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War of the Worldviews. IBC-Bolingbrook, August 1 ,2010. The Christian Worldview. Mark 12:30 “And thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”. How do we (or they) think?.

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war of the worldviews

War of the Worldviews

  • IBC-Bolingbrook, August 1 ,2010
the christian worldview
The Christian Worldview

Mark 12:30

“And thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…”

how do we or they think
How do we (or they) think?
  • Western (and some near-Eastern) philosophy/worldviews can be broken down roughly into 3 eras:
  • Premodern, Modern, Postmodern.
  • Overlap between the eras.
  • Overall worldview answers the basic questions of existence. Who are we? How did we get here? Where are we going? How do we know what truth is? Reality?
  • Culture reflective of the dominant worldview .
premodern era
Premodern era
  • From Christ until the late 18th century.
  • In the West (and near-East), dominated by the Judeo-Christian and Classical (Greco-Roman) worldview.
  • Belief in the rationality of the universe.
  • Reality is not confined to the observable, and is more then just nature.
  • There is purpose within the universe
premodern era1
Premodern era
  • There are reasons for things, not just “because,” but “so that” or “in order that.”
  • Truth is knowable, and corresponds to reality.
  • Language is referential.
  • The world has been created and sustained by God (or gods for the pagans).
  • History is following a pattern, and is linear (going somewhere-God’s will).
premodern era2
Premodern era
  • Having “individual rights” and “personal religion” not considered as important as today.
  • Honor, social conformity, and “family values” more important.
  • No such thing as “separation of church and state”.
  • Metaphysics (beyond the physical world, “spiritual”) as a worthy and rational pursuit also important.
  • How easily could Christians participate and contribute to culture?
  • What do you think morals and manners were like for the most part?
  • What do you think “secular” culture was like in this era?
modern era
Modern Era
  • Roughly 1789-1989 (Oden)
  • Significant overlap with Premodern thought but gradually dominant.
  • In short, kept the conception of the world but removed the metaphysical or supernatural background.
  • Early figures include Descartes, Kant, Bacon, and Newton
  • Early Moderns such as Descartes kept Christianity, but deism and eventually atheism came to be in vogue.
modern era1
Modern Era
  • Maintained that the universe is objective apart from humanity.
  • Maintained the referential theory of language.
  • Truth is still knowable.
  • Huge emphasis on rationality and certainty.
  • Naturalism, restricts knowledge to what is observable with the five senses and deduced.
modern era2
Modern Era
  • Humanism grows (man is the center of reality and autonomous).
  • Naturalism, restricts knowledge to what is observable with the five senses and deduced.
  • Meaning or cause found in the natural world instead of above or beyond.
  • History is still linear, but the pattern is within not without.
  • Only causes, not purposes.
modern era3
Modern Era
  • Sought an overall theory that would cover all things (Erickson).
  • Darwin accounts for biology.
  • Freud explains behavior.
  • Marx explains history as economically progressing towards a class-less society.
  • “These ideologies offered universal diagnoses as well as universal cures.” (Erickson)
  • Early Modern thought was for the most part still friendly to the Christian worldview (i.e., Newton dabbling in Theology).
  • The 19th century is the focal point of a huge shift. (Origin of Species, 1859; The Communist Manifesto, 1848, Freud’s Books, 1898 and on).
  • Causes big shifts in theology (“Higher criticism” and modernist ideology causes schisms in many denominations (1880-1930 in America, Fundamentalist vs. Liberal controversy).
  • How easily could Christians participate and contribute to culture?
  • What do you think morals and manners were like for the most part?
  • What do you think “secular” culture was like in this era?
postmodern era
Postmodern Era
  • Most easily understood as a reaction to or radical extension of modernism.
  • Disillusionment and uncertainty are key.
  • World Wars, Genocides, Ecological Disasters, Crime etc…are we getting better?
  • Two ways of looking at postmodernism:

A reaction against modernism, or taking the extremes of modernism and making them more extreme (Oden calls this, ‘ultramodernism’).

postmodern era1
Postmodern Era
  • Four modern ideas are breaking down:
  • The idea that the universe is “self-contained.”
  • The basis for a modern morality and society.
  • An optimistic view of “progress.”
  • Knowledge is inherently good.
  • An opportunity for the Christian worldview?
postmodern era2
Postmodern Era

Four late modern ideas that are collapsing:

  • Individualism
  • Narcissistic hedonism
  • Reductive naturalism (depersonalization)
  • Absolute Moral Relativism

