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"Worldview in Conflict
Pt. 6"

Psalm 14:1-3 “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. 2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. 3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.”


Over the past couple of months we have traced the development of western world-views from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment. The Renaissance substituted humanity in place of God at the center of the Western worldview. The humanism of the Renaissance was mystical but, as it developed, the religious aspects of this humanism were discarded giving way to the age of the Enlightenment emerged. Faith in human reason resulted in a major shift concerning the Western world’s prevailing convictions about God, the world, and man. This paved the way for Secularism.

The Rise of Secularism

From the Enlightenment, Western society eventually passed into Secularism. Man had already displaced God at the center of the universe. Men were no longer looking to God for an understanding of truth, they were looking to themselves. With Kant’s insistence that God cannot even be known, theology would soon become a science of pure conjecture. In fact, Kant’s influence would relegate everything outside the realm of personal experience to the level of mere theory. Thus we are left with Secularism.

Secularism is generally defined as religious skepticism and indifference. Therefore, Secularism insists that religious considerations be excluded from civil affairs and public education. The term “secular” means “worldly, belonging to this age.” Fueled by Kant’s insistence that experience is the measure of all that can be known, secularists assume that this present world of time and space is all there is. Secularists deny the existence of an eternal dimension.

As a philosophy, Secularism formed the foundational presuppositions upon which modern Western culture has been built. While most Americans may not be “philosophical” secularists, they are “practical” secularists. In other words, even if they do not understand the formal tenets of Secularism, they live by its principles. For example, as members of society, we are expected keep our religious convictions private. We are told that such convictions have no place in civic, economic, or educational spheres. After all, these are the spheres of reality while religion belongs to the realm of speculation. What you believe about things that are “unknowable” are your business. What we can all agree on are the things we experience. Therefore, society insists that we abandon any religious orientation in our collective endeavors. Believe what you will about religion but society must be based on fact. The aim of Secularism is to make us worldly – to draw our commitment away from eternal matters – to cause us to invest ourselves fully in this present age.

This is precisely the opposite of what Scripture teaches. All Christians should be aware of the biblical injunctions against worldliness. The term “world” is most often used negatively in Scripture. In this sense it refers to society as it organizes itself against God. Secularism is one of those organizing principles. Nonetheless, despite the fact that Secularism enjoys an almost universal acceptance in the modern world we should remember it is neither an objective reality nor a proven truth. It is the assumption of a world that has forsaken God.


By now we should see a pattern emerging. What do the mystical humanism of the Renaissance, the reason-centered humanism of the Enlightenment, and the Secularism humanism of modernism all have in common? Humanism – a man-centered perspective. In the Renaissance, man focused on himself as he looked to mystical wisdom for the objective reality of God. In the Enlightenment, man focused on himself as he looked to reason for the objective reality of the divine. In the age of Secular Humanism, man focuses on himself as he looks to his own experience for the objective reality of himself. When man displaces God at the center of all things, this is where it inevitably leads. Humanism is an idolatrous exaltation of humanity.

Walker Percy once said that “100% of the American population are Secular Humanists and 98% of them believe in God.” This may be an overstatement but it reveals just how much Americans have become comfortable with contradiction. Most people claim to believe in God, but that is a private conviction that has little or nothing to do with how they live. Think about commitments to Secular Humanism that directly defy a belief in God as He has revealed Himself and His will in Scripture. Secular humanism insists upon legitimizing alternate family structures. Marriage is viewed as optional and same sex couples demand family status. Society insists upon value-free, neutral education. However, as we have seen, Secularism is not neutral. It has a very distinct worldview to propagate. Society naively subscribes to the myth of an objective and unbiased public media. And finally, society insists upon religion-free legislation. However, there is no such thing as a law that represents no particular view of God. In Secular Humanism, man is the god behind legislation.


The myth of Secular Humanism is that it is free from moral and religious convictions. The most honest proponents of secular humanism acknowledge that it is indeed, a “religion.” It espouses certain fundamental beliefs about God, the universe, and man. They simply believe it is the best religion for our pluralistic society. Therefore, we must acknowledge that the presuppositions forming the basis for what most Americans find acceptable in terms of family lifestyles, education, the media, and government are founded upon a “religion” that defies Christianity. We must not foolishly believe that what we have learned in society is either objective or neutral. Secular Humanism has an agenda – to convince people that a man’s religious life is separate from his secular life.

Next month, we will begin considering the impact of Secularism on our view of God, His church, our mission, and ourselves.

- Stan McGehee Jr