Liberalism Is a False Gospel and a Counterfeit Religion

Liberalism is a false and counterfeit religion that is incompatible with the Judeo-Christian worldview that built the United States and much of the western world. 

The year 2023 is the 100-year anniversary of J. Gresham Machen’s prophetic book Christianity and Liberalism. This book is just as accurate today as it was prophetic when he wrote it. His central thesis 100 years ago was that liberalism is its own religion, distinct and incompatible with Christianity. It acts as a parasite on Christianity, and can only be accurately understood as a separate and false religion.

Machen was right, of course, and the past 100 years of decline in American life bear him witness. Search the past century across the globe and you will find scores of previously Christian nations that adopted liberalism, declined every meaningful way, and lost their faith. Most of these Judeo-Christian nations have attempted to accommodate it rather than defeat it.

Different From the Start

Liberalism -- whether it is Marxist class conflict, Critical Race Theory, feminism, or any other manifestation -- has its own creation myth to contradict the Judeo-Christian creation events. The modern era founder of this myth is probably Jean Jacques Rousseau, who taught his theory of the “state of nature.” In the state of nature, children are born in innocence as a blank slate. This is a rip-off of the Biblical Garden of Eden. In Eden, everyone was innocent and peaceful, but they reported to God. In Rousseau’s state of nature, humankind emerged innocently out of their own essence and God is irrelevant.

This origin story for the human race explains much of the modern world. The modern world worships nature. If something comes “naturally” to a person, the modern psychologist assumes the thing must be inherently good for that person. If a child wants to “identify” as the opposite sex, then that innocent child must be correct, and adults ought to comply. The Judeo-Christian worldview believes it is the task of adults to correct, discipline, and train children, while the naturalist liberal view teaches the opposite. The result is millions of adults who reject all responsibility and act like children, and fail to parent their children in any meaningful way.

Original Sin

Every religion follows the creation narrative with an explanation for how things went bad. The Christian and Jewish faiths regard Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God as the starting point for all sin and corruption. This is called “original sin,” and everyone has it. The secular leftist says social conditions destroyed the innocent “blank slate.” In this theory, children are born innocent, but social pressures push them toward greed, selfishness, and cruelty. The original sin in liberalism is social conflict, not individuals.

The Biblical explanation for sin says human societies are bad because human individuals are bad. Liberalism teaches the opposite. Liberalism teaches that sin is the result of society. Human individuals are innocent, but human societies cause all the sin. This is why liberals are always blaming things like systemic racism, class conflict, and other forms of structural inequalities or invisible boogeymen. There is no personal justice in liberalism, only social justice. They do not believe sin is anybody’s fault, it is always society’s fault. Naturally their solutions always point toward deconstructing society.


All religions have a plan of redemption that addresses the root of original sin. If sin will be redeemed, it will require a sacrifice. If sin is individual, then an individual must pay the sacrifice. If sin is institutional, then the institutions must be sacrificed.

This is why liberals always demand that society bend and move based on personal sins. They insist that their sin is not their fault. It is social pressures, climate problems, poverty, or the like. There is no personal accountability, there is no justice, there is only social justice. There is no personal repentance, there is only institutional responsibility. They delight when a corporation sacrifices its customer base by going woke, or a city removes an old statue, or changes the name of a highway. They believe these are institutional acts of repentance and redemption.


Every religion has an eschatology of some kind. Eschatology is a word that means the building and escalating movement that culminates in the end of time. Christians believe in spreading the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth until all the nations are discipled, followed by the return of Christ to make all things new. They believe this because they believe humankind is infected with original sin and unable to create a utopia on earth. It will require an act of God to bring all things right.

Liberals rejects this notion. They believe it is possible to demolish the wicked social and economic institutions that are the source of all the sin. Karl Marx taught what he called the communist paradise. Liberalism has subdivisions and sects within it. Just as Christianity can include every sect from Amish to Catholic to Coptic, liberalism can accommodate Black Lives Matter, feminism, LGBTQ+ ideology, cultural Marxism, and classical economic Marxism. All these streams flow in the same direction because they have the same faith and worldview at the core.

End Game

All religions have some sort of global commission too. Christianity has what is called “the Great Commission.” Liberals have their global aspirations too. Liberals are always trying to create things like the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Health Organization. When the Soviet Union took over Russia it was not enough for them. They conquered Eastern Europe, and then to the ends of the earth with Cuba, China, North Korea, Vietnam, and so on. Che Guevara worked as a kind of travelling missionary, running to the farthest jungles on his motorcycle, bearing witness to the false gospel of communism.

This framework is the best way to understand the current culture wars. It is not a matter of differing political opinions or family values. It is a clash of religions from different starting points to different end points. This is why political differences could be overlooked 100 years ago, but today political differences create splits between family members. It is not a difference of opinion about politics. It is a different religion, and these religions are opposed to one another.

Nations and cities afflicted with modern liberalism are universally deconstructing. They are advancing their Great Commission with zeal. These nations switched religions, and they are sacrificing to a new god to appease a new sin. This explains why the decline of formerly Christian nations matches the rise of liberalism so closely.

In one faith there is a long record of flourishing nations and societies, and in the other faith there is a track record of destruction and decline. Both religions have a state of innocence, an original sin, a plan of redemption, and a future hope of salvation. Both religions have a global commission to disciple the nations. The future of the nation will boil down to the religion of the nation.

T.S. Weidler writes regularly at City on a Hill.

Image: Matthias Gerung

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