Why is Intellectual and Cultural Growth Really a Christian Thing?

Having evaluated Christianity for its internal consistency and existential viability, let us turn to evaluate its intellectual and cultural fecundity.  In other words, does it produce an abundance of growth and help humanity to flourish intellectually and culturally.  Indeed, it has been the Christian faith that led the way in scientific discovery; because, Christians believe that God is a God who reveals Himself to humanity through nature, rigorous study, and through personal enlightenment. Princeton, Yale and Harvard were originally founded as Christian Universities; although, their founders would be appalled from how they have changed.  “While some have pitted faith against reason, the Bible does not endorse blind leaps of faith in the dark but rather speaks of the knowledge of God gained through various rational means. Instead of a leap of faith, it commends a well-informed and volitional step of faith”[1]

A careful review of history reveals that the Christians led the way in scientific and industrial exploration. Although, there may have been a time period in which the Catholic Church tried to restrict the knowledge as a means of “power control”; it was Christians such as Galileo “who discerned no discord between the Bible and natural science.”[2]  Instead of Christians hiding under a cloak of ignorance, we are taught to study and defend the faith intellectually.  Christ, himself; through the knowledge of Old Testament Scripture stood firm against Satan when tempted.  Additionally, His discourse with the Pharisees and Sadducee of His day were carried out intellectually.  He set the example for all of us to follow.

Flourishing Cultural Growth

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Why Christianity? A Critical Worldview Analysis

Critical Analysis of Christianity as a Worldview

How does Christianity stand as a Worldview when placed under the microscope of Internal Consistency, Existential Viability, as well as, Intellectual and Cultural Fecundity? Since these were the criteria under which we examined the Secular Humanists, I believe it only fair to evaluate Christianity by these same three.  Today we will look at the first two.

Internal Consistency

Christianity presents a never changing, omnipotent God as creator and sustainer of the Universe.  The story presented throughout the scripture is unchanging and consistent from Genesis to Revelation; despite it being written over thousands of years by many writers.  The story has not changed.  God has remained constant.  God created mankind with free will, man chooses evil, God’s grace redeems those who choose His gift.  He consistently continues to reveal Himself.

In the Old Testament, He revealed Himself through nature, special revelations and the prophets in the Old Testament. God revealed things before they happened through His prophets with perfect accuracy.  He forewarned the people; before judgment would befall them, and always provided them a means to escape the impending trials.  If only, they would turn from their sin and seek Him; He would provide a way of salvation.  Even when they utterly failed; God remained faithful to His covenant and would draw them back to Himself.

TRUTH

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Can Life Really Have Meaning and Purpose Without God?

As a worldview Secular Humanism lacks internal consistency as already demonstrated in the last post.  Furthermore, it lacks philosophical existential viability.  Existential has to do with existing.   Philosophical existential viability has to do the innermost workings of human desires and how they enter act with the world around us.  For existence to be viable within a society; existing must also provide meaning and purpose.  Therein lies the problem.  Why does mankind even exist?  What could possibly be the purpose of life itself?

The secular humanist believes that there is only the here and now and we must reach for our highest joy and fulfillment, now.  However, for many that thought is considered unlivable. Erich Fromm, a humanist himself was “sympathetic to religion. If every society, he thought, needs what he called a ‘framework of orientation’ or ‘object of devotion’ the consequences, when traditional objects of devotion are withdrawn or disappear, can be disastrous – leading to such aberrations in the twentieth century as Nazism and Stalinism. He described this condition in a figurative way as a form of ‘necrophilia’”[1]

Although, secular humanists believe that we can all reach a state of joy, self-actualization, and fulfillment in this life; they have yet to find a means to that end for more than only a few.  Many of their own leaders found that to be the case.  Maslow died, having never found his own self-actualization.  Nietzsche lived his final years in an insane asylum.  Jean Paul Sartre “denounced atheism on his deathbed as philosophically unlivable.” [2]

Philosophical Existential Viability

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Why Secular Humanism Really Fails as a Worldview?

For any worldview to stand as true, there are basic criteria it must meet.  Yet, despite its proclamations of being based on scientific evidence; Secular Humanism continued to expand, grow and engulf much of modern thought without any of those foundations. To begin with, they laid forth in Humanist Manifest I what is considered an open door to radical ad hoc readjustment.  That is, if any part fails; they could just rewrite that portion and still claim the rest as true, despite its inconsistencies.  The first two sentences were just that, “The Manifesto is a product of many minds.  It was designed to represent a developing point of view, not a new creed.”  Despite this statement, they held fast to most of their developing point of view as though it were written in stone as truth.

Untested, the ideas were no more than the developing thought of some men.  Perhaps like a social theory, they again held fast to “man is what he makes himself to be.”  While they could find no basis for mankind being innately good, desiring to be truthful, loving and kind: that remained a part of their mantra.  How did evolution bring about the ideas of right and wrong?  Who decides what is good or evil, if there is nothing outside of nature to establish it?  Jean Paul Sartre said as much.  Although himself an atheist, he said in “existentialism is a humanism”; “Existentialists on the other hand find it extremely disturbing that God no longer exists…there could no longer be any a priori good, since there would be no infinite and perfect consciousness to conceive of it.”[1]

AS A WORLDVIEW, WHERE ELSE DOES SECULAR HUMANISM FAIL?

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When the Social Experiments All Failed, Then What?

Throughout the twentieth century,  the secular humanist movement grew, bombarding humanity with their ideology.  Abraham Maslow laid out the hierarchy of needs for every man and woman to reach full self-actualization; although, he believed only a few achieve such a goal. Yet, he laid forth a foundation or goal that we might structure society in a manner to raise a new and better society.  There were many other psychologists and philosophers at the same time, such as Jean Paul Sartre, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, and Karl Marx.  All believed that man, without God; could be capable of being loving, kind, and fully self-actualizing. Without God, the human race would achieve love, hope, joy, and prosperity.  Based on science, experimentation, and reasoning; humanity would flourish into a global Utopian world.  So, what happened? When the social experiments all failed, then what?

Hitler’s atrocious acts against the Jewish people were grounded in scientific “survival of the fittest.”  As David Berlinski wrote in The Devil’s Delusion, “A sinister current of influence ran from Darwin’s Theory to Hitler’s policy of extermination.”[1] Or the fact that Stalin relied heavily on the ideals of Karl Marx, leading the USSR into the future from a group of peasant farmers into the industrial revolution, while killing all who stood in his way.  After all, if there is no God; who, can say anything is wrong?  Did not both Adolf Hitler, along with the German People believe this to be for the good of society?  Or Stalin who believed he was leading the USSR into greatness; where they would flourish? Yet, despite these failures; the secular humanists regrouped to write Manifesto II in 1973.

 

BASED ON SCIENCE OR NOT?

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