A War on Ideas - Part 2
A War on Ideas – Part 2
Last week I started a blog on the battleground for ideas being waged in our society. Natasha Crain authored a book called Faithfully Different, where she lays out the conflicts and strategies in this battle over worldviews. Crain clarifies that the worldviews in contention are a biblical worldview and secularism. Crain defines secular as “irreligious” and biblical as a worldview based on the belief that the Bible is the absolute source of truth. Crain states – “The secular worldview by which we’re surrounded is fundamentally at odds with a biblical worldview, and that has extensive implications for our daily lives.” (pg. 35)
Crain defines secular by what it is not – religious. So she clarifies religion as “a worldview that systematically defines reality based on the existence of a god or gods. By their very nature, most religions are authoritative for their adherents because they not only describe reality but also prescribe correct human responses.” (pg. 36) Many people in our country would say that we are a secular country because we are supposed to have a separation between church and state. Therefore, you can believe what you want. Just don’t let those beliefs influence public affairs. Our Constitution’s authors only speak to how the government should behave, not how individuals behave as it relates to the establishment of religion.
If we have a secular society, it does not mean that society is worldview neutral. When our society has to answer the fundamental question about human values, not all people agree. For instance, the value of unborn babies or people of various ethnic or national heritage. Who should be protected? How should they be protected? What should they be protected from? How should the conflict be resolved when one person’s rights conflict with another? We could go on for pages asking these and similar questions in light of a secular society or a biblical worldview. Crain says, “that even the most basic questions about how to run a society are inherently connected to assumptions about the nature of reality – assumptions that aren’t universal.” Your basic assumption of the origins of the universe informs how you answer many of these questions. Intelligent creation – man is responsible to the creator. Evolution – no intentional plan for the universe and its inhabitants, so self is the final authority.
Our society’s answer to these questions about human value has changed over time based on public consensus. This should be expected in a society that is not committed to a particular religion in public life. Christianity is no longer an acceptable worldview in the public marketplace of ideas for many people in our secular society.
Secularism is a worldview even if it espouses that there are no gods. If there is no authority from religion and there are no gods, then one's self becomes the authority to determine the answers to life’s most difficult questions. “Secularism can readily accommodate a generic god who requires nothing, but not a specific one who requires everything.” (pg 42) This position of self as the ultimate determiner of reality, value, morality, and behaviors lands us where we are in society today. The Bible says that God is a moral lawgiver, with His character being the objective standard for goodness. Secularism functions as though right and wrong are determined by widespread consensus.
Crain warns that the danger of the dominant secular society in which Christians live is “at every turn, more and more of us are mixing these mainstream secular ideas with biblical views.” I am reminded of the passage in Psalm 106:35 (ESV) where the author is talking about how the children of Israel managed during their time in Egypt and then with pagan nations in the wilderness - but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. Let’s not let secularism unintentionally become the worldview we adopt.