Worldview] [Culture War]
[Reaching a Post-Modern World] [Importance of Worldview]
A worldview represents the sum total of our beliefs about the world and how we fit in it; it represents our understanding of the big questions in life that directs out daily interactions, beliefs, and actions. When seen in these terms, a worldview becomes extremely personal because determines what we become in life.
One major task in life is to determine where we came from, who we are, and where we are going. Put another way,
Where did we come from and who we are (The Creation)
Our understanding of the current world and how we interact with that world (The Fall)
What can we do to make the world a better place (Redemption)
The answer to these three questions forms an understanding of our worldview, and will to a large extent determine what we make of our lives, who we interact with, and how we try, if indeed we try at all, to make the world a better place.
The Christian worldview is based upon God's revelation in Scriptures. God has decided to reveal Himself to us in two major ways; through Scripture and through Nature. We will be primarily discussing Scriptural revelation here, although we will also be discussing the revelation of God through nature later in this discourse. Sadly, many Christians fail to understand that Scripture is intended to be the basis for our understanding of life. In the past several centuries, science has inserted a chasm between science and religion, between fact and value, between objective understanding and subjective reason. As a result, Christians who live in this society have also tended to think in terms of this false dichotomy; that there is some inherent difference between science and religion. Our belief systems then become little more than private feelings and experience, and our feelings then become completely divorced from objective facts.
Evangelical Christianity, of which I am a part, have tended to perpetuate this false dichotomy. We have rightly emphasized our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, without which we rightly understand we have nothing. This emphasis has proven to be a great strength to evangelicalism, bringing countless millions to a saving knowledge of the Lord. Truly, this is the most important relationship of our life, and a personal relationship with Christ sets the worldview with which we answer the above three questions.
However, Christianity is so much more than this relationship, because once we have come to God, He has many things for us to do; our lives are not over when we have come to Christ! Genuine Christianity is more than a relationship with Jesus as expressed in personal piety, church attendance, Bible study and works of charity. Genuine Christianity is a way of seeing and interacting with the world and all reality; Christians think fundamentally differently from non-believers, and this difference in thought manifests itself by how we behave, what professions we might have, and how we interact with others.
One of the most important parts of the Christian worldview is our understanding of where we come from; our understanding of the creation account. We understand that God called everything there is into existence out of nothing (see Gen. 1 and John 1:1-14). Everything there is came into existence at the time of creation and is subject to Him. Furthermore, everything was created by God to have a purpose, and to be subject to Him. The implication for us is that all understanding, all knowledge, is also a creation from God and that everything we can learn from economics to ecology, biology to behavioralism, anatomy to astronomy, physics to philosophy, social, legal, medical, moral, governmental institutions; everything is created by Him and that the fundamental knowledge or the Truth that is found in each topic of study can only be understand properly in a Christian worldview. God created the world and natural laws; He created our minds and bodies, and the moral laws that keep us healthy. Biblical laws and institutions are not in place to keep us from having "fun" but rather for our own good. God created a world full of beauty and aesthetics; God's art is everywhere to be observed and enjoyed. In every aspect of life, genuine knowledge means discerning the means by which God has organized the universe and all creation.
All truth is God's truth in every area of our understanding and in every scientific, cultural, and aesthetic field of study.
Furthermore, all truth is embodied in Christ who is our Savior - and yet so much more. Christ is called the logos (John 1;1). In the Greek, logos literally means the idea, the word, the rational understanding of something. Paul said,
"For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible ...; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Col. 1:16-17).
Jesus is the Word that God used to create all there is!
In the Christian worldview, Jesus is the origin and end of all things, the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. Nothing has meaning apart from Christ, because everything was made through Christ and for Him. He is the agent of all creation, author of all that is and all there ever will be. Christ is the Lord over all of creation, from the human body to the human soul and mind.
When the vastness of this understanding is realized, we understand how important the Christian belief system becomes to the believer. Christianity cannot be limited to the original conversion experience, as important as that might be. It cannot be limited to religious practices, observances, or meetings. We are compelled to view Christianity as an all-encompassing truth that pervades everything; it is the ultimate and only reality.
