The myth of neutrality


Television presenter Jonathan Miller claims to be a ¡®disbeliever¡¯ rather than an ¡®atheist¡¯.
Television presenter Jonathan Miller claims to be a ‘disbeliever’ rather than an ‘atheist’.
Photo credit: MDCarchives, wikipedia.org

Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Matt. 12:30).

Those seeking to secularise society often claim that their position is the most reasonable because it is the only one that’s neutral—the only one that’s free from influences arising from religious beliefs. Prominent among these is Jonathan Miller, who rejects the label, ‘atheist’, describing himself simply as a ‘disbeliever’.1 This, of course, implies that he has no belief. How ridiculous! As someone who doesn’t believe in a creator, he must believe the alternative—that life arose by only natural processes. As someone who does not believe in God, he must believe that there is nobody to whom we are morally accountable. Presumably, as an ardent Darwinist, he also believes along with Richard Dawkins that we are no more than ‘survival mechanisms—robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.’2

Many people, including most atheists, fail to realise the implications of accepting such views. Indeed, they appear blind to the threat that such thinking poses to the very foundations upon which our society is built. If we are just survival mechanisms programmed to preserve our genes, then we are not responsible for our actions.3 Can you imagine a society in which people behave as if this is really true? If there is nothing more than the material (matter and energy), what basis is there for a belief in right and wrong? Can you imagine the consequences of raising a generation upon such thinking?

People like Miller and Dawkins, of course, do not baulk at the implications of their doctrines because they flatter themselves with the belief that they, along with the rest of humanity, are basically good. They imagine that we can all get along fine without deferring to a Creator who has determined for us what is right and wrong, and to whom we must all one day give an account of ourselves. In this, however, they are both inconsistent and terribly deceived. Firstly, if they are correct about there being nothing more than matter and energy, then there is no such thing as good and evil. Secondly, the testimony of God’s word and the history of mankind make clear that “the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). The reality is that God has only to lift His hand of restraint briefly and millions will die, as was demonstrated in atheist states such as Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China and Pol Pots’ Cambodia.

More myths

Another myth propagated by secularists is that their position is the most rational because it is fact-based rather than faith-based. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Even Dawkins admits that scientists cannot point to natural processes that appear remotely capable of assembling the biomolecules needed for life. In fact, the laws of chemistry dictate that these would never form because they would break down much faster than they would build themselves up. Evolutionists, of course, believe that if they continue their research, they will discover natural processes capable of producing life from non-life. However, not only is this faith-based, but it is contrary to the facts of science. How rational is this?

It is difficult to see how evolution by natural selection could produce brilliant mathematicians or concert pianists, as such abilities would contribute little if anything to survival. Needless to say, evolutionists and their secular counterparts have great faith that Darwin’s theory will ultimately provide an answer. The words of the leading philosopher and historian of science Professor Marjorie Grene (1910–2009) are very apt here:

“It is as a religion of science that Darwinism chiefly held and holds men’s minds … Darwinian theory has itself become an orthodoxy, preached by its adherents with religious fervour, and doubted, they feel, only by a few muddlers, imperfect in scientific faith.” 4

Double standards and ignorance

In October last year, a Church in Newark (Nottinghamshire, UK) had their application for funds for a ‘Free School’ rejected by the UK Government. They were told,

“The Secretary of State … was unable to accept that an organisation with creationist beliefs could prevent these views being reflected in the teaching in the school and in its other activities. It is his firm view that the teaching of creationist views … is not acceptable in a 21st century state funded school.”5

Does Michael Gove (UK Secretary of State for Education) not realise that an education system based on secular beliefs would also be unable to prevent secular views being reflected in what is taught to the children? Should he not also hold the view that the teaching of nihilistic, materialistic views should be unacceptable in a 21st century state-funded school?

Gove also appears to be unaware of the great debt that modern science owes to creationist beliefs. According to the eminent historian of science Sir Alfred Whitehead, science arose out of Christian theology, that is, out of faith in the rationality of God and the associated belief that the natural word is orderly and intelligible.6 Not surprisingly, many of the founders of modern science were creationists, including Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Boyle, Newton, Faraday, Babbage, Mendel, Pasteur, Kelvin and Maxwell.7 In some cases, the writings of these early scientists make clear that much of the motivation for their work came from their creationist beliefs.8,9

Different beliefs lead to a different society

Those that promote secularism are not championing objectivity or impartiality, but a dogmatic belief system that has the potential to alter our society beyond recognition. For example, the present UK Government, smitten by ‘progressive thinking’, appears determined to press ahead with its plans to jettison the biblical concept of the family and even redefine marriage itself; yet legalising ‘homosexual marriage’ would undermine an institution that has been foundational to healthy societies for centuries.10,11 A report by the Free Church of Scotland warned that redefining marriage would be a ‘huge social experiment, in which the guinea pigs are children’.12 Indeed; the evidence that marriage provides the best environment for children rises by the month.13 And what will come next? If it is appropriate for two people to marry simply ‘because they love each other’, then why not three people? As one commenter remarked, “If heterosexuality is no longer legally, morally or socially relevant to marriage, why should monogamy continue to be so important?”14 Some appear also intent on redefining gender itself and have proposed that small boys be allowed to wear skirts to school, in case they wish to be transgender.15

More warnings from history

Christianity logically leads to the understanding that people have value—whether young or old, healthy or sick, able bodied or handicapped; it teaches that we should put others first and love our neighbours as ourselves; and it warns that one day we will all be held accountable for our actions. This is the world-view that has influenced our society for centuries. In contrast, secularism, and its foundational doctrine of evolution, logically lead to the view that people are nothing more than bags of chemicals; that only the fittest have value; that you need to look after ‘number one’; and that you can live as you wish and at the end of your life there will be no consequences. In order for a secular society to avoid such thinking, and all that naturally follows from it, it must constantly (and inconsistently) resist that which the belief system implies.

