The Fact of the Matter: A philosophical reflection on the foundation of a movement

By La Nej A. Garrison

“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of  government in the next.”

– Abraham Lincoln

What does the state of our society say about the philosophical commitments that have been taught in the classroom? Perhaps it is time to examine our philosophical presuppositions and their effect on society. Unfortunately, our classrooms have been the breeding ground for secular ideologies. The universities are not the only place where the Christian worldview is attacked. From pre-school to high school, secular educators are filling young minds with false ideas. As Christians, we have let secularism invade the mind of our youth and shape their moral framework. This apathy on our part has begun to burst at the seams opening the door for moral confusion and ethical chaos.

We have been taught that truth is relative. Truth is whatever anyone decides based on their personal convictions. Relativism denies that there is a universal truth or moral code of the way things ought to be. Relativism is grounded in a worldview that denies the existence of a soul and reduces man to material substance. In this framework, man is nothing more than atoms, neutrons, and protons. We have been taught that we are nothing more than matter: soul-less animation destined to be nothing more than fertilizer for those who roam haplessly on the earth. Why is this important to understand? Purpose and design do not arise out of accidental processes. Purpose gives rise to meaning and value. If we are only accidental material substances, then how can we prescribe moral norms? If humans are nothing more than material substance, from where does meaning come? Why should I care about the way things ought to be, if I am just an accident? Why should I strive to make my life or the life of others better, if existence is purposeless?

Here is the problem: if relativism is true, on what basis can we say that the enslavement of Africans was an atrocity? Or are these atrocities nothing more than the violations of our current preference and culture and not violations of universal truths of dignity or personhood? The forced enslavement in the 17th and 18th centuries cannot be discussed in terms of right or wrong. By what standard do say these were wrong? How can we decide between two competing statements of morality?

We have been taught that there are no universal moral truths or absolutes that have a right to govern, to change or to compel me to act. My actions are determined by my individual preference. It would appear that in today’s culture, morality is subjective until the point that your decisions impede upon another individual. Universal moral norms have been reduced to individual preference. And these preferences are nothing more than a buffet of ideals that suit the pallet of a moment.

We are witnessing the culmination of ideals and the virus of moral depravity ushered in by a God-less educational system. We are living in a time where everyone does what is right in his or her eyes. Agreement on right and wrong behavior is merely a social construct. The very definition of family is being redefined in the classroom. Our children are taught that gender is fluid. Sexual preference is a choice. There is no design, there is no purpose, there is no god.

So, what does this mean? The existence of morals or values do not fit into a worldview where only material substances existence. Morality can not arise from a combination of atoms arranged by chance. There is no morality gene. Morality and moral absolutes exist within a worldview that believes in the existence of immaterial substances. If we are only material substance that means that morality is purely subjective. Morals based on subjective opinions are not compelling and definitely not universal. Objective truth only exists within a worldview that allows for the existence of God. If there is no God, then there is no objective truth. If there is no objective truth, how can we unify?

And yet there is an expectation, that mankind will somehow unify and share the same set of values. There is an expectation of unification, an expectation that man will respond to those internal moral absolutes that will lead to the unification of humanity and recognize the need for social justice. There is an expectation that mankind will accept these moral absolutes and that they will somehow compel man to do the “right” thing.

In addition, there is an expectation that every man, woman and child can identify certain values as morally beneficial or harmful. Not only will we come to an agreement on these values, we will also be compelled to act accordingly!

“Unless a measuring rod is independent of the things measured, we can do no measuring.”

– C.S. Lewis [1]

How can a secular worldview compel me to act when there is no moral absolute or law? Relativist can not say what is right or wrong. There are no standards to decide if a particular belief or ideal is good or bad. Without God, there is not measuring rod to determine if any action is acceptable or reprehensible. Secularism has lost its voice and all its rights. Secularists have no voice when we discuss right and wrong. They have no voice because they have denied the existence of God. For example, on what basis can the secularist say it is wrong to sit on the neck of a man? Who is to say that this action is horrendous? Why should men be treated with respect and dignity? What universal law are we appealing to when we demand justice?

“The most dangerous diseases are those which manifest few external symptoms until the disease has thoroughly infected the body, like cancer, because the victim is often unaware of the illness until it is “too late.” Similarly, secularism is a silent killer – the symptoms manifest long after the disease has been established. However, whereas cancer merely destroys the body, secularism destroys the soul – not only the souls of people, but it also destroys the souls of nations.”

