How did we arrive at the place where it’s legal to poison your own child? Where kindergartners are being groomed to accept as normal and good, feelings and practices that only a short time ago were largely considered disorders? What motivates a culture to applaud Drag Queen Story Hour and oppose a father, fighting for the right to keep his seven year old son from eventual chemical castration? Is there even a way to talk candidly about these issues anymore without the threat of a mob—ready and willing to forcibly ensure your reconditioning or else your demise?
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”Romans 1:21-25
When men reject God, it’s not a neutered—devotionless act. We are homo-religioso, creatures of worship. It’s how we were made.
And when we kick against God’s unfettered graces, it’s because we (to our shame) desire something else. The Bible calls that worship; and more specifically, idolatrous worship. It comes in many forms—money, sexual pleasures, prowess, power, etc. But the least common denominator in idolatrous worship is autonomy; the freedom to live independently of God’s rule (to do what you want). Seeking such autonomy from God—in place of Him—doesn’t result in a lack of religion, but a rival one.
The Consequences of Confusing Yourself with God
With autonomy in the center and God off to the side, everything is permissible. Virtue becomes that which allows for and affirms your particular inclinations, and vice transitions to anything that stinks of the old religion’s prohibitory stench. And objecting to heroine snorters, bomb droppers, and those nasty Republicans becomes nothing more than hypocrisy rearing its ugly head. The knife cuts both ways.
In making autonomy your god, you lose all rational basis for condemning the passions of another. This is why pedophilia was given a TED Talk and myriads were left scratching their heads, trying to figure out just how to stand against such a perverse evil, being as how those same myriads are on record championing the idea that minors are aware enough to make life-altering decisions regarding their future hormonal makeup. And if minors can consent to sexual “transitions,” why not to other forms of sexual expression? It’s a tough thing to have your cake and eat it too.
When you worship autonomy, you don’t end up with no moral norms, just ones that damage children and justify monsters. You don’t end up with no god, just one that looks eerily similar to you.
Biblically speaking then, the base impulses that govern the lions share of current thought and policy are explicitly idolatrous. But even according to secularists, is such atheistic humanism categorically religious?
You better believe it.
Religious by Their Own Standards
The following excerpt was taken from section 12 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Compliance Manual and is used in determining if organizations are guilty of discriminating against their employees on the basis of religion:
Title VII defines “religion” to include “all aspects of religious observance and practice as well as belief.” Religion includes not only traditional, organized religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but also religious beliefs that are new, uncommon, not part of a formal church or sect, only subscribed to by a small number of people, or that seem illogical or unreasonable to others. Further, a person’s religious beliefs “need not be confined in either source or content to traditional or parochial concepts of religion.” A belief is “religious” for Title VII purposes if it is “‘religious’ in the person’s own scheme of things,” i.e., it is “a sincere and meaningful belief that occupies in the life of its possessor a place parallel to that filled by…God.”
Let me connect the dots for you—
Functionally, when you seek to live any which way you please, you are denying the necessity of God. You are a functional atheist. And since atheism is a metaphysical claim about the nature of reality that can’t be proven positively without the acquisition of exhaustive knowledge (which no one possesses), it is a belief grounded in faith. So whether you affirm atheism by your words or in your actions (or both), in either case you’re making a claim about the nature of things which rests on faith. And you’ll need a lot of it if you’re going to maintain that atheism in the face of tropical vistas, newborns, hummingbirds, and those undeniable instances of horror that prove moral absolutes—which necessitate God.
It’s hard finding yourself on a world as beautiful as ours—a world teaming with moral imperatives, exquisite life, and tangerines—and not give in to logic (the logic that says art doesn’t occur absent an artist, universal moral commands don’t materialize out of nowhere, and things that look designed probably are).
To survive reality, an alternative story is needed. Something that explains how we got here, what we’re supposed to be doing, and how it all ends. And until Darwin, most such theories had to do with supposing alternative supernatural explanations. Darwin’s theory provided an attractive solution to the pressing questions that forced swaths of prior humanity to conclude God as the most reasonable cause of all that we experience. Any theory that assuages the human conscience is attractive in a sense, but how much more the one that allows you to believe no Judge exists at all?
But of course, if there’s no Ultimate Judge, there’s no ultimate reckoning for wrong—which means the idea of right and wrong becomes fluid. And once the lines are blurred, you’re hard pressed to condemn anyone for anything accept the most egregious offenses (and even then, #sowhat).
So starting with a proclivity towards naturalism leads naturally to the door of Darwinism, which comports perfectly with moral subjectivism—together forming the foundation for that aforementioned and troublesome idolatry, human autonomy. In seeking to live free from Divine moral accountability, you end up finding exactly what you’re looking for—a justification for living in whatever manner you please. But in justifying your own sins, you cannot avoid justifying everyone else’s.
And this is why atheistic humanism can be categorized as religious, even by their own standard—not because it boasts prophets and priests (though you could make a case for Whoopi Goldberg), or solely because it operates on a faith-based system of thought which informs its view of morality (which I believe I’ve shown), but because only such a strong religious devotion to human autonomy can make sense of our present social devolution—including why over 60+ million babies have been brutally murdered on our watch since 1973 and have been discarded like refuse. That’s why atheistic humanism fits neatly in the description provided by Title VII legislation and that’s why every argument for the “Separation of Church and State” can be equally leveled against such Godless piety. There really is no neutrality—political discourse is religious debate in disguise.
So Why Does It Matter?
Two reasons. One, when you understand that most of what people say is derived from suppositions that are religious in nature, you’ll be better equipped to engage with such thought in the public square. And two, if indeed we’re dealing with warring religions—rather than competing ideals—there’s hope.
Our sin within was what first led us astray from God, and our compounding guilt is what keeps us away—it’s what motivates us to exchange the truth for those lies that are easier to swallow. But if the guilt could really be removed (and not just assuaged), there would be no reason to war anymore. If there was a way in which we could be free from the penalty we know we deserve and also live in harmony with our desires, we would have no need to persist in fictitiously reinterpreting reality. We would be able to affirm with full conviction that the tripics are what they look like (God’s art), that babies are insane as a concept, things really are universally—morally wrong, and unimaginable intellect was absolutely necessary for literally everything to be what it is. If there was only a way—
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord . For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”Jeremiah 31:31-34
This prophecy was pointing forward to the climax of history, when God became man to save men for God. He promises complete forgiveness and to make His desires your desires—making Himself a spring of living water in our wilderness of despair.
Run or crawl, but come and you’ll find rest for your soul.
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