Importance of Understanding Christianity as a Worldview
The believer must understand his Christianity as a complete worldview that encompasses everything about him, and is not just a church observance for one hour on Sunday. The Christian worldview allows us to understand and make sense of the world; why there is suffering, why there is death, and why there is hope. An understanding of Christianity as a worldview allows us to lead our lives more rationally and with greater integrity. We come to understand that the Christianity we profess on Sunday completely pervades our beliefs and actions on the other six days of the week.
Furthermore, an understanding of Christianity as a pervasive worldview also allows us to understand our opposition; it equips us to defend Christianity from those who would attack it - or us - for our beliefs. We can understand how other worldviews are diametrically opposed to the Christian understanding and are not merely other ways to God.
We know that the physical universe has been endowed with certain laws such as gravitation. The only way to live a healthy life is to align our actions with the law of gravity or we will certainly face the consequences. There is absolute truth in the law of gravity; to challenge this law is to risk serious health consequences! To live in defiance of known physical laws is certainly the height of foolishness.
Just as with the physical universe, there are absolute laws with human behavior as is clearly set forth in the Bible. To ignore the laws of human behavior is to chance serious consequences. Adultery may be glamorous on the Hollywood movie screen or on the television soap opera, but adultery invariably produces anger, jealousy, broken relationships, children without both parents, and even violence. Defiance of moral laws may even lead to death, as with the drunken driver who goes through a stop sign, or someone who adopts a promiscuous lifestyle and develops AIDS. No transgression of God's moral laws is without painful consequences; unfortunately, this is a lesson we all must learn, often in a painful way.
The understanding of God's laws is what the Bible calls wisdom. "Wisdom in Scripture is, broadly speaking, the knowledge of God's world and the knack of fitting oneself into it," said Cornelius Platinga. A wise person is one who knows and obeys the laws of nature, health, and boundaries of the physical and social order. "To be wise is to know reality and then accommodate yourself to it." There is a reality to be known, and this reality implies there are good and less good ways to deal with this reality. By contrast, those who refuse to accommodate themselves to the realities of life are immoral and foolish, no matter how many letters they might have after their name, and how educated they might have become. To fail to recognize the structure of creation and the created order of things is to be constantly at odds with this creation; this must be the height of foolishness.
The bold claim is made that serious Christians who live their Christianity live happier, more fulfilled lives by almost every measure, than those who do not. This bold claim will be substantiated later in this discourse. Somebody who accepts the limitations of their existence, their boundaries, and finds what they are uniquely fit to accomplish should be happier than one who is constantly fighting against their limitations and the constants placed upon them by society.
The Culture War
Christians are all commanded to preach the gospel and to bring all things into submission to god's order by defending our faith and by living our faith out in our everyday lives. To engage the world properly, however, we must be cognizant of the great questions and obstacles placed against us by the world; only by understanding these claims can we realistically hope to provide an adequate apologetic. Evangelicals have been fighting many wars in the last few decades; wars regarding abortion, gay marriage, rights of women, decency on television and the print media, against child pornography, etc. However, much of these battles have ignored the real war before us; that of a culture war - a war of worldviews. We have not clearly identified the worldviews that lie at the root of the cultural wars, and this ignorance will eventually doom our best efforts. It is only through evangelism and convincing others of the error of their worldview (some of which we will examine) and the rightness of the Christian worldview that we can hope to have a lasting influence upon our society today.
The culture war is now being played out along two fronts; that between Christianity and naturalism, and the second between Christianity and multiculturalism and diversity. The fall of the Iron Curtain has led to the inundation of formerly inaccessible Eastern Block countries to Western society and civilization. Asian and Islamic societies also feel the invasion of Western thought into their societies as well.
Christianity vs. Naturalism
Theism is the belief that natural causes are insufficient to explain everything that is in existence today, whereas naturalism is the belief that natural forces alone are sufficient to explain how everything came to be. Whether you are a naturalist or a theist has a profound bearing on your answers to the following questions:
Is ultimate reality God or the cosmos
Christianity and naturalism are opposed to each other in the answer to these questions. Naturalism is the idea that everything that exists is purely by chance. Not only does this creation occur in the physical realm, it also occurs in the philosophical realm as well. All forms of thought and creations by man, including religion, are completely random occurrences. Religion, for example, might have arisen completely differently under similar historical circumstances and that instead of Christianity that we know so well today, some other completely different form of religion "invention" might have arisen. In such a different religion, "truth" and social norms might have been different. Thus, "truth" is not absolute, but is dependent upon social norms - or even individual norms - which might change with circumstances. In this context, witness the teaching of situational ethics whereby ethical decisions are made in the context of the situation wherein one is placed.
