Introducing The Topic
Generally, I avoid getting personal. Oh, I most certainly talk about my Christian faith and my personal opinions, but making it about me risks confusing the fact that I believe something with proof that what I believe is true. Wisdom requires us to rest our beliefs on a more objective foundation. Usually this foundation is formed from postulates or axioms — assumptions — that we all share. Unfortunately, far fewer of us now share the same objective foundation. So, we find our debates more difficult to resolve amiably, even among family members. Why? Because we start with differing assumptions, we arrive at different, more complex truths that are in direct conflict.
Why don’t we share the same objective foundation anymore? Even people who should know don’t know (or won’t admit what they do know). Consider the observation of an Associate Professor of Philosophy.
What happened? I admit I don’t know. My best guess is the huge impact that Henry Sidgwick and G.E. Moore had on the formation of analytic ethics. They also had a pretty big impact on a number of high status British intellectuals. Moore’s Principia Ethica had a big impact on Keynes as a young man, along with many of his associates in the Bloomsbury Group. And since their moral theories are abnormally secular, historically speaking, contemporary analytic ethics has inherited its abnormal secularity from them.When Did Moral Philosophy Become Overwhemingly Secular? (kevinvallier.com)
What happened? Consider the fact that the author calls himself a political philosopher. He observes what for a political philosopher must be an astoundingly huge change, and he admits almost complete confusion as to the cause.
What happened? Instead of being taught the teachings of the Bible, which Christians believe to be divine revelation, our schools taught us a Secular ethos. Instead of making certain we learned the teachings of the Bible — what they believed — successive generations of American parents trusted politicians with the education of their children. Thus, we have become a more secularized society. That is, successive generations of parents have allowed successive generations of politicians to replace Christianity with the logic of a government approved Secular ethical system.
According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, only 44 percent of Americans say that it is necessary to believe in God in order to “be moral and have good values.” Or put differently, a majority of Americans—around 56 percent—think that you can be moral and have good values, even if you are an atheist.Atheism, Morality, and Society | Psychology Today
Why would so many believe the opposite of what previous generations believed, that it is unnecessary to believe in God in order to “be moral and have good values”? The answer is that that believe what they were taught to believe.
What is the logic of Secular ethics? Well that begins with a definition of Secular.
So to be secular means that 1) a person does not believe in supernatural beings, entities, or realms, 2) a person does not engage in religious behaviors, and 3) a person does not identify as religious and is not a member of a religious community.
To be secular is to maintain a naturalistic worldview in which belief in anything is always proportioned to the evidence available. It is about engaging in a variety of activities that are understood as this-worldly, and to identify with, or be a member of, non-religious groupings or associations.What Does “Secular” Mean? | Psychology Today
Acceptable definition? Well, it is not much different from the dictionary definition, Secularism | Definition of Secularism by Merriam-Webster (merriam-webster.com). And is this definition of Secularism not what is taught in school?
Does Secularism provide a practical foundation for a decent ethical system? How does a Secularist judge the decency of his ethical system? To whom does he defer, the majority? Why? Part 2 in this series will consider these issues.
Christianity once provided the ethical foundation for Western Civilization. Now we supposedly exist in a post-Christian era. Nevertheless, our Christian heritage remains pervasive. What does it mean to be a Christian? Different denominations will argue for their own definition, but for reasons which once would have been obvious the Bible should guide us in this matter.
Question: “What is a Christian?”What is a Christian? | GotQuestions.org
Answer: A dictionary definition of a Christian would be something similar to “a person professing belief in Jesus as the Christ or in the religion based on the teachings of Jesus.” While this is a good starting point, like many dictionary definitions, it falls somewhat short of really communicating the biblical truth of what it means to be a Christian. The word “Christian” is used three times in the New Testament (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). Followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26) because their behavior, activity, and speech were like Christ. The word “Christian” literally means, “belonging to the party of Christ” or a “follower of Christ.”
Are you doubtful this definition is correct? Well, the author derived it from the Bible, and there is no other more appropriate source. Here are some additional references.
- How Does The Bible Define a Christian? | Dr. Michael L. Williams (patheos.com)
- Definition of a Christian – Focus on the Family
- Christian Definition and Meaning – Bible Dictionary (biblestudytools.com)
Does Christianity provide a practical foundation for a decent ethical system? How does a Christian judge the decency of his ethical system? To whom does he defer, Jesus Christ? Why? That will be the discussion of Part 3 in this series.
How will we end this series? Part 4 will address the conflicts that arise from the differences between the Christian worldview and Secular morality. Here I will also argue these differences provide the basis of our growing national divide.