Some years ago, I read a great article dealing with “worldviews.” I had not heard the term before. Since then I have studied it with great interest. My Alma mater, North Greenville University, now has a “Christian Worldview Center.” The article below presents three dominant worldviews in America today. Another threatening and sinister world view has emerged in America since September 11, 2001 and is a growing threat to the United States. We will discuss that later, but study the article below and see if you can identify your world view. Today, this treatise is over two decades old, but is is a fresh as today’s newspapers.
Are We Going FULL SPEED BACKWARD to PAGANISM?
Adapted from a leaflet by Lottie Beth Hobbs (Copyright, 1987. Used with permission)
Where Are We Going?
Go, go, go! Today’s frenzied society tends to revere speed and motion. Without a doubt, people are on the go – philosophically as well as physically – but activity is not necessarily accomplishment; and direction is far more important than speed. All speed is NOT progress. The motorcyclist traveling full speed toward the edge of the Grand Canyon must change direction, or he will “progress” himself to sure destruction.
All change is NOT progress. A loving, caring, sober father who becomes a negligent and abusive drunkard has surely changed! But is this progress? Of course not! Yet, an IDOL called “CHANGE” has been hoisted by philosophers who teach: “all change is progress.” Desiring to be “progressive,” with the “in” crowd, many bow before this IDOL – a false and impotent IDOL! Yes, there is much change. But is it progress?
In what direction are we going? Are we going full speed backward to paganism?
What Is Paganism?
In his book, How to Think About God: A Guide for the 20th Century Pagan, Mortimer J. Adler says: “The dictionary meaning of the word ‘pagan’ identifies a large section of the population – all those who do not worship the God of the Christians, the Jews or the Muslims.” How many share this view of Adler, influential educator, born in 1902 to Jewish parents? On some college campuses bumper stickers: “Pagan and Proud,” “I’m a Born-Again Pagan” can be seen.
WHAT IS YOUR WORLDVIEW? Each responsible person surely has one. What do you believe about: “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” “Who directs my life?” “Where am I going?” Your answers to these questions constitute your WORLDVIEW. Nothing is more personal and important. Many may ask, “Why is that?”
What Difference Does It Make?
It makes an inescapable difference! One’s belief about these fundamental questions directly determines his or her behavior. Belief and behavior form the whole of life – here and hereafter. To analyze today’s moral jungle, we must examine the root (worldview) from which it grew. Yet, this obvious connection is usually ignored altogether. This article deals with three worldviews (summarized on this chart). Variations exist within each group, but we should learn basic concepts, differences, and the truth on each point.
A Look Backward
Our nation was founded on the Christian worldview.1 The phrase “All men are created equal … ” affirms a Creator and the created. History’s greatest governmental blessings resulted: economic, religious, and personal freedom! This was truly unique on the world scene. Yet, many call this the “post-Christian era.” Is this true? If so, what happened?
The Spread of Naturalism
Naturalism is the belief that all things were formed by gradual processes of nature, and rejects supernaturalism (God/Christ/Bible). Whether it is called Atheism, humanism, or existentialism. The name is not the issue. To quibble over whether a person is a humanist is unnecessary. This merely diverts the focus. Simply ask: is naturalism his worldview? Naturalists such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Voltaire, Darwin, and Freud had tremendous influence on the social/ moral/spiritual structure of their time, and even until now.
REMEMBER: It is not possible to strip away one’s belief in a Creator without altering his personality, behavior, and the entire thrust of his life. Yet – While most Americans were trustingly unaware, our major institutions (schools, churches, homes, and government) have been thoroughly permeated by naturalism.
Atheistic teachings first spread through Europe, disguised appealingly as “age of enlightenment” and “age of reason.” A major U.S. importer of this “enlightenment” was John Dewey (1859-1952), atheist educator and author of Humanist Manifesto I (1933), which endorses socialism and evolution, denying the Creator and immortality … 2
Understanding that Americans’ worldview could best be changed through children, Dewey injected his atheistic socialism (euphemistically called “humanism” and “progressive education”) into leading teachers’ colleges – with phenomenal success! Like a plague, naturalism swept through major institutions of learning. Remember: teachers influence those they teach. This is their goal, their life’s work. Prominent educators influenced millions with their new naturalistic theories – such as:
- B. F. Skinner, the “father of behaviorist psychology,” and a signer of Humanist Manifesto II. 2
- Carl Rogers’ “client-centered” psychotherapy (therapist listens while patient “finds answers within self’) and “student-centered” education (students “find answers within self”).
- Sidney Simon popularized Values Clarification. 3
- Joseph Fletcher (signer of Humanist Manifesto II) 2 promoted Situation Ethics in churches as well as universities.
