Secular humanism is the predominant religion of the mainstream media, academia, and the political left. It has become the established religion of government schools, and its tenets of relativism, positivism, and statism are widely taught. Toleration is one of its chief virtues. The degree of toleration has reached the absurd, where California now allows students to use male or female restrooms based upon their self-identification, not biology.
In August of 2013 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a statute (which passed the senate 21 to 9) requiring any school receiving public funding to allow transgender students access to facilities and activities consistent with their gender identity. This allows, for example, a biological male who identifies himself as female to use female restrooms and play on female sports teams. Does anyone seriously think this law will not cause problems?
With such liberality of thought and action, it would seem almost every belief system – and certainly one that has existed for myriads of centuries and formed the foundation of western civilization – would find protection and security within this ideology. Or at least they would be tolerated. But not so.
Since Christians adhere to God’s moral standards and, hence, do not tolerate sinful behavior, nor do they want such immoral behavior to become the norm for society, they are represented as hate-filled bigots and labeled as intolerant. In the minds of the secularist, no title is worse.
Consider the recent apoplectic rage of the liberal media and homosexual activists when Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson expressed his opinion, and the Biblical position, that homosexual marriage and behavior is wrong and detrimental to society.
While liberals present themselves as the epitome of tolerance, they are in reality the most intolerant folks around. They stifle speech, worship, thought, and use whatever means they can to stop the action of those who oppose their worldview. They especially seek to suppress the Christian faith. Consider a few examples:
When Jesus was mentioned in a brief speech by a 6-year-old girl, she was abruptly interrupted by her teacher and told to sit down because she was “not allowed to talk about the Bible in school,” according to the attorneys for the California family.
On December 18, 2013, Brynn Williams’ first grade teacher at Helen Hunt-Jackson Elementary School gave an assignment for the boys and girls in her class to find something at home that represented a family Christmas tradition. They were to bring the item the next day and share with the class its meaning in a classroom presentation.
Brynn decided to bring the Star of Bethlehem from the top of her family’s Christmas tree and explain how her family used this to remember the birth of Jesus. In her presentation the little girl said: “Our Christmas tradition is to put a star on top of our tree. The star is named the Star of Bethlehem. The three kings followed the star to find baby Jesus, the Savior of the world.”
At this point the teacher stopped Brynn and sent her to her seat before she could finish her presentation by reciting the Bible verse, John 3:16. The teacher told the humiliated Brynn in front of the class that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share its verses.
The child later gave the presentation to the principal, who upheld the action of the teacher. The principal said her speech had to be stopped. “It was to protect the other students from being offended by Brynn’s presentation.” Hmmm. I wish such enlightened and tolerant ones would be half as diligent in stopping all the anti-Christian, immoral and pro-homosexual ideas that flood the schools and that offend millions of Christians that are forced to hear this propaganda.
After Aaron and Melissa Klein refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple, they encountered the wrath of the “tolerant” left, and a hostile government who launched a formal discrimination investigation against the Christian family. The homosexuals launched protests and boycotts against the business, plus also threatened to boycott any florists, wedding planners or other vendors that did business with Sweet Cakes. Klein said he received messages threatening to kill his family and hoping his children would die.
The Kleins have nothing against homosexuals, but because of their religious faith the family simply cannot take part in gay wedding events. “The LGBT attacks are the reason we are shutting down the shop. They have killed our business through mob tactics.” “It’s a sad day for Christian business owners and it’s a sad day for the First Amendment,” owner Aaron Klein said. Klein said it is becoming clear that Christians do not have the “right to believe what we believe.” In other words, according to homosexuals, gay rights trump religious rights.
You may remember the New Mexico couple who a few years ago was fined $6000 for not photographing a same-sex union, citing their Christian faith as the reason for not taking on this job. In the fall of 2013, New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that these two Christian photographers violated the state’s Human Rights Act and upheld the fine. One justice said the photographers were “compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives.” Not much tolerance here.
There are myriads of other similar stories: A T-shirt company in Lexington, KY, found itself at the center of a Human Rights Commission investigation after they refused to make T-shirts for a local gay rights organization; secular humanists attacked the cross in a 131 year-old Florida city seal and sought its removal; pastors in Europe and Canada are jailed for expressing the Biblical view of homosexuality.
Let Truth and Falsehood Grapple
Why are these people so intolerant of Christianity and a Biblical worldview, especially in light of the great tolerance they show for so many other ideas? Two reasons: one, they must suppress truth or their ideas could not advance; two, if Christianity is the truth, they are faced with the consequences of their own immoral, sinful lifestyle.
