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A Secular Theology, Part 2

January 21, 2018

White supremacists clash with police, Charlottesville, VA, Author Evan Nesterak, Source flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/153804281@N02/36421659232/ (CC Attribution 2.0 Generic)

We continue our investigation of the cultural changes taking place in the world around us.  These carry many labels:  political correctness, intersectionality, neo-paganism, cultural Marxism, and social justice religion.

Thaddeus Williams in “A New Theocracy” has this to say about them:

“God…designed us to run and thrive on meaning.  We are wired for objective, not subjective, Creator-formed, not creature-fabricated, transcendent and God-centered, not transient and self-oriented meaning…Deprive a culture of transcendent meaning long enough and that culture will take to politics with the ferocity of an absolutist religious fanatic [1].”

Williams points out that the young men in post-WWI Germany who ultimately chose to follow Adolf Hitler were not searching for ideas, but personal meaning.  They were drawn toward violence; they thrived on hostility against Jews, Communists, gypsies, and homosexuals.

Former white nationalist, Christian Piccolini put this in context, while commenting on the recent racist demonstration in Charlottesville, VA:

“I believe that people become radicalized, or extremist, because they’re searching for three very fundamental human needs:  identity, community and a sense of purpose.”

That these same needs are feeding the secular gospel should give us all pause.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn viewed society’s legal and political problems at root as moral ones.  Forty years ago, he had this to say on the topic:

“One…see[s] the same stones in the foundations of a despiritualized humanism and of any type of socialism:  endless materialism; freedom from religion and religious responsibility, which under communist regimes reach the stage of anti-religious dictatorships; concentration on social structures with a seemingly scientific approach.  This is typical of the Enlightenment in the 18th Century and of Marxism.  Not by coincidence all of communism’s meaningless pledges and oaths are about Man, with a capital M, and his earthly happiness…”

– Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Harvard Commencement Address (1978)

Under this secular theology, as Williams describes it, cultural, political, and legal initiatives are seen as means of achieving a surprisingly “spiritual” goal reminiscent of the Kingdom of God.  The poor will be fed.  Greed will be abolished.  Oppression and racism will end.  Compassion, love, and justice will reign.

Of course, the God of the Bible well over 2000 years ago directed that we “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1: 17).

The difference is that the secular gospel cannot deliver.  It will, in Williams’ words, lead millions to miss out on “the only One who can bring actual redemption to broken systems and the broken people who make them.”

[1]  All articles discussed in this series can be found in Vol. 7, No. 1, Fall 2017 Edition of the Journal of Christian Legal Thought, published by the Institute for Christian Legal Studies (a joint ministry of Regent University School of Law and the Christian Legal Society).

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  https://avoicereclaimed.com

From → Christian, Faith, Religion

11 Comments
  1. Good series Anna. People do want meaning. Young men, in particular, want meaning and purpose. God made us that way. The problem is, a whole lot of systems seem to be more willing to reach out to the young men than Christianity does. So, they respond to whoever reaches out. Next we have young men as radicals, gang members, or even something stupid like laying around playing video games all day. Then, after it is all done and the damage done, we sit around and complain about how horrible they all are. Just my two cents.

  2. Great post!
    We see so many are leaning toward this watered down gospel everyday…

  3. Reblogged this on Anchor Thy Soul and commented:
    Great post by A Lawyers Prayers.

  4. Anna, thanks for these in-depth expositions. A neo- theology which seeks to accommodate all of man’s inventions. and seeks to gain the approval of men is certainly not from above. There will be no time that the law of God will become all-inclusive or “rational” to all men. The scriptures warns of false theology in the latter days.

    If we were of this world, the world would love us. The world would accept us. But we were chosen out of this world and as such, our ways, or rather God’s ways, are not acceptable or good enough for the world.

    The temptation to reinvent theology is the same trick that Lucifer used right from the first few days. He told Eve that once she eats the forbidden fruit, she will become as God. That is to say she will have the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, she will have the power to decide what is right and what is wrong. We are not God. No man, no matter his level of intellectual capacity or seeming piety can re-write the Laws of God.

  5. Reblogged this on idahodimple.

  6. theburningheart permalink

    There seems to be an eternal struggle in Man’s behavior towards freedom, and the unshackle of moral restrains, in order to pursue mainly selfish goals, regardless of the dire consequences of living a life of selfishness.

    On the other hand, a life of Moral restrain imposed by the will of authorities, religious, or secular had proven to be hollow, when the same authorities do not live by example, but in the condemnation of moral behavior, which themselves privately do not uphold.

    And therefore the existence of the actual crisis we are going through.

    It seems mankind moves from one pole, to the opposite, periodically, and can’t reach a point of equilibrium, where freedom, and moral responsibility can coexist, in a point in time in all individuals, not just on a few.

    I guess there is a lot of work to do yet, to be a reality and a better World, if there is such a thing possible, and it may not be possible, but in an afterlife.

    Nice challenging series. 🙂

    • Thank you for this thoughtful response. It is certainly true that hypocrisy on the part of spiritual or temporal leaders does not set an inspiring example.

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