Given I’m a fan of popular culture, and a student of it’s influence on, and reflection of, the worldview of the people in that culture, I was very eager to read a piece titled Questioning the Gods: How TV’s Tackling Belief and Religion. The article perfectly captures a certain epistemology that is at the heart of how people understand the world in our secular, post-modern relativist culture.
When Keeping Your Kids Christian gets published, you will see that I’m a big fan of identifying assumptions within the culture, in discussions with others, and in our own thinking. Unexamined assumptions are an epidemic today. While everyone knows what assumptions are, most people don’t think they have any! Many Christians think this way too. But once we learn to question assumptions, many things become clear that once seemed opaque. As we uncover hidden assumptions we clarify thoughts and arguments to see if the logic holds up under scrutiny.
In researching, reading, and thinking about writing a book about keeping my kids Christian, I was kind of surprised to discover how important questions of epistemology began to emerge. I even decided to write an entire chapter on epistemology—in a book on raising kids! I can understand why a lot of Christians would think that’s a bit nutty, in many cases because they wouldn’t even know what epistemology is. I’m hoping in some small way that my book might help change that. Every Christian in our postmodern, relativistic, secular age needs to know not only what epistemology is, but how important are the implications for their faith.
Simply, epistemology is the study of how we know what we know, and it has been vigorously debated among philosophers in Western civilization since at least Rene Descartes (1596-1650). The reason religious faith is so problematic in the modern West is because skepticism about metaphysical ideas and historical facts is the default epistemology of the culture. Which is why I was so surprised when I saw an article at the reliably liberal and secular NPR website titled, “Skepticism about Skepticism.” I instantly thought of a quote by C.S. Lewis in his book Christian Reflections (p. 164) (more…)
Who is this Bill Nye guy anyway? I only became aware of him recently, but it seems he’s a popular “science educator.” He got his moniker, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” from a PBS children’s science show in the 90s, and we know that anything that has the word “science” attached to it has instant credibility in our secular age. Unfortunately, science has to be one of the most abused words of modern times. Instead of referring to an empirical method of inquiry, it’s become a weapon to shut down debate. Specifically, it’s used as a cudgel by the secular left to intimidate anyone who dares question the “scientific consensus” on things like global warming (which has transmorgified into the redundant term “climate change”) and evolution.
So it didn’t surprise me when I saw the provocative title of a piece at The Federalist, “Bill Nye’s View Of Humanity Is Repulsive.” You’ll see why below, but human dignity is only possible in a theistic universe. Without God all we are is lucky dirt. Material things don’t have any transcendent value in themselves. Keep in mind I am speaking logically; you cannot get to value from dirt. We step on dirt, we don’t fall in love with it, or cherish it, or treat it with respect. It’s dirt! If atheism is true, then all we are is lucky dirt and thus logically can be stepped on with impunity.
The Bible, the most influential book in American history, has fallen on hard times. According to a recent Lifeway Research survey, while Americans respect and many venerate the bible, it seems most never open one.
Americans have a positive view of the Bible. And many say the Christian scriptures are filled with moral lessons for today.
However, more than half of Americans have read little or none of the Bible.
Less than a quarter of those who have ever read a Bible have a systematic plan for reading the Christian scriptures each day. And a third of Americans never pick it up on their own, according to a new study from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.
You might see in these words, if you are a Christian, that the problem is that most Americans don’t read the Bible. Even more disconcerting, however, is that people think the Bible is about “moral lessons,” which isn’t surprising given people generally equate religion with morality.
We must attack the enemy’s line of communication. What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects—with their Christianity latent. You can see this most easily if you look at it the other way round. Our Faith is not very likely to be shaken by any book on Hinduism. But if whenever we read an elementary book on Geology, Botany, Politics, or Astronomy, we found that its implication were Hindu, that would shake us. It is not the books written in direct defence of Materialism that make the modern man a materialist; it is the materalistic assumptions in all the other books.
C.S. Lewis, God in The Dock, p. 91.