This has led to, “gun battles between nine-year-old boys in ornate tennis shoes…300,000 babies born with drug addictions, and “family” entertainment filled with sex and violence…human freedom lost…relativist dogmatism.”(Oden, After Modernity…What?)

postmodern era3
Postmodern Era

Radical Postmodernism includes:

  • Deconstructionism (Derrida). The reader decides meaning, not the author or the text (reader-response).
  • Neo-Pragmatism. Truth becomes what is good or useful for us to believe.
  • New History. No meaning to be discovered, historians are supposed to be creative, pluralistic, no universal truths.
  • Postmodernism can be difficult to define.
  • Critiques of the excesses of modernism are good.
  • Rejecting Truth, Language, and Historical Knowledge is “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”
  • We live in an era of cultural “decadence,” where everything seems to have stagnated and become corrupt. (Barzun, From Dawn to Decadence)
  • How easily can Christians participate and contribute to culture?
  • What do you think morals and manners are like for the most part?
  • What do you think “secular” culture is like in this era?
what has been lost
What has been lost?
  • The Premodern and early Modern West’s cultural history is church cultural history (also Classical).
  • Over 1800 years of Judeo-Christian cultural history.
  • The Church and the Court the two primary leaders and supporters in arts and culture.
  • The Western Christian world has abandoned much of this.
  • This can be seen in a variety of subjects, such as Architecture, Music, Manners, Politics/Econmics etc…
  • And we wonder why Christians lack an identity?

Which Church Buildings Do not Belong With the Rest?


First Baptist Church, Providence, RI


Sagene Church, Oslo, Norway


Salisbury Cathedral,





Leroy Baptist Church, New York


Lutheran Cathedral, Helsinki, Finland


Pisa Cathedral, Italy


Park Street Church, Boston


Abundant Living Faith Center, El Paso, Texas


HagiosDemetrios, Thessaloniki,



Hodge Chapel,

Beeson Divinity School,



Barclay Church, Edinburgh, Scotland


Grossmunster, Zurich, Switzerland


Church of St. Bernedette, Barlay, France

lifeway survey southern baptist
Lifeway Survey (Southern Baptist)
  • 1684 unchurched adults (haven’t attended in 6 months).
  • Survey completed in April, 2008.
  • Given 4 church style building pictures, asking for preference.
  • Winner by a 5 to 2 margin was the Gothic style (like the medieval cathedrals).
  • Young people (25-34) preferred the traditional style even more then the old.
  • Manners reflect what a culture values.
  • Almost always communicated top-down in history (Court, Church, Family).
  • “Manners have been called ‘little morals’, both showing the respect due from one human being to another. In truth, one finds that the degree of formality in social intercourse varies in step with other cultural characteristics…it matches the dogmas of the age in politics, psychology, and aesthetics.”-From Dawn to Decadence, 351
  • What do you think manners were like in 16th century Italy? 17th century Spain? 18th century England?
  • What are they like now?
  • Should Christians in today’s world have manners more like 18th century Vienna or 20th century Chicago?
  • In reference to looser relations between the sexes in the 1920’s (Barzun writes, “Informality had become the fashion and it simplified encounters; for etiquette is a barrier, the casual style an invitation. The soft collar, the short skirt, the slip-on shoe accompanied a new feeling of camaraderie between the sexes that encouraged meeting and dashing about in sports cars…” (Barzun, 734)
  • Conforming to the late modern or extreme postmodern views and the resultant culture is not a solution (perhaps part of the problem).
  • “Getting Stuck” in the late 19th century without the 1800 years of Christian culture before, and the good things after not a solution.
  • Voting won’t change this (although it is important).
  • What about the Classical Christian tradition?
  • Informed young people are joining the “high church.”
  • “Evangelicals profess a deep yearning for greater spiritual authenticity. This yearning has led some into Catholic (Roman) churches, and others in to Greek Orthodoxy in a desperate search for a home…some pockets of Catholicism are less tainted by modernity…and Greek Orthodoxy is even less tainted then Catholicism…” (David Wells, God in the Wasteland, 226)
  • Is IBC willing to step up?
  • There is a war going on for the heart, mind, and soul of Western culture.
  • Should the church be leading or following?
  • If the Christian worldview is all-encompassing, how are we doing? Music? Literature? Art? Manners?
  • What about excellence? (Col. 3:23)
  • Can we reclaim and reform the West?
  • The foundation is already there…

Personal Info

Email: aarondhayes@gmail.com

Web/blog: hayesworldview.wordpress.com

Powerpoint/notes will be available on website