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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

They Have a Worldview – Why Don’t We?

Mar 14, 2016

Everyone has a worldview – they may not know that they do, but they do nonetheless. Everyone looks at the world from a particular point of view or vantage point. Often it is caught, not taught. Someone born in India is likely to be informed by an Eastern worldview – Hinduism. Someone born in Pakistan is likely to be informed by an Islamic worldview.

In the West until recently most folks would have had at least a vaguely Christian worldview that they were operating out of. Today however most would have a secular humanist worldview, or a New Age worldview, and so on. But despite the fact that most folks catch their worldview like they do German measles – quite by accident – they still have one.

Christians of all people have one – or should have one. The biblical worldview answers all the deep questions, deals with the most pressing issues, and is fully grounded in reality. It is consistent, coherent and capable of standing up to everyday life.

But most Christians act as if they have no worldview. How do we account for this? The opening line of a recent column by Mike Adams nicely provides us with the answer: “The problem with America is that our universities teach worldview and our churches don’t.”

biblical worldviewYep, that’s about it. Our schools are pushing worldviews all the time – primarily the secular humanist one. They teach it, promote it, indoctrinate with it, and agitate for it. Our churches on the other hand don’t teach the biblical worldview. They don’t teach anything.

It is mostly me-first, self-help, feel-good, mumbo-jumbo. Every week you’ll hear about how you can be a “better you” and how you can feel good about yourself, and how you can succeed in life, and make lots of money, and have the best cars, and even lose weight for Jesus.

Thus hapless Christian kids who have spent their whole life in churches with no worldview teaching will go off to university and within weeks lose their faith. They are absolutely no match for what they will encounter at the universities. We have Christian-hating profs just waiting to pick off these underequipped and overwhelmed students.

And there is plenty of research on this. The findings are very frightening indeed: it appears that the majority of kids raised in a Christian home in America will have lost their faith when they get through college. Some of the stats and figures can be found here for example: www.summit.org/resources/essays/students-abandoning-the-faith/

Whatever the actual percentages may be, we know that many Christian kids flounder when they get to a secular university, and many in fact abandon their faith. As already indicated, there would be at least two main reasons for this. One would be the adversarial, anti-Christian bigotry of so many professors and so many schools.

Many of these schools, and many of these teachers, lecturers and professors are on a mission: a search and destroy mission. They are seeking to undo the faith of believers, and many have been very successful at it. And many of these profs are quite open about all this.

Consider the words of just one: the late philosopher Richard Rorty (1931-2007). He put it this way: “I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities, try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own.”

But the other main cause of this is the complete lack of any training on the biblical worldview. Our Christian kids will get flannelgraphs with Noah and a whale in Sunday School, and we somehow think that will prepare them for the rigours of a fiercely secular education system.

Sure, there would be the odd exception here and there but for the most part our churches are doing a miserable job of teaching folks – especially our young people – how to think biblically. They have no worldview training whatsoever, and as soon as they encounter a full-fledged hostile worldview, they fall to pieces – unable to answer even the slightest challenges, claims or accusations.

We are setting up our Christian kids for a big fall. And many have fallen. We must repent for taking the biblical worldview for granted or ignoring it altogether, and for giving our kids pap when they need solid meat to take on the intellectual and ideological opposition out there in the world.

As Adams reminds us: “Christians need worldview training. Every Christian needs to know how our worldview differs from other worldviews. As disciples, each needs to understand that the truth claims of Christianity are superior and that they are worth defending.”

William Lane Craig put it this way:

Evangelicals have been living on the periphery of responsible intellectual existence. The average Christian does not realize that there is an intellectual war going on in the universities and in the professional journals and scholarly societies. Christianity is being attacked from all sides as irrational or outmoded, and millions of students, our future generation of leaders, have absorbed this viewpoint. This is a war which we cannot afford to lose.

