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Review: The End of Secularism by Hunter Baker

Freedom from God is desirable only by those who wish for their own destruction. In fact, the desire for this freedom is what caused humanity to plunge into sin and death—so there is no reason to pursue it. But somehow, freedom from God in the political realm is the greatest pursuit. A society which is free from God and religion is the highest and inevitable goal of human society—and that is the heartbeat of secularism. According to secularism, human society flourishes when it is free of both God and religion so that we can focus on our fundamental interests, which we all supposedly have in common. History demonstrates that religion has resulted in only demise for human society—wars, division, and strife. Therefore, politics and the public square shouldn’t be guided by superstition or the supernatural. Moreover, as the human species progresses in knowledge and rationality, there simply is no need for religion anymore.

By observation of our surroundings, it would appear that secularism is indeed our inevitable destiny as a society, given its dominance in our government and among our institutions, colleges, and culture. But quite frankly—nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing more than a second glance at secularism is required to reveal that such an idea is far from the best option for a flourishing human society. Secularism is simply not the answer to the question of how we can function in society with so much plurality—and that’s what Hunter Baker establishes in The End of Secularism. Baker succinctly demonstrates that secularism offers no such neutral ground which it claims, and it is not something into which society must unavoidably drift. Instead, it is merely a disproportionate reaction to the numerous calamities resulting from church-state alliances in Western history.

Baker reveals that secularism fails to accomplish what it was designed to do—create and sustain social harmony without religion. Instead, the way to have social harmony is by valuing a public square that welcomes all voices into the discussions surrounding the interests of society. That is the only way to preserve free speech, religious freedom, and a democratic society. The title of the book is very fitting, for Baker explains the end goal of secularism and the end of it, because it is a poor idea coming to its death.

Summary of the Book

Baker accomplishes his goal in two major parts: history and rebuttal. In the first portion of the book, spanning chapters 1-8, he walks quickly through the development of secularism in Western history. Baker demonstrates through historical events and key figures that there has been a struggle for power between the church and the state, and how various solutions have been proposed for how to maintain balance between the two. In the second portion of the book, from chapter 7 to the end, he offers a reasoned rebuke of secularism as supposedly the best answer to this struggle. He evaluates and analyzes the results of the happenings of history and applies that assessment to America’s founding and current situation. The most powerful part of the rebuke comes in chapter 10 on through to the conclusion of the book, where he explains that secularism utterly fails to accomplish peace in human society.

Personal Impact

Prior to reading this book, I had not realized how much secularism dominates in the public square. It appears that any view which even smells of the Christian religion is marginal, while secularism is regarded as not only normal but noble. Separation of church and state has been misinterpreted as a comprehensive privatization of religion, and Baker powerfully demonstrates this in a way I had never realized before. I come away from the book with a new perspective on both secularism and religion.

A Few Issues

Although this book is probably the best on the subject, there are several things that could have made the book even better, in my opinion. First (and this may be a matter of opinion), Baker takes too long to get to the main point of the book. Obviously, the history in the first portion of the book makes a powerful and necessary point. But the book would have read much better had he woven the failures of secularism through the journey of history he explained. The beginning of the book starts by explaining some of secularism’s failures, but that is seemingly dropped until the second portion of the book. In the history section, there are hints here and there of secularism’s detrimental goals, but it isn’t as clear as it could have been. The meat of the book in the second portion was like eating a delicious supper you’ve been waiting for hours on. I feel like he could have at least given appetizers in the first half of the book.

Secondly, there appears to be no clear solution offered for how we can move forward with all of this information. It’s possible that this is not even part of the purpose of the book—but it would have made it better. The last page of the book (194) is the clearest explanation of what we should do regarding secularism:

“Pluralism is better than secularism because it is not artificial. In a pluralistic environment, we simply enter the public square and say who we are and what we believe. We make arguments that advert to religion or other sources of values, and they are more or less convincing on a case-by-case basis . . . In order to preserve our freedom to talk about him [God] in all that we do, even in politics, we need only respect others by seeking to persuade rather than to coerce. Surely that is preferable to replacing the organic heart of our civilization which a mechanical one.”

