I just learned this week about a “new” religion. It’s called No Religion. They have a website, www.lifewithoutreligion.org, billboards, a creed, and even an evangelistic appeal to join their community of “secular humanist or free thought groups” that have “regular meetings, activities and family events.”
Now, let’s think about this. What is a religion? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, religion is “the belief in a god or in a group of gods; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods; an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group.” Basically religion is a belief system, and this “no religion” of secular humanism is therefore, by definition, a religion. They have a belief system where they are their own gods: “We make our own meaning and are free to create purpose for our own existence. We decide for ourselves what we want to do with the limited time we have on the planet.” They have their own local and universal church: “We are connected with family, friends—even people we interact with around the world who (sic) we’ve never met in real life.” They have their own doctrine: “[We] share our values and ideals. . . . We’re not here for some cosmic or universal purpose—we’re simply here. But that’s a good thing, because it means we get to decide what to do with our lives. We get to figure out what we want our purpose to be.”
And this religion is growing. According to their website, 20% of the U.S. population identifies itself as having “no religion,” an increase of 5% over the past five years, which represents 63 million people. What’s most concerning to me is how the percentage of those ascribing to “no religion” increases dramatically in younger generations. 9% of the generation born between 1928-1945 is defined as having no religion. This increases to 15% among Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964), 21% among GenXers (1965-1980), 30% among older Millennials (1981-1989), and 34% among younger Millennials (1990-1994).
So let me cut to the chase. This no-religion religion espouses that humanity needs no divine command to determine right vs. wrong. Their doctrine teaches that “basic moral rules are common to all cultures.” Really? Have you been to Somalia lately? They also teach that concerning “more complex issues, especially ones that touch on public policy, we have science and reason to help guide us. We study different behaviors, and we use facts and data to help determine which behaviors are truly harmful and which ones are actually benign. We decide right and wrong based on real-world experience, not on tradition or what a god wants or doesn't want.” Sounds like a direct quote out of the Nazi handbook on extermination of the Jews. Hitler and his savage henchmen studied different behaviors, used science and reason to guide them, and used facts and data to determine which behaviors they declared truly harmful or benign.
Call me a non-believer. If we decide right and wrong based on real-world experience, we’re in a real-world of hurt. Real-world experience teaches us that whoever has the political muscle gets to decide right and wrong, and it doesn’t bode well for those who think differently.
I for one ascribe to a different belief system, one that does not place the rules of right and wrong in the hands of scientists, politicians, or philosophers. C. S. Lewis put it this way, “The Law of Human Nature, or of Right and Wrong, must be something above and beyond the actual facts of human behavior. In this case, besides the actual facts, you have something else—a real law which we did not invent and which we know we ought to obey” (Mere Christianity). The One who breathed this real law into place is a Person who has placed eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:10). He is the One who gives us purpose and meaning and who desires that we should seek Him, though “He is actually not far from each one of us, for `In him we live and move and have our being’” (Acts 17:27-28).
If I have to make a choice, and I do, I’d much rather hang my hat on the peg of the Creator who has given me life both now and forever through His Son, Jesus Christ, than on the peg of a handful of people who get to make up the rules as they go along. I leave you with this. The choice is yours. What will you choose?