The Fast Growing Cultural Demographic of Secularism and Skepticism
A NEWSMAX article in late December 2012 stated: “Hardcore atheists are one of society’s fastest growing demographics and they are marching assertively into the public square” (18).
In their 2008 book—Religious America, Secular Europe?—three professors (Berger, Davie, and Fokas) address the growth and influence of secularistic thought, especially in the western world. Concerning America they write,
. . . [S]ince the middle of the twentieth century . . . there has been an American intelligentsia much more secular than the rest of the population. This intelligentsia forms a cultural elite, with considerable power in education, the media, and the law. . . . Two milestones in recent America history have been the Supreme Court decisions banning prayer in public schools and legalizing abortion as a constitutional right. . . . [T]he American intelligentsia has been ‘Europeanized,’ in its attitude to religion as in other matters. . . . [I]n Europe, to be modern, to be with the times as against being backward, has come to mean being secular. This was not the case in the United States—more precisely, not until recently. The ‘Europeanization’ of the American intelligentsia must probably be dated from the 1950s, reaching its full force in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today there is indeed an intelligentsia in America for whose members religion comes, if at all, in plain wrappers. . . . Unbelief in Europe is varied, but remains a significant element in most countries; it is growing rather than shrinking. In the United States, it is also growing. . . . [T]he culture wars of modern America show no sign of diminishing. (12, 18-19, 57)
The militant secular approach within American academic and educational circles today plays a major role in advancing skeptical and atheistic thought. It has now been decades since Thomas B. Warren recognized that “so many colleges and universities around the world are veritable ‘hotbeds’ of atheism and agnosticism. Since these schools train those who become teachers, writers (of newspapers, books, plays, television programs, movies), political leaders, etc., it is obvious they play a crucial role in advancing skepticism” (Harding of Memphis Graduate School Bulletin Feb. 1976).
More recently (2012) a definitive study addressed the causes of the “unraveling” of American culture with the conclusion that a contributing factor is secularism propagated through higher education. The book says, “. . . [A]cademics and scientists . . . are overwhelmingly secular. There is indeed evidence that the most prominent scientists and academics are secular. When academics who were members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences were polled in 1996, 65 percent responded that they did not believe in God” (Murray, Coming Apart 206).
If the following words written by Dr. Warren in 1973 aptly described (and they did) the great challenge of skepticism then, how could any informed person not see how more obvious the challenge is today?
Skepticism is the primary challenge facing the Lord’s church today. When I began preaching, the basic challenge to the Lord’s church was that of denominationalism. While denominationalism is still a challenge, it is certainly not the greatest challenge which we face. The greatest challenge is that of skepticism: atheism, agnosticism, materialism, humanism, etc. We are losing many of our own young people today, and we are not persuading many other young people to become Christians because of the simple fact that we are not facing up to this great problem of skepticism. (Gospel Advocate 65.37, 589-90, emp. added)
The above words were written forty years ago! How much more would Dr Warren’s spirit be stirred within him today if he were here to observe the current incredible growth and influence of skepticism and secularism! He would see that evolution has made our public schools, universities, and colleges a mortal danger to the lives and souls of our youth! He would see how the demoralized school is the tragic consequence of our culture’s growing rejection of the Christian worldview that provided the intellectual dynamic of Western civilization!
The Warren Center is “facing up to this great problem of skepticism.” Note the powerful projects announced inside this publication that the Warren Center is planning for the first part of 2013. These projects will, with the blessing of Providence, make a difference! They will be challenging! They will be relevant! They will hit skepticism and secularism hard! They will strengthen Christian faith in the lives of both young and older! Pray for the work of WCAC. Attend our events. Get others to attend. Subscribe to our apologetics journal. And, please, as you are able, send your tax-deductible contribution to the Warren Center today! We must have your support to do this great work “for such a time as this”!