Two belief systems or worldviews now stand at the center of reflective and deductive thought. One seeks to understand and explain all things in terms limited to natural phenomena and human interplay. The other finds naturalistic explanations unsatisfactory and searches for answers outside of nature in the supernatural realm. What are the two dominant worldviews?
What Are the Two Dominant Worldviews?
Naturalism That Is Secular and Humanistic
According to this belief system, all supernatural influence is eliminated by evolutionary thought; only observable natural processes exist. Since man is the dominant life form, he alone controls his destiny and directs the progress of the universe. Since the destiny of the universe is held in the hands of men, mankind and the knowledge he produces (i.e., science) become the objects of highest respect (i.e., worship).
In a nutshell, atheistic naturalism posits that random processes over unimaginable time have brought into existence the human race. Mankind now is the epitome of self-determining matter, and as such is the only salvation that the planet can depend on for survival. There is no God. There is no afterlife. Man’s highest goal for himself is survival as long as possible—and to enjoy his existence to its fullest while it lasts.
Naturalism That Is Polytheistic or Pantheistic
Whereas Western thought has moved toward either theism or atheism, much of the non-Western world remains steeped in animism or a mixture of new and old pagan philosophies. Ancient cultures exchanged the worship of God (Jehovah) for the worship of nature (cf. Romans 1). Various aspects of the natural world—sun, moon, stars, wind, water, earth, etc.—were personified and became objects of worship because of the supposed supernatural forces they displayed. Buddhism and Hinduism mixed pagan animism with humans or human-like creatures to symbolize man’s relation to the supernatural.
Man’s physical and spiritual ascent to deity through these religions became the central theme. New Age philosophies have essentially modernized old pagan beliefs with sophisticated packaging and Madison Avenue promotional campaigns.
The result is the same: Nature becomes a god (or gods) as determined by mankind. Thus, mankind becomes the architect of deity.
Biblical Theism and Creationism
The theism of the pantheist or the polytheist is still both naturalist and evolutionary. Although those aberrations of a theistic perspective deify the forces, the practical effect is still naturalism and, ultimately, atheistic.
The message of the Bible, beginning at the very first verse of the book of Genesis, is that there is only one Deity. That unique Being has, of His own authority, power, and knowledge, brought our reality into existence. That Deity is transcendent and sovereign over that which He created and has delegated functional responsibility to humanity for the development and progress of that which was created.
During the millennia that have passed since creation, mankind has gone through many stages of belief or rebellion and now is living among a global milieu of nations and social structures that are essentially dominated by the tensions between an acknowledgment (if not submission to) of a Creator and the intellectual elite of the world who have tried for over three centuries to abolish such idealism from the consciousness of the general population.
In the Christian West, the churches range from a formal liturgical system steeped in traditionalism to a ribald emotionalism with seemingly no moorings at all. Within that vast range of Christian thought are those who would attempt to blend secular humanism and evolutionary philosophies with favored messages from Scripture. Even the most literal of the Bible-based theological systems struggle with the sociological, scientific, and political messages of the last 200 years.
Yet, however strong the effort to mix the messages, the opposing worldviews are not designed to be united in any way. They are, by their very core nature, diametrically opposed.
The clearest contrast of these worldviews can be seen in the language and perspectives used to shape social mores. The resulting radical shift in morals and ethics observed during the past three decades in most countries may best be understood when contrasting today’s naturalistic framework with the biblical perspective.
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