Debra Rae | 14 Apr 2016
Free thought and pride attract atheists, agnostics, and skeptics to the largest secular association in North America—the non-profit, educational Freedom from Religion Foundation. FFRF Co-President Dan Barker opines, "Much of the movement away from religion in America is being driven by Millennials, many of whom will be voting for the first time this year."[i] Hence, Parker adds, "We need secular voters to be vocal about their beliefs, or lack thereof, while rejecting efforts to push religious dogma on the nation."
This, of course, is no small effort. The Foundation boasts 23,500 members, 20 chapters across America, not to mention secular student alliances. Nearly 8,000 secular voters are reaching out to educate the public about their beliefs. FFRF awards thousands of dollars in prizes for winning student essays; and they distribute "I'm Secular and I Vote" buttons, T-shirts, bumper stickers, and educational material.[ii]
What Exactly is Religion?[iii]
To be freed from something requires grasp of what is being discarded. So what exactly is the illusive concept of religion? Surprising to some, whether Judeo-Christian, Marxist-Leninist, secularist, or Islamic, all worldviews by nature are religious. Each defines an ultimate point of reference that dramatically influences every possible discipline from science to the arts, ethics to law, geo-politics to economics. All speak to an ideology, or movement, that offers some overarching approach to comprehend God (god), the world, and man’s relationship to both.
“Freedom from religion” is better understood as switching religion from one brand to another. Allow me to explain. Classical orthodoxy, Christian or Jewish, broadly typifies “religion,” as most perceive it, but so does secular humanism. By definition, religion sports its own distinctive vocabulary, sacred symbolism, grand metanarrative, exclusive truth exercised by faith, code of ethics/morality, creed, rituals, evangelism, and discipleship. Logically, to discard religion is to separate from the above; secularism instead exhibits all of them.
In The Church of the Holy Trinity v. U.S. (1892), the Supreme Court ruled that our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian.[iv] In the early sixties, however, two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases made way for secular humanism by giving the proverbial boot to traditional faith (in the form of school prayer and Bible reading). It was then that secular humanism emerged as a non-theistic religion whose organized system of beliefs is upheld devotedly by some 7.3 million humanists, and counting.[v] Both Christianity and secularism have received judicial acknowledgement.
Keep in mind humanism may or may not center on a supernatural being. Cosmic- and secular- humanism both are organized systems of beliefs and rituals upheld or pursued with zeal and devotion. Their relativistic values exalt human worth based on self-determination through reason.
By censoring God-speak and pilfering biblical phraseology, secularists craft their own lexicon. Take the word, “conversion,” meaning “a turning”—whether literally or figuratively, ethically or religiously. In the Bible, conversion is associated with repentance and faith.[vi] In the secular world, Harvard Professor Steven Pinker boldly testifies, “I never outgrew my conversion to atheist at thirteen.”[vii]
Honorary FFRF Board member Julia Sweeny argues, “How dare the religious use the term ‘born again’?” Sweeney reserves the phrase for fellow freethinkers who, like her, have ostensibly thrown off the shackles of religion. The Greek word for “born again,”[viii] used first by Jesus and plagiarized by Sweeny, means “to beget again into a new life.”[ix] More specifically, “to be born from above.”
In challenging the phrase “under God,” born-again convert to secularism Mike Newdow complained to the U.S. Supreme Court, “I am an atheist. I don't believe in God. And every school morning my child is asked to stand up, face that flag, put her hand over her heart, and say that her father is wrong.” Apparently, in Newdow’s world, affirmations other than his own are personally demeaning and, thus, universally offensive. This freethinking father knows best when it comes to a god that, in his view, doesn’t even exist.[x]
Grand Metanarrative (“Big Story”)
Defined by Huston Smith as “the clearest opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos can pour into human existence,” the religion of secularism merges symbolism with mythology and Jungian psychology espousing the “higher self.”[xi] By self-identifying as “Mother Earth’s consciousness,” cosmic humanists blur the line between physics and metaphysics. Theirs is a pseudo-Christian patchwork of spirit-ism and avant-garde, “fourth-force” psychology.
For these, all life is energy; composite energy is god; and the promised expectation is “life beyond the grave” by becoming god. Most often by means of meditation, achieving an altered state of consciousness enables the Imperial Self to give way to collectivist spirituality. Cosmic humanists attain to cosmic- or group- consciousness by aligning and then fusing with the universal life force. The spiritual climb upward (evolution from embryo-god to “Christhood” through multiple reincarnations) is one grand story![xii]
Secular humanists embrace perhaps an even bigger story by reasoning there once existed absolutely nothing. Nothing happened to that nothing until it magically exploded (for no known reason) and thereby created everything and everywhere. A bunch of the exploded everything unpredictably rearranged itself (again, for no known reason) into self-replicating bits, which (to make a long story short) turned into dinosaurs. This constitutes yet another tall tale, or “big story.”
