Secularism’s Ongoing Debt to Christianity
by Tyler Vela
In his post in the online journal American Thinker called “Secularism Ongoing Debt to Christianity,” Secular Atheist and author John D. Steinrucken made quite a surprising admission. One only need to read the title of the article to see that what followed was a drastic departure from the normal anti-religious rhetoric coming from more prominent Atheists and Secularists. And what a change indeed. Rather than claiming that “religion poisons everything,” Steinrucken actually asserts that religion, more specifically the Judeo-Christian conviction, actually is the efficient cause for the wide-spread liberty and freedom that secularism has enjoyed in the West since its inception. Not only does he assert that Secularism was fostered in what could loosely be called “Christendom”, but actually that the fate of Western Secularism is intertwined with the survival of the Judeo-Christian worldview in the West as well. As goes the latter, so goes the former as it were.
What is most striking about his article is the forthright admission of the inability of Secularism to ground any kind of moral standard. This has been a topic of interest on RL for quite some time now, and on this, Steinrucken seems to be on the side of the faithful. Score one for the home team. Now, before all my fellow theists get too elated, Steinrucken is not making the case that such morals are REAL, only that the BELIEF in objective morals, such as can only be grounded by religious convictions about the justice of God, objective truth, and the real and universal value of human persons, is pivotal to the survival of a free Western society.
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To that end he says, “Those who doubt the effect of religion on morality should seriously ask the question: Just what are the immutable moral laws of secularism? Be prepared to answer, if you are honest, that such laws simply do not exist! The best answer we can ever hear from secularists to this question is a hodgepodge of strained relativist talk of situational ethics. They can cite no overriding authority other than that of fashion. For the great majority in the West, it is the Judeo-Christian tradition which offers a template assuring a life of inner peace toward the world at large — a peace which translates to a workable liberal society. ”
Well put. Later he even goes so far as to say, “Secularism has never offered the people a practical substitute for religion.” He briefly alludes to the failed attempt at Secular utopias that ended up causing some of the worst crimes against humanity ever perpetrated in the history of mankind.
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