Published in Church and Life (1841) 27.9.2012 – 17.10.2012 No 15
Secularism is the state of being or mind whereby one feels that they are free from religious or spiritual qualities. Put it another way – many people today choose to do things specifically because they are the precise opposite of what the church teaches. In a way secularism is actually a new religion. Most governments today claim to be neutral on matters of belief. They tend to give no privilege or subsidies to people of faith.
Secularists preach that they are totally neutral and their beliefs are only based on evidence and fact, because they presume that religion is based on superstitious beliefs, and all governments should be free from religious domination. For example, they claim such matters as same-sex marriage, euthanasia, abortion etc. should be decided by people who are totally religiously neutral. The church, the Bible, or doctrine would be irrelevant to government decisions.
I see a profound prejudice in such thinking. If every decision is to be made with non- religious orientated people, then it follows that every moral question would have to be made by people who do not believe at all. It is something like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Not surprising then that in almost all moral decisions made by secular governments around the world, the opposite of what the church teaches, has become law. It is obvious. Only secularist thinkers are allowed to have their voice heard. When churches present their views to governments, they are now, more or less, publically humiliated. However, in private, politicians tend to seek the advice of the church. That is why it is so true that one can now condemn himself to hell, by doing what is perfectly legal in most countries.
Australia is an incredibly secular country. We have voted in an atheist Prime Minister. Other politicians we have elected hold views which are far from religiously moral. Australia may have as many as 30% non-believers or atheists. The majority of people in Australia consider religion the least important aspect of their lives. This is reflected in Australian church attendance. Australia is far more secularist than the USA. Nearly 70% of Australians have said that religion has no importance at all to them. The Sydney Morning Herald recently asked its readers if the world would be better off without religion. 81% said yes.
So what is the future of religions, and our church in particular, in this atmosphere? Obviously difficult but, come to think of it, when was it easy. Our faith and salvation are a personal decision. We know that there is no future in secularism and that Jesus Christ is our only hope. Each one of us, one after the other, will have to make up our own minds if Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).