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Resisting the secular slide

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Published: 30 October 2014 (GMT+10)
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In many ways, the experience of children and young people raised in today’s western societies is very different from a generation or two ago. Children of the 1970s (like me) had no knowledge of mobile telephones, computers, video games, tablet devices, the Internet, satellite navigation, and more besides—they were not even ‘on our radar’!

Another radical difference back then was the degree to which religion was still an accepted part of society. In my native UK, it was quite common for children to be sent to Sunday School, even those from non-Christian families. Schools had Christian assemblies; commerce and organised sport were largely restricted to a six day week; the rates of cohabitation of unmarried couples and of children born out of wedlock were very low; so-called ‘gay marriage’ was unheard of. We could go on, but the fact that this moral slide is aided and abetted by governments, and tolerated (even welcomed) by the spokespersons for the established Church, would be deeply shocking for many people of that time. Christianity was much more an accepted part of the fabric of life—unlike today.

European antagonism to biblical Christianity

Biblically-minded Christians are increasingly aware that this encroaching secularism has much to do with the Church’s capitulation to evolutionary dogma in past generations—that the chickens are coming home to roost as we increasingly reap the evil fruit of this anti-God philosophy. Certainly, Creation Ministries International (among other groups) has long emphasised this connection.

However, back in 2007, unnoticed by many, the Council of Europe passed a resolution which was nothing less than a full-frontal assault upon biblical Christianity.1 At the heart of their stated concerns was, “The values that form the very essence of the Council of Europe risk being directly threatened by creationist fundamentalists.”2 They claimed, moreover, “It is impossible to reconcile faith and science” and contrasted ideas involving God (which they labeled “absurd”) with evolution, which they asserted to be “the central theory for our understanding of life on earth and for the reassessment of the foundations of our societies” (emphasis added).

Building the correct foundation

Notice the acknowledgement that the creation/evolution issue is a foundational one. As CMI’s many articles, books, DVDs and other resources highlight, it is only when Genesis is affirmed as history that Christian teachings on morality, ethics and the Gospel of Christ have a firm foundation. These things cannot be logically defended (founded) upon a belief in evolution and/or long ages of death-and-struggle. Therefore, the constantly-changing moral zeitgeist3 which we witness in society today is undeniably associated with peoples’ embracing evolution.

The aforementioned European resolution goes further still: “Creationism, if we are not careful, may be a threat to human rights, which are at the heart of the concerns of the Council of Europe”, strongly urging member states to “firmly oppose the teaching of creationism”. It is quite clear that the Council of Europe sees where the real battle rages. Biblical creationist teaching must be resisted at all costs because the Christian morality and ethics founded upon it are an offence to the nonbelievers. True Christianity (as opposed to the inoffensive, non-evangelistic privatised variety) is a threat to their ‘right’ to enjoy, practice and promote sinful attitudes and behaviours, free from any criticism. As one Christian commentator observed, “The resolution … targets all things educational. In this way, it could affect religious education in churches.”4 We agree. How long will it be before pastors who faithfully teach according to Scripture risk committing an offence? In the UK, secular pressure groups have already persuaded the government to ban the presentation of creationist views in state funded schools as anything other than ‘religious myths’.5 Astonishingly, the Department for Education now views belief in creation as religious extremism which must be opposed, along with the teaching of Islamic hardliners.6

“Cinderella Law”

Cinderella by Thomas Sully cinderella-thomas-sully
If the UK’s proposed “Cinderella Law” comes into force (outlawing harm to a child’s “physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development”) there’s concern that Christian parents teaching creationism could be criminalized, conceivably facing long prison sentences.

The UK’s Christian Institute recently reported that the beliefs of Christian parents could well be criminalized if a ‘sweeping parental law’ comes into force—a maximum prison sentence of 10 years is proposed for any parent found guilty of harming their child’s “physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.” Dubbed the “Cinderella Law”, there is genuine concern over how this might be recklessly enforced.7 Columnist and radio presenter Libby Purves, writing in The Times (UK), has criticized the proposals, pointing out for example, that it could surely be deemed “potentially damaging to ‘intellectual development’ to bring up a child in a strict religious belief that daily contradicts the evolutionary science they learn at school?”8 When non-believers are wiser to the endangered civil liberties of Christian people than they often are themselves, it is high time for the Church to wake up!

Combating censorship

Obviously, censorship of Christianity, and persecution of its adherents, is nothing new. The evidence indicates that there is now a rocky road ahead for some who dare to stand up for Christ, resisting the secular slide. What will you do? As Christians, we need to be committed, informed, prayerful and outreaching. This is what it takes to make disciples of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). And CMI is here to help, with our speaking ministry, magazines, books, DVDs and wealth of website resources. Together we can stand, engage and make a real difference.