Or as John Stott put it:

Many people are rejecting our gospel today not because they perceive it to be false, but because they perceive it to be trivial. People are looking for an integrated worldview which makes sense of all their experience. We learn from Paul that we cannot preach the gospel of Jesus without the doctrine of God, or the cross without the creation, or salvation without judgment. Today’s world needs a bigger gospel, the full gospel of Scripture, what Paul later in Ephesus was to call ‘the whole purpose of God (Acts 20:27).

If you have kids and are worried how they will go once they leave home and head off to college, you had better start preparing them now. Without proper biblical worldview training, changes are much greater that they will give up the faith once exposed to hostile enemy fire. Our kids deserve a better fate than that.

townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/2016/02/12/our-reversible-moral-coma-n2118156/page/full

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26 Responses to They Have a Worldview – Why Don’t We?

  • Is there a Christian Worldview Curriculum ready to teach?

    If not can one be written?
    What would the sub headings Units be?
    Is there someone already working on a Current Curriculum for the Christian World View?
    Who could head up a Task Force to ensure the Universities ( secular too) had a course option.
    Surely the mainline churches are onto this. ???????

  • “The problem with America is that our universities teach worldview and our churches don’t.”

    In general sad but true Bill though sometimes some pick up a Biblicalish worldview “by accident” (if such a thing exists in God).

    There are a couple of places out there trying to push a Biblical worldview such as http://chalcedon.edu/ and http://www.nehemiahinstitute.com/ though I’m not sure how successful either have been.

  • Thanks Sandra. In addition to what Adrian has mentioned, there are others. One very good one (both in courses and curriculum) is Summit Ministries: http://www.summit.org/

  • I don’t know about this, I have spent every day diligently teaching my children an educated Christian worldview since they were 1 year of age but once adulthood hit even the ardent Christian teenager became an atheist and gave it away. It’s heartbreaking to see but there’s not much I can do except pray.

  • Thanks anon (and I only allow anonymity on a few special occasions here). Yours is a sad story to hear – and there would be many others like it. All we can do is keep praying for our children in such a situation.

    But note that I did not say that offering a solid biblical worldview would GUARANTEE that a child would never abandon the faith. No one and nothing can guarantee that – or anything else for that matter. All I said was it is less likely for a child to easily leave the faith if they have had some solid biblical worldview training.

  • Another aspect of the problem is that even our Christian schools are bereft of teachers who ascribe to a biblical Christian worldview. It is estimated that less than 10% of those teachers studied at a Christian institution, but rather at a state university or teachers’ college. Most therefore have a mixed, and mostly humanistic, worldview – they just don’t realise it. In one of my classes on a Christian philosophy of business, it is often evident that pastors who are undertaking the course don’t have a purely biblical worldview either.

  • Yes you are quite right D’Wayne.

  • Such an important discussion, Bill, and thanks for raising this. As it is pointed out, if adults who are professing to be Christians don’t get what a Christian world view looks like, how will their kids get it. God has not left us without answers to the various questions in every area of life, whether regarding morality, biology, science, economics, history, etc, but sadly though, there often seems little interest in this.

  • Sobering reminder…
    1 Peter 3:15 and Psalm 119:42

  • It may be more a question of explaining how non-Biblical worldviews are invalid. Churches may teach sound doctrine, but not how to defend it against its enemies. Why is higher education in the hands of the enemy anyway? It must make for a pretty bad relationship between student and professor. The lecture room becomes a battlefield rather than a learning environment.

  • A lot of the Christian homeschooling curriculum is very good from an apologetics point of view. Many are quite rigorous. There is now a christian liberal arts university in Brisbane also with connections to Ravi Zacharias in Oxford. If you want more details re: Christian worldview curriculum have aloof at Veritas Press (Omnibus in particular), Rod and Staff, Apologia Science, and Great Christian Classics by Kevin Swanson. If you want more infer, just email me.

