I will occasionally share here clusters of 3-10 pieces of content I find interesting, helpful to building up believers, or helpful to believers and secularists to help both understand secularism. Sharing content here does not mean I affirm everything being said in each article, but do believe they are helpful for provoking thought. I do take full responsibility for my commentary.
The New York Times: “A Confession of Liberal Intolerance”
Commentary: A progressive reflects on how progressives discriminate against conservatives.
The Gospel Coalition: “Five Principles of the New Sexual Morality”
Commentary: many Christians claim that secularism’s approval of homosexual practice will result also in an approval of pedophilia. According to this article, that is a straw man argument. In a contractual view of sexual ethics, which seems to be the view secularism is adopting, homosexual practice between consenting adults is OK whereas pedophilia is wrong.
The Washington Post: “As a psychiatrist, I diagnose mental illness. Also, I help spot demonic possession.”
Commentary: It is possible to be a rational professional inhabiting secularism and believe in demons and the supernatural.
First Things: “A Subjective Definition of ‘Death’ Would Unleash Great Evil”
Commentary: Radical self-autonomy denies the objective biological realities of male and female. Will radical self-autonomy go so far as to deny the objective realities of life and death? Could a man self-identify as “dead” so he could collect his own life-insurance policy?
The Federalist:“Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s ‘Rationalia’ Would Be A Terrible Country”
Commentary: scientism is a philosophy masquerading as “science.” All science rests on philosophical presuppositions. We are either self-aware, or unaware, of how philosophy and science interact with one another.
The Enlightenment project (1685-1815)-that is, the attempt to establish a secular and rational basis for morality-is a failure. As someone who grew up steeped in secularism and Enlightenment philosophy yet was saved by Christ as an adult, I will briefly communicate my change of heart.
Western culture has gone through 3 stages:
1) There is an objective standard of morality that can be rationally justified.
2) The Enlightenment: moral claims are still made; appeal to objective standards and rational justification start to deteriorate.
3) Emotivism: all moral judgments are expressions of personal preference.
America and Europe are in Stage 3 emotivism, reflected in statements like “that works for you” or “I would never murder someone, but who am I to deny someone else that right?” We will either repent and return to Jesus and the Christian roots we had in Stage 1 or become just as bad as Nazi Germany. Secular humanism will no longer be humanism, but Nietzschean anti-humanism: the statement “we are descended from apes, so let us love one another,” will turn into the statement “we are descended from apes, so let us dominate and oppress one another.”
Nazi Germany was described by Hannah Arendt exactly this way, “…the few rules and standards according to which men used to tell right from wrong, and which were invoked to judge or justify others and themselves, and whose validity were supposed to be self-evident to every sane person either as a part of divine or of natural law.… without much notice… collapsed almost overnight, and then it was as though morality suddenly stood revealed in the original meaning of the word, as a set of mores, customs and manners, which could be exchanged for another set with hardly more trouble than it would take to change the table manners of an individual or a people.”
The Holocaust shows us how this type of thinking fleshes itself out, embodying death, destruction, and chaos.
In the presence of moral chaos and darkness, the local Church and local community are absolutely essential. Alasdair MacIntyre argues we must construct “local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us.”
I recently added Monopolizing Knowledge to my reading list. Ian H. Hutchinson, an MIT professor of nuclear engineering and science, refutes scientific materialism, also known as scientism.
“No doubt those who really founded modern science were usually those whose love of truth exceeded their love of power… [Now that love of power has exceeded love of truth,] reconsideration, and something like repentance, may be required.” ~The Abolition of Man (The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Collection, p. 489).
The day will come
When men and mice will be
No longer in an emnity.
You cursed my work with thistles, thorns,
And now the thorns Your crown adorns.
Oppenheimer had this to say about the atomic bomb:
“Despite the vision and the far-seeing wisdom of our wartime heads of state, the physicists felt a peculiarly intimate responsibility for suggesting, for supporting and, in the end, in large measure, for achieving the realization of atomic weapons. Nor can we forget that these weapons, as they were in fact used, dramatized so mercilessly the inhumanity and evil of modern war. In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose” (Quoted in John Grant’s Corrupted Science).