The New Religion [Part two]: Persecution

 

The New Religion

As I said in my previous post, there is a New Religion offending the separation of church and state. It has the four essential elements of a religion, which are answers to the following four questions every religion seeks to answer:

  1. who are we?
  2. how did we get here?
  3. what ought we to do while we are here?
  4. who is God?

As it turns out, “Secular” humanism meets all the essential qualifications. It turns out that “secular humanism” is “secular” in name only. Its essential doctrines answer those questions. Secular humanism teaches that (1) & (2) we are “highly” evolved apes [Darwinism, Humanism], which explains who we are and where we came from. It also teaches (3) what we ought to while we are here, which is seek happiness and human advancement [Darwinism, Humanism, Environmentalism, Socialism and Capitalism]. Finally, it answers the question “Who is God?” in some rather lame kinds of ways.  It teaches that since there is no supernatural [atheism], therefore either the most evolved must be God, or the universe [mother nature] or aliens who must have seeded life on earth. Note that the definition of “religion” does not need to include a supernatural “god”, or that would exclude pantheism and animism. These explanations are really just pathetic attempts at reviving logically absurd pantheism, which claims the universe is a “god”. This is logically absurd because it postulates a self caused entity.

Separation of Church and State

The Separation of Church and State, was originally proposed by Christians, who wanted the state to stay out of Church affairs. Throughout history, “secular” authorities imposed religion on Christians as a test of loyalty, or tried to control Christian worship and define Christian faith. The Roman Emperors who burned Christians on stakes, fed them to lions, ants and a multitude of wild beasts for mob entertainment. When Christianity spread so fast that the Roman authorities couldn’t kill them fast enough, one Emperor tried to hijack the church through his “conversion” into and then control of the Church. So began the Church State religion that continued to burn Biblical Christians at the stake during the Reformation. Tired of persecution, some Biblical Christians decided a Separation between Church and State was needed to allow for the free exercise of religion. It seemed to work for a time.

Then came along “secular”(in name only) Humanism. This new state sponsored, media hyped, intellectually elite, politically correct religion answers all four of those questions with its basic doctrines. No longer does the state wish to have an official church, but rather an ideology which replaces church with a new ‘secular’ religion. The institutions of society are now hijacked as places for religious education. In the school classrooms, mainstream media, and university lecture theatres, these doctrines are disseminated for the “non-experts” (laypeople). The Clergy of Academics are kept “pure” of nonconformists, since grant applications by scientists for funding are given special attention if they somehow promote socialism, darwinism or some other humanist rhetorical enterprise. In some cases, outright fraud are used to ensure the lapping up of doctrine by the non-elite devotees.

Not only has it hijacked the state, but it also seeks to attack nonconformists. Think wedding cakes and bakers, gender identification and toilets, evangelism and so on. If you don’t want to participate in gay weddings or gender neutral toilets, you will be fined. If you don’t affirm a doctor’s right to kill unborn babies, you will be marginalised and called a bigoted misogynist. If you don’t believe the doctrine of Darwinism, they’ll call you an idiot and laugh you out of scientific grants till you career grinds to a sudden halt because science is funded by grants. If, however, you dare to think you’re persecuted, you must have the “Evangelical Persecution Complex”. They’ll laugh at you for thinking its wrong to be fined for being faithful to your conscience towards God. The New Religion sponsors attacks of Biblical Christianity and laughs at those who call them out.

A History Lesson

The Roman Problem

If we look back into the last multicultural empire that sought to keep order, we find the Roman Empire. The Roman imperial rulers had territory covering all of the Mediterranean, most of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. With this huge territorial expansion, came a complex problem of maintaining unity among the various peoples, languages, religions and cultures as diverse as the Celts of Britain and Gaul, Berber of Africa and the Jews in the Middle East. The Romans were usually “tolerant” of other religions, but desperately needed a way of uniting the Empire behind a common religion. Their solution was the strange practice of Emperor worship. Every person in the empire could worship their own “gods” provided they sprinkled a pinch of incense to an image of Caesar (their emperor) and hailed him and the “gods” of Rome.

