The shifting goalposts of secularism

Christianity has always suffered from the readiness of its critics to judge its past by the standards of the present.

Secularism is now experiencing the same, the latest phase being the Me-Too movement catching up on the sexual immorality of the 1960s and judging 1960s behaviour by 2010s opinion.  The well-known sexual licentiousness of the 1960s is now being recognised as sexual abuse – rather late in the day for those who lived by ‘the morality of the times’.  Their past is catching on them Ecc 3:15.

The latest victim of the double standards of secular morality is US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  Fifty years ago, secular morality rejected Christian morality as a standard for those in public life, and we regularly heard opinions that MPs and others should not need to resign from their job on the principle that their private lives did not alter their capacity to do their day job.  How secular standards have changed in fifty years!  Kavanaugh’s ability to do the job is not being questioned but his behaviour several decades ago is.  Secular morality is a wrecker’s charter.

Many interpret the Kavanaugh issue as primarily a proxy war between the Republican and Democratic Parties.  It is also viewed as a contest between Judeao-Christian morality and secular morality because of secular fears that Kavanaugh’s appointment may lead to the abortion laws being changed.  Some view it as the age-old battle between the sexes stoked by the feminist movement.  So we cannot be sure what is the agenda, or what is the standard that is being applied.  In other words, double or even triple standards.

In fact, they are not standards at all.  Secular standards are not standards but the shifting sand of secular opinion that moves the goalposts every so often, with increasing rapidity.

The advocates of the sexual licentiousness of the 1960s are getting a taste of their own medicine from the Me-Too generation as one example of the shifting sands of public opinion or, rather, public outrage.

Secular morality has always been selective.

It is common to read about 1. secular criticism of Old Testament standards of behaviour and 2. religious polemical criticism of the European Reformers , who are all judged by 20th and now 21st-century secular standards.

The nightmare that today’s behaviour will be punished by tomorrow’s legislation only illustrates the shifting goalposts of secular morality.  It is time to recover Christian common sense.

‘But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you are not consumed one of another’ Gal 5:15.

So they can hardly complain when God will judge them by His standards.

Jesus Christ:
‘Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment’ Mat 12:36.


28 Sep 2018: the first vote has gone along partisan lines showing that the standards of justice are far from fixed.  Secular morality is shifty as well as shifting.

8 Oct 2018: Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate on Saturday 6 Oct 2018, in a 50-48 vote that largely followed partisan lines.

4 Mar 2019: Secularists are trying to make abortion a human right, ignoring the human rights of the fetus.

10 Nov 2020: “outdated” language is now a cause for resignation and demonstrates the shifting sands of secularism.

12 May 2022: it seems that there is some judicial ‘justification’ for such shifting goalposts, and that “framework documents for human rights should be living instruments that move with the times“. Is this similar to the American system of judges making or developing the law? Is this the source of these shifting sands in modern life?

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