This is very general, however—a detailed plan would have been better. I don’t feel like there is sufficient application of the ideas presented in the book.

You Still Need This Book

Although there are a few shortcomings in this book, its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. The book is a much-needed rebuke of secularism. Christians who fear vocalizing their ideas in the public square should be emboldened by Baker’s unmatched work. He is the best person to write such a piece—he has been on both sides—once a secularist himself. And his penetrating words are timely—written in 2009 but written as though Baker could see into the future as our culture has become increasingly secularized.

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What Does the Bible Say About Being Born Gay?

This is an issue that affects all of us whether we like it or not. Born-again believers all over this country have been greatly impacted by the issue of homosexuality on at least three levels: on a cultural level, on an ecclesiastical level, and on a personal level. Culturally, it is not difficult to see its impact. Three years ago this month, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that same-sex marriage be legalized and recognized in all 50 states. With enough liberal pressure, the justices ruled that the fundamental right to marry was guaranteed to same-sex couples. That event was a major milestone for the LGBTQ community, and it only fueled their fervent vigor for equality and acceptance. Although that particular day was of significant impact, it was not the first time the LGBTQ community has made waves. You may recall the Supreme Court case involving Masterpiece Cakeshop, for example. Thankfully the SCOTUS sided with him in that case but nonetheless, the majority of the LGBTQ community rallied against him. There are dozens of other similar examples of this. Although the LGBTQ community is an extreme minority, our culture promotes and accepts their lifestyle and views as though heterosexuality were the minority.

The issue also affects us on an ecclesiastical level. Many contemporary churches have changed their views on the issue and crumbled underneath the weight of liberalism. Countless prominent “Christian” leaders, authors, and musicians have broken with the hard-line position against homosexuality and gay marriage. Several books have been written by “pastors” and “theologians” defending the LGBTQ lifestyle and movement. Additionally, churches have been forced to confront the issue biblically and deal with the consequences.

And finally, the issue affects all of us on a personal level. This issue comes close to home for a lot of us. Most of us know at least one person in the LGBTQ community, whether they are family, friends, or just acquaintances.

The LGBTQ issue affects us all because it has had such great influence. And there are several reasons why the LGBTQ movement has had great influence. But for the sake of time and to prevent distraction, I won’t examine and review all of those reasons right now. But one of the main reasons this sexual revolution has gained such a following and has had powerful influence is due to the belief that your sexual orientation is entirely dependent on your genetic makeup. In other words, if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, you were born that way. All of us have heard that argument before. The argument follows that, if you are born that way, then it cannot be wrong and you cannot help it. If someone can be born gay, then a fair society could not possibly condemn him or her as being unnatural or immoral.

LGBTQ activists, the liberal media, and several scientists and researchers have actively encouraged the idea that sexuality (other than heterosexuality) is genetic, inherited, and therefore unchangeable. This idea has been proposed for many years and people have vehemently sought scientific evidence to back up the idea that one can be born gay. 

Of course, this claim is not biblical in any sense. But it is also logically inconsistent and the scientific “evidence” is incoherent (we will see why in a moment). Additionally, some have sought to counter this claim by saying that you are not born that way, but that it is a choice. Some say that such a lifestyle is a choice and has nothing to do with your birth. Well, that isn’t a sufficient rebuttal. Presenting only those two options in this debate creates the problem of a false dichotomy. Saying, “You are either born that way or it is a choice,” basically says its either/or and it leaves no room for another option which might explain it better. That would be like someone saying to me, “Are you stupid or just ignorant?” That is saying that those are the only two possible options. There is no option available where I could be smart.

But what does the Bible say about being born gay? Does it teach this? Does it teach something else? Is it a choice? Why are people with atypical sexual orientations the way that they are? Well, we will not go through the entire Bible on this subject, we will only focus on the subject of the origin of a such a sexuality. Let’s consider the answer in five parts.

