Summary: Message analyzes current clash between Humanist worldview and Christian worldview and how that must be addressed in the days ahead. The political polarization in America is a symptom of this deeper issue. Solutions must resolve differences at that level.
In our last two messages we addressed the current crisis in America. We discussed four principles that should continually inform our thinking process. Today I want to finish that discussion with one more issue that profoundly affects our understanding of what is going on around us. I am talking about our worldview.
The Free Dictionary defines worldview as “The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.”i As the word suggests, it is one’s overall view of the world: the framework of underlying assumptions by which we interpret everything. A worldview reflects the answers a person has to the big questions of life: “who and what we are, where we came from, why we’re here, where (if anywhere) we’re headed, the meaning and purpose of life, the nature of the afterlife, and what counts as a good life here and now.” Everyone has a worldview that shapes and informs their opinions about everything. Like a pair of colored glasses everything is seen through that lens, and it colors the person’s perception and perspective on everything in life.ii
As we look at our current crisis in America and the unreconcilable political divide, someone might ask, “Why can’t we just get along?” The basic answer is worldview. When the underlying assumptions are radically different and even mutually exclusive, it is hard to find a meeting of the minds. As a professional mediator, I am always looking for “common ground” in building a resolution to a conflict. We try to begin with something basic that both parties can agree on and proceed from there. But the more incompatible their underlying assumptions are, the more difficult that is to do.
In the 1950’s most of the nation had a Christian worldview. Even people who were not Christians tended to view the world through a Judeo-Christian perspective. Anyone who articulated a different worldview would not have much of a chance of being elected. And since our leaders had similar worldviews it was much easier to negotiate compromises. In the 50’s there were some efforts to promote a Marxist worldview, but those were ineffective in persuading the populous as a whole.
But then came the ‘60’s and ‘70’s with the Hippie Movement and the Sexual Revolution. With that came a shift in the thinking of many people. Behind the scene philosophers and theologians were abandoning a biblical worldview. That got into pastors who turned to liberal theology where the authority of Scripture was radically undermined by naturalist theologians. Congregations were taught not to trust Scripture as a reliable revelation of truth. It was used more as a storybook to teach moral platitudes.
At the same time the education system embraced a secular non-Christian orientation. The watershed ruling by the Supreme Court in 1962 in the case of Engel v Vitale ended school-sponsored prayer.iii The following year the court declared mandatory Bible Reading as unconstitutional as well.iv Our national leaders, especially in the judicial branch, were pushing God out of the education system and opening the door for the “religion” or worldview of secular humanism.v In the years that followed students were increasingly taught a humanistic worldview. Evolution was taught in the biology classes. Christianity was often presented in a negative light in history classes. Kids attended Sunday School for one hour a week and public school for 35-40 hours a week.vi Over the decades that followed, masses of people moved from a biblical worldview to a humanistic worldview.
So, an unreconcilable divide is reflected in politics today. But it goes much deeper than politics.vii It is a clash between the two major worldviews: the biblical worldview and the humanist worldview.viii There are variations in the non-biblical worldview that we don’t have time to deal with today. Marxism is an atheistic form of humanism that considers religion an obstacle to a better society. New Age thinking recognizes the supernatural spirit world but rejects the Judeo-Christian God. It is highly diverse but tends to use the supernatural for selfish purposes. We will not deal specifically with Marxism or New Age today, but they do oppose the Christian worldview. The primary conflict is between Christianity and Humanism as worldviews. That is behind much of the conflict we are experiencing in America today.
The three big issues for worldview are found in one’s understanding of:
(1) Origin: how it all began
(2) the interim Problem to be solvedix
(3) the End: where it is all headed.
I. ORIGIN: HOW IT ALL BEGAN.
The Christian worldview begins with these words in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God.”x For the Christian the First Cause of everything is a loving, personal Creator. We see everything in that light.
The naturalist rejects that revelation. Evolution teaches that everything evolved. Their philosophy lacks an adequate explanation of origin because it cannot explain First Cause. If man came from an ape, where did the ape come from. If the ape came from a series of evolutionary changes that go back to the amoeba, where did the amoeba come from? You can continue to use evolution to explain existence in that way but at some point, you come to First Cause, and you have to take that by faith. Nobody was there when it all began. It takes just as much “faith” to believe in evolution as it does to believe in the Christian God. It’s a matter of what you choose to put your faith in. The evolutionist’s First Cause leaves serious questions unanswered that are answered in the Christian worldview. If everything originated from non-personal material, where did personality come from? If survival of the fittest is the highest rule of life, where does love come from, how could it survive? Far from being the result of conclusive science, evolution inadequately answers the question of origin.