“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Karl Marx
I am a Christian and a fiscal conservative, independent thinker. However, in these tumultuous times, I find it increasingly challenging to express my worldview openly to some of my friends and associates without being shamed or ridiculed by some for my personal perspective. It’s gotten worse recently, I started experiencing disdainful scorn and self-righteous indignation. As a Christian, I am mocked for being foolish and stupid. As a conservative educator, I am chastise and rebuked for my views on limited government, free market economics, poverty theory and social policy. Have you noticed that thinking critically and having an honest alternative perspective is considered “offensive” and not tolerated by some people? Forget about tolerance, that’s an oxymoron. I don’t want to be merely tolerated. I want to be understood and respected. Have you too felt shunned either in face-to-face encounters or on social media? I believe that we are missing an opportunity to experience community and the goodness that comes from developing intellectually and growing emotionally and spiritually through listening to each other and not talking over one another. Understanding alternative perspectives is the foundation for research methods and learning. To achieve this, we need to become truth seekers. Yet, some of my friends and colleagues have drunk the kool aid of moral relativism where there is no truth. Ironically, they cannot tolerate diverse worldviews nor respect alternative perspectives. They choose to live in the echo chamber of their own group think. This is not only boring, it’s dangerous.
How did we get here?
The deconstruction of everything sacred began with secularizing education a little over a hundred years ago. Thus, we see the beginnings of the secular/sacred divide and normalization of secular humanism. Accordingly, progressive postmodern dualism was ushered in shortly after the founding of scientific labs in Leipzig Germany around 1879, when Thomas H. Huxley organized a small group of German and American scientists, [primarily Gestalt psychologists] who sought to overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity—particularly the intellectual / theological dominance of the Anglican Church, (Huxley’s grandson penned A Brave New World). Their goal was to secularize society, replacing the Judeo-Christian worldview regarding the laws of nature and nature’s God, with a secular-humanist worldview that recognizes the existence of science alone, as observed in scientific labs. This biased perspective denies the apodictic (absolute) and self-evident Truths of the natural order of things and the Bible endowed by our Creator. Thus, public education today essentially advances a social constructivist agenda. Students are taught that they can rewrite history and socially construct their own realities. This is a lie! But, as I have stated earlier, they have drunk this kool aid and believe it. Nevertheless, as secular humanists, Huxley and his advocates understood they were merely replacing one religion with another, for they described their goal as the establishment of the “church scientific.” A search of the American Humanist Association reveals it is a tax exempt 501(c) (3) religious organization (americanhuminist.org retrieved on 3/14/2012). This has since been changed but the original intent hasn’t. An example of the deconstruction of the spirit of truth and social construction of myth is illustrated in the hyperlink below. At the University of Colorado Boulder, for instance, in place of American Civics, students learn “the people’s history of the United States.” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html.
It is indeed ironic that is was Karl Marx who first said, “…religion is the opiate of the masses” but, it turns out liberal extremism / secular humanism and social constructivism appear to be the opiate of the masses. What are your thoughts? Please opine.
A few years ago I read an interesting book entitle, Seeing Through the Visible World by June Singer (1991). The author is a Jungian Psychologist and in this treatise she is exploring life’s interesting in-“betweens” what is seen (visible) and unseen, the implicit and hidden from view, (spiritual). She argues that the hidden leaks out and impacts one’s perception of reality and patterns of interaction outwardly. Obviously this is a secular worldview of the Christian supernatural experience. From Singer’s point of view, the sacred/secular divide is exposed through random experiences, the in-betweens. However, Christians understand that as part of God’s creation, everything is sacred. Nevertheless, Singer and others are exploring the two sided worldview perspective first put forth by the Jewish Dutch philosopher Benedict De Spinoza, (1632–1677). And because we exist in these “earth suites” limited and bound by our physical nature, we are all living in exile, so to speak, bewildered with two personalities; one visible outwardly to the public and the other, only a few people very close to us ever get to experience. This is why we wrestle with God just like Jacob did. Jacob thought that he was hiding his true self from public view. Nevertheless, we all want to know whether living in the secular or scared reality, who we are. The question is, where do we go, in whom do we trust? While some us will cry out to the Living God, Who am I? Overall, God knows His creations better than we do. I hope you find this discussion inspiring.
This post really got me thinking. The brief history lesson caught me off guard, but it was definitely helpful because I didn’t know the backstory to the secularization of schools a hundred years ago. I almost didn’t believe it, initially, but between your history lesson of Huxley’s agenda, and witnessing the effects of it today, the evidence speaks for itself.
To a real effect, I think the secular sacred divide occurs as much internally as it does socially. For example, It’s so rare these days that I discuss politics and faith with anyone who isn’t already of the same mind. It’s not because I’m unafraid to have a thoughtful conversation, but because I’m rarely ever met with someone who’s either informed or rationale. I’m also very capable of shifting my perspectives, so I have to be careful who I interface with. My litmus test to see if someone really has even an inkling of an open mindset is to ask them when was the last time they remember being persuaded by another person’s perspective. I’ve so rarely ever witnessed anyone won over by rhetoric that engaging in debates has lost its allure, and that’s coming from someone who used to relish debates.
Honestly, not using my critical thinking muscle has made me a bit sloppy in being able to defend my own position and has also kept me from actively seeking out opposing perspectives. I did run an experiment a few weeks ago though by trying to listen to Fox News for more than 30 minutes, but I failed. I shouldn’t have tried something that extreme to help me sympathize with the opposition.
The culture of moral relativism has given me space, too, to just go about my business, so the impetus to be deeply informed isn’t as much of a necessity. Maybe I’ve just slouched into my Altruism by using my love for people to provide discernment rather than to think more critically. I’m not completely given over to my lackadaisical approach, though, because I did decide to pursue my Master’s degree to help me formalize my development. I do have to give myself some credit for that because my crash course of life through Social Constructivism, while effective, is lazy.
Indeed, I agree. It is not just that people are creating their own social realities. They are recreating our past. It seems they are picking and choosing what they feel history should keep and what they should erase. Punishing historical figures, using modern criteria, is ridiculous and it is dangerous. Erasing one’s past, no matter how hurtful or painful, erases one’s progress, one’s authentic journey. Perhaps imposing one’s will is the new opiate.