Statesboro, GA, USA
my own viewpoint would be slightly different than those you perhaps have read. I would say that, more accurately, a society needs God himself in order to work, but not necessarily to believe in God. For God exists quite separate from our belief in him, and doesn't stop what he does for us and through us. And when I say "work", I don't mean in the sense of how God ultimately designed society to be, and has promised actually will be.
What I mean is that a society, community, family, or individual can function quite confidently according to their own dictates and standards, not heeding those of God. (Of course this has it's limitations because all of our moral considerations are a direct result of God himself ... He does after all rain on the "just and the unjust".
Biblically this ties into the idea of a certain age, or set amount of time in which God allows humanity to function in rebellion, and ignorance of his Deity, Glory, and Moral Judgement. This can be thought of as an "Age of Grace", or unmerited favor. Just because there are men and women all over the face of the planet who do not recognize him, nor believe in him, (thankfully) he does not retract his bountiful gifts. He provides all possiblities for industry, labor, concepts, work, plans, goals, accomplishments, or frankly anything else. It is all his blueprint. We are like a man who has recieved a constant flux of valuable gifts through the mail for years, but has never been able to read the language the sender's address was written in, and don't know from where it all came.
But God is (unlike the faceless giver of gifts through the mail) waiting for a response. The Bible refers to this response as "faith". But there is also a set time where humankind, communities, families, and individuals will not be permitted to go on using his gifts without acknowledging the giver. There is the crossing point for everyone, and corporately for the whole world, when God calls into account our response. He will turn off the flow of grace for those who refuse to believe and serve him. He will purify the flow for those who delight to believe and serve him.
This really concerns me, especially if God is, as I believe, the fountain-head of all resources. THE source himself. Where will we be physically, spiritually, and emotionally without the renewal he gives? This is a state of absolute severance from the Vine of Life himself. The bible describes this state as "Hell". Regardless as to what doctrine you believe about how that condition will be, it offers no hope at all.
At first glance Christianity may seem to say... Life won't work without believing in God. But acutally is says something more like this... Life on Earth, with no Heavenly concerns, can and will go on in seeming prosperity. Even up to the very end people will be "marrying and giving in marriage", and "buying and selling". Is this proof against the need of God, or is it one more proof that God himself is longsuffering, patient, and holding back the Judgement just so that many may still come to know and know his love? The Bible says: "While people are saying 'Peace and safety', destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
So with this idea in mind, the idea of a cozy secularism is like someone who claims that he can drive a gasoline car without the need of a gas-station, and proves it by boasting how far from a gas station he actually drives. When in reality, the marvel of how far from the station he can drive, commends the virtues of gasoline itself.
The better consideration is where societies (and persons) ultimately end up, not merely how they fare on the way.
Peace without God is illusory,
lulling to sleep like the waves,
pulling the crafts of it's mariners
far from the harbor that saves,
whisp'ring "fair waters forever . . .
No briney disturbance awaits."
How many will drowse without waking
to turn and deliver their fates?
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (04-05-2002 09:16 PM).]