References and notes

  1. Article 18, Resolution 1580, Council of Europe, 2007. This first came to my attention in June this year. Return to text.
  2. The information for this section of my article is courtesy of: Jérémie Cavin, Europe Resolved to get rid of God?, translated (by Benjamin Bell) from the French evangelical magazine, Christianisme Aujourd’hui, June 2014. The writer is commenting on a new Ph.D. thesis by Pierre Amey, an engineer-turned-pastor and lecturer at Faculté Jean Calvin, Aix-en-Provence, Switzerland. Return to text.
  3. To quote Richard Dawkins, chapter 7 of his book The God Delusion, 2006. Zeitgeist means ‘spirit of the age’. Return to text.
  4. Pierre Amey, see ref. 2. Return to text.
  5. Statham, D.R., Strawmen and censorship: the British Humanist Association and creation in schools, 9 August, 2014; creation.com/humanist-censorship. Return to text.
  6. Holehouse, M., Toddlers at risk of extremism, warns Education Secretary, The Telegraph, 7 August, 2014; telegraph.co.uk. Return to text.
  7. The Christian Institute, Religious parents ‘could be criminalised’ under new law, christian.org.uk, 3 June, 2014. Return to text.
  8. Purves, L., You can’t always bring ugly sisters to trial, thetimes.co.uk, 2 June, 2014. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

R. D.
It is important to note that the proposed "Cinderella law" turned-out not to be anywhere near as bad as had been feared - it just updated some of the wording and did not bring in any of these absurd ideas which had seemed to be in the pipeline. Make no mistake, the Liberal, Humanist figureheads and organisations will continue to push for this sort of thing, but there isn't quite any sign of it yet. And such a thing would be such an egregious attack on freedom of speech that we have good reason to hope that it'd never get through.

Hopefully though, articles like this (and the one on the Christian Institute website cited) will continue to raise awareness and awaken the body of Christ to mobilise!
Ryan D.
It is always amazing how quickly the wisdom of the world turns things on their head. They're worried about creationists threatening human rights while evolution has quite possibly the worst human rights record in history. For that matter they're already threatening people's right to freedom by attempting to control what people are allowed to think and how they're allowed to raise their children. They would love to see parents are mere figureheads while the state is in total control of the raising of children.
David B.
James C. wanted a link to the resolution referenced in this article. Here it is:

http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewPDF.asp?FileID=17592&lang=en

He is right, the article is not easy to find so I feel that it is important to include a link so that Christians (or at least us "fundamentalist" Christians - as we have been termed) can find it. This resolution is completely ludicrous. Clearly these people do not understand the difference between operational and forensic science. I cannot believe the fear these people have against the truth. If their version of the "facts" is the truth, I cannot fathom what they have to fear from Creationists. Isn't science supposed to be open to criticism? I'm a PhD and teach research methods at a public university in the US. In my course I teach that part of the strength of the scientific method is that it can be refuted. However, if you silence all opposing views you actually destroy this fundamental strength of the scientific method.

Thanks for everything you do CMI. I thank God for CMI and their adherence to the Word of God.
M. M.
Thank you Phil for highlighting the fact that there is a full attack on our faith mounted by the leaders of Europe. The UK government's suppression of creation in schools is clearly in line with that. This article should be required reading for all Christians in Europe. Maybe it has something to say about the forthcoming UK election as well.
Chuck J.
May God continue to bless your ministry. How timely this is, as just the day before yesterday I saw on CNN where the Pope in Rome stated (parenthetically [this is] my understanding) that Christianity and evolution can accommodate each other. I, of course, believe the Bible is 100% correct as written and translated. Evolution as proposed by the world today cannot therefore be true too.
Jonathan N.
Yes It's important to pray. Absolutely but it's also important to do what Jesus commanded us and that wasn't only evangelising alone. No, he commanded us as christians to go out on the streets and evangelise in combination with praying for people with pain and sickness. When we do that God will heal people and that is often essential to make our evangelizing to be well received into the hearts of people. In other words, we christians should go out and do the same things that happened in the Book of Acts. ...
Philip Bell
We agree with praying and evangelising (doing outreach), hence the article stated "As Christians, we need to be committed, informed, prayerful and outreaching." Exactly what form that prayer and outreach takes will depend on how individual Christians believe God is leading them but a discussion of this is beyond the scope of the article, which dealt with censorship in our increasingly secular societies. (Your recommended URL was deleted according to our feedback rules).
James C.
It would be useful to have a link to the article in question rather than just a reference. The Council of Europe's wesbsite doesn't make it easy to look up.
That aside, thank you for pointing out the resolution. The logical errors are astounding, quite apart from the rhetoric.
For example in article 12 it states "The total rejection of science is definitely one of the most serious threats to human and civic rights" (no argument there - science is very useful). Then in article 15 it states "The teaching of all phenomena concerning evolution as a fundamental scientific theory is therefore crucial to the future of our societies and our democracies". Excuse me? When did you establish that "rejecting evolution" is equivalent to "total rejection of science"?
Article 13 has another howler: "The fact of the matter ... is that some advocates of strict creationism are out to replace democracy by theocracy." Yes, and some advocates of evolutionary theory are out to replace democracy by plutocracy, oligarchy, or even *gasp* totalitarian dictatorship!
Additionally I love article 7 - it describes Evolution so well: "There is a real risk of serious confusion being introduced into our children's minds between what has to do with convictions, beliefs, ideals of all sorts and what has to do with science."

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