Challenging the rise of secularism
There doesn't seem to be a week that goes by where we are confronted with the claim that we live in a secular society.
Secularism is defined as the separation between government and religious institutions, but the way it is being interpreted has downgraded the meaning of our faith.
Whether it's on the subject of redefining marriage, saying prayers at council meetings, or showing our faith at work, we are told that our Christian faith has no place in today's statutory bodies or indeed in the workplace.
This is absolutely crazy of course. We are all governed by a belief system that drives our ambitions, sets the standards by which we deal with others, and determines the attitude we have to customers, work colleagues, management and the government. Our belief in God is just as valid as the secular belief that there is no God. If the secular agenda is to take belief out of the workplace, then by their own standards, secularism should have no bearing in the workplace either.
Standing up to Secularism
It's time for Christians to stand up to this tide of secularism with more vigour than we have done in the past. And the way to do this effectively is not to adopt the secular approach of criticism, complaint, or to ram our beliefs down the throats of others. These are negative traits and will only alienate people to our cause.
The Biblical way is to be the best that God has made us to be. For those of us at work that means being the best employee, working as hard as we can, showing honour to those we work for, and taking an interest in the lives of the people we work with. And if they need help, comfort or whatever, to be always eager and ready to meet their need.
So how does this help?
If with heart and soul you're doing good, do you think you can be stopped?
Even if you suffer for it, you're still better off. Don't give the opposition a second thought. Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master.
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you're living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.
Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They'll end up realizing that they're the ones who need a bath.
(1 Peter 3: 13-16 , The Message)
As this passage shows, when people ask us why we act the way we do, we can then share that it comes from our belief system - our faith in Jesus, what God means to us, what He has done for us, and what He can do for them.
A number of years ago I was having a pub lunch with some work colleagues when the subject of evolution came up. Having read quite a bit on the topic (it’s always good to be grounded in facts rather than 3rd part comment), I argued that the scientific evidence doesn’t support the general theory that we, and all around us, came from nothing and that everything, including us, evolved by a process of natural selection.
Many of those in the pub knew that I was a Christian and so it wasn’t long that I was challenged about my beliefs. I was up against a formidable character who knew the books by Richard Dawkins – a well known atheist who is one of the leading commentators on the secular agenda. It was a great debate, but I kept it light and in good spirit, trying to keep to the facts. I couldn't answer all his questions but one thing I was clear about was that God met my need in a hospital bed when I was seriously ill, and through it I gave my heart to Him and I felt His presence enter my life. A presence that has not gone away and is as real today as it was then.
That afternoon back at work, one of my non-Christian work colleagues who had heard the debate, came up to me and said that on balance he believed my argument rather than the atheist I was up against. It turned out that it wasn't so much my arguments, but rather my enthusiasm and the way I conducted myself. As someone once said, a man with an experience is always going to beat a man with an argument.
I left that company 6 years ago but interestingly I’m still in occasional contact with the atheist. We respect each others opinions (although he is clearly wrong), are friendly to each other and will always be so.
To make a stand against secularism is to do good – 1 Timothy 6:19 tells us to be “rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous”, and when asked, as will happen, to share our faith.
If you are in a Christian group at work, why not get together and discuss how you can be extravagant in your workplace? I can guarantee you the secularists will not have an answer as their motivation is typically vindictive and lacks the resources of our God.