Blood Sacrifice in Secular Modernism

Last time, I talked about how radical Islam is a worldview that requires blood sacrifice in order to gain the religious person spiritual power and atone for sins.

The other contemporary worldview I’d like to address, briefly, is secular modernism. Under that umbrella term, I’m lumping in atheism, scientism, materialism, agnosticism and the various forms of pluralism which find expression in Western culture today.

What does secular modernism have to do with sacrifice?

Secular modernism is secular because it disavows religious allegiance; on this view, faith is fine and harmless as long as it stays harmless–in the home, church and heart–but religion ought to have no place in the public, social or commercial spheres.

Secular modernism is modern because it is rooted in Enlightenment ideas about epistemology–how we know things–and it’s adherents tend to see “faith” in opposition to “reason.” This way of thinking is distinctly modern. It is my opinion that even self-avowed post-moderns might really be better described as moderns in disguise, but that’s a blog post for another time.

The apotheosis of secular modernism is the belief in the autonomy of the self. There is no cause more worth defending than uninhibited, personal liberty. And this cultural value manifests itself most clearly in the great sacrament of secular modernism: the abortion.

A tiny minority (about 3%) of abortions procured in the U.S. are due to “hard cases” (rape, incest, eugenics). The other 97% of abortions are due to other reasons, like convenience, social pressure, the desires of parents, boyfriends or husbands, etc.

But abortion is a blood sacrifice.

Think about it. Abortion (at least in the vast majority of cases) is the shedding of human blood–the taking of an innocent human life–in order to gain spiritual power and atone for (cover) sin. Abortion grants spiritual power in the sense that it frees the mother and father up to pursue their ambitions ambitions, unfettered by the sacrifices of childrearing. Abortion atones for sin in the sense that it “makes the consequences go away.” At least ostensibly, the guilt of the act that created the baby (usually fornication–83% of women getting abortions are unmarried, which means the sex that produced the child is rightly called fornication) is erased when the baby, the product of the sinful act, is killed.

Abortion is a blood sacrifice, but it can never actually take away sin or sin’s consequences.

A better way

The two worldviews we’ve looked at, radical Islam and secular modernism, are both seeking something that neither worldview can provide. Spiritual power, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation with God (which secular modernism either denies or pooh-poohs as irrelevant) cannot come from our own sacrifices. In fact, we can see that, the harder a worldview goes at trying to achieve spiritual power, peace, forgiveness and reconciliation through sacrifice, the more carnage and tragedy that result.

I suggest that, as a human race we know that we need atonement for our sins. Deep down, we are aware that things are not as they should be. And yet our best efforts to make things right always come up short.

Enter the Christian worldview.

Christianity, based upon the Bible, teaches that God is both a just and wrathful King, as well as a merciful and self-sacrificing Savior. It is in the Bible that we learn that God loved the world in this way: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. For the ungodly! Christ Jesus, God’s only-begotten Son, did not come down to die for those who had atoned for some of their sin, or all of their sin. Christ came for those of us who have blood on our hands. He came for the helpless, hopeless and wretched sinners who inhabit this world and fill it with each other’s blood.

Whether you have lived a relatively “clean” life (maybe your worst crimes are stealing office supplies or light tax fraud), or whether you have innocent blood on your hands, whether you are a junior-varsity sinner or you have committed atrocities that no one else knows about and you live every day with your shame, and your fear that you will be found out–whoever you are, the God who created you is offering you exactly what you need, and what you have been searching for in all the wrong places.

Jesus Christ died on the cross as a blood sacrifice, to take the place of sinners like you and me. If you will trust in His sacrifice, and if you will cease and desist trying to control your own affairs and acknowledge Jesus as the true Lord (not you nor anyone else), then God promises you in His word, the Bible, that He will forgive your sins, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. He will give you new life in God’s own family–a family made up of formerly-wretched sinners like you, and like me, who have been forgiven and atoned for. He will fill you with His own Holy Spirit. And all because of the perfect, blood sacrifice of Jesus the Christ.

Maybe you have lived a lifetime in the vicious cycle of sin, shame, and failed attempts to atone for yourself. Are you ready to get off that carousel? Repent and trust in Jesus Christ today.  If you want to know more about this, shoot me an email at jsettecase@gracepointe.us.

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Author: Joel Settecase

Joel Settecase has served in pastoral and teaching roles at Grace Pointe Church in Plainfield, IL, as well as Chicago Hope Academy and Park Community Church in Chicago. He is the author of the New Covenant Catechism for Little Ones and the Settecase Student Ministry Learning Standards, and he has been blogging on ministry and apologetics since 2013. Joel is the proud husband of Aliza and father of three children.

2 thoughts on “Blood Sacrifice in Secular Modernism”

  1. The autonomy of the self is a far different beast than the liberty of conscience fostered by the Reformation. Autonomy of self comes out of the Enlightenment as you state but I suspect that it is a cover for the desire to indulge all the proclivities of the flesh, primarily sexual in the first instance and moving on to cruelty when sex alone can no longer satisfy. Moderns have decided that they will have sexual engagements and deal with the consequences. Dealing with the consequences means being willing to dispose of the products of sexual engagement and disposing of the products means killing one’s own child in the womb. Thus, moderns want sex so badly that they will kill for it. That sounds very blunt and harsh, but when you really think about it, you realize that it couldn’t be more true.

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  2. That’s a scathing analysis, Boyd. Do you think the abortion is an expression of “moving on to cruelty,” or is that still tied to the desire for sex? Perhaps the “move to cruelty” is better seen in the recent explosion of “50 Shades of Grey” onto the scene.

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