  • My normal response to being harrangued about the foolishness of belief in God is a brief retort followed by smug silence. Lately however I have taken up the challenge and fought back with “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was made flesh….” and “I am the way the truth and the life…..” and “my flock recognise my voice and I recognize them” and the gospel good news of God’s kingdom to come. I’ve clutched at these words and my belief stands firm in the face of the secular onslaught.

  • Very well said. I hope people are starting to see how the battle lines are being drawn up with truth on one side and deception on the other. We are seeing Christians not only excluded from universities and colleges but from the legal professions, public positions of authority, political parties, businesses etc., etc.

    How long can it be before people wake up to the problems with relativist secularism? How long before they realize you can’t ignore facts like the religion of Islam preaching violence and injustice and say we have to treat all religions equally? How long before we realize that we can’t likewise, ignore the facts about homosexuality and say that despite the fact that marriage is and has always been a biological relationship and that that relationship and the standing and authority it gives to families through biology, instead of governments, underpins all freedom? We cannot go on just arbitrarily ignoring evidence because we don’t happen to like the implications.

    We may be in the middle of Rev 13 but this is the only prophesy that sees us temporarily overcome and this prophesy is already largely fulfilled. We should never forget Dan 12:3 and Dan 2:35 and that Rev 14 is close.

  • Excellent article Bill and so true, unfortunately.

    If I may be permitted to add to Sharon Stay’s list, I highly recommend Light Educational Ministries based in Canberra,
    http://www.lem.com.au

  • At a time when I was interviewed for the position of the Principal of a Bible College, I suggested that a course that we needed was a one year gap course to teach students uni warfare. In other words, prepare them for the spiritual side of University life. In my six years at uni, I was at the forefront of uni warfare and I am pleased to say had many victories.

    The course would involve warfare prayer, spiritual gifts and their use, being able to give a good account of your faith, learn the critics arguments and how to answer them and so on.

    I decided to take the idea to many more Bible Colleges and not one was interested in the course. RIP.

  • I think one of the most difficult problems I’ve encountered is with a highly intellectual offspring, who believes in a “Source” rather than God….who believes Jesus existed and was a spiritual teacher, but cannot accept the fact of the crucifixion, resurrection and later ascension. These latter issues to him are just highly unscientific and irrational. Ironically he’s willing to believe the new-age reincarnation lark……go figure. He’s a lot smarter than I am with regards to debating various topics, so I’m afraid I’ve all but capitulated….not a good attitude, I know, but I haven’t got the debating skills necessary to hold my own with him.

  • Re Worldview and the importance for Christians to understand this, Impact 360 Institute has been running with this is mind for a while. Check out their site http://impact360institute.org/ and a short trailer:
    http://impact360institute.org/videos/whatsyourworldview

  • Apologetics is not at all a priority for churches and I think it is naive and cowardly mistake costing many people their souls. Ask a christian why believes Christianity is true and most will flounder, unable to give a coherent or fact based answer.

    When a teenager is taught the secular narrative, that man evolved over millions of years and they compare this with the Bible it is plain to see the two are not in agreement. Often the teenager will trust the science simply because it is right so many other things and therefor right about the narrative. All the while not realising that science hasn’t yet proven the narrative. When they ask questions at church, the pastors have no answers and Christianity is logically rejected.

    Churches need to start providing more than just doctrine. They need to provide the evidence based foundation for why Christianity is true. Furthermore thy need to address secular humanism and its beliefs that are preached as fact in the schools, universities and in the media. If they are not comfortable in doing this, then they need to bring in people who are.

  • Quite right Matt!

  • A big thing that helped strengthen my faith and biblical worldview was reading the material from Creation Ministries. It helped me see that evolution has so many glaring weaknesses (see Evolution’s Achilles Heels for starters) that I simply don’t have enough faith to believe in it. Rather, my faith in the bible as God’s word and truth was strengthened – a straightforward reading of the bible best describes the world around me.