However, Christianity teaches that there is a transcendent God with absolute truth, who existed before the world (and universe) began, and who is the ultimate origin of everything that is, including truth, ethics, and knowledge. The universe is dependent every moment upon the providential governance of God.
Moral Relativism. Situational ethics is one aspect of moral relativism, whereby ethics is determined by the situation; nothing is absolute. Naturalism results in this relativism, because if nature is all there is, then there is no transcendent source of moral and absolute truth. We are then left to determine truth by ourselves. Christianity believes there is no moral relativism because God has given an absolute and unchanging truth and standard of right and wrong based on God's holy and unchanging character.
Multiculturalism. Naturalism treats all cultures as moral equivalents, there is no "best" culture as all reflect their own history and experience. There is no transcendent truth, and each culture determines its own truth and values. Since there is no transcendent truth or morality, then we are left to define our identity only in our race, gender, or ethnic origin. Christians, on the other hand, never determine truth based upon the values of the culture in which they live (at least, they should not!). For example, most Christians read in their Bible that homosexuality is evil, to be avoided, and is not ever to be supported, respected, or encouraged in any way. However, the American culture has moved toward the concept that homosexuality is merely an "alternative lifestyle" that has equal value with any other lifestyle for a given lifestyle is the "choice" of the individual with all lifestyles having equal inherent value. Another example might be abortion which most Christians equate with murder, while multiculturalism proposes the absolute sanctity of a woman's "right to chose" whether their baby will be born or killed. This absolute sanctity even extends to children after birth, as families decide whether a mentally retarded or otherwise deficient child should be supported and allowed to continue living - or perhaps not supported and allowed to die. Christians appreciate social diversity but insist on the right to judge cultures and their practices based upon how they compare with Biblical values and absolutes. Furthermore, most Christians regard the Western tradition and heritage worth keeping in that it has largely aligned itself historically with Christian values and understanding. For example, the Western legal system is based upon Biblical values and norms; the Bible treats women with the same respect as men - a situation certainly not true in most other social traditions.
Pragmatism. Naturalists tend to take a pragmatic view of life: whatever works best is the best. Actions and social policies are to be judged on practical and utilitarian grounds rather than on absolute truth. Christians are idealists, judging actions and societal norms not by what works, but by what ought to be based upon ultimate standards. Christians believe that in an eternal perspective, absolute truth will always prevail and prove the best choice even though short-term consequences may seem severe; the easy route is not always the best route.
Utopianism. Naturalists generally believe the Enlightenment notion that human nature is basically good and that an age of harmony and prosperity can be brought about by right social and economic structures. Because people are basically good, they will do things which are basically good given the right opportunity and incentives. Most recently, B.F. Skinner's, Walden Two represents this philosophy well, for a society is built which assumes right decisions and actions will be taken when good people do the right thing. However, Christians can never give their allegiance to utopian projects for we know that sin is real, and that sin has deeply entered into our human nature. None of our efforts can create heaven on earth for mankind is inherently evil and self-centered and must be contained by law and tradition. Without law, human society tends to disintegrate into a selfish pursuit of what is best for themselves rather than what is best for society. The twentieth century has laid bare the inherent evil of mankind; the ability of the cultured and scientific society of Germany during WW2 to kill millions of Jews in concentration camps, the Bolsheviks who killed millions of peasants and farmers in Russia who did not "fit in," the Maoists in China to kill millions during the Cultural Revolution of the 70s, the Khmer Rouge that killed millions in Cambodia after Saigon fell, the Rwanda genocide, the Serbian genocide, the Sudanese genocide; history certainly reports the tendency of mankind during the last century to kill fellow men by the millions based upon their own moral concepts and reasons.
Perspective. Naturalists consider only what is happening in this world, this age, and this life. Anything that is spiritual, supernatural, or transcendent is considered outside the realm of consideration and consigned to superstition. Proponents of naturalism have a philosophical prejudice against intelligent design, for example, believing that the possibility of supernatural intervention in the creation of the universe cannot even be considered even though it may offer a better explanation for how the universe came to be. However, Christians see existence in an eternal perspective; everything we do, say, and even think has eternal significance because one day there will be a judgment where it will become clearly evident that our choices in this life have a serious, permanent, and significant consequence into eternity.
