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Hunter Baker was once a secularist. He believed in God while attending Florida State University, but he had no room for him outside of baptisms, weddings, and funerals. "If someone started talking about Jesus, it was like they were talking about their bathroom habits," Baker says. "That's how secularists feel, and they wish we would stop using religious language because it makes them uncomfortable." Now the Houston Baptist University political science professor is speaking up about the dangers of secularism. Christianity Today online editor Sarah Pulliam spoke with Baker about his new book, The End of Secularism (Crossway).

Why should Christians oppose the exclusion of religion in public discourse?

Secularism goes a lot further than the separation of church and state. Instead of saying that these things have to be institutionally separate, secularism says that religion has to be privatized and taken out of public life. Secularists argue that if we stop talking about God, we will create greater social harmony. But religion is not a hobby. To act as though God doesn't exist is fundamentally dishonest.

Second, it's unfair. [According to secularists,] you have Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, all of which orbit the sun of secularism. That's utterly fallacious. Secularism is really a competing orthodoxy. And if that's the case, why should one of these competitors be allowed to declare itself the umpire?

How has the impact of secularism changed over time?

When religious speech has been used, as in the civil rights movement, to promote care for the poor or to criticize the Vietnam War, then it's a great thing to secularists. Religious people are speaking truth to power. They're speaking prophetically. But if you start ...

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October 2009

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