As one who is convinced that Christianity is true, I have wondered why so many of our young people are leaving the church. Lately I came across a book called, Repairing the Breach, Explaining the Systematic Deception Behind the War of Worldviews and How Christendom Can Turn the Tide. This is a bold statement and I believe the authors, John and Stephen Wynne, make an excellent case.
What is the Breach? What is the hole which needs repaired? Looking at history, we find that the early Christian church grew rapidly during the first few centuries and for a millennium it held sway in Europe until about 1600 when philosophers began to promote the philosophy or worldview of materialism, which states that matter is all we can know. This is directly opposed to Christianity, which claims that God has revealed truths to us through revelation.
The philosophy of materialism was not new. Epicurus, living several centuries before Christ, promoted materialism. He espoused pleasure (freedom of the body from pain and of the soul from anxiety) as the chief good. He denied the supernatural and afterlife of the soul, building his system on the atomistic tradition of Democritus. The Romans picked up and promoted this philosophy also, particularly through a philosopher of the first century named Lucretius. The philosophy was condemned by the church fathers and did not make a significant appearance until shortly after the newly invented printing press printed the materialistic writings of Lucretius and they were widely disseminated in Europe. Many of the philosophers of the time promoted reason and spoke against Christianity’s belief in revelation. A problem remained for them – how to do away with the idea that God was necessary for the origin of the world and man. This was a strong belief among the populace.
Several ideas of the world and everything in it evolving were afloat during these years. In fact, Charles Darwin’s grandfather, an atheist, had come up with a theory of evolution. But it was not until Darwin’s Origin of Species, that the idea of evolution, as an answer to the question of origins, began to be widely accepted.
Looking at the state of affairs in our own country at the present time, we find that the materialist philosophy is very prominent among the NAS and the NEA. The combination of materialist philosophy along with Darwinian evolution competes strongly against Christianity for the minds of our children.
But is materialism and rationalism true? And is Darwinian evolution true? Materialism denies the supernatural, completely discrediting revelation. Rationalism is not rational. It says that man by his reason can understand everything. This elevates man to the level of God. Darwinian evolution has not been proven.
Although the textbooks indicate that evolution is proven and the NAS writes “Scientists no longer question whether descent with modification occurred because the evidence supporting the idea is so strong,” the standard peer reviewed scientific journals show there is no consensus. Purported proofs by some have been strongly challenged by other scientists; and yet, claimed proofs remain in the textbooks as fact, sometimes decades after they have been disproven. Why? This does not happen in other areas of science. Sometimes the materialistic scientists say that evolution must be true because science must find a materialistic answer to origins.
Another challenge to evolution is the genetic knowledge we have achieved during the last decades. We see an incredibly complex cell which could not possibly have evolved via mutations.
What can we do for our children? Wynne and Wynne ask Christians to hold the NEA accountable for accuracy in textbooks. Also they suggest getting involved at the local level with school boards, etc.
Statistics have shown that teaching worldview can make a big difference in the rate of youth leaving Christianity. We must enable our children to discern the presuppositions (worldview) behind every teaching they encounter.
Some people find philosophy to be boring and others find it difficult to understand. However, everyone can learn to pick out the philosophy or worldview behind every story, play or writing which they are reading or listening to. Can you identify worldviews? Rather than receiving their personal worldview through osmosis via all the media which reaches him/her on a daily basis, the child needs to be taught to be discerning. Why? Because one’s worldview will have moral, social and spiritual effects on them personally, for this life and the hereafter.
Note: My book, Sacred Strand, the Story of a Redeemer Woven Through History is a unique apologetic which you can purchase here.