What Comes After Secularism?
The recent Koran burning controversy has revealed something significant – secularism is dying. Europe has been learning this for awhile. Now it’s America’s turn.
For years secularism has been put forth as the desirable operating system of the world. Secularism, it’s been argued, is the only system that can supply the neutrality necessary to allow all viewpoints to flourish. But now the virus of relativism has snagged up the secular system, making it inoperable.
The recent brouhaha over the burning of the Koran reveals this in several ways.
First, it reveals secularism’s inconsistency. Not too long ago the U.S. Military burned a whole shipment of Bibles in Afghanistan for tactical reasons. This is not widely known, but once you learn about it, it makes any sensible person wonder, “Why is it OK to burn Bibles in Afghanistan but an outrage to burn the Koran in America?” Secularism cannot offer a consistent answer.
Second, the Koran burning controversy shows that secularism is losing authority because it’s becoming apparent it has no standard. Even if you agree with the slew of secular authorities who believe burning the Koran is a bad idea, it is proper to ask them, “By what standard is it wrong?” After all, if someone were to plan a similar stunt using something Christians hold dear, there would be no outcry. He may have even got Federal funding. At best, the only standard secularism has to offer is, “be nice,” and even this is applied selectively.
Third, the recent incident about the Koran shows that the secular ideal of pluralism does not work. According to pluralism, “all religions are the same, and we all serve the same God.” Besides being bad theology, it’s also bad practice, because it overlooks glaring moral differences between faiths. As a Christian missionary put it last week when confronted by Muslims about the Koran burning issue, “O.K., I’ll tell my people not to burn books, you tell your people not to kill.”
While our secular rulers seem to have a hard time seeing that there is no moral comparison here, the general public is catching on, and it will only hasten secularism’s demise. Secularism’s approaching death is a scary thought for many, because we are so comfortable with it. But in its place, God will raise up something new.
The question is, “What will come next?” Since secularism’s death could come “any time now,” we must wonder what will follow.
As the end plays itself out, Islam is positioning itself to pick up the mantle. Since Islam is a belief system that encompasses all of life, and is being pandered to right and left by secular rulers, it finds itself in a favorable position.
The big wild card is, “What will Christians do?” Christians have grown accustomed to a privatized, other-world kind of faith. But that may be changing. There are signs that a growing number of people are seeing that the secular dogma of neutrality is a myth, and that God’s authority is to be acknowledged in every sphere.
If there truly is a change, however, there must be more than just allegiance to the generic god of civil religion. There must be allegiance to Jesus Christ as Lord of all areas of life, leading to a recovery of Christendom.
For this to take place, Christians everywhere must come out of the closet and submit to Christ in every corner of existence. If this were to happen, the future would actually be quite bright.
The Lordship of Christ is the issue. And what follows secularism depends on how we respond to that issue.