard of living speaks to the issues of the heart and expect business to go on as usual. You cannot reject an objective standard of living and still preserve the society that it founded. Each generation will loose the moral fabric discovered or invented by the previous one. The wheel of moral appropriateness and acceptability will have to be re-invented over and over again. When there is no personal Creator or God, there is no received objective law or moral code for living individually or collectively in society.
No personal God and no objective law are the foundational presuppositions of the secular culture, and when we impose these in the public square, our educational system, our political and social institutions, and our entertainment and informational spheres, we eventually loose the ability to have shared meanings of words and institutions, shared values, and shared hopes for the future. The secular map by which we were told we might understand and navigate life and live in this world would allow us to push God to the margins. He would no longer be needed to help us understand life. They told us religion was a crutch and we should feel sorry for the unenlightened that still ordered their lives by creation myths. Science and man’s reason were all we would need. As a secular culture we have built a pretty solid, may I say settled, belief that religion is at best only for the private spheres of our lives and thus are the days of Isaiah repeated in our time. During his days it was said, “Justice is turned back, righteousness stands afar off, for truth has stumbled in the public squares, uprightness cannot enter in, truth is lacking and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey”. This is the result of the politically correct views held by most of our educators and political leaders. This is secular orthodoxy.
The Myth of Neutrality
We have for years been hard at work airbrushing religion out-of-sight and out-of-mind. This airbrushing began with the myth that education is a non-ideological or philosophical activity and “neutral” with regards to morality. This was sleight of hand on the part of liberal educators who wanted to hide from the public the true goal they had for American education. That goal was to use the “myth of neutrality” to recreate America ideologically and morally in their own atheistic image. Their goal was anything but neutral!
Education is by nature a religious activity as it deals with making decisions on what is right and wrong. The relationship between leaders i.e. our governing authorities and those they lead, the laws that we as a country should live by and our relationship with other countries, are all inherently morally driven. Whether we were created or just happened to get here by evolution is a life-changing question. When evolution or materialism speaks, all they can say is there is no right and wrong. No evil. Things just happen without purpose or meaning. Hitler and Stalin just were.
When we study artwork from the past, we ask; who painted this, when did they paint it, what was the history of the painter, and what was his purpose for the painting? This knowledge can make the painting explode with meaning. What happens if we airbrush this information away? All that is left to do is to analyze the paint and observe the patterns. Men can then read anything they want into what they see. If an art teacher left out this information, might I say suppress this, they would be accused of incompetence. Can you really teach about this world, mankind and the behavior of people without mentioning their Creator, the author of all? Is that really being neutral? Does that make the topic neutral or in fact does this not just impose on the subject and student a new set of values or prejudices? Is it not true that in trying to rid ourselves of one religion (Christianity), we have merely invented and imposed another (Secular Humanism)?
There must be some bread to offer that exceeds the stones of the cold explanations and expectations of philosophical and scientific materialism. The plea to be true to one another sounds hopeless in the absence of joy, hope, love, light, peace and forgiveness, which can only come from God. When we reject the spirit of God that gives them, we are left to try and produce them with merely physical and scientific means, but science comes up short. Evolution gives us no reason for love, meaning, or purpose. In it we are merely a complex accumulation of atoms and energy, produced by the pixie dust of chance, driven by chemical reactions making us think we have a will that can change things.
We live in a changing world, bewildered, as things seem to spiral out of control and beyond our understanding. This is all we are left with when the sea of faith has withdrawn. When we suppress the knowledge of God, we are like fish stranded at low tide on the beach. This is where scientific materialism would leave us. How will we endure until the tide returns? Someone has asked the question, “Can a man or society or nation live without God?” We have gotten our answer in the bloody 20th century, and man’s actions continue to confirm the answer in the 21st. No!
Has not life, the good and the bad, taught us that there are things beyond our senses and scientific discovery? Are we merely complex chemical reactions driven by our DNA without true wills, or is it now time to lay this sacred cow of science to rest and face the consequences of that belief? Did a personal Creator make us or are we an accident of the universe? How you answer will prove to be life changing. This question and its answer is the foundation of all education, in fact, our answer will drive all the conclusions we hold concerning our origins, our final destiny, our beliefs concerning a purpose and meaning of life, and our concept of a moral standard, which enlightens and guides us in relating to others.
I hope you are beginning to see that the content of our children’s education and the presuppositions, which undergird it, is critical to their staying consistent in belief and practice with Christianity. What they are made to hear and what they are forbidden to hear, wherever they receive education, will mold their ideology or worldview. They will be affected forever. Education is never neutral; it always has an agenda. It either recognizes God or ignores him. Most teachers want to give their students the best education possible, but who decides what is best? Will not this be dependent on what is considered to be “truth”, and who decides what truth may be taught? The Bible says in Psalm 101:3: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless.” An education that ignores God and teaches that he is a myth is less than worthless; it is dangerous!
If I may be so bold, I present for your consideration the proposition that the best education acknowledges the truth that: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our children must be in an educational environment that first begins with: there is a Lord God, and he is not the state or myself. My friends we are a long ways from the 50’s…we must protect our children accordingly.