The great English author and civil servant, John Milton, addressed the issue of suppressing the truth in his tract, Areopagitica, one of history’s greatest defenses of free speech and freedom of the press. Best known for writing Paradise Lost, Milton delivered “Areopagitica: A Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parliament of England” in 1644.
On June 14, 1643, Parliament re-established the censorship of the press. They ordered that no book could be printed or sold without approval and a license from government appointed authorities. The order included authorization for authorities to destroy unlicensed presses, confiscate unlicensed books, and apprehend all authors, printers and others involved in production of such works, where they would face “further punishments.”1
In his opposing argument, published in November 1644, John Milton writes to let truth and falsehood grapple:
And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter? Her confuting is the best and surest suppressing.2
Adherents to truth should have no fear of falsehood being presented in the marketplace of ideas, as long as truth is allowed to be presented with it; for truth will prevail. It is those who embrace falsehood who will be afraid of contrary ideas, especially the truth, for their ideas cannot prevail where truth is known.
Many liberals today say that we must only allow “truth” (their version) to be taught – especially regarding abortion, origin of life, and homosexuality — or else people will be led astray and society damaged (though it is really their worldview/religion that will be damaged).3 However, ideas that are truthful will ultimately rise to prominence and are the best means of suppressing falsehood. The power of truth bearing upon the hearts and minds of people is the surest means of that which is good and right being triumphant. Using force by suppressing ideas or promoting only what one group considers to be true can never establish reality in men or society.
Those embracing falsehood will seek to use force (via rules, regulations, law, or the sword) to promote their ideas by suppressing other ideas. They are afraid of the truth, or of opposing ideas. They have no confidence in the “truth” to prevail, and that is because they are afraid what they believe is not really the truth. If it were, they would have no problem letting it grapple with falsehood.
Truth does not need force to triumph. Falsehood and evil do. Milton insightfully said: “For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious.”4
Milton wrote of freedom of ideas and speech: “Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”5 If this liberty is removed, all other liberties will diminish as well.
Suppressing the truth is certainly not new. It has occurred throughout history. The Dark Ages were so named because the light of God’s Word was hidden from the people. The central aspect of the Protestant Reformation was the production of the Bible (the source of all Truth) in the language of the common man and its subsequent distribution to the masses. Truth was released providing a source for exposing falsehood that had captivated individuals and corrupted the church and state.
We must ask ourselves. Are we going back to the Dark Ages? Will we start burning books again? Will we allow the “enlightened ones” to govern the ideas to which we are exposed?
Secularists seek to use compulsion for the betterment of society. Christianity promotes true toleration rather than compulsion, teaching that error should be met gently, using truth to transform, not force.
A second reason why liberals, leftists, and homosexual activists are so intolerant of Christian truth is a matter of lifestyle and conscience. If Christianity is the truth, they are faced with the consequences of their own immoral, sinful lifestyle. They must come to grips with the sin in their life, not being able to continue to live as they do without a clear realization of guilt and shame.
A person’s theology or ideology follows his morality. The guilt of sin is difficult to live under, thus people will construct a worldview that attempts to justify their sinful, immoral lifestyle. If they can mentally justify their disobedience to God’s righteous standard, they can live in a semblance of peace (so they reason, consciously or usually unconsciously). But the Bible is clear. All men, created in the image of God with a conscience declaring right and wrong (Rom. 2), have a knowledge of their sin and rebellion. God gave us a conscience to help drive us to His mercy.
While we boldly stand up to the politically correct thought police, pushing back their destructive ideas and actions, we should ever remember God’s mercy and seek to see it envelop those who so strongly oppose His truth.
First Published on Providence Foundation and reprinted here with permission
Stephen McDowell, the President of the Providence Foundation in Charlottesville and also President of the Foundation’s Biblical Worldview University. He has written numerous books and training courses on America’s Christian history and on the need to live by Biblical principles in order to prosper as a nation.
1. John Milton, Areopagitica and Other Tracts, Boston: The Beacon Press, 1951, p. 1.
3. This same argument was made by the English Parliament in 1643, and was addressed by Milton in Areopagitica. Parliament wrote that “many false … scandalous, seditious, and libelous” works had been published, “to the great defamation of Religion and government” (ibid., p. 1). It sounds like a noble endeavor to suppress such works so as not to threaten government, religion, and society; however, allowing certain “keepers of truth” (whether elected or not) is a pagan idea. This is not to say we should allow unlawful action (or even the wide distribution of subversive ideas that produce action) that harms or threatens the life, liberty, and property of others. It is the role of government to prohibit such action, remembering that God declares what is lawful, right, and true. To read more on Biblical toleration, see Stephen McDowell, The Ten Commandments and Modern Society, p. 6-7.
4. Ibid., p. 62.
5. Ibid., p. 60