Confronting Pluralism in Canada

Michael Emmanuel

We live in a pluralist society where supposedly many beliefs and religions are all tolerated and, to some degree, considered equal with each other. Consequently, anyone who claims to have the certain absolute truth is viewed with suspicion and even contempt. Absolute claims are arrogant and inevitably lead to intolerance.  Sadly, Christians no longer challenge this. We no longer rebut: Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (Jn. 14:6). Instead we say the civil sphere is neutral ground for all beliefs. We Christians may believe this world is the Lord’s, but others don’t, and therefore we can’t expect them to live according to God’s law or admit Christ, not man, is King.

How manifestly absurd! Sometimes I wonder, like C.S. Lewis, “Why don’t they teach logic in these schools?” (Or in the church for that matter.) In no other realm of life would that kind of reasoning be acceptable. “What’s that? You don’t believe 2 and 2 are 4? Well you just put down what you believe and we’ll call it even.” Simply because you don’t believe in reality doesn’t mean it goes away. Nonetheless, more and more I see people in the church bending over to take what the culture has to give them because we can’t expect, let alone demand, culture adhere to the law of the Almighty 

This is because, in breathing the air of our apostate culture, we have bought the lie of pluralism – that since no one can be absolutely right, all belief systems are valid in society and none can claim preeminence. Thus, the default mode of many Christians today is agnosticism. They believe, ultimately, no one can know for certain that God is real or that He has become incarnate and died and was resurrected, let alone any assurance of salvation. At the end of the day, every position is a “faith” position.  Whether it is due to a leap of faith or a conclusion based on the best evidence, the results are the same. Every position begins with someone’s choice to believe it.

I hope to show that such a position is (1) anti-biblical, (2) illogical, and (3) impossible. Christians should unashamedly profess to have the absolute truth which Canada must obey. This is our great commission from the High King Himself.

So first, agnosticism, both epistemologically and culturally, is anti-biblical. Often people ask if God will damn those who have never heard of him. Don’t worry, God won’t. On the other hand, there is no one who hasn’t heard of God. The Apostle Paul says the wrath of God is revealed against ungodly man because he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). What is this truth? “What may be known of God,” which is manifest in them, “for God has shown it to them… so that they are without excuse” (Rom 1:19-20). In other words, every single person knows God exists because God has gone out of His way to make Himself fully known. God actively tells every single person. So much so that every man is without excuse for denying Him. There is no such thing as an agnostic, only liars. Furthermore, no one has to prove God or take a leap of faith because everyone already knows He exists. This is why the Psalmist calls the atheist a fool. A fool is someone who denies what he knows, who acts against what he knows, or who lives with illusionary ideas about reality. On the other hand, Proverbs tells us that we know, with certainty, “the words of truth” (Prov. 22:20). Add to this that the Dominion of Canada claims, “He shall have dominion from sea to sea,” (Psalm 72:8) in its motto, and suddenly atheists, agnostics, and secularists of all kinds have no right to decide anything about marriage, abortion, Sabbath days, or any other civil legislation. Moreover, when we Christians act otherwise, we disobey our Lord, breaking His third commandment by acting as if His name didn’t mean Sovereign.

Second, agnosticism is illogical. If no one can know for certain the ultimate truths of the universe, then how can we know particular truths?  If we don’t know where reason, experience, or truths come from, how can we trust anything they give us? Let me first rule out that reason is neutral. The notion that everyone has reason by which they can come to the truth is in the first place a Christian belief; elsewise, there is no reason to believe it. Moreover, reason cannot justify itself because you cannot prove reason without resorting to reason, and this is begging the question. Experience, meanwhile, is all judged through worldviews and therefore hardly unbiased. People who understand these philosophical problems often resort to saying all we have left is to take a leap of faith. We must simply choose to believe in the world around us. I don’t see how this is anything more than nonsense. We don’t have any logical reasons for using logic and experience so therefore we will turn to an illogical one. God certainly doesn’t demand a leap of faith – blind faith of this sort is not the biblical virtue. For example, Abraham believed against hope, that is, against what his own experience told him because he believed in hope that God doesn’t lie (Rom. 4:18). Whatever the Kierkegaardians or the New Atheists may say, there is no conflict between faith and reason; they are one and the same axiom. But for those outside Christ, who have no reason to trust reason, and no faith to leap to, how can anything be known? Well logically, it can’t. Meanwhile, Dostoyevsky pointed out that without God, everything is permissible. Cultural agnosticism, such as pluralism, means power wins the day. And power corrupts.

Finally, agnosticism is impossible. All agnostics ultimately believe we can’t know absolutely. But their claim to intellectual humility is simply disguised arrogance. Like the relativist who claims there absolutely are no absolutes, the agnostic claims they know with total certainty that nothing can be totally certain. The agnostic also claims they know for certain that that there isn’t enough evidence out there to give themselves or others certainty. They have absolute trust in their own reasoning capacities to judge that the current evidence is either insufficient or non-existent. The agnostic really claims to know a lot. So what happens when a culture is taken over by this sort of intellectual schizophrenia? Well a new absolute is set up, one which says man, not Christ, is lord. Ancient Rome, for example, was pluralist; as long as each religion bowed the knee to the real ultimate, Caesar, it was tolerated. Likewise, all religions and beliefs are valid in Canada, as long as they subject their speech, proselytizing, and moral codes to the government of Canada. In other words, you can’t escape sovereignty, you can’t escape certainty, you can only “worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1:25).

Christians need to stop being wimps. Enough acting like we don’t actually have good news. We do! Christ has absolutely come! He has absolutely defeated Satan, hell, and death (1 Cor. 15)! He is absolutely victorious, and has absolutely ascended to Heaven where he sits as the absolute King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the entire cosmos, from whence He shall come to judge absolutely the living and the dead. Until then, our mission is to proclaim His Lordship among all the nations, teaching them to obey all thing He has commanded us (Matt. 28:18-20) until every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Rom. 14:11). These things were written down for us that we might know their truth (Jn. 21:24) and know it certainly (Lk. 1:4).

If I may tweak him, the Psalmists’ instructions are clear: “Be wise, O Canada; be instructed you Christians of the West. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish” (Ps. 2:10-12). I hope we’ll take this seriously. I wouldn’t want to toy with the wrath of God.