THE WORLD TODAY SERIES #2

INTRODUCTION

Historic Parallels [continued]

What, exactly, is the prevailing secular mindset, and how has it achieved a stranglehold on modern society? According to authors LaHaye and Noebel, this mindset comes in various flavors, such as ‘secular humanism’, ‘postmodernism’, and ‘new age’, but all variants, at their root, embrace the humanist ideology that places man as their object of adoration, thereby denying God as the Creator of and the ultimate Ruler of the earth and the universe in which it, along with us, resides. LaHaye and Noebel identify five basic patterns of belief common to the humanist worldview: atheism, evolution, amorality, man’s autonomity, and globalism. As noted by the authors, these beliefs stand in direct opposition to the tenets of Judeo-Christian faith: the transcendent, almighty God of Judeo-Christian Scripture; Creation by this transcendent God; Morality as defined by the ethic embodied in Scripture; the role of man as servant of God; and a compassionate worldview. To these I would add the following overtly as also being in direct opposition to the globalism associated with the humanist ideology: recognition of man’s fallen nature and of the salvation offered in love by Jesus’ substitutionary atonement on the cross, and wholehearted acceptance of God’s deliberate separation of the nations as described in Genesis 11, which naturally leads to a nationalistic viewpoint.

The authors of Mind Siege claim that the humanist battle for the takeover of society has been waged on at least four fronts: religion, politics, the media, and education, with the most thorough so far in the field of education. The inroads on religion also have been devastating; the only reason Christianity seems to be hanging on (by her teeth) is the sustaining power of God in raising up believers at critical times and places. Nevertheless, the Church has been badly wounded over the past two centuries.

Like a rotten apple, the infection of humanism within any one of the spheres noted above contaminates all the others. The spheres don’t stand alone; their interdependency causes the putrefaction within each to eat into its neighbors. Humanistic education, for example, attempts to replace the Biblical account of Creation of life with evolution and its reliance on chance to accomplish that result without God. That notion, of course, in effect eliminates the need for God at all, and just as devastating, strips Scripture of its authority as truth. It’s a quick work to go from there to an indifference toward Scripture and a consequent illiteracy regarding the nature of God, His love toward and His interaction with and expectations regarding man. In reading Bonhoeffer, I was struck by the shallowness of German Christianity in the early-to-mid-twentieth century. To be sure, there were pockets of Christian light throughout the country, as represented by men of faith like Martin Niemuller, Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and their adherents, but by and large the German populace had little understanding of what Christianity was all about, nor did they particularly care. For the most part, Germany’s magnificent Churches became empty shells that housed nothing but vacant ritual and indifferent worship that was virtually irrelevant to the daily life of the German citizen. The Church’s importance to the average German was a far cry from its position during the Reformation. As a consequence, when Germany was forced to endure the harsh period following the First World War, eyes were cast about not for God, but for a human savior. They got precisely what they asked for.

With respect to religion, I don’t think that we’re all that different at this point from pre-World War II Germany. Every U.S. president after Ronald Reagan has claimed at one time or another to be a ‘Christian’. Yet the common indifference of the post-Reagan presidents to the Judeo-Christian God is so appallingly clear that one cannot consider them truly to be Christian. Every single one of them has been shockingly illiterate as to what Christianity is and means to the individual. Not one of them considered God to be particularly relevant to either his life or of the life of the nation. Not one of them understood Scripture to the depth that would have made him a true Christian, or prevented him from violating Scripture in a serious way. An example of such violation was their common push to part Israel’s land via their ill-conceived “Roadmap to Peace” in direct opposition to, among other passages, Daniel 11:39 and Joel 3:2.

In their Christian illiteracy, our recent presidents have simply reflected the prevailing worldview of the citizens that they represented. Even in the so-called Bible Belt, the Christian faith often has been (and continues to be) referred to as a thousand miles wide and an inch deep.

I can cite my own pre-Christian life experience, all the way up to my late thirties, as typical of that pertaining to the average U.S. citizen. When I enlisted in the Marine Corps, I was issued dog tags, those metal discs that they shove into your teeth to identify you if you die in combat. The information on the disc included religion, which was one of two choices – Catholic or Protestant. I was asked whether I was a Catholic or a Protestant. I didn’t know what a Protestant was, but I knew I wasn’t a Catholic, so, with misgivings I said that I was a Protestant. The source of my misgivings was the word itself – “Protestant” implied protest against something, but I was clueless as to what that might be. Despite my vague discomfort over this, it was so slight as to be insignificant. Rather than attempt to find out what my “Religion” meant, I shrugged my shoulders and forgot all about it. Had there been a national religious survey at the time, I would have read my dog tag and, in kneejerk manner, responded with “Protestant”, whereas in actuality I wasn’t even a Christian. That is why I’m very, very skeptical to this day about Christian survey results. I’ve been in constant contact from that time to the present with people, including myself, who may have responded at one time or another to a call from Billy Graham or some other evangelist and then dropped God like a hot potato as being an inconvenient burden and irrelevant to their daily lives. Even many churchgoers, once the weekly service is over, stuff God to the back of their minds and pursue their daily activities from their exit from Church until their next entrance as if He doesn’t exist. I’d like to know how many so-called “Christians” look anxiously at their watches during sermons in the midst of football season, hoping that they can get out before the kickoff and planning how they might move the wife along afterward without being overtly rude. I would guess that the numbers of truly committed Christians is actually surprisingly small, except, of course, in those areas throughout the world where Christians are being actively persecuted. There, given the dismal circumstances, the numbers of committed Christians is surprisingly large. Fortunately, God, being merciful, allows those of us in more benign areas to go through a rather lengthy baby phase before we, too, end up being committed.

Be that as it may, this general indifference toward God where anti-Christian persecution is slight but severe socio-political problems loom large leads the population to search for a savior from the ranks of their own rather than God. This was the situation in Germany between world wars. Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood this, having given a speech on that very theme February 1, 1933, just two days after Adolf Hitler became the chancellor of Germany. Biographer Eric Metaxas picked up on that and devoted the bulk of his chapter “The Fuhrer Principle” on the German public’s clamor for a human savior and its consequent delight when Hitler stepped up to the plate to fulfill that need. Barack Obama comes dangerously close to fulfilling that same need in the American public today. Moreover, his actions as president reveal the possession within himself of that need to assume the godlike persona of an authority figure standing above his fellows through his leadership role. As a secularist leading a thoroughly humanistic society, his motives could be no less grandiose. It was a perfect time for a man of his nature to arrive on the scene.

But it didn’t come about by accident. It was years in the making. Society had to be prepared to accept him. For America this task was particularly ambitious, for America had deep Christian roots. What had to be done was to replace all that Christian understanding and tradition with the tenets of humanism: atheism, evolution, amorality, man’s autonomy, and globalism.

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