Michael Ruse, who was Professor of Philosophy and Zoology at the University of Guelph, Canada, remarked,

“Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex-Christian, but … the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today… Evolution therefore came into being as a kind of secular ideology, an explicit substitute for Christianity.”16

The facts of history, however, make clear that to build a society upon evolutionary ideology is to court unmitigated disaster. For a particularly sobering example, we need go back less than a hundred years, to the ‘race hygiene’ policies of Nazi Germany. Their embracing of ‘social Darwinism’ led to a desire to ‘repent of sins of natural selection’ as the ‘unfit’ had been allowed to thrive in German society. This led to physically and psychiatrically ‘defective’ people being sterilized or even murdered in order to ‘preserve the purity of the Aryan race’.17

By their fruit you will know them

Speaking of false prophets, Jesus said, “Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16-23). Jesus was also particularly critical of the Pharisees in their rejection of the ministry of John the Baptist. Jesus said to them, “John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him” (Matthew 21:32).

This principle, of judging according to fruit, surely also applies to beliefs. The doctrine of evolution confuses people about morality and has led to some of the greatest wars and atrocities in history.18,19,20 It causes people to question the authority of Scripture and the goodness of God, and turns people into atheists.21 In contrast, biblical Christianity led to a belief in human dignity and the sanctity of life,22 abolition of slavery, emancipation of woman,23 education for the under classes,24,25 social compassion and the rise of modern science.

The cry of Jesus, surely, is as apt today as ever: “make a right judgement” (John 7:24).

Published: 23 June 2012

References and notes

  1. Miller, J.W., Atheism: A rough history of disbelief, BBC Four, 2004; also broadcast in the USA as A brief history of disbelief, PBS, 2007. Return to text.
  2. Dawkins, R., The Selfish Gene, 1989, p. 5. Return to text.
  3. Cashmore, A., The Lucretian swerve: The biological basis of human behavior and the criminal justice system, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(10):4499-4504, 2010; http://www.pnas.org. Return to text.
  4. Grene, M., The faith of Darwinism, Encounter 13(5):48-56, 1959. Return to text.
  5. See http://ecc.churchinsight.com/Groups/133186/Everyday_Champions_Church/Connect_to_Community/Free_School/Free_School.aspx. Return to text.
  6. Lennox, J.C., God’s Undertaker: Has science buried God? Lion Hudson, Oxford, 2007, p. 20. Return to text.
  7. For a comprehensive list and linked articles, see creation.com/creation-scientists. Return to text.
  8. Jaki, S., Science and Creation, Scottish Academic Press, 1986, pp. 268-279. Return to text.
  9. Stark, R., For the Glory of God: How monotheism led to reformations, science, witch-hunts and the end of slavery, Princeton University Press, 2003, p. 165. Return to text.
  10. Unwin, J.D., Sex and Culture, Oxford University Press, 1934, pp. 24 and 431. Return to text.
  11. Johnston, O.R., Who Needs the Family? A survey and Christian assessment, Hodder and Stoughton, 1979, pp. 43–44. Return to text.
  12. The Christian Institute, Redefining marriage would be ‘huge social experiment’, http://www.christian.org.uk/news/redefining-marriage-would-be-huge-social-experiment. Return to text.
  13. Wilcox, W.B. et al., Why Marriage Matters: thirty conclusions from the social sciences, 3rd ed., Institute for American Values, 2011. A summary may be found at http://www.virginia.edu/marriageproject/pdfs/WMM_summary.pdf. Return to text.
  14. Addison, N., Polygamy in Canada: a case of double standards, The Guardian, 30 November 2011; http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/nov/30/heterosexuality-canada-law-monogamy-polygamy. Return to text.
  15. Sherriff, L., 13 February 2012, http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/13/let-boys-wear-skirts-to-school-says-adviser_n_1272510.html. Return to text.
  16. Ruse, M., How evolution became a religion: creationists correct? National Post, pp. B1, B3, B7, 13 May 2000. Return to text.
  17. Wieland, C., One Human Family, Creation Book Publishers, 2011, pp. 66–71. Return to text.
  18. Cosner, L., Darwinism and World War One. Return to text.
  19. Wieland, C., One Human Family, Creation Book Publishers, USA, see ref. 17, pp. 66–71. Return to text.
  20. Bergman, J., Darwinism and the Nazi race Holocaust, Journal of Creation 13(2):101–111, August 1999. Return to text.
  21. Provine, W.B., ‘No free will.’ In Catching up with the Vision, Rossiter, M.W. (Ed.), Chicago University Press, p. S123, 1999. Return to text.
  22. D’Souza, D., What’s so Great about Christianity, Regnery Publishing, USA, 2007, ch. 7. Return to text.
  23. Stowe, H. B, Women in Sacred History: a series of sketches drawn from scriptural, historical and legendary sources, J.B. Ford & Co., New York, 1873, p. 17; http://quod.lib.umich.edu/m/moa/ajg5269.0001.001. Return to text.
  24. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2001/mar30.html. Return to text.
  25. http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?152. Return to text.

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