It is almost unbelievable that Christian beliefs and Christian values are literally under attack in modern society. After all, that is the very foundation of our American heritage. And when I say, “under attack,” I mean Christians are being forced to resign their jobs, having their property vandalized, being taken to court, being kicked off social media, being denied government services, being kicked out of school, and being vilified in the press – all for simply expressing Christian beliefs. Here are just a few recent examples that have made national news headlines:
- Jacob Kersey was forced to resign as a police officer in Port Wentworth, Georgia for expressing his views on gay marriage on his personal social media account ... while he was off duty.
- A monument dedicated to Christian missionaries at Williams College has been defaced with profane and hateful graffiti. Williams College used to be a Christian college. In more recent years it has shed it’s Christian foundation, though its Christian heritage still remains prominent in its buildings and monuments.
- A Massachusetts seventh grader was kicked out of school for wearing a shirt affirming that there are only two genders (even though other students were allowed to wear shirts that expressed other values).
- A Christian woman in Oregon was not allowed to adopt children from foster care because of her Christian faith. The state will not allow individuals to adopt if they are not willing to “respect, accept, and support” the gender identity and gender expression of any child the department might place in their home. The requirement includes the use of a child’s preferred pronouns, taking a child to Pride parades, or even taking a child to receive “gender affirming care” such as drugs and hormone treatments.
- Mainstream media now often refers to people who hold traditional Christian values as Christian nationalists. The term is pejorative and intended to portray mainstream biblical beliefs as right wing extremism.
- Chase Bank canceled the bank account of a Christian human rights nonprofit because of its Christian beliefs. Because of this action by Chase, the National Committee for Religious Freedom has had difficulty getting banking services at other banks. The bank has even refused to tell them why they were canceled. They later, under pressure, said they might be willing to reconsider if the nonprofit submitted a list of their donors. Other Christian groups have also run into this problem as radical activists have pressured banks not to service them.
These are not isolated incidents, and MANY more could be listed. Additionally, these attacks are occurring with increasing frequency. Christianity is, without a doubt, under attack.
So What is Going On?
There are those who are proclaiming that the culture war is heating up. That is true on a superficial level, but at a foundational level, what we have is the heating up of a “worldview war.” A nation’s culture refers only to its customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements. All of these things are temporal expressions. A worldview, on the other hand, relates to the spiritual foundation that the cultural elements are founded upon. Here we are dealing with beliefs and values.
The formal definition of a worldview is: The assumptions people make about the nature of reality. So what is really going on in society is that two conflicting visions of reality, with their beliefs and values, are knocking up against one another – and this is the place where it really gets ugly.
It is actually quite easy to identify the essential beliefs of any given worldview. All you have to do is answer three basic questions:
- What is the nature of ultimate reality?
- What is a human being?
- What is the ultimate a person can get from this life?
Every worldview system in existence answers these three questions in its own unique way, and every one literally contradicts every other one. Their answers form the basis for the beliefs and values that get expressed in the worldview war.
In modern American society, the two worldview systems that are clashing most violently are Christian Theism (the one that is the root of America’s traditional belief foundation) and Naturalism.
Traditional American values are based on biblical worldview beliefs and have dominated American society for most of its history. Here is the way a biblical worldview answers the three basic worldview questions:
- What is the nature of ultimate reality? - The God of the Bible exists as an objectively real person who can be known, and who has revealed Himself and His ways to mankind.
- What is a human being? - Human beings are persons created in the image of God, but fallen.
- What is the ultimate a person can get from this life? - The ultimate a person can gain in this life is to enter into a personal relationship with God based on the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His bodily resurrection from the dead.
Naturalism has a completely different foundation. This worldview is based on the belief that the natural universe, operating by natural laws, is all that exists. The roots of modern Naturalism can be traced back to the Enlightenment period (late 1600s ~ early 1800s). This belief really started to take off, though, in the late 1800s when Darwin wrote what seemed to be a plausible way to understand reality based on Atheism. This worldview subsequently grew increasingly prominent in American society until it reached a tipping point around the 1960s and 70s. Since that time it has come to dominate virtually all of the major institutions of American society. Here is how Naturalism answers the three worldview questions:
- What is the nature of ultimate reality? - The natural universe, operating by natural laws, is all that exists. There is no God or any transcendent reality, thus no possibility of any kind of objective value system.
- What is a human being? - Human beings are naturally evolved animal creatures.
- What is the ultimate a person can get from this life? - The ultimate a person can gain in this life is survival and personal fulfillment. There is nothing else.
How Naturalistic Values Compare to Biblical Values
While it is important to know the essential beliefs of the different worldview systems, what most immediately touches our lives, and society, are the values that emerge from the beliefs. This is where beliefs get expressed in our lives individually and in society at large.
Biblical values have an objective foundation. Since Christians believe in an objectively real God who has revealed Himself and His ways to mankind in the Bible, we find out what they are by reading the Bible. They include such things as honesty, integrity, individual responsibility, love for God and man, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, forgiveness, thankfulness, compassion, justice, peace, humility, traditional marriage, and natural sexuality. All of these values build up humanity and further God’s purposes in the world.
Naturalistic values, on the other hand, are relativistic in nature. According to naturalistic beliefs, there is no objective foundation in existence upon which to derive a value system. As such, it is up to individual humans to make up their own – which must then be validated and adopted by society. And since there is no objective basis for them, they can be changed as society evolves, or as some power source imposes something new. In modern society, the values that are dominant include such things as extreme self-interest, social justice, collectivism, free sex, a right to abortion, gay marriage, and gender fluidity.
Why the Attack on Christian Values?
This, then, begs the question: Why is there such a strong attack on Christian values by Naturalists if relativism is the rule? Why can’t they just live and let live? The reason is that, in spite of the supposed tolerance of a relativistic value foundation, Naturalists hold their beliefs as a rigid religious faith and see Christian values as a competitor. And while the Christian approach to interacting with nonbelievers is to engage and try to win them over by persuasion, the naturalistic tendency is to stamp out opposing views.
How Christians Can Fight Back
The issue of the dominance in modern society of a naturalistic worldview seriously is a problem for Christians. It is putting us in a disadvantageous position in numerous areas. We are being vilified in the press, ousted from jobs and schools, taken to court, having property confiscated, being ridiculed in politics and by the entertainment industry, and even being cancelled on social media and in the business sector.
So, without resorting to the evil practices of those who are attacking us, what are we to do? Well, there is an answer, and the answer is to “BOLDLY BE FAITHFUL.” We must be faithful to God personally, as we live in relationship with Him, be faithful to the truth of the gospel, as we boldly share about salvation in Jesus Christ, and be faithful to the holy lifestyle God has called us to live. We don’t accept lies, don’t live by lies, and push back against the lies with the truth of the gospel.
The evil values of a naturalistic worldview are, indeed, a problem these days for Christians. But, naturalistic values are destructive and God wins in the end. If we stand faithful, God will use our lives to both bring our opponents to Christ and change society.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books entitled The Truth Mirage, Rules for Christians Radicals, Liberalism vs. Conservatism, and his latest book Shattering the Truth Mirage and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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