Has the Naturalism Worldview Infiltrated Our Christian Worldview?

Before we try and formulate an answer, let’s look a little closer at the question and why I am asking it.  This is the third article about worldview.  In the first, “Why is Christianity in decline in Europe, Canada and the United States? Is our Christian worldview weak?” we looked at the statistics illustrating the rapid decline of Christianity and raised the question that perhaps, our Christian worldview was being weakened by other influences and leading to that decline.  In the second article, “Are We Living A Christian Worldview?” (Click on the titles to view the former articles) we defined four types of worldviews, broadly defined the orthodox Christian worldview through the Apostle’s Creed and raised the question, are we living what we say we believe?  Now, I am asking the specific question, has the naturalism worldview infiltrated our Christian worldview.

The consequences of the question if answered positively can be devastating to Christianity.  Let me illustrate:  Let us say for the purposes of space in this article that “worldview” can be illustrated as the lenses through which we look at the world.  A Christian worldview would then view such questions as “What is the purpose of life?” and “Where did life begin?” through those Christian lenses and apply biblical answers.  But if we take those lenses off when viewing such other things as “Should I take an extra newspaper out of the box when no one is looking?” or “I am going to splice into my neighbor’s cable because no one will know,” then our Christian worldview loses the ring of truth.  If our worldview is susceptible to lens changes, the next generation, as well as non-believers, will see the lack of conviction and another worldview will be substituted that is more convenient.  (Because, let’s face it, sometimes living out those convictions are difficult.)

[Please allow me a moment to make a disclaimer:  I am in no way saying that I don’t struggle with tough questions and tough decisions and often, make the wrong decision, the easy decision and the sinful decision.  And I confess that all too often, it is not the question that is tough, but the answer I don’t want to perform.]

Now, before the questions get harder (and they are going to get harder), let’s ask this question:  If we are taking off our Christian lenses, what lenses are we substituting?  It is likely that here in the United States and frankly, Europe and Canada, that we are substituting a Naturalism worldview when convenient to do so.  It is unlikely that we have an animist, pantheist, spiritist, or polytheist worldview, although, there are some that rely on astrology, New Age and the yin yang, most of these views are less of a threat in Christian cultures than Naturalism.

Naturalism defined

So, let’s look closer at Naturalism.  Paul Draper, a Naturalist defines Naturalism as, “the hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system” and “nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it.” [1] There is no God, there is no evil.  Everything is simply the natural progression of the world in which we live or may be consequences due to man’s tampering with the world, at any rate, to a Naturalist, everything is provable through science.  The big question then, is what guides a Naturalist in daily decisions, social behaviors and political judgments?  Generally, the Naturalist approaches ethical choice and political development with the idea that man, in general, is good.  As such, man, in a society with others, will develop a society with good in mind.

But who decides what is good?  For the Naturalist, society as a whole makes those decision.  In my words that is defined as whatever is popular at the moment.  Joseph Fletcher, who was an Episcopal priest who became a humanist, summed it up this way.  Do the loving thing.  While that sounds good, who defines what is the loving thing?  Fletcher decided that abortion often is the loving thing because the greatest amount of good, the most love was done by aborting an infant that wasn’t wanted.  While Fletcher would not say that abortion in and of itself was loving, giving the mother the choice was loving. Fletcher provided the same guidelines for infanticide, euthanasia, eugenics and cloning.  For Fletcher, his followers and naturalists there are no absolutes; social morals are subject to change.

As applied:  Is the Naturalist worldview infiltrating the Christian worldview?

And here is where we must start to ask the hard questions about the infiltration of the Naturalist worldview into Christianity.  The abortion issue easily paints the picture of a change of worldview.  Fifty to sixty years ago, there was little issue about the illegality and immorality of abortion.  This is true whether or not you, the reader, agree with the Choice movement or the Pro-life movement.  While today the pro-life movement still obtains its numbers through the church, the movement has lost its momentum.  Why is that?  Has the Christian movement decided the battle is largely lost? Or is it that even inside the theistic Christian worldview, many are accepting of the “right” of a woman to choose?  Let me demonstrate the idea that abortion is acceptable inside the church.  According to a Gallup poll in 2013, 78% of Americans identify with a Christian religion [1] yet, also according to Gallup roughly 50% of all Americans designate themselves as pro-choice. (The number of pro-choice, pro-life individuals fluctuates, but it is roughly 50%). [2]  So, it appears as if at the very least 28% of the Americans identifying themselves as Christian are also pro-choice.

Therefore, many Americans have decided that abortion is acceptable to a Christian worldview or they are not looking at the question through Christian worldview lenses, at least as defined by the Apostle’s creed.  There are those who make biblical arguments for pro-choice, but it is a minority view.  I do understand that there are some liberal ministers that promote the idea of acceptance for abortion, but they do not take a literal view of the Bible and would not accept the Apostle’s creed either.   So, how is it that abortion has become acceptable?

But before you decide about the influence of naturalism, we will discuss more issues, their impact, biblical views in our next article next Monday.  And let’s begin the discussion:  How do we stop the infection of naturalism into our Christian worldview?

[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/124793/this-christmas-78-americans-identify-christian.aspx

[2] http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

 

 

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