Defending Your Faith 101: The importance of understanding modern times as a Christian

Tim, a high school biology teacher, was asked by one of his students about evolutionary theory teaching that living things have evolved over time, versus God creating everything as we see it. The student wanted to know if God used evolution. Tim hesitated, after all this was a public high school and he could get in trouble discussing his faith or refuting textbook teachings, according to school board policy.

Tim knew of other teachers, and professors, who had been reassigned or disciplined for teaching or using material that supports creation and the theory of intelligent design. Even sharing prominent research that reveals the many problems with evolutionary theory would get you thrown out of the NSTA (National Science Teachers Association), at least on a credibility level. In Tim’s hesitation the lunch bell rang and the students hurried out without waiting for a response, but what about next time?

What should Tim have done? Why has academia closed its door on a divine foot, and with such fervor? It seems that something else is going on here besides academic pursuit of truth.

Twentieth Century:Secular Humanism

With all the philosophical changes that took place in the universities over the previous century it is easy to see how, in the early twentieth century, the academic community came under the influence of a secular humanist worldview (man centered vs. God centered). This view permeated all of the major disciplines with a snowball affect into the public school systems by mid-century:

  • 1925 Scopes trial—the teaching of evolution vs. creation—even though evolution lost this battle it set the stage for the dominance of evolutionary theory to take over in the public schools within the next few decades.
  • 1933 Dewey’s educational theories enter the public school textbooks and teacher training, all based on the ideology of secular humanism.
  • *1947 Separation of Church and State (exactly 300 years after the Old Deluder Satan Act!)
  • 1961 secular humanism was ruled a religion (they could receive tax benefits), yet it was allowed to be the reigning philosophy in education because it was deemed ‘non-institutional.’
  • 1962 No school prayer.
  • 1963 No Bible reading in public school.
  • 1980 No Ten Commandments (or other religious postings) allowed in public places.

 The result of this progression?

  • Public Education expelled Christian thinking and therefore expelled God.
  • Academic Scholars who held to a Christian worldview in their fields of study began to be blackballed.

The trickle-down effect from the universities to our public schools has led to the overall change in culture and worldviews that we see today, including politics, where God is nowhere to be found.

Early Twenty-first Century: The Isms

Everyone is anything they want to be as long as you are not a bully, a bigot or display any type of phobia. And, you cannot question the “fact” of evolution across the academic disciplines. The many philosophical changes that occurred in education and culture of the twentieth century has lead to the choice of ‘isms’ we see today…

In science:

Naturalism, Materialism, Physicalism, Evolutionism…

In society:

Progressive Secularism, Relativism, Hedonism, Anarchism…

In faith:

Pluralism, Skepticism, Agnosticism, Atheism…

Not sure where the God of the Bible fits into any of these?

According to Nancy Pearcey and Francis Shaffer, the academic emphasis on the fact/value split has lead to the apathetic attitude towards religion today and many of the “isms.” Facts are truth, values are negotiable. Facts are objective, values are subjective. This has made it nearly impossible for Christian truths to be taught in the public arena, even though they are facts they are treated as negotiable and subjective values.

Checkout this four minute promo for Nancy Pearcey’s book “Saving Leonardo” a book that I highly recommend reading for any thoughtful Christian. She touches on so many important areas of life that have shifted our culture’s worldview and in many ways that we are often unaware of:

(The Future) Mid to late twenty-first century: Modernity

To navigate the culture as a Christian in the next few decades, I highly recommend reading and sharing A Practical Guide to Culture, Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World, by John Stonestreet and Brett Kunkle. It is a valuable resource for Christian parents, students, and those working with young adults. This is a must have for any Christian’s library.

What we will be up against in the next few decades will be the greatest challenge that has ever faced Christianity, according to Os Guinness, DPhil, Oxford and Christian Apologist. This challenge comes in the form of modernity:

“The terms modernism and postmodernism are sets of ideas, but modernity refers to far more than ideas. …Modernism as a philosophy may oppose faith outright, but modernity does not. Its damage is not through opposition but through seduction and distortion. It doesn’t say, for example, ‘No faith allowed here’ but ‘No faith is needed here.’ Contrary to Jesus and the Torah, modernity claims that man can now live ‘by bread alone,’ or rather by science, technology, management and marketing alone. Secularists do not want God, whereas the secularized [the result of modernity] have no need of God, and that is only one of the many seductions and distortions of modernity.” -Os Guinness, “Impossible people” pgs. 62, 65

I highly recommend watching this insightful (and entertaining) documentary by Actor, Ben Stein to get a full grasp of what has happened in academia: “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”  (apprx. 1:38 mins)

Reflection:

  1. In your own words recap the history of Christianity that we have covered beginning at the September 8, 2017 post (helpful hint: Narrow the key concept from the 10 eras into one sentence each). Knowing the basic overview of this timeline will help you in those one minute opportunities you might have to share (or correct).
  2. Prayer focus: The trials and persecution of historical Christianity and how God, in His mercy and grace, has walked with and protected His people over the years. Ask God how you can be part of His Kingdom plan for the future.

Please continue to pray for God’s peace and comfort that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:4-7) for Nabeel Qureshi’s family at this time of great earthly loss, and celebrate the great rejoicing in Heaven as he is welcomed home. In God’s will and Jesus’ Name always we pray, Amen.

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You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

1 Peter 3:15

2 Responses to Defending Your Faith 101: The importance of understanding modern times as a Christian

  1. Very good. I remember evolution teaching having an effect on the young me with my first thought church lied to me just wants money. In 9th grade about 1982 I had to write a paper for both English and Civics class so I took on early man. The more I researched the more holes and gaps I found. Made a great paper but by 10th grade I was hanging out with Catholic youth group and that was equally confusing. About 39 I decided to try church again Bayside that was for people who don’t like church. I have them to thank for putting me back on the right road with Jesus. I then went back to school at a catholic university and took classes on history of the Bible and religion. I found the more science I took the more I saw God. I see so much more confusion now and attacks from both right and left over who’s right using discrimination conveniently. We need a channel that runs non stop apologetics. Our church will put on a conference every 18 mos or so on apologetics it’s not enough. We have to arm ourselves so I am grateful for what I do find like this blog. I wish I felt capable enough to do one too.

    • Thank you for sharing your journey. It validates that this is a real problem and you are right, we need non-stop Christian apologetics to help people wade through the secular culture.
      You can do a blog too! You don’t need to be an expert (that will come the more you post). Start with reviewing material from other Christian Apologists and write your own thoughts like you just did. The more you review, summarize, and comment on other Christian Apologists’ work the more capable you will begin to feel. Prayer, Bible Study and a focus on Jesus, and bringing others to Him, as the end goal for your work will keep you grounded.
      When you start your own blog send it to me and I will repost it on social media for you as J. Warner Wallace, and others, have done for me! We are on God’s Team and we all need to be in the game – for the Kingdom!

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