My first kiss happened when I was eight years old, a dare, between my friends and me, and Carrie's friends and Carrie. The kiss lasted all of point-five seconds, but that is long enough to become the talk of the classroom for least two weeks. As I grew older, I quickly discarded this childish, almost innocent view of kissing. As I grew older, I attached more value to this simple action.
The kiss, in American society, expresses closeness between two people. In some African tribes, though, the kiss is a threat. It is a sign of malicious intent because it resembles a snake tonguing its victim1. The interpretation of a kiss differs from society to society, because society influences people and their perceptions. A person's society determines how she interprets a burp after a meal. A person's society establishes the social mores surrounding her sexual relationships. A person's social heritage decides what actions are acceptable. Christian society deeply influenced western thought, but its influence dropped after the Enlightenment. Contemporary American society is best understood when Irreligion is understood to be the dominant mentality.
Irreligion is more easily understood when society is understood. Society is the predominant attitude and behavior characterizing the people of a nation; it is the "culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group"2. Society therefore has two essential features. Social traditions must be distinct, and they must be self-perpetuating. Irreligion represents a distinct philosophical mindset because it rejects the supernatural intervention which Christianity accepts. Irreligion, like any society, uses religion, law, and education to propagate itself.
Religion is a metaphysical assumption about the nature of existence that provides a framework of rationality. Abel points out, "[Metaphysics'] function is not so much to describe a universe `out there' as to contrive a scaffolding of concepts that will implement man's need to understand and organize his experience."3 He recognizes that metaphysical assumptions are not necessarily provable. Upon weighing the evidence, individuals must make a faith-based decision regarding which metaphysically coherent theory they accept.
Either a society casts its lot with a naturalistic metaphysic, or it accepts influences other than the mere tangible. Christian culture accepted the intangible, while Irreligion chooses modern science as its religion, as its metaphysical assumption about the nature of existence. Recognize that modern scientific Naturalism is a metaphysical assumption regarding fundamental reality, as is traditional Christianity. Scientific Naturalism has no more a claim to truth than theistic Christianity4. The Irreligionist belief in Naturalism bases itself on un-provable assumptions regarding matter and existence. The role of religion within Irreligion, like the role religion within Christianity, is to provide a basis from which one can explore the world5. Irreligion, after accepting a metaphysical assumption, then uses the law to transmit religious assumptions to future generations.
Law in a society is a codified system of what is acceptable. The law does not define acceptable in a `refined' or `well-mannered' sense; it does not discriminate between the gentleman and commoner. Rather, it draws the line between a rogue and citizen. The law at its foundation incorporates the beliefs of the dominant culture in society. The society gives power to the law and subjects itself to the dominion of the law. Dr. Phillip Johnson describes how the law of a society both draws from and affects perceived truth:
The Lamb's Chapel case illustrates how classifying a viewpoint or theory as "religious" may have the effect of marginalizing it. A viewpoint or theory is marginalized when, without being refuted, it is categorized in such a way that it can be excluded from serious consideration. The technique of marginalizing a viewpoint by labeling it "religion" is particularly effective in late-twentieth-century America, because there is a general impression, reinforced by Supreme Court decisions, that religion does not belong in public schools.
Dr. Johnson makes two key observations in this passage. First, he recognizes the role of the law in establishing de facto truths. Johnson illustrates how Naturalism, the religion of Irreligion, propagates within the legal system. He does this through demonstrating that "religion", the enemy of "science", is marginalized in modern America. Second, he observes that the law is not neutral. An action is right or wrong in how it compares to society's "protected public policy", that is, Naturalism. Justice, within society, is not blind. It relies on the religion of its adherents to determine what is morally right, and what is morally wrong. Once a soceity accepts something as a priori true, it must marginalize opposing viewpoints. Since the law draws its phraseology and power from the society it governs, the law is both a mirror of and a map to the society from whence it comes.
Supposedly this exclusion of religion reflects a national policy of religious neutrality, but it is anything but neutral when it is employed to protect important ideas and public policies from effective criticism.6
The people, though, ultimately have power to change the law. Society must therefore educate the populace in such a way as to encourage conformity in an attempt to maintain its power and self-perpetuating status. Irreligion does this perfectly. Students not only learn scientific Naturalism, but also learn through methods developed by Naturalistic philosophers such as Dewey. When looking at a culture defined by borders, such as a country, the law codifies what it is necessary to teach. In so doing, it perpetuates a worldview consistent with the dominant culture7.
Socrates' death illustrates the danger inherent in educating people in a way opposed to the ruling majority. Because Socrates challenged the status quo of education unsuccessfully, the ruling mass silenced him. The Vista School Board in California provides an example from modernity. They provided for discussion of non-Naturalistic theories of creation in English and History classes, thus offending a society dominated by the Irreligious. Since they challenged accepted educational practices, they received vast amounts of negative press coverage from as far away as Britain8, again demonstrating Irreligion's dominance in society.
Irreligous society represents a clean break with preceding Christian philosophy. The society, through its domination of religion, law, and education, The culture of Irreligion masterfully maintains control of public education in modern America. Furthermore, its dominance of the law allows Irreligion to force its agenda consistently across the country, affecting millions of students. Challenging the law is impossible because it marginalizes viewpoints seen as "religious", while at the same time incorporating the religion of scientific Naturalism. Irreligious society dominates religion, law, and education, thereby assuring its self-perpetuation.
1. Fenster, Bob. Duh! The Stupid History of the Human Race.
2. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition
3. Abel, Reuben, Man Is the Measure
4. McInerny, Ralph, "Why the Burden of Proof is on the Atheist."
5. Plantinga, Alvin, "Advice to Christian Philosophers."
6. Johnson, Phillip E., Reason in the Balance
7. Cleveland, Paul A., "State Education and the Decline in Morality."