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'Stealth Secularism' Hooks Us Through Stories

Christian apologist Nancy Pearcey uses the following story to show how "stealth secularism" can bypass our critical grid and hook us emotionally:

In the nineteenth century, a movement called literary naturalism offered novels and plays that portrayed humans as merely products of nature … Virtually every student I have taught has read books by Jack London, like Call of the Wild. But what they don't know is that as a young man, London underwent what one historian calls "a conversion experience" to radical materialism by reading the works of Charles Darwin. He memorized long passages from Darwin and could even quote them by heart (like Christians who memorize Scripture).
He wrote about dogs to soften the blow, but his real message was that humans are nothing but evolved organisms, with no free will, governed by natural selection and survival of the fittest. In London's short story "The Law of Life," an old Eskimo is left behind by his family to die in the snow. As the wolves close in to devour him, the old man ponders that evolution assigns the individual only one task: to reproduce so the species will survive. "Nature did not care. To life she set one task, gave one law. To perpetuate was the task of life." After that, if the individual dies, "What did it matter after all? Was it not the law of life?"
The story pounds home the theme that humans have no higher purpose beyond sheer biological existence. High culture filters down to pop culture, so materialist themes appear in movies and television as well.

Editor's Note: Nancy Pearcey also adds this interesting detail, which also works as a stand-alone illustration: "In a famous episode in Star Trek, the characters debate whether the android Lieutenant Commander Data is a machine. He is, of course, but Captain Picard retorts, 'It is not relevant. We [humans], too, are machines, merely machines of a different type.'"

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