Post-Christian Era in America
There can be little doubt that we are living in a progressively more secular society in America. Most Americans still consider themselves Christian, many go to church on Sunday, participate in church sponsored activities, and give to Christian charities. While most Americans would still consider themselves Christian, we no longer rely on Judeo-Christian truths as laid out in traditional Christian understanding of the Bible as the basis of our actions and how we view the world. Rather, we have developed a secular worldview of many fundamentally Christian questions even though we still consider ourselves Christian.
This change represents a significant cultural shift in this country. At the birth of our nation, no one - not even deists or skeptics - doubted that basic biblical truths formed the foundation for the formation of our democracy, served as the curriculum in our schools, and guided the nation's values. This understanding of the relationship between traditional Christian values and society continued through most of our history.
Today, this is no longer true. Within the past fifty years, there has been a fundamental shift away from Christian values forming the basis of society and individual actions and responsibilities, to a secular consensus of opinion. The Bible no longer serves as the foundational book for America; rather, it is the latest understanding of secular sociologists, economists, judges, and politicians. As recently as 1952, Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme court wrote, "We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being." This statement caused no backlash at the time for it reflected what most Americans believed.
But only several decades later in 1996, the same Supreme Court was scandalized then Justice Antonin Scalia announced in a speech that as a Christian he believed in miracles and in the resurrection of Jesus. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen suggested that Scalia had thus disqualified himself from handling church-state questions, and he was thoroughly berated by political talking heads on television as being "biased."
Such attitudes pervade all of our society. In 1997, the Boy Scouts were denied the use of a public facility at the National Zoo because the Smithsonian Institution considered the Boy Scouts organization to be "biased" when it requires its members to believe in God. Religious expression in public forums are increasingly discouraged by social pressure and even by court order. "Christmas" is no longer called by that name; rather, politicians have chosen names such as "sparkle season" or the "Winter Holiday." Many localities forbid the singing of Christmas carols, especially those that might mention Jesus Christ.
Christianity vs. Postmodernism
Today's culture is not just becoming "post-Christian" but "postmodernist" as well. This means our culture is not only resistant to Christian truths, but rather to the concept that there are any universal truths at all! Postmodernism rejects the notion of a universal truth and reduces all ideas, laws, and social norms to social constructions shaped by the local class, gender, and ethnic classes.
The reason for the acceptance of this rather strange philosophy by most in the American populace are many fold. Since World War 2 and the GI bill, college education has become open to most; not just the fortunate few who could afford spending four years studying rather than working and earning money. In college, millions of young Americans were exposed to new, "modern" ideas which they never would have heard in their local communities. These ideas included existentialism which proclaimed that life is absurd, meaningless, and that an individual must create any meaning in his life by his own choices. There is no fundamental value in life; rather, life is short, frequently brutal, and in the end - meaningless. Since we are forced to create any meaning in life by our own effort, any limitation upon choice limits the individual from potentially producing some meaning to their existence. Gradually, the Self assumed all importance; there was no intrinsic value in serving others or in helping the common good.
It was a small step from existentialism to postmodernism, in which even the self is of secondary importance. Multiculturalism is not about appreciating other cultures, faiths, practices, and opinions but of the dissolution of the individual into a group. There is no objective, transcendent, universal truth, only the perspective of the group - whatever that group may be: Whites, Blacks, Gays, Women, Hispanics, and so forth. In postmodernism, all viewpoints, all lifestyles, all beliefs and behaviors are regarded as equally valid - Whatever works for the individual is a valid choice for that person. Institutions of higher leaning have embraced this philosophy as they have adopted campus codes enforcing political correctness. Tolerance has become so important that no exception is permitted.
One could argue that if all ideas are equally valid, then not idea is really worth our allegiance; nothing is worth living for, spending our life on, or particularly even worth understanding. Christians proclaiming their faith in the modern era will often be met with bored indifference rather than a spirited debate. This is because any idea or philosophy is relevant only to an individual and not to society at large; therefore, thorough understanding of any philosophy is cumbersome and ultimately a waste of time. This value judgment is understood from the beginning so postmodernists may listen politely but will have little further interest. All viewpoints, all lifestyles, beliefs and behaviors are by definition of equal value. Institutions of higher learning have embraced postmodernist philosophy so aggressively that any deviance is simply not tolerated. A student should not dare to devalue any lifestyle of personal living philosophy for that would be intolerant - and there can be no exceptions to tolerance.
