Last week I mentioned that CNN had a special series airing this week titled God’s Warriors which began Tuesday night with “Jewish Warriors,” Wednesday night aired “Muslim Warriors” and tonight will be “Christian Warriors.” On Friday, August 17th I received an email from one of CNN’s PR people, Jennifer Dargan. She extended an invitation to preview three segments of the 3 part series, formulate and email questions for the host, Christiane Amanpour. Early on Tuesday morning there was a special invitation only internet broadcast where Christiane responded to the questions that various bloggers including MCOI had submitted. One of the most interesting and revealing comments she made during that time was:
I think that — look, in the Western and in the developed world, perhaps here in the 21st century we would have expected secularism and governance and politics to be what governs our daily lives. We would not have expected, and perhaps we still don’t expect, religion to play such a real, present role in our daily lives, politics, and culture. And it does, and it’s also having a resurgence, all three of the religions.
This says quite a bit about Christiane Amanpour and CNN’s secular worldview. It is their expectation that their worldview, secularism, would have trumped and if not eliminated at least diminished in importance any other religious commitments. I say other because secularism is a faith commitment as well which attempts to answer life’s big questions. This worldview may also explain what seemed to be a sort of moral equivalency drawn between Jews defending themselves from attacks, Muslim terrorists and Christians involved in the political process. I wasn’t the only one who picked up on it. One or two other questioners asked about this as well. Each time the question came up Christiane stated that they did not draw nor intend to draw a moral equivalence. To one of the questioners she stated:
Well, I don’t know what moral equivalents he’s talking about, because we do not draw a moral equivalence. We don’t address that issue, and we don’t draw it, and nor do we believe that there is a moral equivalent, certainly not in the tactics used. All we’re saying is, look at these people. They exist. They are a fact.
We decided to explore all the major Abrahamic faiths, the monotheistic faiths, which have so much in common and so much that overlaps and intertwines. But there is no equivalence drawn in how they react and what they do in their tactics.
Near the end of the 30 minute Q&A on Tuesday morning Christiane asserted:
But, no matter how religious you are, and no matter how important God is, it cannot trump rational political solutions, because each and every one who is religious feels that they know the truth. And if that was the case, then nothing would get done, if each and everyone’s belief was individually catered to.
And so, I have come away with an increasing view that, rather than division and chauvinism and individual claiming of the truth, that real leadership involves expanding the pool of tolerance and understanding and compromise for the greater good to empower all the people, not just some of the people.
She doesn’t demonstrate how the Christian worldview is irrational or without rational political solutions. She also doesn’t demonstrate how secularism provides any rational basis for governance. At the core politics and legislation are used to create societal guidelines about morals. Virtually every law legislates someone’s morality. Laws about murder, rape, pedophilia, etc are saying that violating these laws is wrong (violating morality) and will be punished. Even tax laws are predicated on this. Taxes are collected to feed the poor and provide other social programs as well as the defense of the nation which is viewed as something that the government must morally do. Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that all taxes are good, or that it is the government’s role to provide all of the social programs they do. That is another debate for another day. The point here is that one’s political position is informed by their worldview. Why should we feed the poor? From a Christian perspective that is part of our calling according to Christ and Christianity has a rich tradition of fulfilling that calling since its birth in the first century pagan Roman Empire. In fact, Christianity so influenced civilization that it transformed the worldview and indeed society as a whole. In the fourth century the emperor Julian the Apostate desired to reinstitute the pagan religions and in his effort to do so instructed the pagan priests to act like the Christians:
“Why do we not notice that it is their kindness to strangers, their care for the graves of the dead, and the pretended holiness of their lives that have done most to increase atheism [i.e., Christianity]? I believe that we ought really and truly to practice every one of these virtues. And it is not enough for you alone to practice them, but so must all the priests in Galatia, without exception…In the second place admonish them that no priest may enter a theatre or trade that is base and not respectable…in every city establish hostels in order that strangers may profit by our generosity; I do not mean for our own people only, but for others also who are in need of money…for it is disgraceful that, when no Jew ever has to beg and the impious Galileans [Christians] support both their own poor and ours as well, all men see that our people lack aid from us.”
Secularism is a worldview which only argues for mob rule. Which ever mob is in power makes the rules. Legislation and governance are not rooted in any transcendent morality but simply in the views of the mob in power at the time. Tolerance is defined by what is politically correct and changes at the whim of the mob. For example, Those who are pro-homosexual behavior are regarded by the mob as tolerant and those who call it sin are intolerant. But for the moment the mob only moved the moral line one notch to include homosexuality as tolerable but it will not be many years until pedophilia is embraced and those who would call it sin will be labeled by secularists as intolerant and irrational. In the secular worldview the value of life takes a back seat to the value of personal choice. A human can be legislated a non-person based on geography (in the womb vs. outside the womb) and age (less than 9 months old vs. more than nine months old). This can just as easily be transferred to the other end of life. Those in a nursing home vs. those not in a nursing home. Those over say 80 and those younger than 80.
I believe Christiane when she expresses her bewilderment about one’s commitment to God and that she really is in a quandary as to why secularism hasn’t become the predominant worldview. I think the first chapter of Romans explains why. We all know that God exists. The very existence of the universe is evidence of His existence. But if He does exist than secularism fails as a worldview and we would need to determine which religion God has truly revealed Himself through. If it is Christianity than it not only should be embraced because it is true but also provides a rational basis for political decisions, legislation and tolerance for those who are outside the faith.