Tag Archives: John D. Steinrucken

Can Secularists Survive Without Christianity?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Most secularists would laugh at this question, but not one. I ran across an article written a few years ago (thanks to the link provided by J. Warner Wallace) by an atheist,  John D. Steinrucken, that goes beyond acknowledging the debt secularists owes Christianity. He actually castigates those secularists who attack Christianity as irresponsible.

Steinrucken opens the article with this grenade:

Succinctly put: Western civilization’s survival, including the survival of open secular thought, depends on the continuance within our society of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

How so? Steinrucken goes on to make his case:

Although I am a secularist (atheist, if you will), I accept that the great majority of people would be morally and spiritually lost without religion. Can anyone seriously argue that crime and debauchery are not held in check by religion? Is it not comforting to live in a community where the rule of law and fairness are respected? Would such be likely if Christianity were not there to provide a moral compass to the great majority? Do we secularists not benefit out of all proportion from a morally responsible society?

Steinrucken challenges secularists to provide a transcendent moral code for our society:

Just what are the immutable moral laws of secularism? Be prepared to answer, if you are honest, that such laws simply do not exist! The best answer we can ever hear from secularists to this question is a hodgepodge of strained relativist talk of situational ethics. They can cite no overriding authority other than that of fashion. For the great majority in the West, it is the Judeo-Christian tradition which offers a template assuring a life of inner peace toward the world at large — a peace which translates to a workable liberal society.

Steinrucken admits that most men need God and reminds us that

so many of those who have forsaken the God of their fathers (it has been fashionable to do so) are now reaching for meaning in eastern exotica, new-age mumbo-jumbo, and other attempts to fill the spiritual hole.

He warns of the consequences of rejecting the Christian heritage of the West:

To the extent that Western elites distance themselves from their Judeo-Christian cultural heritage in favor of secular constructs, and as they give deference to a multicultural acceptance that all beliefs are of equal validity, they lose their will to defend against a determined attack from another culture, such as from militant Islam. For having destroyed the ancient faith of their people, they will have found themselves with nothing to defend.

What is Steinrucken’s advice to the atheist elites?

If the elitists of our Western civilization want to survive, then it is incumbent upon them to see to the preservation of the hoary, time-honored faith of the great majority of the people. This means that our elitists should see that their most valued vested interest is the preservation within our culture of Christianity and Judaism.

Steinrucken has recognized what Christians have been pointing out for centuries to those secularists who live amongst us: secularism is parasitic of the  Christian worldview. It incessantly borrows intellectual and moral capital from Christianity without ever admitting it is doing so. At least one secularist finally admits it. Hopefully the rest will come around.