First, what does the Bible say? The Bible says that all persons are born into this world with a natural inclination towards sin (Gen. 8:21; Job 15:14; Psalm 14:2-3; 51:5; 58:3; Prov. 22:15; Eccl. 9:3; Jer. 17:9; Romans 1:24-32; 5:12-14; Eph. 2:1-3). That is, we are bent towards committing sin. From the moment we are born, our desire and appetite is for sin and our hatred is for God. We will always choose evil over good. We are born with this inclination because of the entrance, curse, and corruption of sin since the Fall. Consider the words of Paul about human nature in Romans 1 and 5. In Romans 1, he teaches that our nature has been radically corrupted and we are born into the world with that corrupted nature. In Romans 5, Paul explains how this came to be. He says that through one man’s disobedience we all became sinners. Speaking of Adam, Paul explains that we are Adam’s children when we are born into the world. From birth we act like Adam – we sin like Adam. Over in the Old Testament, David states that it was in sin he was conceived (Psalm 51:5). And in Psalm 58 he states that the wicked are estranged from birth (58:3). There are statements like this in every book of the Bible, statements which describe our corrupted nature as sinners. And the thing about those statements is that they imply we are corrupted since birth. We do not become corrupted post-birth. We are corrupted from the very genesis of our existence!

Just because we are born sinners doesn’t make us morally exempt, it doesn’t mean we won’t be held responsible, and it doesn’t make it God’s fault. It also doesn’t mean that people are born with an inclination towards specific sins or immoral lifestyles, either. The Bible doesn’t say that we are born in specific sins, only that we are born in sin. We will inevitably commit specific sins, but we are not bound to one sin over another – we are simply bound to sin (in a general sense). Obviously we will yield ourselves to all sorts of specific sins and immoral lifestyles, but that is not where our problem begins. Our problem begins with having a corrupted and sinful nature. So then, according to Scripture, people are not born gay, people are born sinners. You are not born gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or something else. People are born sinners and because of the internal and external influence of sin, some will be more inclined towards sexual immorality. Even if you were born with tendencies towards sexual immorality, that doesn’t make it right and doesn’t mean you should act on it. A person may have a greater susceptibility to homosexuality because of the internal and external influence of sin. Because of the desires of his corrupted heart, or the influence of his environment, or the temptations of the world.

Second, there are logical problems with the claim that people are born gay. It is logically problematic to claim that you are born gay. Of course, the reason for such a claim is to suggest that one must not be responsible for his or her homosexuality since it was a part of them since birth. There’s a serious problem in the implication of that claim. The implication is that you are morally exempt on the basis of genetics. In other words, it must not be wrong if it’s a part of who you are from birth. But genetics do not trump morality. If I have a genetic tendency to be an alcoholic, that doesn’t make it morally acceptable. Also, no one would consider it morally acceptable for a person to be extremely perverse or violent even if they did have a genetic disposition to do so. Even if you are born with a predisposition towards something, that doesn’t make it right. Genetic makeup does not nullify moral responsibility. If Scripture says it’s wrong, it’s wrong. Even if you were born that way doesn’t change the Bible’s teaching or objective morality.

Furthermore, the claim that you are born gay is also logically inconsistent. If you begin to apply that claim to other areas, it becomes easily recognizable that it doesn’t hold up. For example, if it is true that you are born gay, then how do you explain twins who have different sexual preferences? Their genetics are all the same, so why does one turn out gay and another turn out straight? Since they have identical genetics, they should always share the same sexual preference, according to those who make this claim. In other words, if you are born gay because of your genetics, then those twins should either both be heterosexual or homosexual. There is no room for one to be straight and another to be gay. They either have to both be straight or both be gay if their genetics are identical. And you can easily see that this is a problem. One may turn out heterosexual and the other not.

Another way to see the logical inconsistency of this claim is to apply it to other predispositions. What if a person is born with a genetic disposition towards the hatred of homosexuals? If it is a part of their genetics, it cannot be wrong, based on their claim. If genetics solely determine sexual preference, then there can be no sexuality which is wrong. Being sexually attracted to monkeys, family members, or even children should therefore be just as morally acceptable. Obviously same-sex attraction (or anything other than heterosexuality) is not in the same category as those examples – the point is, when you begin to apply that claim to other sexual desires, it crumbles. And if the claim applies only to same-sex attraction, then it is logically inconsistent and even biased. 

