From salon.com I read, “We’re putting an end to religion: Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and the exploding new secularism.” From Huff Post I read, “After a Year Without God Former Pastor Ryan Bell No Longer Believes”. And on “The Publican” (Pastor Adam Powers) I found, “Same-Sex Marriage Now Legal in Florida.” Secularism. Atheism. Same-Sex “Marriage”. The morning’s unholy triangle.
Secularism. Secularism is the rejection of religion, especially the view that religion should be excluded from civil life or public education. Phil Zuckerman, author of “We’re putting an end to religion”, argues interestingly that the causes of secularism’s spread are less theological and more political and sociological. First, he says, the alliance of evangelical Christians with conservative Republicans has alienated many left-leaning and politically moderate Americans from Christianity. Second, the Catholic Church’s pedophile priest scandal has driven many Catholics from the church. Third, the dramatic rise of women in the labor force has lessened religious influence in the home, because historically women have kept their husbands and children involved in religion. And, fourth, religious opposition to same-sex “marriage” has turned off people who see it as a fairness issue. Therefore, writes Zuckerman, secularism is spreading.
Atheism. Chris Stedman of Religious News Service writes about Ryan Bell, a former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor. Bell spent 2014 living as an atheist. He now concludes “that the intellectual and emotional energy it takes to figure out how God fits into everything is far greater than dealing with reality as it presents itself to us . . . The world makes more sense to me as it is, without postulating a divine being who is somehow in charge of all things.” Bell isn’t alone. Atheists are on the offensive. Billboards are sprouting around the country advertising atheist clubs, and signs on buses, especially during Christmas, challenge belief in God. Atheism doesn’t have “religion on the run”, but it’s “out of the closet” attracting adherents.
Same-Sex “Marriage.” Midnight Monday, Florida became the 36th state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex “marriage.” According to the web site “CT Now”, churches around the state planned to hold mass weddings Tuesday. This Friday the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to meet privately to decide whether or not to consider cases that could lead to a more-definitive federal ruling. Despite “mass weddings”, the majority of churches stand opposed, which drives those in favor of same-sex “marriage” to leave the church.
So there I was—caught in the currents of an unholy triangle. How’d I get there? When I was boy (black-and-white TV days), the country was culturally Christian. I’m not sure secularism was even a word back then. Atheists were hiding in a closet. And same-sex “marriage” was inconceivable. As Ty J. Young says on his investment company TV commercial, “Clearly it’s not the 80s or 90s anymore.” Times have changed. Sure, secularists, atheists and practicing homosexuals existed in the 50s. But they pretty much kept their secrets from society. Now it’s in-your-face.
Zuckerman, in “We’re putting an end to religion”, claims “we’ve got religion on the run.” Not so fast, Phil. I don’t know any churches sailing for a safe off-shore site! Certainly secularism is spreading, atheists are gathering converts and same-sex “marriage” has won the day in 36 states. So how are we to understand their influence in society over against the church’s apparent impotence?
In Psalm 73 Asaph is confused over the prosperity of the wicked until verse 16. It applies to our unholy triangle.
But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
I wrote my last post about the Last Days leading up to the End. What will be the end of secularism, atheism and same-sex “marriage”? That’s when we’ll know the truth and consequences.
Meanwhile, what seems wise from a worldly worldview isn’t.
Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom,
it pleased God through the folly of what we preach (Christ crucified) to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:20,21).
Eliminating God from the equation may sound wise to human ears, but dumping on religion or progressive-izing society saves no one from God’s just wrath. It just gives a temporary high. Besides, the very existence of this unholy triangle shows some of God’s wrath is already being revealed . . .
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth . . .
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or gives thanks to him,
but became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened . . .
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity . . .
. . . God gave them up to dishonorable passions . . .
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,
God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:18,21,24,26,28).
Even so, we must love them. “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). “Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44). Woe to us if we condemn other sinners, when we are nothing more than sinners saved by grace!
We must love them as an expression of our devoted love to God. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). In these Last Days lukewarm God-lovers get spit out (Revelation 3:16).
And the most loving thing we can do to them is introduce them to Jesus. No easy task. But it’s our mission (Matthew 28:18-20).
After all, given this unholy triangle, it’s not religion that’s running—it’s Jesus. Jesus is pursuing them to the End.