Saturday, 12 April 2008

The secular mind at work

This week, national headlines were made in the UK when the Christian Institute announced that it was going to take legal proceedings against the Internet giant, Google, unless Google changed its policies on selling advertising.

Google has confirmed that it has an explicit ban on accepting advertised links to websites that are both a) religious in nature and b) address the topic of abortion. Links to religious websites are fine; links to websites that address the topic of abortion from a secularist perspective are fine; but the twain must under no circumstances meet.

The Christian Institute believes that this policy is illegal, as the UK has a law (with various exemptions) which explicitly forbids the denial of provision of goods and services on religious (and various other) grounds. This is quite ironic, as the law itself was the work of secularists looking to advance a multi-cultural agenda; the kind of thing they wanted to see it used for was exemplified by a recent example where a homosexual practitioner sued the Church of England because one of its congregations wouldn't employ him.

Google released a statement to explain the reason for its discriminatory policy. (On this blog, "discriminatory" isn't a swear word meant to automatically imply that something's automatically bad. Discriminating between truth and tripe is good!). Apparently, it's because religious sites which address the topic of abortion are "not factual".

What a hoot. Google has some "big book of facts" locked up in its headquarters that it checks all the pro- and anti- arguments used in the abortion debate up against, and its determined that all of those used on websites of a religious nature aren't in it? Are we now meant to believe that all the advertising links that Google does accept on its website are factual? Researchers from the Christian Institute quickly turned up that Google is willing to accept adverts for websites selling pornography, ouija boards, occult horoscopes and websites to help you cheat on your husband or wife. These sites are all good and wholesome, unlike the pesky nonsense peddled by the religionists who tell you that your unborn baby is a precious gift from God, not an arbitrary ball of flesh to be excised like a cancer if you don't want it.

Well, we could poke fun at the nonsensical contradictions in Google's position and practice for hours. But what I think would be more useful is to point out some of the absurd beliefs and contradictions of the secular mind itself, which Google has given us a classic exemplification of here. Actually I'd guess that this policy is probably the work of a lone campaigning secularist, misusing his influence in Google to promote his own religious agenda and that the policy will be scrapped once it comes under scrutiny. That's just a guess though. Christians need to understand how secularist thinking works, so that they can identify, combat and refute it. Here it is:
  • Religion deals with the unverifiable. It is to do with values and beliefs which are personal and private. They should not be allowed to intrude into public life, because public life is the realm of shared facts. Religion isn't to do with facts. (Don't ask us how we know this).

  • Obvious unspoken but unavoidable implication: religion deals with things that are either false or irrelevant. Hence, secularism is just the cowardly face of atheism. Because secularism is the cowardly face of atheism, it dishonestly exempts atheistic claims from its ban on the application of religious principles to public life; these are allowed to spread unhindered, and this is called "neutrality".

  • Even if some religious claims are possibly true, they still aren't allowed to be mentioned or used in the public sphere. If values cannot be supplied from religion, then the values of the public sphere must come from secular humanism, which is the only shared basis on which we can operate together. Again, this relies upon dishonestly pretending that secular humanism is religiously neutral.

  • In the realm of medical ethics, we must abolish all of those personal and private values. Everything must be decided by science. (However, science can't actually deal with values - you can't look down a microscope and work out whether humans have God-given dignity or not.) Therefore, the public sphere must effectively become value-less. The only value is that everyone's values are as good as everyone else's. (Except secularists' values, which are sacred and must never be questioned.)

  • The ultimate authority in the secular mind is not that of any transcendent or supernatural being, but that of the force of law. If you don't like something, then don't bother arguing against it; simply ban it and declare it out of bounds by fiat.

  • Because secularism is public truth and the only way to build a modern society, anything opposing it must be censored. We believe in free speech, as long as you don't express any opinions which contradict secularism. Any questioning of secular assumptions is bad and dangerous and it is legitimate to censor it wherever it appears; hence a search engine believes it has a legitimate role to determine whether or not religions have anything valid to say about abortion, or whether their websites should be actively suppressed to stop people being corrupted by them. Freedom in a secular society means the freedom to agree with secularism, not to contradict it. Don't agree that men brutalising other men for twisted sexual pleasure is not morally neutral? Here's a hate-speech law to shut you up.
The logic of the Google thinking here is classic secularism:
  1. Religious values are private, personal and subjective; even if possibly related to truth, they can play no part in science or public debate.

  2. Abortion is a down to earth, real-life matter, and involves the science of the developing baby blob.

  3. As such, religion can have nothing to say about abortion.

  4. If the religious are trying to say something about abortion, then they are making a mistaken and potentially dangerous incursion into the public sphere. This may threaten the basis of our stable secular society.

  5. The right to free speech ends once the basis of secularism itself is called into question. Therefore, for our own good, we must censor them.

  6. On the other hand, sites promoting husbands and wives cheating on each other are all fine and dandy. Remember: we can't impose any values in the public square other than the value of enforcing secularism, so if that's your cup of tea, then great. Even if you don't like it, then remember that it's a free country, each to his own: who are we to play the censor? We're just a search engine!

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