Prior to the near uniform adaptation of postmodernist philosophy across academia, proclamation of the Christian message might at least have engendered a vigorous discussion and debate over the rational grounds for belief for all thinking listeners would wish to defend their own personal philosophy of life - their own worldview. Now, however, postmodernists value Christianity in the same way they might value Marxism, bestiality, or Islam - they are of all equal value by definition. College students are steeped in postmodern views, and then leave their academic institutions to assume positions of leadership in their communities. Gradually, the philosophy of postmodernism has filtered down from these leaders throughout the rest of society producing a profound change in the predominant worldview of society. American Demographic magazine in 1997 noted that "a comprehensive shift in values, worldviews, and ways of life" that affects about one-fourth of American society - the "cultural Creatives." These "creatives" embrace a new "trans-modernist" set of values including "environmentalism, feminism, global issues, and spiritual searching." These people often have a background in social justice issues, civil rights, feminism and New Age spirituality. They are, above all, skeptical if not resentful of any moral absolutes of the kind proposed by Christianity and other great world religions, rather, they "see nature as sacred" and emphasize self-actualization and spiritual growth. They tend to develop a worldview that is eclectic taking pieces of many world views and amalgamating then into something new and different. This new worldview, however, is not based on any firmer foundation than their personal preferences and is subject to change as the need arises. Individuals in this group tend to be young, growth oriented, well-educated, affluent, and assertive - and interestingly, six out of ten are women.
Reaching the Post-Modern World
Evangelism today has become more difficult. Many Christians are less literate of their faith than in centuries past, and are unable to explain their faith to a unbeliever in a coherent fashion. The discipline of explaining Christianity is called apologetics. Explaining Christianity to an unbelieving world should be one of the highest priorities of a believer. Peter told us to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15). The word answer comes from the Greek word apologia from which the word apologetics comes - giving an answer or a vindication of what we believe.
The world might accept that we are devout believers, and might even acknowledge the benefits of belief. Still, they might only think Christ was a mythical person, or at best a great teacher, but certainly not a Savior. That is why we need to be able to give a reason for the belief we have - to explain why we believe what we do. Our belief should not be based upon our parent's beliefs, or upon the belief based in our culture. Sadly, many Christians are only Christian because that is the way they were raised; otherwise, they might well believe in a different god. This fact is not lost on an unbeliever.
Yet, Christianity is not an irrational leap into the dark, for there are valid, objective reasons for the faith. Explained objectively, the claims of the Bible represent rational propositions which are supported by reason and evidence. In fact, all other explanations about how the world operates are irrational. One of the great theologians, J. Gresham Machen, noted that the purpose of apologetics was to "mold the thought of the world in such a way as to make the acceptance of Christianity something more than a logical absurdity."
The responsibility for apologists does not lay solely with intellectuals or the clergy, but primarily with the common person. Often, the most convincing evangelist is not the pastor of a large church, or an intellectual professor of apologists at a seminary. Rather, the common church member has more at common with the world and is often more believable. The transformation of our culture will happen from the world up; from ordinary believers practicing apologetics with their neighbors and friends. Real change in our society will probably not happen from the courts or in culture war battles; rather, the real culture change will come from transforming the hearts, habits, and dispositions of ordinary people.
Though we live in a pleuralistic society, we serve a God who is sovereign over all aspects of personal and social life. In this respect, everybody would ultimately be better off - be happier and lead a more productive life - were they to conform their lives to reality; to the order God created. Certainly, it is possible to live another worldview or believe in a different religion, of to conform to another philosophy of life. However, it is my argument that the best, most productive way to live is the Christian way; all others are inferior. Furthermore, it is my contention that the best way to frame Christian belief is in showing how belief betters society as a whole; how it appeals to the common good. Theologians would call this common grace; that is, the benefit to society of Christian belief. Christianity would assert that lying is wrong, thievery is immoral, that marriage is between a man and a woman, that murder - even of the unborn - will lead to a breakdown of society and the moral bonds that link us all. These ideas will be developed further in this review. In this respect, Christianity is not the best way to live just because we believe God told us so; rather, Christianity is the best way to live because it makes the most sense. In the long term, everybody would be better off were Christianity practiced by everybody.
