A Peek Inside the Non-Christian Worldview
- Angelina Stanford Home Educating Family Magazine
- 2014 25 Jul
Nineteenth-century Scottish pastor Thomas Chalmers famously remarked that for every Christian the gospel makes, it makes ten good men. In other words, when the dominant culture is Christian, even unbelievers act like Christians outwardly. These unbelievers may not trust in Jesus for their salvation, but they would never dream of murdering, or stealing, or committing any grievous sin. Without even thinking about it, they adopt Christian morality. But, what happens when the dominant culture is no longer Christian?
Unlike most modern-day countries, the United States was born out of a desire to form a country based on Christian thought and biblical law. Of course, not every Founding Father was a Christian, and even in the early days of our country there existed a tension between those who embraced a Christian worldview and those who at least flirted with Enlightenment humanism. But there is no question that despite the influence of some Enlightenment thought, the dominant culture of the United States was Christian. As a result, our laws, values, education, and public behavior were largely a manifestation of a Christian worldview. People sinned. But no one expected laws or public opinion to condone and even encourage sin. Sadly, expectations have changed.
A quick scan of recent headlines demonstrates that the once-dominant Christian culture is fading fast. Legalized abortion, homosexual behavior, fornication… acts that were until very recently too shameful to even speak of, are defended, promoted, and celebrated as virtuous. How did we get here?
The answer is found in the Garden where our first parents rejected the blessings and joy of obedience and instead grasped at godhood. In Genesis 3:4-5, the Deceiver promised Adam and Eve that if they rejected God’s law they could be like God and determine good and evil for themselves. They bought the lie and brought God’s curse onto themselves and the whole creation. People have been buying that same lie—with the same disastrous consequences—ever since.
A culture is not overthrown overnight. It’s a slow process. Even in the midst of Christian cultures, there have always been individual unbelievers who were very deliberate in their war with God. But they were generally eccentric exceptions. They were the avant garde, the artists, the philosophers, the hipsters who reveled in their rebellion against God, embracing wickedness and perversity. They usually destroyed themselves in the process, but they planted the seeds that are flowering now.
For almost 400 years, writers have been seducing readers with that most ancient deception. Echoing the serpent, Enlightenment thinkers argued that man’s reason is the ultimate standard. Man can reason his way to a knowledge of good and evil. What the Bible says is, at best, irrelevant. Each man can—and should—determine good and evil for himself.
These men and their philosophical descendants, the Romantics, made evil their good and delighted in their defiance and contempt of Christian morality, living deliberate reprobate lives and embracing all manner of wickedness and perversity. To be at war with God was a virtue, because they believed that the greatest evil in the world was Christianity!
If man could be delivered from the oppression of God, the church, and the family, then man could achieve perfection. For the Romantics, man’s problem was not that he is in bondage to sin, but that he is in bondage to God! Abolish God and universal bliss will prevail.
The Transcendentalists like Emerson and Whitman promoted and popularized those same ideas in this country. But Emerson’s greatest disciple was Nietzsche, who taught that the path to happiness was to get beyond good and evil, specifically beyond the Christian understanding of good and evil, a morality based upon God’s law. Morality, for Nietzsche, was a myth. God is dead, he famously wrote. God is irrelevant, and clinging to an outdated, oppressive morality inhibits our happiness and our progress to perfection.
Yet, man cannot escape the reality of God’s law. Even when men call evil good, even when they insist that they can determine good and evil for themselves, they have no peace. We cannot escape reality. Even if we conjure sophisticated arguments to justify our sin, we still suffer from the effects of that sin; specifically, we cannot escape the reality of a guilty conscience. Nietzsche blamed this too on Christianity. He insisted that a bad conscience is simply an illness created by religion. Man’s guilt is the result of his imprisonment in a Christian worldview. If we end Christianity, we can end guilt.
It’s not difficult to see that the teachings of a handful of men who warred with God are now quickly dominating our culture. These are no longer the rantings of a few eccentrics. These teachings are the underlying beliefs of nearly every court decision, political policy, and curriculum requirement of the present day. Those who desire to live beyond good and evil are quickly becoming the majority.
Teachers, politicians, judges, scientists, and, sadly, even many clergy believe that biblical morality needs to be overthrown. Modern man rightly perceives that most of our institutions, laws, and beliefs are based on Christian thought, and he desires to wipe out all traces of Christianity and remake the world in the process. For men to be free means a total elimination of Christianity. Only then, he assures himself, can we usher in an age of heaven on earth.
Non-Christians have been deceived into believing that they have the moral high ground. They are genuinely convinced that they are the ones who are kind and compassionate and that Christians are the bad guys, forcing outdated and hurtful beliefs on people. You hear this presupposition every time Christians are accused of being hateful because they stand for God’s righteousness. The Scriptures tells us that the wicked call evil good and good evil. This is what is happening right now.
Our culture is deceived, and we are seeing attempt after attempt to remake the world. Activists intend to redefine everything: liberty, justice, mercy, marriage, the family, good, evil. God’s definitions are not just irrelevant, they are oppressive; they are hurtful. Reject God’s law and follow us. We will lead you to happiness. Ironically, the more they succeed, the more they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction and the destruction of the whole culture. It’s that same old lie!
How do we combat this deception? With the Truth! It is useless to attempt to fight a deliberate effort to remake the world by making appeals to tradition or poll numbers or even appeals to logic. We cannot make pragmatic appeals. The only way to expose a lie is to tell the truth—even if we are laughed at!
God’s ways are not man’s ways. It so often seems like we are fighting a losing battle. The culture is sliding downhill. But there is a power in the Truth that is greater than the power of the media or the courts or the schools or Washington. The truth exposes the lie and sets people free from the deception. The Holy Spirit defeats the enemies of Christ by converting them.
Faith comes from hearing. We must proclaim the truth and reclaim the culture one undeceived person at a time.
In addition to educating her own three children for the last ten years, Angelina puts her MA in English literature to work by teaching upper level humanities classes to homeschoolers and working as a freelance writer, editor, and conference speaker. A true Cajun, Angelina loves good food and good stories.
© 2013 by Home Educating Family Association. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Originally published in 2013 Issue 1 of Home Educating Family Magazine, the publication with the most meaningful discussions taking place in the homeschooling community today. Visit hedua.com to read back issues and for more articles, product reviews, and media.
Publication date: July 25, 2014