Everybody Has Got Religion
Recently I was told of a college student whose view of life accepted anything except religion, which I assumed, of course, included Christianity. His position is a classic example of our culture that has lost touch with reality, one that T. S. Eliot declared over half a century ago had “left God, not for other gods, but for no god at all.”
This is the product of the philosophy of Existentialism which infected the nineteenth and twentieth century world and morphed into Post-modernism in the twenty-first. This philosophy essentially views reality not as created by a Supreme mind, but as a mindless, physical accident. The only reality for the true Existentialist is whatever the individual mind perceives.
In the extreme, understanding of life does not even come from the “thinking” self, but from the “feeling and/or acting” self. Such a philosophy casts off anything that controls one’s own behavior; thus, it is imperative to reject the idea of a Transcendent Moral Authority. If such a philosophy were to infect the whole world, it would be characterized by a no holds barred, winner take all, bloody tooth and claw environment. Taken to its logical extreme all society would degenerate into total chaos, a condition in which no one wants to live including the Existentialists, Atheists, Humanists, et al. Joseph Schwartz of Marquette University declared that if the world would become a strictly human enterprise, it would end in “dung and death.”
The position of the student referred to above is totally illogical and hostile to his own belief system. He does not recognize that he cannot live without religion. No one can.
The world likes to make a line of demarcation between religion and non-religion, but no such line exists. Atheism is as much a religion as Theism.
The major difference is that theism is supported by evidence.
Everyone has a religion; that is, a belief system. Some have a God-centered belief system and some do not, but everyone has a belief system.
People largely make a distinction between religion and philosophy, but they are the same thing. Religion is, generally speaking, theistic centered philosophy and philosophy, generally speaking, is non-theistic religion. The more common term used today for how people relate to the world is worldview.
In philosophical circles worldview came from the German word, weltanschauung, which means: a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it. Everyone has some thought as to how they relate to the universe; of how they view life. It is how they make decisions and form judgments.
Most people do not have a formally developed weltanschauung, but they have some way of making moral choices. Even if one believes there is no transcendent moral authority; if they believe there is no moral right or wrong, they will cry foul as quickly as anyone else when they perceive they have been wronged. They judge according to their religion.
People may not know the foundation principles of the philosophy that guides their lives, but they are guided by them. They may hold contradictory principles at the same time, but contradictory or not, they are operating with a worldview. It may be irrational but it is what guides the way they interact with the world. If one says they can stand anything but religion, they, in fact, hate anything that guides a person’s judgment about life, including the things that guide their own. Everything that involves the interaction of a human with other humans and his environment is guided by his belief system; i.e. his religion.
Secular Humanism is a popular worldview which holds that man is capable of morality and self-fulfillment without a belief in God. But not believing in God does not make the unbeliever non-religious. Humanism itself is a religion and is asserted as such by many intellectuals who champion it. Humanist Manifesto I declared “the time has come for widespread recognition of the radical changes in religious beliefs throughout the modern world. The time is past for mere revision of traditional attitudes. Science and economic change have disrupted the old beliefs. Religions the world over are under the necessity of coming to terms with the new conditions created by a vastly increased knowledge and experience.”
For Humanists religion may not be static, but they profess religion nonetheless. After acknowledging that “religions have always been the means for realizing the highest values in life,” which was accomplished by evaluation of the total environmental situation, the document further asserts, “A change in any of these factors results in alteration of the outward forms of religion This fact explains the changefulness of religions through the centuries. But through all changes religion itself remains constant in its quest for abiding values, an inseparable feature of human life.”
The conclusion of the matter is that all attempts to explain the existence of life, establish values for living or declare that something ought or ought not to be are manifestations of religion.
When one declares he can accept anything except religion, he is manifesting a dangerous irrationality.
If he is pure existentialist, he has reduced himself to a vegetable; an organism that does not think; that does not reason, but only reacts organically to his environment. He is enslaved by all his biological impulses because there is no imperative to control them.
He makes himself not master over his environment, but mastered by it. He has no more control over himself than a potato has control over its own growth. Except that he has enough pleasure today to forge ahead tomorrow, he has nothing by which or for which to persevere when life goes against him. If one day he finds himself in a hopeless state, it’s because of his religion, not his circumstances.
Applying this discussion to our nation, those who cry vehemently that our Constitution demands a separation of church (religion) and state are simply demanding that our culture should be guided by their religion of preference; namely, some non-theistic philosophy. Ultimately, they are not rejecting God. They rebel against their Creator in a desire to be free of all restraints, but in so doing they have removed all causality from their lives, made them meaningless, and closed the door to any hope.
What a sad state. In a blind lunge for freedom, man enslaves himself to his fleshly impulses and the impact of his environment upon him. He has nothing to live for and, worse still, nothing to die for. His hopeless condition is brought on by his religion which does not acknowledge his Creator.
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).
St. Clairsville, OH
The Intelligencer, Wheeling, WV
8 September 2018, pp. 15-16