Third, the scientific “proof” is incoherent and inconclusive. No matter how much research you conduct, there is no scientific proof for such a thing as a “gay gene.” There is no genetic evidence that people are born gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The studies that have been done are extremely surface-level observations, and not actual chemical-developmental studies. The studies they have done are on adults, who have lived homosexual lifestyles for a long period of time. Researchers think that it is some profound discovery that homosexuals have homosexual desires. The only way to get accurate proof would be to study a developing child in the womb and none have done so (because it’s inhumane and impossible). In one of the most massive studies of gay individuals, the leading researcher admitted that even if such genes were found, they would have a very small effect and being gay would depend largely on environment. How is that conclusive proof? Other researchers state that if one has the so-called “gay gene,” it doesn’t even guarantee he will have homosexual tendencies. If it only increases their chances, but doesn’t guarantee anything, then how is that conclusive proof? The claim that you are born gay also introduces problems for the theory of evolution. For the naturalists conducting these studies, who firmly believe in evolution, how is same-sex attraction beneficial for human survival? If it is part of genetic makeup, it is either a problem from which we have not evolved, or it is something our species has evolved into for its own good. That stings either way you go. If it’s a genetic problem, then it is our duty to find solutions to fix it. If it’s a genetic good, then you would have to explain how non-reproduction helps the survival of the human race. 

Fourth, saying that it is a choice doesn’t exactly resolve the issue. Something else to consider is that being homosexual is not as simple as a decisive conscious choice. There are conscious choices involved, most certainly. But there is clearly not just one decisive choice. There is always a conscious choice involved when you act on your sin, but it is not as though a person decides on a particular date in time that they will become homosexual. There is no decisive moment in a person’s life when they become gay. One simply has a pattern of giving in to the sin of sexual immorality and the longer that pattern continues, that person becomes characterized by the sin they commit. A person who lies compulsively does not make an appointment to become a liar. They become a liar through the continual act of lying. There were conscious choices made in their telling of lies, but there was no one-time decisive choice whereby they became a liar at that very moment.

Fifth and finally, how should Christians approach the issue? We are often mistaken in thinking that heterosexuality is the answer to this issue, but it is not. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer because it is the power of God for salvation (Rom. 1:16). We need to be a friend to anyone in the LGBTQ community, and we need to love them. Admittedly, it is far easier to sit in the judge’s bench when it comes to this issue. And it is far more difficult to express sincere love and concern. But we must avoid critical, overbearing, and unloving judgment, and we must pursue loving such individuals. Of course, part of the way we love them is telling them the truth. We must tell them the truth about their spiritual condition, the truth about God’s holiness and wrath, and the truth about Jesus Christ and His accomplished work. We don’t have to try to change them, the gospel will do that (1 Cor. 6:11).

Those who believe they are true Christians while practicing and condoning homosexuality must be evangelized with the gospel as well, since they demonstrate unbelief by their actions (1 John 3:4-10). There’s a difference between struggling with it in order to overcome, and approving, condoning, or proposing it (Rom. 1:32). A person truly saved will make a decisive break with that behavior though he may still struggle with it. On the other hand, a person who is unrepentant is unsaved.

So, what does the Bible say about being born gay? All persons are born with a natural inclination towards sin, but this doesn’t make sin right or God’s fault. And persons are not born into specific sinful lifestyles, and even if they were, it doesn’t make it right. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.

What Does the Bible Say? is a question and answer series which seeks biblical answers to pressing questions.

26219980_2002699353334045_1898487006197556984_n.jpgBrandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their dog, Susie.

Further From Equality Than We’ve Ever Been

Bullying hurts. We all had that one bully during grade school that no one liked. A bully was usually someone bigger than us who was making fun of us, putting us down, threatening to beat us up, or take our lunch money. Bullying has really progressed through recent decades. My generation has lived through the uprising of what is known as “cyber-bullying” where bullying can be done via social media and the internet. But I believe bullying has taken on a different form than student to student, as was in my school (and likely yours).