I would never assert, however, that Christianity or its views should be imposed upon another person. Christ in His ministry never imposed His views upon those hearing His message; rather, He sought to make a reasoned, sound argument based upon common life principles that His way was the right way. Christians are frequently chastised for being to sure of ourselves - too eager to dismiss other alternatives and wanting to impose our morality upon others. We should rather fashion our apologetic and presentation of truth based upon fact, logic, and clear understanding of various other worldviews. In this regard, we need to learn, study, and train ourselves in Christianity of course, but also in other worldviews. This is certainly not easy and requires long persistence, frequent error and misunderstanding, and clear delivery of the Christian message.
Training the Mind
Jesus said that we are to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt. 22:37). Loving the Lord with all your mind means understanding the relevance of God's message to our culture, business, family life, discipleship, friends, and all facets of our life. This would include government, the arts and sciences, schools, the natural world, and indeed for all of creation. We need to understand that there is no dichotomy between science and religion, for example, but only in our understanding of both. I try in other areas of this Website to detail why I believe the earth was created over countless millennia and not just in a literal seven day period of time. It is my contention that those who impose a literal seven day period of time upon science fail to consider other ways the Bible might be understood (not compromised) to agree with what we have come to learn from God's creation. To believe in a seven day creation span not only is unnecessary, but also seriously weakens the Christian message to the scientific community. Rather, we must train our minds to look for the best explanation in all circumstances, even if this explanation might interfere with prior held conceptions.
Sadly, many Christians have been misled into believing there is a necessary conflict between God given truth in the Bible, and man understood truth as derived from our understanding of nature. In The Christian Mind, Blamires stated the problem in the opening sentence, "There is no longer a Christian mind." He meant that evangelicals have not developed a distinctively Christian perspective on all of life, but rather live our life some days using a Christian perspective, and other days using a worldly perspective. Christianity is on one level very simple so that a child could understand, while on another level can take a lifetime to barely begin to unravel. Christianity requires our entire mind, devotion, and time; we not only need to know Christian doctrine and be able to defend our understanding of doctrine through a firm understanding of the Bible, but we also need to understand how Christianity intersects the many other aspects of life, but as a Christian government, Christian science, Christian family, Christian society, and Christian health - just to name a few. We are called to constantly check our facts; we are not called to believe in a vacuum with a "blind faith."
We need to break down this false dichotomy between science and religion, between spiritual and intellectual, and between faith and reason. Unlike a generation ago, many of our churches are filled with highly educated congregations; indeed, polls show that evangelicals are better educated than the general population - a striking change from only a few years ago. Pastors need to present the gospel in an intellectual fashion that conforms to our understanding of the greater world, and above all to show how Christianity is very relevant - even crucially relevant - to our every day life.
This education will be a true revelation to most congregants. For example, our public schools teach a sterilized version history that is devoid of any religious context so as to avoid any mention of Christianity and its importance in the foundation of our democracy and the superiority of Western civilization. We are led to believe that Western culture's preeminence in science and industry over the past few centuries was due to good fortune, or perhaps our exploitative colonization of less civilized societies rather than the clear advantage Christian philosophy had in furthering exploration and advance of science. When we learn about the Renaissance art, ancient understandings of the law, American history, and different worldviews and philosophies, we are not just learning for the sake of greater knowledge. Rather, we are learning to better understand God's great morality drama we call human history, and we learn new and innovative ways to defend God's truth.
Perhaps even more important, our intellectual development is crucial to avoid the false values and clear philosophical fallacies of modern culture. Every day, we are seduced into believing some new false belief, and strong forces encourage us to worship the idols of modern life. These messages might be very seductive, appealing to our baser side, attempting to get us to conform to beliefs which are distinctly not Christian. For example, many children's shows teach children that they are the repository of truth in their family, and their mother and father are hopelessly old-fashioned and devoid of any intelligence. Most of the situational comedies children watch present such a distorted view of the family which, if the child assimilates into his worldview, may significantly affect how he interacts with authority figures late in life.
