Russell and Duenes

Secularism is Theocracy

with one comment

New York Times‘ columnist, Ross Douthat, has a new book out: Bad Religion. As one who occasionally reads Douthat’s columns, I’ve perused a number of reviews and commentaries on his book. It looks engaging, and someday when I get my current book queue down to a manageable number, I might get around to reading it. Douglas Wilson has written a brief comment on the book, and in his usual pointed way, provides some keen analysis. In Bad Religion, Douthat mentions Wilson as someone who flies a bit close to the sun on the issue of theocracy. Wilson’s response to this is spot on. He writes,

Douthat says that at times I have flirted with theocratic sentiments. It would be closer to the mark to say that—provided the necessary qualifications are made—I have been a full-throated advocate of theocracy. I am unalterably opposed to “theocracy,” or any form of government contained with scare quotes. . . [A]ll societies are theocratic, and the only thing that distinguishes them is which God they serve. I want a theocratic society that maximizes human liberty, including liberty of conscience, and since this is a good thing, this means that we have to worship the God who gives all good things, the true and living God. [emphasis mine]

More than anyone, Douglas Wilson has taught me that there is no spiritual neutrality anywhere in the universe, and thus, secularism is not spiritually neutral. It is a form of theocracy, complete with evangelists, prophets, and high priests. It guards its own orthodoxy “with jealousy and venom,” and its purveyors are quick to hunt out and shout down perceived heresies. It is manifestly not neutral or unbiased, though it likes to proclaim itself as such. Wilson recognizes this and lays it bare better than any current Christian writer I know. Thus he concludes his piece with this powerful sentiment:

[A]ny person who proposes we go in a completely different direction than secularism urges needs to be ready for this part of it—the slanders will come and some of those charges will appear to stick. That is part of the cost of doing business. In our day, there is absolutely no way to argue for any form of Christendom whatever without having to answer for the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the slave trade, and numerous other icky things. But by “answer for,” I do not mean that we should argue that such things were the bright sunbeams of history, lighting up our path along the way—although that will be what we are accused of doing. All you have to do is put any of those atrocities in some sort of context and you will be accused of being a strident defender of them. The atrocities of Christendom (which have been grievous when compared to the holy law of God) still pale in comparison to the great pyramid of skulls that the secularists have constructed for us.

Of course this point needs reaffirmation and proclamation far and wide, particularly by evangelical Christian students on secular university campuses. As Wilson points out, the response will not be pretty, which only bolsters the point that secularism is no mere “live and let live” kind of philosophy. No, it is totalizing, as is any religion worth its salt. Even when we recognize this, it is hard to know how to engage, rather than withdraw. I do not have a good answer, and probably can’t come up with one on my own. Nor can I engage on my own. Engagement is a task for the Christian community. We have not yet taken up the mantle as we ought. As we seek to do so, may we “tune our ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding.” May we “cry out for insight and understanding, searching for them as we would for lost money or hidden treasure.” (Prov. 2:2-3)



Written by Michael Duenes

June 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Reading the original writings of one of the Founders, John Adams, has been most interesting!!! It provides a serious contemplation and discussion of the issues you are writing about.

    Also, a friend found the law writings of Fred Rodell, and suggested putting it on the reading list! For easily understandable reasons these matters are not discussed very often in any law school, or any educational system, etc,…
    Could be considered too humorous…..!!!

    Why does the number 13 come into play in so many events in media and history?
    1+12 = 13
    1+3 = 4
    3+1 = 4

    A man who consents to a life of a settled mind places his full faith and credit in illusion… where there will be doubt, there shall be faith…

    dan dust

    June 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: