But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. – Romans 10:16-17
We have progressed through the mire now and are nearing depths of incredulity as far as what the mind of fallen man can come up with to try and explain reality, truth, and right and wrong. Starting with Deism, we saw what happens to a worldview when you take God out of the picture. Oh, He is there, just not involved or active or relevant other than to explain how we got here. Truth is reduced to scientific facts. But the questions that Deism could not answer gave way to Naturalism, where all that matters is matter. There is no God, no Creator, no first cause – just nature. This system though cannot deal with settling the differences between right and wrong. That lead the way for Nihilism, which states matter of factly, that our faith is best placed in nothing. Life as a machine in a closed system of meaningless incomprehensibility, cause and effect left to chance, with no discernable purpose. Hence, no right or wrong, no truth or lies, no rhyme or reason.
There. Feel better about humanity? After all, there is no such thing as a bad boy – right? Just wait. Our next “grid” developed as a result of the fact that ordinary men and women just cannot take Nihilism and remain sane. There is nothing worse to a rational person than to remove all meaning.
As an illustration, there is a story told of a Nazi Commandant who had the prisoners in his concentration camp work all day to move dirt with shovels and wheel barrows from one end of the camp to the other. The next day, he would have them move it all back. Day in and day out. It was meaningless! And it started to drive people mad. The prisoners were literally losing their minds in the morass of meaninglessness. This is a dark illustartion of what a Nihilistic worldview will do to those who hold it. Meaninglessness makes people go berserk.
So what is a fallen world to do if there is no hope and no meaning? Enter the “brightest minds” and “brilliant thinkers” and we have a new philosophy through which to filter reality.
The leading philosophers of the day decided and determined that while there may not be meaning in the universe, in order to survive and thrive, we could make our own meaning. There is no meaning out there – but we can make things meaningful in here (pointing at head).
Existentialism can be summarized as the worldview that says we can make meaning in this world, but that meaning doesn’t come from the objective reality. There is no real meaning in the world. The only meaning that can be had in life is meaning we make for ourselves. The idea of the Existentialist is that people make themselves who they are, and decide what they mean to the world and what the world means to them.
The Existentialist needs to hear and believe and obey this truth: It is God who gives meaning and defines reality. We do not save ourselves, we do not make ourselves what we are, we do not chose our date of birth, date of death, or our pathway in between. He sets our path. He causes us to be born. He gives and takes life as He pleases. And He knows our days before there is even one of them. He is the Potter, we are the clay.
Eastern Pantheistic Monism
In opening the door for this old heresy revived, Dr. Duncan tells us that there were 3 things that led to this view from the West to the East. Here is what he said:
First, they said that Western technology made possible modern warfare. And the Vietnam war they saw as the result of this Western reason and philosophy that had produced this kind of technology for warfare. And so they said, “Let’s abandon reason. Reason is responsible for all this. Western rationalism is the root cause of all the things that are wrong in this Western militaristic culture, as seen in the Vietnam conflict. And therefore, let’s abandon reason.”
Secondly, they said, “Western economics have led to gross inequity and economic oppression of masses of people in the Third World. And since Western economics are based on Western philosophy and reason, let’s reject Western philosophy and reason, because it is that from which this system of gross, unfair, Western economics has developed.”
Thirdly, they said, “Western religion has largely supported those who are in control of the culture, and control of the technology, and control of the economic system. So let’s get rid of Western religion, and let’s find something else.” And so they swing to Eastern thought.
If reason demands an answer to the meaning of life then we must abandon reason! There was a move from the rational to the irrational. Rationality offers too many problems, you see. And the form of Eatern thought that best explains this ideological shift is called Eastern Pantheistic Monism.
Pantheism is the belief that God is everywhere and in everything. Monism is the belief that this God who is everywhere and in everything is impersonal – He is not a He, but an it. And the soul of each and every human being is the soul of the cosmos. You are God. And ultimately all roads lead to this “one” reality. When you realise that you are in essence Divine, this is to reach enlightenment!
When you utilize pagan meditation, astral projection, channeling, chanting mantras, hypnotism, and other forms of eastern religious tools and techniques to empty your mind and reach a state of inner peace then your goal is to be completely empty of thought, knowledge, morals, self, identity, personality, and when you are free from the illusions of this world, then you transcend all – there is no time, no history, no reality apart from being one with everything.
So how does the Word of God relate to this worldview? Simply put the Bible and this worldview are truly polar opposites. The Bible teaches us about a personal God who created all that is (Gen 1:1; Col 1:16), stands outside of time and space and even stretches the universe between His hands (Isaiah 57:15; Isaiah 40:22). He became involved with His creation to the point that He sent His Son to become a man, live a perfect and sinless life, die a criminal’s death on the cross, bearing our sin and its penalty upon Himself, giving us His righteousness, all so that He could have a relationship with us, a relationship that had been destroyed by sin (Philippians 2:5-11).
Knowing God is not a matter of becoming one with Him through thoughtless mind numbing exercises in meditation. Knowing Him (faith) is based on embracing the truth of His Word – it is the content of that Word, not some content-less mind clearing nonsense that imparts to us this faith. Meditation in the Bible is about memorizing and focusing on the Word of God and all that it reveals to us about the Author of that Word (Psalm 1:1-3).
All roads do not lead to the same place. We must keep in mind as well that there are only 2 roads. One narrow, the other broad (Matt 7:13-14). And Jesus tells us that the narrow way leads to life and the broad to destruction. We also know from Scripture that Jesus is the Only Way (John 14:6), the only name in all creation whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12). There is no other way, and to take any other path is to be deceived into walking the broad road to hell.
Self denial is not losing our self awareness (Luke 9:23). And Jesus forbids vain repetitions when we pray or meditate on the Word (Matt 6:7). All of these things are just completely contrary to the Word of God.
We have travelled from the 1600s to the late 1900s and now that we have indeed entered the “new millennium” where are we when it comes to the cutting edge of worldviews? Well, since we have now passed “modernism” and the modern age, we have arrived at Postmodernism. What is that you ask? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?
Where did the boundaries go? Once we are rid of God then the next step is to declare that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Get that? It is the foundation of Postmodernism. There is no such thing as absolute truth. As several pastors and theologians have noted then, that makes defining Postmodernism difficult! It declares absolutely as truth that there is no absolute truth. The truth is that Postmodernism as a worldview does not even like the idea of having a worldview! Are you dizzy yet? Cause it only gets better from here.
From a Postmodern mindset, everything is equally valid. Your truth, my truth, your story, my story, your beliefs, my beliefs – it is all equal. One is not more true that the other, one is not above the other, all are equal. And we must learn to tolerate all equally! So whatever you believe is equal to what I believe and the only sin in this worldview is the sin of trying to impose what you believe onto me! If we try to engage people and change their minds, then we are in essence saying that our belief is more valid than theirs. But, all is equal, so there is nothing to prove!
So Postmodernism says that there is no ultimate reality that we can know, no ultimate meaning, that we cannot know what is real and what is not, and so we must make our own meaning – but we cannot ever think that our meaning is right and others meaning is wrong. Since we cannot know what is real and what is not, reality is unknowalble, then how could we ever assume that our version of reality is better than anyone else’s?
The Biblical response though seemingly simple is difficult to impart because those who genuinely hold to Postmodernism will say that what the Bible says it true for us, and what they believe is true for them, and all “truth” is equally valid and should be able to live in harmony and peace! It is almost irritating. But the dsad fact is that most who hold to a Postmodern worldview fail in one aspect of their worldview – they tolerate everything just fine until it comes to Christianity! Have you noticed that? All truth is equally as valid except Christian truth derived from Holy Scripture. That, they say, must be purged from society!
The Scripture answers the Postmodernist clearly and simply.
Is Truth relative?
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. – Proverbs 12:15
Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor. There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. – Proverbs 14:9, 12
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts. – Proverbs 21:2
Your word I have hidden in my heart,That I might not sin against You. – Psalm 119:11
Romans 5:12 – Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
…for whatever is not from faith is sin. – Romans 14:23
Is there a difference between good and evil?
Depart from evil, and do good;And dwell forevermore. – Psalm 37:27
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20
Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the LORD God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. – Amos 5:14-15
Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. – Romans 12:9
In the event that our worldview has been tainted by any of these three philosophies then we must make a hasty return to the Scriptures so that our faith and our worldview might be informed by the Truth of the Word of God. To learn more about these worldviews and a Biblical response to each, join us this Sunday, January 30, for a message titled “What’s Really Real?” from Hebrews 11:3.