While it is debatable whether America was ever a truly Christian nation, what is not up for discussion is whether or not secularism has become the faith of the day. Religion is the organization of faith-based belief on either a personal or communal level. Many people today like to hide behind the illusion that they don’t practice “religion”, but are spiritual or even atheist. Even Christ-followers today would rather talk of a relationship than religion. All of this is fine, but it does not change the fact that if you have an organized and acted upon system of belief, that you can’t prove, then you are acting in faith and practicing religion. No matter where you stand on the universe, God or man’s search for meaning, none of us can prove it. This includes the scientific atheist, who have a strong faith that there is no God. The only way to void this is to change the meaning of the word itself.
I would argue that American and perhaps Western civilization as a whole is more “religious” than it has ever been, it’s just that the actors have changed. Stephen Hawking is quoted as saying that “God has not been disproved, but Science has made him unnecessary.”
Secular humanism replaces the idea of God with man, and puts man’s will, as long as it benefits the whole of humanity and is scientifically “proved” for the moment as its theology and “ever changing” truth. Science only offers its absolutes until they are disproved. I would argue that today’s science is at the beck and call of man’s will.
The problem with secular religion is that it offers no solid answer and nothing unmovable to tether itself to. When we butt up against some of the more complex issues in society, especially the problem of evil in the world, again a religious word still used by secular modernists, we come to an impasse.
Last night many of secular humanism pastors used their late night pulpits to decry injustice, sooth a nation’s emotions and answer tough questions. Jimmy Kimmel tried to make sense of it all in a tear-filled and emotional sermon which stated that it seems as if “A window into hell has been opened.” and he may be right. Down the dial, Miley Cyrus and Adam Sandler took to Fallon’s stage to sing Dido’s hymn of freedom. All of this meant to unify and heal a national church service of sorts.
But, how do you heal in a half-staff nation where much of the time, many of us have no idea why the flag has bowed to that sacred position and children find it odd when they see Old Glory rise to its standard.
Secular religion tells us that LOVE is the answer, but currently has no idea where love comes from beyond a chemical reaction in the brain. The God of secular religion has become slave to love, but I would suggest that while God is love, love is not God and it is impossible to understand love without knowing the source of love.
Much like our faith-based predecessors of previous centuries, Secular religion attempts to regulate morality through law, failing to learn the lessons of our faith-based past. This historicity has taught us that morality can never be foisted upon a human soul. Even God knows this, yet here we go again, policing people’s souls. Today’s political activism is the jungle mission field of the secular religious and social media it’s machete. And much like our faith-based religious past, stated belief in a popular idea equals membership into our pews.
C.S. Lewis says that we will never be truly human until we stand before God. This is the idea behind his epic work, Till We Have Faces. This is again where secular humanistic religion often fails. In trying to raise individual man to the highest platform it dehumanizes to achieve it’s self-fulfilling goals. So when Jimmy Fallon, during the campaign rubbed Trump’s head, he was scorned for having “humanized Trump”. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/may/17/jimmy-fallon-trump-interview-tonight-show
Today a female lawyer for CBS was fired after tweeting “If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing,” she wrote on Facebook. “I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”
This is classic Cain vs. Abel humanism where anything is permissible if those being eradicated don’t fit the current zeitgeist. This dehumanization is something that the Nazi’s perfected and seems in synchronicity with our society today.
Of course, this woman knelt in confession to the social media God’s with the required apology about how this does not reflect who she is, but is it not true that the mouth speaks the overflow of the heart and once she suffers the appropriate flagellation, she will be welcomed back. Eventually, this wash rinse and repeat will no longer be a necessity.
The scriptures say that when the end times come, you will know it because people’s love grows cold. While the media gods of our day speak about a red hot love that vanquishes hate, I would argue that our nation’s love tank is running on empty and depleted by empathy fatigue, finding it incapable in our limited human frailty to process degradation on a continually connected and global scale.
Perhaps, our new priest and faith will find a way out of all of this. Maybe love is the answer and they are right in believing that old time religion is a bondage machine meant for mind control. But if they are wrong, and I believe they are, the answer remains the same. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.” May it be so…