by Bill Nugent
In all of my lifetime I’ve never seen America more divided than it is now. I believe the reason for this radical cultural and political division is because of the clash of two religions.
I remember a time when Republicans and Democrats disagreed mainly on economic issues. The Republicans said we need to support business and create employers if we want employment. The Democrats said we’ve got to work for higher wages for the working people and help them get good union jobs with union benefits. The disagreement was friendly and both parties were respectful of each other.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress were friends. They played golf together and were members of the same social clubs.
Republicans and Democrats operated within the same overarching Judeo-Christian worldview. Not that they were all devout Jews and Christians but they generally believed we should love God, obey the ten commandments, love your neighbor, speak truthfully, play fair in politics, disagree politely and fight for everyone’s right to speak.
Sixty years ago, the overwhelming majority of Americans were either nominal Protestants or semi-devout Catholics. In 1961, America was not a fundamentalist Christian Nation by any means yet Christianity and church life was respected and honored. The 1960s brought radical social and religious change to America. We saw the beginning of the collapse of the liberal mainline Protestant churches.
There was a famous Time magazine cover in 1966 which claimed that God is dead. Young people on college campuses began to flout time honored biblical standards of sexual restraint. Nonbelievers began to openly proclaim their agnosticism and atheism.
The collapse of Mainline Denominations
The theologically liberal Protestant denominations such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church USA, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church began to lose members at an accelerating pace beginning in the sixties. The Roman Catholic ecumenical council, Vatican II brought radical changes to the Catholic Church. The number of priests and nuns began to fall steadily and catastrophically in the decades that followed. Many people left the Catholic church.
If you look at the membership of the mainline Protestant churches from the 1960s to now you’ll see a precipitous drop in members and in number of churches in all of the above mentioned Protestant denominations. Statistics compiled by the Barna Group and the denominations’ own membership figures document the steady decline.
The question remains: where did all those people go? Many of the people who left the nominal Christian denominations went into secularism. The Barna Group has compiled statistics showing a huge rise in the number of skeptics. There has been a radical secularization of American society and of Western civilization in general since the 1960s. A large number embraced secularism yet some joined the theologically conservative Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic churches
The Rise of Secularism
You can say that the religious center of America has collapsed. On the right, you have the fundamentalist denominations, the evangelicals, the Pentecostals and the Charismatic churches. On the left you have the secular religion of humanism. I would say that the secular viewpoint is by and large the dominant viewpoint of America especially among the 1% and other influential people, including leaders in education, the arts and media. Secularism is often called secular humanism, philosophical naturalism, skepticism or atheistic materialism.
The nation of Israel has been similarly polarized between right and left. Reformed Judaism and Conservative Judaism have hollowed out and the majority of Israeli Jews are secular. The Ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews form a huge growing population on the right. The religious and cultural middle ground has collapsed. The same can be said of Europe. Europe is so secularized it’s been called post-Christian. European Evangelicals are a small minority.
Theologically conservative people tend to be culturally and politically conservative. Theologically liberal people tend to be culturally and politically liberal. Everyone operates from their worldview which is defined by their religion whether it conserves biblical truth or liberally minimizes biblical truth, or as a secularist, outright denies biblical truth. Secularism is a faith, it’s a belief system, it’s a religion with great influence among the opinion shapers of America.
The tenets of the new secular humanistic faith are:
1) There is no God, humans are the supreme beings.
2) We evolved from pond scum to fish to amphibians to reptiles to mammals to apes to humans without the aid of a Creator God.
3) We have no souls, no purpose and no accountability to a law-giving higher power because there is no higher power.
4) People are born basically good and a well socialized person can be entrusted with great governmental power without being corrupt or cruel.
5) We have no life after death, no future and no destiny.
For reference see Humanist Manifesto I (1933), Humanist Manifesto II (1973), and Humanist Manifesto III (2003).