The Jews  were exempt, providing they sacrificed daily for the Emperor in their Temple. Rome didn’t need an armed confrontation with the Jews. Also the Jews did not try to spread their religion and therefore weren’t likely to inspire other peoples refuse the worship of the Emperor.

The Christians

There was just one problem. A growing faith, called by their enemies “Christians”, would not sprinkle incense to Caesar. Not only were they unwilling to do this, but they also advocated their message and sought for others to join them in their pursuit of the Kingdom of Heaven. Their evangelism was spreading like a wildfire through the Roman Empire.

One letter written by a governor of the region in what is now known as Turkey to the Emperor Trajan, explains the effect Christianity had on pagan worship. According to the Roman Governor of Asia Minor, the temples were nearly empty and the markets that once bustled around the temples, were now neglected.Christianity had almost wiped out Roman and Greek religion in what is now known as Turkey. Writing about 96-87AD, this Governor noted his confusion.

I am very unsure… whether the name [of being a Christian] as such should be punished even if there is no crime, or whether only the crimes attributed [atheism etc] to this name should be punished. Meanwhile I have followed this procedure with those who are denounced to me as Christians. If they confessed I repeated the question a second  and third time and, moreover, under threat of the death penalty. If they persisted I had them led away to their death, for I had no doubt that, whatever it is was they confessed, their stubbornness and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved to be punished.

After describing his torture of two girls, the Governor then described the impact of Christianity on pagan worship in the province:

For many of all ages, of every rank, and of both sexes are already in danger [of becoming Christian], and many more will come into danger. The contagion of this superstition has spread not only in the cities but even to the villages and to the country districts. Yet I still feel it is possible to check it and set it right. Of this I am sure, that people  are beginning once more to frequent the beautiful temples which have been also deserted, …so that fodder for the animals to be sacrificed, for which until now there was scarcly any demand, is being bought and sold again.

Persecution

Clearly, not only was Christianity seen as a threat to the unity and religion of the empire, but also the economy suffered when the religious sector was hit. Christianity swept through the Roman empire like a broom through a dirty room cleaning out the pagan filth in its wake and the Romans were not happy! Religion has always hated pure faith, and the old religion of Roman paganism was as state building oriented as the New Religion of Secular Humanism has become.

Persecution ensued. Christians were beheaded, burned, fed to wild animals in public places for the amusement of mobs. One essential characteristic of the Roman persecution of Christians involved false accusations of infanticide, orgies and other sins (ironically things openly practised by Romans) yet as the Governor above acknowledged were really known for their love and purity.  The Romans were bent to ensure they kept their imperial authority and unity no matter what evil they had to do.

All this was suffered because the early Christians understood that they could not betray Jesus by giving their loyalty to another. They certainly respected the emperor (Romans 16) but would not worship him (Exodus 20).

Today, we live in a multicultural society, again. As in Rome, society is looking for unity in an increasingly fragile and divided world. Once again, the world is looking for a caesar to worship, something for unity. With the external threat of extremist religion and internal disunity, the world looks like the Roman empire as it sought to throw off the Gothic hoards without and remain united within. The solution to the modern unity problem is the New Religion, forced Secular Humanism. It boldly declares “you can believe what you like, but you can’t talk about it and live it out.” We are in the perfect melting pot for persecution.

There is a way to respond to the New Religion. It is the same response that the early church used, which eventually brought down paganism in the Roman Empire without lifting a sword or shedding the blood of others. The Bible speaks of the “accuser” which means the one who accuses us of wrongdoing simply because of our faith. It tells us how to deal with him.

How do we respond?

We respond in the way the Bible declares:

“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
(Revelation 12:10-11)

 

 

Bibliography and Further Reading

English Standard Version

Eberhard Arnold “The Early Christians in Their Own Words” (1997) (Plough Publishing House)

Bruce Shelley “Church History in Plain English” (1982) (Word Inc)

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