Secular Religion

“Left-wing and right-wing political ideologies have themselves become a secular religions, providing people with a community of like-minded brethren, a catechism of sacred beliefs, a well-populated demonology, and beatific confidence in the righteousness of their cause.” Enlightenment Now: The Case For Reason, Science, Humanism, And Progressby Steven Pinker.

As I finished the 450-page The Idea of Decline in Western History by Arthur Herman I fully understood and agreed with Steven Pinker in his quote above. As a Judeo/Christian Yahweh is the God I believe in and worship. Religion used to be about deity or deities one worshiped and followed by their lifestyle. All that Pinker said beginning with “providing people . . .” defined religion that had to do with a wholly other creature, God. It is the most serious belief and practice in a worldview where God created life and gives humans ways of living. Everything is subsumed under our God.

But what if you don’t believe in any God? Can all the practices one finds inside religion also be practices outside the belief in a God? It turns out that if we don’t believe in God, that ultimate loyalty religious people have in their belief in God happens anyway because we create something for us to worship like a god. It now becomes the ultimate definer of our lives. Until the early 18th Century we didn’t think about religion outside of the belief in a God until the Enlightenment happened, a philosophical movement that took place primarily in Europe and, later, in North America, illuminating human intellect and culture after the “dark” Middle Ages. For some it meant that the human need for a God could be replaced by a new ultimate belief, humanism.

There is a very interesting account in Isiah 45: 5 where God says to Cyrus: “I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me.” The Cyrus here is Cyrus the Great, king of Persia who built the Persian Empire. You can read this story of Cyrus and the Jews HERE.

The Judeo/Christian Yahweh says this to followers, “There is no other God but me so you cannot worship any other supposed god because they aren’t real.” Secular religion says the same thing, “There is no other worldview outside what I’ve given you and you cannot follow any other belief because it is not real.” As Yahweh has punishment for stepping outside him so our secular gods have punishment if we follow any other beliefs than the current and popular one.

Certainly the extremists on the Left and the extremists on the Right have declared their belief systems absolutely right, anything else absolutely wrong. There is no other reality than our reality, both say, and they get away with this because they’ve made everything political. Isn’t it interesting how much the Left, especially, wail loudly how intolerant religion (mostly Christianity) is intolerant and how we must shed religion while they, not by academic argument but by actions, are the most intolerant of all. Their idea of inclusion is laughable because it excludes so many, certainly those who won’t bow down and worship them. We point at Protestantism and ask how can they have truth when they break themselves into so many different denominations each with a variant of truth, but doesn’t secular religion spawn tribalism, each tribe in contest with another claiming their truths greater? Hasn’t our secular religion created demons of their own, demons we call sexism, racism, homophobias, Islamophobias, conservatives, white males, and the list goes on.

The Democratic Party has played with leftist progressivism so much lately that now their party is being dragged into socialism by new members who can say no wrong, do no wrong, be totally irrational in their proposals, get away with being anti-Semitic because the Party cannot discipline them though the same Democrats go to the farthest reaches of insanity to punish Republicans for the splinter in their eyes.

Secular humanism has all the negative trappings of religion while pretending to have the good traits of religion, like caring for the poor, social justice, equal outcomes for us all, health, but not wealth because that in itself is evil, but equal income for all, and it all sounds so wonderful, praise humanism. 

Are we naïve in believing all this and so follow blindly our leaders as though they are our new gods? Have we swallowed it all and now regurgitate it like a momma bird feeding their young we feed it to each other? I would say Stop and Think, but I think we’ve forgotten how to think.

Let me repeat that famous Jefferson quote: Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.

Is there a reason we can’t do this?