In comparison, the grand metanarrative of Jews and Christian is this: “In the beginning, God.”[xiii]
Vision[xiv] for a Utopian Ideal
Simply put, the overarching vision for a Christian is humanity united with (and conformed into the likeness of) God’s Son, coupled with full restoration of the universe to its rightful order under God the Father.[xv] In contrast, evolutionary theory at the epicenter of secularism self-characterizes as an expression of “merciless hate.”[xvi] By specifically excluding “useless eaters,”[xvii] “miserable, degraded savages,”[xviii] and those deemed “unfit and defective,”[xix] the progressive utopian ideal sidesteps the Golden Rule[xx] and Great Commission.[xxi]
In the words of the Trilateral Commission’s founding director Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Marxism represents a further vital and creative stage in the maturing of man’s universal vision.” American writer and editor Whittaker Chambers once fingered communism as the “second oldest religion.”[xxii] Understand that “non-sustainable non-producers” relegated to the low end of humanity’s totem pole include the elderly, stay-at-home moms, and those incapacitated physically or mentally. In the Marxist paradigm, all human rights are granted, controlled, and/or withdrawn by government consisting of elitists deemed more highly evolved and enlightened than the masses.
Toward developing our thesis (Freedom from religion is better understood as switching religion from one brand to another.), we’ve established that secularism and religion are accompanied by judicial acknowledgement, a distinctive vocabulary, grand metanarrative (“big story”), and vision for an ideal—all of which inform voters and influence the course of a nation.
More to follow in Part 2.
[iii] Scripture describes us as body, soul (i.e., mind/ feelings) and spirit (i.e., that which yearns for, and relates to, God). On the other hand, “religion” generally speaks to ritual—a means by which man seeks to please God and, thus, win over His favor by self-effort. In contrast, Christianity is a loving God’s reaching out to man. “We love Him because He first loved us,” the Bible says. Christ came to “seek and save” the lost, not to reward ritual. Many Christians (myself included) do not identify with being “religious” (representing man’s lame attempts at reaching God). We are, instead, “spiritual” in that we respond to His unconditional favor as we yearn for and relate to God “in spirit and in truth.” The Christian God initiates relationship through His son, Jesus. In a word, it’s all about Him, not human effort, although good works naturally follow faith (James 2:18).
[iv] 143 US 457-458, 465-471, 36L ed 226, United States Supreme Court, 29 February 1892
[v] Walter R. Martin. The Kingdom of the Cults (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, Inc., Publishers, 1977). 18-23.
[vi] Acts 3:19 & 26, 11:21, 20:21, 26:20
[ix] The classic biblical passage references a conversation Jesus had with a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin, whom Jesus instructed to become “born from above,” John 3:1-21.
[xi] Huston Smith. The Religions of Man (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1965).11-12.
[xii] The process of mystical (cosmic) evolution holds promise for humanity to awaken to esoteric knowledge. Presumably multiple reincarnations with upward mobility (called transmigration) provide opportunities needed for the modern mystic to ascend from embryo god to pantheistic oneness with divine essence.
[xiii] Genesis 1:1
[xiv] “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keeps the law, happy is he,” Proverbs 29:18. "Vision" prophecy denotes the revelation of God's will. Teaching a higher than mere human morality, prophets stood as witnesses to the power of truth. Its absence is marked by confusion, disorder, and rebellion. Uncontrolled, people fall into grievous excesses, which nothing but high principles can restrain (Pulpit Commentary).
[xv] Introduced in Genesis 1:26, the Plan of God destines believers to spiritual maturity, wholeness, and completion (Ep. 4:13) with Christ Himself being formed within yielded vessels (Ga. 4:9) until self-life gives way to the Christ-life; and supernatural works, as His, are accomplished in and through them (Jn. 14:12; Ga. 2:20). Although, in God’s Plan, believers partake of the Divine nature (2 Pe. 1:4), God’s awe-inspiring Deity and humankind’s frail humanity remain indisputably separate. Jesus Christ receives all the glory although He honors His Bride as one whose light is like unto a stone most precious (Re. 21:11). Indeed His Name will be in their foreheads, describing well the singularly focused thought life of His devoted, loving Bride (Re. 22: 4), “whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21).
[xvi] In a 1905 speech, the great statesman, William Jennings Bryan claimed “the Darwinian Theory represents man reaching his present perfection by the operation of the law of hate, the merciless law by which the strong crowd out and kill off the weak.”
[xvii] Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger presumed blacks, immigrants, and indigents to be “useless eaters,” "...human weeds,” and “reckless breeders,” “spawning ... human beings who never should have been born," Pivot of Civilization.
[xviii] On 17 December 1832, as part of his world tour aboard H.M.S. Beagle, Charles Darwin arrived in Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America. Here he got his first view of the native inhabitants, whom he described as “miserable degraded savages,” a phrase he repeated often in his journal concerning these people.
http://creation.com/charles-darwins-savages (Accessed 29 January 2013)
[xix] Dean Pernkopf (“National Socialism and Science”) used the phrase, “unfit and defective,” while addressing university faculty and students of Vienna, stronghold of the new Reich (from selected essays of Gerald Weissmann, 1998).
[xxi] Mark 16:15—“And he said to them, ‘Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel (good news) to every creature.’”