The Modern Myth of the Secular State

The Modern Myth of the Secular State

As Francis Schaeffer taught, if there is no God above the state, the state becomes its own god. Again, it is not whether there will be a theocracy, but which one will we live under.

NBC’s Chuck Todd recently devoted a Meet The Press segment to what he called “Rising Theocracy” with the apparent intention to first, scare our pants off, and second, give the call for pitchforks. See here and here.

So, let’s think about this.

One of the most invaluable gifts I received in my undergrad days at a small Christian classical college was an understanding of the inescapable concept of, “Not whether but which”: not whether education will form the soul, but in which direction it will be formed; not whether a story has the power to shape the imagination, but which imaginative landscape it is creating; not whether we will worship something, but which something we will worship. This inescapable concept speaks to those things that are inherent in nature and in ourselves. God spoke this world into being in a particular way, and that means we necessarily function along certain lines. It also means that if we attempt to live outside of these realities, there will be certain inescapable consequences.

Theocracy is one of those concepts. So let’s run with that word for a minute, shall we? Humanity is inherently religious and inherently political. The original sense of the polis meant man’s necessary community. This means our political life will necessarily be related to our religious life. While the two words denote different realms of activity in which we as humans participate, they cannot be completely divorced from one another. A Christian will be (and act as) a Christian, no matter what office he or she holds. As will a Buddhist, as will a Muslim, and as will (are you ready for this?) a secularist.

Secular Deities of the Day

“Theocracy,” by the accepted dictionaries of our day (dictionaries — another inescapable concept: not whether we will use one, but which one we will use), means a system of government in which a divinity (theo-) is recognized as head of the civil realm, and his or her (or its) laws are taken as the foundation of civic rule (-cracy).

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