Acts 17:21 “The Athenians spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.”
Harvard University defines its ‘Pluralism Project’ as “an ethic for living together in a diverse society: not mere tolerance or relativism, but the real encounter of commitments.” Since Harvard recently announced their new Chaplain President is a secular humanist and atheist, their ‘Pluralism Project’ is a little confusing.
One only needs to dig a little deeper to find the goal of ‘Pluralism Project’: “Our study of religion and migration in America must be understood within the context of settler-colonialism and the displacement, dispossession and dehumanization of indigenous people.” So, America’s religious roots are based on dehumanizing native Americans? Only at elitist universities can such nonsense be taught as truth.
How does a university founded in 1636 to train Christian minsters based on the motto “Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae” (“Truth for Christ and the Church”) become a breeding ground for secular humanistic atheism?
We need to understand worldviews and how they have evolved in American culture. In her book ‘Total Truth’, Nancy Pearcey defines “worldview” as “The window by which each person views the world and decides, often subconsciously, what is real and important, or unreal and unimportant.” And it is in our education system where young peoples’ worldviews – what they decide is “true” – are often being formed.
But people often don’t challenge themselves to investigate their belief to decide if that belief is true or false. This is where epistemology, the branch of philosophy that studies how we come to know something, can be helpful. Before forming my worldview, I should examine myself by answering 5 questions.
Question 1: What is my belief on that topic based on (what is the foundation of my belief)? For example, 9 members of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to dismantle the Police Department, based on a belief that the Minneapolis Police Force is systemically racist. What is the evidence on which to base this belief?
Question 2: Has this belief become something that I am consciously aware of? We can sometimes hold a belief, such as “police are racist”, because we hear it so often that we subconsciously make it part of our worldview. If fact, Joseph Goebbels, who was Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, said “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”. Psychologists call this the “illusion of truth” effect.
Question 3: Does this belief satisfy the thing that caused me to previously doubt? If we come across evidence that satisfies some nagging doubt, we may justify embracing that belief as part of our worldview. For example, in his introduction to the Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey witnessed the hypocrisy in his church that led him to reject Christianity: “The Christian church thrives on hypocrisy. Man’s carnal nature will win out no matter how much it is purged or scourged by any white-light religion.”
Question 4: Does this belief motivate me to start cultivating within me a ‘rule of action’ based on that belief? Once we examine a belief and decide it satisfies any doubts we once had, are we motivated to begin living according to that worldview. For example, Christian Apologist Jim Warner Wallace, a cold case detective in Los Angeles and a committed atheist for most of his life, became a follower of Jesus Christ after applying his rules of evidence to Christianity and deciding not that it works, but that it is true.
And finally, Question 5: Does this belief convict me to maintain the ‘rule of action’ despite times I fail or others’ contrary views? Here is where the “rubber meets the road”. In Christian apologist Josh McDowell’s book ‘Beyond Belief to Convictions’, he explains to move from believing something is true to living according to that truth means to “understand that thing is objectively true and relationally meaningful.”
In our verse this week, the apostle Paul is speaking at the famous Mars Hill in Athens, where many of the greatest philosophers in history (Socrates, Aristotle, Plato) developed what would become the methods for Western thought. These philosophers are described as wanting to “hear something new from each other”.
Paul used reason to explain why the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is foundational to knowing who God is. Since Paul’s day, many throughout history have been able to answer all 5 questions and convinced themselves of the truth to the Christian worldview. Have you examined Christianity to see if it is true?
As the famous theologian GK Chesterton once said, “It’s not that the Christian ideal has been tried and found wanting. The issue is that It has been found difficult; and left untried.”
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance _ Article #475