Ideas have consequences, and worldviews matter. If we happen to have a bad worldview, it will lead to bad results. For example, Hitler picked up the bad ideas of Darwin and Nietzsche, and the world experienced some really bad consequences.
In one sense, there are only two major worldviews in existence: the biblical Christian worldview, and all others. Either the God of the Bible exists, or he does not. And the implications of his existence are profound.
Atheists like to argue that belief in God is on a par with belief in the tooth fairy or some such thing. But that is not the case. If the tooth fairy does not exist, it really does not matter at all. But if the God of the Bible does not exist, it makes a huge difference, compared to if he does. Indeed, belief in God affects the way we view the very character of the universe.
At the heart of the Christian worldview is the fact that God exists, he has revealed himself to us, and he seeks a relationship with us, but a relationship in which he is the infinite, personal, creator God, and we are created, finite, personal beings.
In the biblical version of events, idolatry is the worst sin. This is because in idolatry, we seek to dethrone God and put something else in his place. Often it is ourselves. If we refuse to believe in, and bow down to, the God of the universe, then we invariably choose some other god to worship.
That is why atheists are just as religious as anyone else. No atheist chooses merely to deny God. He also chooses to promote himself as God, to claim that he is the centre of the universe. Thus no atheist is really godless: he simply chooses to worship false gods.
The biblical message is all about God seeking to break us from our idolatry; to get us to stop worshipping false gods. Vincent Miceli, in his marvelous book, The Gods of Atheism, puts it this way: “Moses failed to write the following commandment: ‘Thou shall not be an atheist.’ Instead his first commandment read: ‘I am the Lord thy God . . . Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.’ It was as if Moses had written: ‘Atheists are not godless men; they are men addicted to false gods’.” (Arlington House, 1971, p. 477)
As C. S. Lewis said, God “is the great iconoclast.” He has to continuously shatter our false idols, our useless icons. Getting men to recognise who God really is, and who they really are, is the first order of business.
As such, the biblical worldview makes a huge difference in every area of life. If we will not bow down to our creator, we will instead worship the created order, as the apostle Paul warns about in Romans 1. And worshiping anything other than the true God usually degenerates into self-worship. Indeed, G. K. Chesterton noted that the worship of the god within – as in the New Age and Eastern religions – turns into self-worship.
But we are to worship the true God alone. He and he only deserves our worship. Thus the whole purpose of our existence is to worship the true God, and seek his glory. As the opening line of Rick Warren’s best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life says, “It’s not about you”. Exactly.
But today most people (including, unfortunately, many Christians) think it is about them. We have ceased worshipping the true God and are now worshipping ourselves. We think we are the centre of the universe, and that the whole world revolves around us.
This is idolatry, pure and simple. In its extreme form, it looks quite grotesque. Consider the final paragraph in the best-selling New Age mumbo-jumbo book, The Secret: “The earth turns on its orbit for You. The oceans ebb and flow for You. The birds sing for You. The sun rises and sets for You. The stars come out for You. Every beautiful thing you see, every wonderful thing you experience, is all there for You. Take a look around. None of it can exist, without You. No matter who you thought you were, now you know the Truth of Who You Really Are. You are the master of the universe. You are the heir of the kingdom. You are the perfection of life. And now you know The Secret.”
This is greedy, narcissistic, self-centred nonsense. And it is the very opposite of the biblical world view. Jesus made it quite clear as to what sort of people we should be: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matt. 16:24-25)
Self-denial, taking up our cross, and following Jesus as Lord is the designated way to be a disciple of Jesus. It stands in marked contrast to all non-Christian traditions which argue that man is the centre of the universe, and is accountable to no-one but his or herself.
Thus in the end we have two completely differing ways of life, based on two differing worldviews. Only one can be true. And if the biblical Christian worldview is true, then there will be a lot of people who will be very surprised, to say the least, when they stand before their maker and have to give an account of why they sought to dislodge God from his throne.
The truth is, we should make that decision now, instead of waiting till it is too late. As C. S. Lewis once remarked, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’.” Which sort of person are you?