Te Rongopai DVD
Dr Stuart Lange presents a five-part series documenting the story of the Gospel in New Zealand from Samuel Marsden forwards – its impact, the complications, and the way Christianity has had a significant impact in shaping New Zealand society both then and now.
DVD: 65 mins in 5 chapters and can be played in any zone
Price includes postage and packaging within New Zealand
Many Christians are unfamiliar with the concept of secularism. They have not had the opportunity to consider the threat it poses for our society – for our children, and for future generations.
This resource is designed to help readers understand what secularism is, recognise the ways it subtly shapes society, realise how it is contrary to God’s will, and discern how we should respond.
Online dictionaries define secularism as:
The UK National Secular Society describes it as a principle that involves two basic propositions:
Most descriptions boil down to the basic idea of keeping God out of everyday life.
This means keeping your beliefs (unless it happens to be atheism) out of the public square – which includes public debate, public policy, public institutions (e.g. government and schools), and public spaces (e.g. the workplace).
In other words… it may be OK to believe in God as long as you keep it to yourself and you keep it private. Although people like scientist Richard Dawkins would even argue against this.
There is a ‘softer version’ of secularism which allows for expression of God in public as long as no one religion is given preferential treatment. This is sometimes referred to as ‘inclusive secularism’.
Inclusive secularism could be seen as consistent with Christian faith which holds that God gives people free-will and choice and does not impose belief onto people.
But groups in New Zealand, such as the Rationalist-Humanist Society and the Secular Education Network, are active in pushing for ‘exclusive secularism’, where God and religious faith would be restricted to a ‘private’ activity.
From God’s perspective,
Christian understanding is that God created everything – life, family, community, government. God is sovereign over everything, and His desire is that He would be honoured and every sphere of life would function in line with His will.
For spheres (e.g. government or education) to operate as if God is irrelevant or to relegate God to the margins or the private sphere, is not giving God the honour He deserves.
From society’s perspective,
then it would be unwise to exclude God from the public sphere.
If God is treated as irrelevant it can only have negative consequences for a society that tries to live that way.
Such a society would eventually see injustice and inequality increase; goodness, respect, and compassion decrease, and standards of truth and morality undermined. It also leads to erosion of freedom of belief and conscience.
Those with eyes to see will observe some of these signs in New Zealand today.
Everyone has beliefs. A so-called ‘naked public square’ simply advantages some people’s beliefs (a minority) over others.
It is ironic that atheistic belief should be elevated in this way given that it has been consistently shown to produce more authoritarian regimes than almost any other.
(e.g. most communist dictatorships in the 20th century)
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Glyn Carpenter was National Director of New Zealand Christian Network from March 2003 to 2017. He attends Northcote Baptist Church in Auckland, is married to Christine (married in 1981), and they have three sons – two working as doctors and one in computer science.
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