Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Debate in secularist societies


Let's leave aside the politics of any of the policies discussed in that article. My aim is not to be political, but to address issues of Christians living in secular societies, and how we can try to understand how they work and respond to them.

Secularism is relentlessly conformist. Those who jettison doctrines of God, the soul, grace and depravity, often find it hard to understand how any reasonable person can disagree with them. The room for Christian ideas of sphere sovereignty, liberty of conscience, and the like, get gradually squeezed out; what's left is the state. The history of atheist and secularist states in the 20th century demonstrates the awful reality of that thesis in bloody detail. For the secularist leaders (whether in state or media or wherever), you're not allowed just to be wrong (in one's opinion); you must be mad or evil; and hence in danger of the gulag or the asylum.

That's what we see increasingly from the secularist elites (who are mostly political leftists) in the UK government and media, as exemplified in the above article (I noted that the idea that men can marry men was not rated for its lunacy factor).

Look at some of the things that the author things are at the extreme end of lunacy (to pick out a few):
  • To make it mandatory for prisoners to serve the full custodial sentence handed down by a court.
  • To allow for capital punishment for certain offences.
  • To allow smoking in a separate ventilated room in a private members’ club if a majority of club members approve.
  • To provide for a tax allowance for married couples.
  • Rules for the appointment of a temporary or new Prime Minister in the event that a serving PM is temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
  • To restrict access by foreign nationals to public services for which no charge is made.
  • To restrict the height, number, location and subsidies of wind turbines situated offshore within 20 miles of the coast.
I make no comment on whether I think those are good, bad or indifferent ideas. The point is that the writer of the article does not do so either. He doesn't think they're ideas at all; they are manifestations of insanity, of lunacy. They suggest a diseased mind that needs treatment - not a possibly thought-out position that one could hold a principled debate with.

To secularists, all right-thinking, intelligent people agree with them. Others are mad or evil. As education and the media in the UK becomes more secular, more and more people are growing up assuming that Christians are so bigotted or brainwashed that you they're not to be debated with - they're to be ignored, stigmatised or clamped down on, depending on the situation and your predilection. That's a situation that Christians themselves will need to be increasingly aware of as it moves from partially jokey (I think) articles in newspapers to employment tribunals, appearances before Human Rights Commissions and the like. Google for how these kinds of things have played out in Canada if you want to see more of how it goes.

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