Reformed Reflections

Secularism in the Political Realm  

I am a doctrinalist who strongly believes that we need a clear understanding of biblical truths in the maintenance of doctrinal purity and orthodoxy; but I am also convinced that our faith must be put into practice. Each time I read the letters of the apostle Paul I am struck not only by his careful exposition of doctrine, but also by his insistence to act upon doctrine. Act what you believe! Paul knows nothing about a private religion. We are what we believe. That is why we cannot divorce politics from religion. Every human being acts upon his faith, whether he is a secular humanist, a Muslim or a Christian. 

One    of Christianity's great tragedies has been its surrender to secularism. Instead of the Christian conquering the world, the world has conquered the Christian. Many Christians have privatized their faith, left politics up to the secularist, and bemoan the state of the world. Christians have become so accustomed to a privatized religion, confined to the home and church, that they don't even understand that secularism is only a newcomer on the scene. The last 200 years have seen an experiment unique in human history – Western civilization's attempt to find public life in other beliefs than Christianity. This new belief is not based on divine principle but on man, what he thinks and feels. This new faith has become one of the deadliest enemies of Christendom and a biblically oriented way of life. It is more dangerous than Marxism. Secularism has no reference to heaven; the earth is man's only home. This does not mean that secular man believes nothing. The opposite is true. He is attracted to every new fad. A man who loses his faith in the God of the Scriptures will fall for any fad that comes along. His spiritual void must be filled. This explains the current attraction to Eastern mysticism, sects, cults and the New Age movement. 

Secularism has no moral foundations. We witness the constant changing of moral standards. No longer does it seem possible to determine what is right or wrong. Nobody knows what the truth is. Secularism's view of man is totally anti-Christian. Mankind is moving ever upward on the evolutionary ladder. Secular man is an optimist. Our horrific current crises are stumbling blocks which will be removed in the process of time. Secular man implicitly believes that society is progressing toward the attainment of a materialistic kingdom where men and women of good will live together in harmony and peace. 

In secular politics pragmatism is the name of the game. Whatever works is right. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is a master pragmatist. He believes that one gets what he wants by manipulation, deal-making and making trade-offs. He applied his pragmatism to have the Meech Lake accord ratified. He failed. He rolled his dice once too often.

 Our three major national parties are governed by pragmatism. Each one of them claims that it alone has the final solution for the economic and social problems of the country; it alone can bring Quebec into the constitution, bring peace and harmony to Canada. The other parties will lead the nation to chaos, if they should gain power.

Secularism is tyrannical and self-serving. Politicians bleat about precious freedoms in our pluralistic society. Freedoms for whom? Our freedoms are endangered. Freedom can only exist when there are boundaries. Freedom is lost through the conduct of modern liberalism which states that the individual is a law unto himself. Freedom cannot be enjoyed apart from faith in God and what the created moral order really is. Political democracy does become the tyranny of the majority over minorities when it no longer respects the rights of the minority to hold to its beliefs and to act upon them. When the government supports ideological indoctrination in the public school system, and thus imposes secularism on Christians, it is no longer democratic. 

Many blame Christianity for the current ecological crisis. Biblical Christians have become the scapegoats for the actions of the secularists. Secularism has led to the despoiling of the earth, while the earth's resources are exploited for the benefit of a small minority of the world's population. 

Canada is at its crossroads. Are Christians willing to enter the political arena – or will they let the nation go on its secular way of death? Christians have a choice. As a doctrinalist I am convinced that only a radical, total, integral, and dynamic Christian faith can break the stranglehold of secularism.  


Johan D. Tangelder
September, 1990