Finally, we need to wrest Christianity from a fortress-like mentality which cowers in front of serious opposition, or fails to offer a cogent argument as to the veracity of its claims, to a Christianity that seeks to influence the world. We should not view our crusades to fight one battle or another such as gay marriage or abortion, or even to eradicate poverty or fight disease, as our primary directed. We have been given the Great Commission which commanded us to bring the gospel to the world at large. We must see this struggle as one of the first principles of Christianity, taking opposing views as representing different worldviews, and presenting the Christian message as a better worldview alternative. We might win periodic court victories against abortion, for school prayer, or against abortion, but the only way we are likely to have any real impact upon the world toward Christian principles is to convert people's hearts and minds and not to bludgeon them with lawsuits or Supreme Court nominations. Such victories are often short-lived - and there is always another fight. Christianity is not about "fighting" but converting with logic and truth. We must learn how to present that truth and logic in a coherent fashion to bring hope into a lost and dying world.
The Importance of a Worldview
Our worldview represents our belief system - how we view and interact with the world. Our belief system determines how we view evolution, interpersonal relationships, poverty, religion, life and death issues such as euthanasia, abortion, and end-of life issues. Our worldview is important because it also helps to determine our behavior and to a large degree, determines whether we will ultimately be a success in life or not.
My assertion is that your worldview determines how you comport yourself, and how you interact with society at large. It is truly very important - but frequently neglected. We often let our worldview develop experientially; that is, we use our experiences in life to determine our belief system. Frequently works well - but certainly not always. Were we to live in a poverty stricken country with little hope of self improvement, our worldview would be primarily directed toward survival and living the next day. Alternatively, if our experiences include a much more diverse and cultured experience, our choices likewise expand.
Our parents instill in us our first experience with a belief system. If we live in an Islamic country, then we come to believe in an Islamic worldview - that Islam is the true religion and all others are merely infidels. Similarly, were we to be born into a Christian country, we would likely grow up believing in Christ as our personal Savior and that all other non-Christian group are not worshiping the true God and are by definition confined to hell. If we life in a closed society - certainly more difficult in today's world - then we will likely maintain these worldviews throughout our entire lifetime because they will not be challenged in any meaningful way. However, if we have exposure to the world at large along with its different worldview and opinions, then we may come to challenge our youthful worldview and assume a more skeptical outlook.
Most who question their childhood worldview never go beyond this initial skepticism, and many today assume a post-modern worldview which assumes every belief system has equal value, that none are intrinsically more "true" or "valuable" than another, and what you come to believe is your own personal decision which may change tomorrow depending upon life circumstances. Moral relevancy is not founded upon any objectivity or intellectual scholarship, but represents a surrender to "tolerance" of other worldviews. In the rush to assume tolerance of other cultures, worldviews, and religious beliefs, we have confused "tolerance" with "acceptance" - we have assumed all worldviews and beliefs are of equal value when clearly history teaches they are not. Certainly, Hitler's worldview of Jewish elimination and inferiority is not equally valid worldviews assuming the equal inherent worth of all peoples. Put another way, history teaches that some worldviews are more likely to have disastrous consequences with war, executions, and hatred while other worldviews are more like to engender peace, love, and civility. Those worldviews which engender hate are therefore inherently inferior to those that engender love; those that engender discrimination and class warfare are inferior to those that engender integration and mutual help. There are some worldviews that seem to promote peace, happiness, self-respect, and harmony with nature, science, and experience while others simply do not. It is my contention that those worldviews which promote peace and happiness among peoples are more likely "True" while those that promote war, segregation, hatred, and are out of harmony with nature and our common experience are more likely to be false.
Is there real, absolute truth, and if so, what is THE truth? That is the question every thinking person in this world eventually confronts, sometimes in a passing and indifferent manner but often in a real assertive fashion. Coming to wonder whether there is an absolute truth - and whether there is a God - frequently happens during a life crisis when perhaps we aren't thinking coherently and when foundational decisions become even more difficult. Certainly, it would be more reasonable to consider these issues when not faced with a life crisis.
Finally, I believe that not only is there absolute truth, THE truth, but also this one true belief system offers the best way to interact with the world and to solve - or at least come to understand - those life crises that we all eventually face. Because there is absolute Truth which has been established before the dawn of civilization - before the world existed, this Truth also allows gives us the best way to live our lives so that we will have the greatest chance of happiness, success, and prosperity. It is a primary goal of adulthood to find Truth and to live according to its precepts. This Web site is for the promotion of this inquiry, the presentation of objective evidence for absolute Truth, and finally the identification of exactly what represents this Truth in the world today.