Thursday, May 01, 2008

Clashing Worldviews - Why it is so hard to live biblically in our culture

Here's an article that is bound to provoke the thoughtful heart.

The Clash of Worldviews—Donald A. Carson (1946 –)

Donald A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he has taught since 1978. A popular lecturer and author, Carson has written or edited over 45 books, including the award-winning The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism, from which these quotes are taken. Carson places the committed Christian squarely in the middle of a culture war, where worldviews clash and casualties are many. This conflict calls for the best in both consecration and

[O]ur deepest social problems are pre-political. They are cultural; they are embedded in worldviews that are fundamentally alien to the Judeo-Christian heritage. It may be wise and godly to aim for legislative change anyway. But unless changes are effected in the outlook of the nation at large, in many cases it won’t be long before the changes are themselves reversed.1

We must boldly, courteously, incessantly, confront public philosophies that are unchristian. We often forget how temporary and faddish such movements can be. Much of this century has been governed, in the Western world, by Freudianism, Marxism, and evolution. Freudianism is certainly not dead, but it is no longer regnant.

The sustained assaults it has received are now being noted even by the popular media. Psychology is still horribly locked into “selfism,” but even that stance is increasingly under attack. In its quest to be a world-dominating philosophy, Marxism is a spent force. And now . . . there are signs that evolution itself is coming under competent attack.

Such assaults must be maintained. They must be well directed. Sometimes they require courage: they can cost you promotions, advancement, even your job. Even though we can praise what is good in it, postmodernism should be exposed to the same sort of ruthless analysis that it deploys against earlier intellectual movements.2

1 D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 428.
2 Ibid., 426.


clc said...

hmm. i agree that the topic of worldview is an important one to explore as christians but i wonder if we sometimes confuse what view is the true enemy. i am sure that d.a. carson is much smarter than i and has done more thinking and research on the subject but i am not sure marxism is any more harmful to our society than capitalism. aren't both systems when unchecked and unredeemed a harm to our societies? i often wonder why christians choose to attack communism, socialism, and marxism without an equally strong exhortation on the dangers and ills of consumption and selfishness as well as maltreatment of workers for higher profit, that can result from a capitalist world view.

ChosenRebel said...

Carson's critiques both and his book would be a good place for you to see balance. Still, I think that one reason Marxism, and socialism get taken to task more often is that they are godless systems. That is, the underlying assumptions of them is that their is no God and only the material world exists. That is a fundamental problem with them in my mind.

clc said...

good point. thanks for the clarification. i think for me, the problem occurs when we think a system that allows for god is somehow a more christian system. maybe the question for me is, could a godless system perhaps be inherently more biblical in its economic principles (like socialism) than one that leaves room for god but can lead to unfair and unjustice practices? and if so, then how do we deal with each system as christians?