We are seeing today more than ever, what I believe to be bullying disguised as “equality,” or “equal rights.” Different groups have been fighting for the past couple of years for what they refer to as equal rights or equality, but at the same time, the greater majority of our nation is being bullied. Thousands of people in this nation are having their God given, and constitutionally mandated rights either taken away, infringed, or ignored.

Yet at the same time, this is called “equality” for those who are gaining dominance over others who are having their rights infringed. But how can it be equality for all when someone else’s rights and privileges granted to them by God and by the Constitution are taken away, infringed, ignored, or even obliterated?

Let me illustrate how this has been happening for decades, and has culminated in recent days.

First of all, unborn children who haven’t even had the chance to receive their birth certificates, are immediately denied the most important right of all because they are seen as “a collection of cells,” or “inconvenient.” What is this most important right? The right to life. There are about 3,315 abortions daily in the United States alone.¹ Does that sound like equality to you? The world considered it a damnable atrocity when the Nazi Regime took the lives of over 11,000,000 Jews, homosexuals, children, and disabled people – and those people had already been born.² But an unborn child is denied the right to live, and it’s mother is told by organizations like Planned Parenthood, that “options are available.”

Equality is not defined as, “when the helpless and unborn are denied the right to life by those bigger than them.” That is murder. That is bullying in the highest degree possible.

Secondly, notice the so-called “equality” taking place in the marriage realm of our country. The Supreme Court ruled not long ago that all states must recognize same-sex marriage, and that states cannot deny or ban same-sex marriage within their own state.  This decision was celebrated all over the country on the day it was publicized, but as with anytime someone is bullied, the “little guy,” is taking a beating. Who is the “little guy” whose rights are being ignored, taken away, or infringed? How about the Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis who is now being jailed for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples?³ How is that equality for those whose conscience cannot allow them to do so? It is a violation of one’s right to believe what they want to believe.

Or what about Aaron and Melissa Klein who were ordered to pay $135,000 for refusing to bake a gay wedding cake?4 They were punished for not participating in a wedding that violated their conscience. That doesn’t sound like equality, that sounds like bullying. That’s $135,000 that could have fed their family, or sent their children to college, or paid their bills. Instead, they lose that amount of money, in addition to their right to believe what they want to believe. Bullying happens when someone bigger than you oppresses you because they have the upper hand. And bullying can lead to tyranny in the political realm. That’s clearly what has happened here.

There are plenty of other examples I could give where bullying is disguised as “equality,” in our nation but I’d like to close with a few suggestions on what Christians can do in light of this discrimination taking place.

  1. Prepare for persecution. You had better get ready. History is doomed to repeat itself, and a day is coming sooner than ever where we will see an exact replica of the persecution that took place in the early church. Christians were imprisoned for their faith. One was sentence to jail just today. Don’t think you won’t see more and more of this in the coming days – you will. If believers are still on the earth at the time when this climaxes, we will need to mimic the same practices of the current underground churches in China, Vietnam, India, and other countries where Christianity is illegal.
  2. Preach the gospel more than ever. As a minister, I am concerned, saddened, and even angered that we are being bullied and our God given rights are being infringed, and plain ignored. But at the same time, my love and concern for souls who need Christ is stronger than ever. We should continue to preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15), and do so with more diligence and perseverance, than we ever have before.
  3. Pray for and support those standing up for the faith. Christians all over the country are standing up for their faith, and for their Constitutional rights. They need our prayers and encouragement. We need to stand with them.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).


  1. “Abortion Facts.” Abortion No, https://www.abortionno.org/abortion-facts
  2. “11 Facts About the Holocaust.” DoSomething.org, https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-holocaust
  3. Blinder, Alan “Deputy Clerks to Issue Gay Marriage Licenses in Kentucky.” The New York Times. Sept. 3, 2015.
  4. Starnes, Todd “Christian bakers fined $135,000 for refusing to make wedding cake for lesbians.” Fox News Opinion. July 3, 2015.