The "great liberal dream" of having the inherent value of human life respected while marginalizing Christianity is dead, according to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler.
In a speech given at the Ligonier National Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, Mohler discussed how in the early 21st century "we are experiencing what can only be described as the death of the great liberal dream."
"What was that dream? It was the dream of a humanity come of age, of a humanity that could sever itself from its Christian past and establish itself in a new secular present and point itself to a new secularized future," said Mohler.
"The great liberal dream was that somehow you could have human rights and human dignity without Christianity. That somehow, while separating us from a biblical conception of what it means to be a human being, we can develop respect for one another and human dignity could prevail."
Mohler argued that the dream in question led to "despair" and "mass exhaustion" for adherents, who are "losing confidence in their own dream."
"The great liberal dream has not produced human flourishing, has not produced human happiness," he stated. "The sanctity of human life has not been more affirmed but rather less affirmed."
"Now, there are all kinds of things that they can point to as good gifts that have come by means of their worldview and their influence, but in the bottom line, human dignity has not increased globally."
Mohler specifically focused on the example of debates over euthanasia and abortion, noting that unlike Christianity modern secular thinking lacks an "intrinsic value of human life."
"When you look at a society that embraces euthanasia and assisted suicide and we need to call these what they are — they are physician assisted murder, state-sanctioned murder — when you see this, it is the ultimate sign of the exhaustion of a worldview," continued Mohler.
"They've got nowhere to turn, it is a worldview that ends in death. There is no longer an argument that is plausible to those who operate by this modern worldview of autonomous humanity. There's no longer an argument that is compelling to them as to why human life has any inherent intrinsic dignity."
By contrast, noted Mohler, Christianity works under the assumption that "every single human being is an essential creation of God, made in the image of God."
Mohler's remarks were part of Ligonier Ministries' annual Ligonier National Conference, a multiday event that began Thursday and will conclude Saturday.
The conference's theme for this year was "The Next 500 Years," in reference to the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Other scheduled speakers for the conference included John MacArthur, author and pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California; Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Parkside Church located near Cleveland, Ohio; W. Robert Godfrey, president and professor of church history at Westminster Seminary California; and Stephen Tong, founder and senior pastor of the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia.
In addition to stating his belief that the "great liberal dream" is dying, Mohler also told those gathered that he saw this death as "a tremendous opportunity for Christian witness."
"I believe that those who have held so tenaciously to this worldview are now beginning to be made aware of the fact that they don't believe in their own plausibility structures," said Mohler.
"They don't believe in the principles whereby they thought the world was made plausible. It's not holding together any longer."