-Frank Pastore [2]

But, what if we (The Body of Christ) should also be held accountable? Are we responsible for failing to appreciate the formation of ideologies that have influenced decision making and shaped the ethical process of belief formation? Have we failed to challenge the philosophies of the classrooms on a grand scale and demand a holistic pedagogical approach? By failing to educate our youth about the laws that are written on the hearts of men, we have allowed secularism redefine morality as a buffet of ideals one chooses based on a feeling of a moment. This ‘buffet’ of ideals can not include the existence of a soul, the existence of truth and the existence of God. And now, we are at a moral crossroad.

Consider the following example of how society is unraveling at its hinges:

  • You can’t say black lives matter if life doesn’t matter.
  • If life is only matter, than black lives really don’t matter.
  • If we are nothing more than atoms, protons and neutrons, (i.e. purposeless flesh)…then why does anything matter?

If we are only matter, then what is really the matter?

Life does matter. Humans are more than purposeless flesh. When we witness the brutality of people getting victimized, we share in their pain, their loss and their hurt. We share this because life has intrinsic value beyond what meets the eye. Human value can not be reduced to random events of naturalistic evolutionary processes.

Black lives matters because black lives are more than matter.

The sentiment, “Black Lives Matter”, only has meaning, because black lives are conscious beings with a soul. Black lives are not accidental processes, but we are created…we are designed with a purpose. We are all members of a human race that is fearfully and wonderfully made! But the movement is flawed, not because of its sentiment, but because the organization has chosen to remove God from their ideological framework. Black Lives Matter organization decries white privilege, but without God, they have lost the moral high ground to speak. Their cry is simply one of many within the buffet of individual preference. So why should I listen?

BLM decries white privilege, but without God, they have lost the privilege to influence.

Moral absolutes are not preferences. Preferences can not unify. Saying, “Black Lives Matter”, implies the acceptance of an objective moral principle: life has value. The saying/sentiment is acknowledged because we agree that there have been historical injustices. In order to properly understand the principle of justice, we must have a moral rule that guides our definition. When we remove the moral rule that guides our understanding of justice, then we are, once again left to choose whatever framework fits our particular agenda.

The Civil Rights Movement was effective and thrived because of its Bible-based leadership that had a clear understanding of personhood, creation and the existence of God. The sentiment is a plea for fellow co-laborers to acknowledge the pain felt by your brothers and sisters in Christ. We must separate the sentiment from the organization. Movements thrive from universal appeal and the acceptance of objective moral truths. They have universal appeal that surpasses individual preferences. Black lives matter because life has value.

Black lives matter because there is a God.

This movement is demanding universal acceptance, but how can they make value judgments when there is no objective truth? Instead, they have borrowed value judgments from the Christian worldview. Value can not be arrived at from the relativistic ideologies. The naturalistic worldview cannot give dignity to persons. 

“Modern humanism is parasitic upon a Western Christian tradition. And what it’s done is simply removed God from the picture but tried to retain the inherent dignity and worth of human beings in a godless universe. And my argument would be that once you remove God from the picture there is no longer any basis to affirming the intrinsic value of human beings—we just become animals. So, I see humanism as inadequate not because it has the wrong values. On the contrary, Christianity is humanism in the sense that we affirm the God-given inalienable rights of human persons created in the image of God. So, humanism isn’t wrong because of the set of values it has. It’s wrong because it has given up the explanatory foundation for the intrinsic value of human beings.”

William Lane Craig [3]

When the Church allowed secular philosophies to remove God from the classroom, we removed our ability to ground morality in objective truths that compel us to treat each other with love and respect. The Church sat back as secularists removed sound discourse that provided evidence for the existence of these set of values around which we can use to build a moral framework that includes respecting persons. The church does not have time to be intellectually incompetent and passive. 1 Peter 1:13 states that we must prepare our minds for action, after all…we have truth on our side! 

“If we do not equip our best and brightest to contend with rival worldviews today, we must be prepared to live in them tomorrow.”

– Frank Pastore [4]

Change in the philosophies of the classroom provides a pathway to bring about change in society. However, it is on this point that my soul grieves because, as usual, I wonder…are Christians too late?

La Nej A. Garrison, M.A., is an editor, educator, writer, and philosopher. She is married with three wild boys and one useless dog!

[1] Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity, 1952.

[2] Pastore, Frank. Worldview Apologetics, 1996.

[3] Craig, William. The Rise of Secularism. Reasonable 2011

[4] Pastore, Frank. Worldview Apologetics, 1996.

Disclaimer: All views expressed by those associated with this ministry or on our platforms do not necessarily represent the opinions of Women in Apologetics, Inc. or its individual team members.

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