I realize that not all secular people will be so bold as to openly proclaim belief in the above listed tenets. Some still cling to some form of liberal Protestantism or liberal Catholicism but live as practical atheists.
The upshot of all this for the secularists is: live for yourself, indulge in every pleasure, kill your preborn child if you don’t want the financial burden of a child, live out every sexual indulgence whether straight or gay, stupefy yourself with drugs and alcohol to dull the pain and despair. What do they do to get involved in society? They fight the right and work to impose the culture of death which is abortion, homosexuality and socialism. They want to give all money and power to the Federal government to bring in a secular, totalitarian government utopia.
Secularists believe that people are generally good and therefore, a benevolent dictator at the top of government can be entrusted with an immense amount of power and he will use the power for the good of humanity. It’s the old Faustian bargain of giving all power to a dictator who promises to use the power to build a Marxist, centrally planned society.
The driving force behind the secularization of global society is Darwinian evolution and rejection of God as creator. In a modern technological world, people tend to worship science. Science gave us all our modern toys. People were taught in school that evolution is based on sound science. It is not.
The Judeo-Christian Worldview
The tenets of the Judeo-Christian worldview are:
1) God is the Supreme Being who created the universe and owns the universe.
2) We are created in the image of God and therefore human life is sacred.
3) Each person has a purpose in life to love and serve God.
4) Each person has a sin nature and is in need of redemption by the grace and mercy of God.
5) Each person has a conscious existence after death, either with God or separated from Him.
In many of my Defending the Faith articles I’ve countered the secular faith which I believe is a false faith and is essentially a false religion that is ruining many lives. Probably about a quarter of my articles have been directed against the origins myth of atheism which is Darwinian evolution. I’ve attacked the evolution hypothesis and have exposed the fact that evolution is not supported by science.
Regarding evolution, I’ve often pointed out the extreme complexity of living cells. A single-celled bacteria is more complex than a smartphone. It could not have been formed by chance. A cell screams for the need of a personal super-intelligent Creator God.
I’ve also delved into the fossil record and showed the lack of transitional fossils between fossils of the so-called progression of evolution from pond scum to fish to reptile to mammal to ape to human. Darwinian evolution is not supported by the fossils. The alleged “missing link” human fossils are all either fully ape or fully human. There are no ape-to-human transitional fossils.
I’ve also discussed genetics. Science shows that genetic mutations are harmful errors to the DNA. Mutations scramble or transfer nucleotide base pairs in the DNA. There are over 5,000 diseases caused by genetic mutations but only a few dozen alleged beneficial mutations being studied. Evolution is a pathetic myth that crumbles under objective scientific scrutiny.
People Are Turning to the Biblical Christian Faith
There are a large number of liberal Protestants and nominal Catholics who have abandoned their prior liberal theological commitment and have made the change to theologically conservative Christianity. They’ve examined their faith and they’ve also examined secularism and its claims. They’ve examined secularism’s scientifically flawed evolution origins myth. They’ve taken another look at the Bible. They see the ancient wisdom of the Bible and they learn that Jesus came in fulfillment of over 300 prophecies. They’ve also seen that miracles occur even today in answer to Christian prayer.
They also begin to learn that there is a spirit world, which is an invisible realm from which God operates. They’ve come to put their faith in Christ. They’ve come to the conviction that it’s impossible to come to God by earning your way to God by doing good works. Good works are important but they don’t earn salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Salvation was purchased for us by Jesus Christ when he died for our sins and took the penalty of our sins upon Himself so that we can receive forgiveness of sins. Once you have received the forgiveness of sins and the born again regeneration of your spirit, then you can do good works and serve God under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead to offer forgiveness of sins to all who turn to Him in repentance. I invite you to turn to Christ today to receive forgiveness of sins.
(c) 2021 William P. Nugent, You are permitted to forward this article or quote it for Christian education and outreach purposes.
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
Prayer to receive salvation:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!