The Subtle Danger of Secularism
John Telgren


Most Americans tend to divide their life into secular and religious. On the surface, this appears to be harmless. However, it is this false dichotomy that has contributed to the moral decline of Western culture. Even though Western culture has strong Christian roots, the rise of secularism has unhooked the culture from those roots. The rise of secularism divided truth into two basic categories: scientific truth and religious truth.

Scientific truth claims to be unbiased and universally valid. It deals with facts that one arrives at through a rational process. It is a truth of mind.

Religious truth, according to secularism, is personal, non-rational, and private. It deals with "values." It is a truth of the heart rather than the mind. People have "religious preference." What is religiously true for one person might not be for another person.

This dichotomy has been the most powerful weapon for marginalizing religion into something irrelevant in a deviously subtle way. Instead of attacking religious faith openly, secularists remove religion out of the category of true and false altogether. They bracket it into the subjective values arena, which is personal and private. They might say they have no problem with religion, but then claim it has no relevance to public life because religion is a matter of personal feelings and values, not public life.

This is why Christians often get tuned out when speaking to public issues from the standpoint of their faith. The secular mindset will categorize everything either under scientific truth or religious truth. One is based on universal fact, the other is based on personal values. Nancy Pearcey, in her book, Total Truth, calls this a "gatekeeper" to keep religion out of public life.

Christians often unwittingly adopt this same mindset. They attend worship, pray, and minister, yet think and act like secular humanists. For instance, Christian education is often merely the same secular curriculum with prayer and devotionals tacked on to it. Instead of given a Biblical theology of the discipline, whether it be science, history, philosophy, math or politics, it is often the same secular program as one would find anywhere else. People define "Christian" teachers in terms of behavior rather than giving a Biblical framework for their discipline.

All truth is God's truth. Ephesians 4:21 says that truth is in Jesus. Our Bible not only gives us the message of salvation, but also a lens through which to see our world clearly. While we have done well articulating God's plan for salvation, we have not done as well in articulating and living out a Biblical worldview. If one is not able to articulate and live out a Biblical worldview, one will borrow from another worldview. This is where secular Christians come from. We need to realize that the Bible gives us an entire theological and practical framework for all of life and every discipline. The Bible does not begin with, "accept the Lord Jesus and be baptized." Instead, it begins with, "In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth." All truth begins and ends with God.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mindů(Rom 12:2a)"