The Myth of Neutrality

Matthew 12:30: He that is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” This pithy saying by Jesus clarifies the position into which the Pharisees have put themselves. It divides humanity simply into only two groups; there is no middle ground. With these solemn words Jesus draws the line of cleavage between himself and his enemies then and now. But we may have our choice. We either gather with Christ or scatter to the four winds. Christ is the magnet of the ages.

The two kingdoms of Satan and of Christ are opposed. No neutrality is possible.

Yet despite what Jesus said and the whole of Scripture teaches, many Christians assert neutrality in certain areas and disciplines, such as in science, medicine, technology, geography, politics, and mathematics. They believe that subjects related to these fields can be taught without any regard to religious presuppositions since “facts speak for themselves.”

Gary DeMar points out that “this is most evident in education where a self-conscious sacred-secular divide is maintained and supported by Christians. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to government schools. Since these parents believe that math is math and history is history, the religious stuff can be made up at church. But one hour of Sunday school and an hour at Youth Meeting each week and maybe a mission trip in the summer can’t make up for five days a week, six hours each day, 10 months of the year, 12+ years of a government-developed curriculum that is humanistic to the core.”

  1. J. Rushdoony declared: “One of the most pernicious and evil myths to plague the human race is the myth of neutrality. It is a product of atheism and anti-Christianity because it presupposes a cosmos of uncreated and meaningless factuality, of brute or meaningless facts. Because every atom and fact of the cosmos is then meaningless and also unrelated to every other fact, all facts are neutral.

“The word neutral is a curious one. It comes from the Latin neuter, meaning neither the one nor the other and has original reference to gender, i.e., neither male nor female. It still has that meaning: a neutered man is a eunuch, a castrate.

“It now has also the meaning of not taking sides and, supposedly, the law and the courts are neutral. This in itself is nonsense. No law is ever neutral. The law is not neutral about theft, assault, murder, rape, or perjury: it is emphatically against these things, or should be. Again, no good court or judge can be neutral about these things without destroying justice.

“Behind every law system there is a god.  If the source of law is the individual, you make up your own rules, then you are the god of that system.  If the god of that system is the courts, then they are the source of law and there is none higher in their opinion.  If there is no higher law than man, then man is his own god.”

“The myth of neutrality prevents justice because it ascribes to the law and to the courts a character very much in conflict with their very natures. Moreover, it gives to the courts the power to falsify issues, as the United States Supreme Court habitually does. For example, in dealing with educational issues, the Court, which had declared humanism to be a religion, will not acknowledge that humanistic education, i.e., our state educational systems today, is not neutral religiously. Christian schools are held to be religious and non-neutral, but the humanistic state schools are seen as neutral.

“There is a reason for this willful blindness. To admit that education is inescapably a religious task and is always non-neutral means that state schools violate the First Amendment. They are religious establishments which teach a religion alien to most citizens, and they do so with public funds. Few things in the United States are more in violation of the First Amendment than the public schools. From its inception, the public or state school system has been destructive of civil liberty and, increasingly, of Biblical faith.

“For the Court to recognize this fact would require a radical re-direction of life in America. It would, moreover, require a radical change in the Court. The U.S. Supreme Court has become the Sanhedrin, Vatican, or National Council of humanism in America. It is a militant and fanatical agency of humanistic religion, and it uses its power to suppress and punish the rivals of the Federal religion. The sessions of the Court constitute a modern version of the holy war against Christendom.

“At the same time, the myth of neutrality has been used to castrate theology and the churches. The Biblical position, that all things are under God's law and rule, and any division of life between the religious and the non-religious is false. Because God is the Lord and Creator of all things, there is no sphere of life and thought outside His jurisdiction, government, and law. To hold that there is denies God and affirms polytheism. And this is precisely what all too many theologians have done.”

So then, for a Christian to adopt the neutrality myth is to fall into the humanist trap, to believe that religious convictions are reserved for the heart, home, and place of worship, while the affairs of this world are best handled by using reason, experience, and technical expertise devoid of religious assumptions and convictions.

One frequently encounters statements like: “Well, you can’t legislate morality.”  This statement overlooks the truth that every law is the imposing of someone’s values and concepts of morality upon someone else. The question is whose laws, whose morality, and whose values are going to be employed in the writing of our laws?  Religious and political pluralism is possible only during a brief transitional period. The intermediate period may appear to be a desirable and workable situation, but it is only a temporary lull in the ideological and spiritual warfare. One, and only one faith, will eventually dominate all others.

Pluralism refers to a diversity of religions, worldviews, and ideologies existing at one time in a society. It presupposes that all religions are equally valid or invalid. Jesus is, at least in the public arena, to be put on the same level with Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, and all other masters or gurus of different religious persuasions.

What we Americans fail to understand is that the present, temporary ability of various philosophical and religious beliefs to live together in a comparative harmony that we call pluralism, could and did arise only in a society where there was a considerable unity of opinion on basic values: which is exactly what existed in the early history of our country.

We naive Christians forget that we have been dropped into a spiritual and ideological war zone in which all the participants are locked into a life and death conflict. Dorothy Sayer spelled out this fact coldly and clearly: “Christendom and heathendom now stand face to face… The people who say that this is a war of economics or of power-politics, are only dabbling about on the surface of things. …At the bottom is a violent and irreconcilable quarrel about the nature of God and the nature of man and the ultimate nature of the universe; it is a war of dogma (dogma is a system of belief).”

Dare anyone assert that our government is neutral toward religion when it bans the Bible and prayer from the classroom while permitting Hinduism to be taught through Transcendental Meditation and Yoga practices. It outlaws the teaching of creation while mandating the teaching of evolution which is one of the primary tenets of many faiths including Unitarianism, Zen Buddhism, Satanism, Hinduism, religious and secular humanism and many more.

Let me assert again as emphatically as possible - Neutrality is Impossible! Dr. Greg Bahnsen points this out in his book, Always Ready: “No such compromise is even possible. “No man is able to serve two lords” (Matt. 6:24). It should come as no surprise that, in a world where all things have been created by Christ (Col. 1:16) and are carried along by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3) and where all knowledge is therefore deposited in Him who is The Truth (Col. 2:3; John 14:6) and who must be Lord over all thinking (2 Cor. 10:5), neutrality is nothing short of immorality. “Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God’ (James 4:4).”