    While I wasn’t subjected to anti-Christian philosophy at university, I think that being able to defend the bible against evolution is an effective way to ‘innoculate’ against a secular humanist worldview and would recommend Creation Ministries to you.

  • Good article Bill.
    I recommend CARM – Christian Apologetics Research Ministry they have a lot of resources and articles for Christians to help defend and articulate their faith. https://carm.org/

  • Curriculum Options-seems there are many to choose from.

    Recommendation:There seems to be great opportunity now to lobby for these to be included in all High Schools and Tertiary Institutions as a viable option.

    Surely to offer these Course options will benefit Christian students to grow and may even attract curious students to Study the Christian worldview.

    What are the barriers to Christian studies being available in institutions across the Tertiary scene?

  • I am not sure that the vast majority of children are taught a world view formerly or even consciously – except for those who are highly intellectual. Most breath in the pre – suppositions, concerning existence (ontology), morals and truth (epistemology), of Hegel, Kant and that of all the other modern philosophers, subliminally through the mass media, like breathing in black atomic dust. But ask them to explain, articulate and communicate what they believe and why they believe it and thy will simply say they believe what everyone else believes- or rather this is what they are told to believe, or because its “scientific.”

    If one were able to describe to them, very simply the world views that govern them with all their materialistic existential and godless pre- suppositions and which resulted in Stalinist Russia, North Korea and the Cambodia and Pol Pot, they would hopefully be repulsed by them. And perhaps this is what we should do. Explain to them the delusions and lies they vaguely believe but which they are unable to articulate.

    One thing I have come to learn is that we must not be fearful of secular and deluded apologists like Christopher Hitchins and Richard Dawkins. Sooner or later they come out with most absurd fabrications.
    Take for example evolution. Hitchins claimed that the discovery of a collapsed mountain side, called the Burgess shale, had revealed the whole evolutionary tree.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mW1u0Dw2JS4

    You guessed it; it proved to be a hoax
    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Burgess_Shale_Hoax

    On another occasion Hitchins claimed that were education to be totally scientific, “expurgated” of all religious notions, following the ideas of people like Bertrand Russell, then we would have an ideal world.

    Clearly he had not read his Russell who, regarding education, wrote this:

    “On those rare occasions when a boy or girl who has passed the age at which it is usual to determine social status shows such marked ability as to seem the intellectual equal of the rulers, a difficult situation will arise, requiring serious consideration. If the youth is content to abandon his previous associates and to throw in his lot whole-heartedly with the rulers, he may, after suitable tests, be promoted, but if he shows any regrettable solidarity with his previous associates, the rulers will reluctantly conclude that there is nothing to be done with him except to send him to the lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined intelligence has had time to spread revolt. This will be a painful duty to the rulers, but I think they will not shrink from performing it.”

    As for Richard Dawkins and his scientific proof of a gay gene this, especially his statements on identical twin studies, demonstrates that if holding the theory of evolution is not ignorant insanity, then it sure leads to it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDmQns78FR8

    Finally I like the strategy taken by Ann Coulter who refuses to be drawn into the quick sands of theological argument by Jeremy Paxman and instead simply says what she does not believe in – namely Darwinism. The strategy here is to throw back at our materialistic activists the demand that they explain clearly what they think and why they believe it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWYerEn4tnQ

    This is little bit like the man described in John chapter 9, who was blind, being harassed by unbelieving religious leaders, demanding the man to explain how Jesus healed him. The man simply replies, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” He then could have demanded they explain why they don’t believe.

    David Skinner UK

  • @David Skinner
    Just for caution’s sake, I’m not sure if it’s wise to rely on Uncyclopaedia. My understanding is it is a parody site.

  • Point taken Mark . I therefore cross checked with Jonathan Safarti of Creation Ministries and other sites, all of which point out the fraudulent claims surrounding the Burgess Shale.
    i.e., There are appear to be only sudden jumps without any intermediate stages.
    http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-8-argument-the-fossil-record-supports-evolution

    David Skinner UK

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