- Mortimer J. Adler and Robert M. Hutchins (long at Chicago University) edited the revised Encyclopedia Britannica and developed the Great Books Program. 4
- Adler co-founded Aspen institute of Humanistic Studies, and now promotes his Paideia Proposal: An Educational Manifesto in schools. 5
- Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) though an atheist, ascribed to man a transcendency enabling “self actualization” and “peak experiences.” His anti-Christian naturalism developed into a pseudo-spiritual, transpersonal psychology – “bridging” Humanism and New Age thinking.
Basic principles we must consider include:
Who Am I?
This is the first fundamental question. Am I “just a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:6-9)? Or, am I just a little higher than the apes? Rejection of God led to an alternate explanation, the evolution theory: that we are only an overgrown amoeba, an accident of nature, and a two-legged animal on our way to a dusty grave and oblivion. Yet, the evolution theory permeates society, fostering confusion, destroying faith and morals. Students recite in one class that “All men are created…” while in another class, creation is ridiculed.
The theory of evolution destroys the sacredness of human life. So nobody should be shocked at the escalation of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and suicide. If we are only animals, these acts are no more objectionable than stepping on an unwanted bug! Is this not a blatant retrogression to paganism? Who can deny it?
The second fundamental question in determining your worldview is “How shall we live?” Who tells us what to do? Will it be God or man? All who reject the Creator/Guide must turn to human beings for direction: either self or others. Then one person’s idea is as valid as another person’s. From this logic grew Moral Relativism, Situation Ethics, and Values Clarification: no absolute right/wrong (black/white) but gray areas from which to choose.
Yes today we have “Cafeteria Morality!” Simply go down the line and pick what appeals to you! “Do your own thing.” “Your parents have no right to impose their values on you.” “The church is an out-dated relic.” “If you embrace the values of parents/church, you are not thinking for yourself.” Do any of these catch phrases sound familiar? These anti-christian ideas abound! Nobody should be surprised that many have concluded: “Then there’s nothing wrong with ‘alternate lifestyles,’ lying, stealing, violence, murder, promiscuity, pornography, or anything else!” Yet, in forums to analyze moral social problems, this simple basic cause and effect is NEVER, NEVER mentioned!
Unbelief in the Churches
The principles of Christianity, listed in column I (see chart at the end of the article), were once embraced by virtually all who claimed Christianity. However, naturalism invaded theological seminaries, clothed attractively as “modernism.” Supernatural references were simply “naturalized.” Analyze Columns II and III in the chart. Mark the teachings you see that are now infused into churches. This most effectively dilutes the strength of Christianity. Theistic evolution (that God used evolution) took root. However, think about these things: (1) the words “create” and “evolve” are contradictory and mutually exclusive. Both cannot be true. (2) If the Bible is wrong about man’s origin, who can believe it about man’s destiny, or anything else? This logic destroys the faith of many and nobody should be surprised by it!
Please examine all your church’s literature. Is the authority placed in God or man? In other words, are students asked: “What does God want you to do in this situation?” Or, is the emphasis this: “What do you think?” “How do you feel about ___?” or “What would you do if ____?”
These type questions are borrowed from the anti-Christian idea: “The answer is within you.” The Bible teaches, however, that the problem, and not the answer, is within us. The answers are found in God’s Word. So the questions to ask should be: “What should we think? feel? or do?” in regard to what the Bible teaches.
Since low self-esteem is a major problem, humanistic psychologists developed their “gospel of self-esteem” based on “this-world-only” philosophy. It is the foundation of the “Human Potential Movement” with its Encounter Groups and plethora of “Self-help” books. Yet, sadly, some Christian leaders give more emphasis and credence to Human Potential anti-Christian writings than to the Word of God! 6
TO BUILD SELF-ESTEEM, teach from the cradle that a loving Creator provides a blueprint for successful living, answers to our problems, that He knows us by name and is interested in everything we do. No anti-God psychologist can improve on this formula.
What Is the New Age Movement?
Several decades of humanistic “man-on-his-own” philosophy, trying to live without God, has produced emptiness, a spiritual/emotional vacuum, loneliness, hopelessness. The “watered-down gospel” of modernism, naturally, fails to fill the vacuum. Hearts cry out for something more sure and meaningful! However, rather than returning to God to fill the vacuum, some have sought “other roads to spirituality” they said – turning to psychology, occultism, spiritism, to the gurus of the East (causing an influx of mysticism) to astrology (“What is your sign?” became a conversation-opener) or to drugs (“to find myself”).
Led by adults, some young people of the 1960′s rebelled against “the establishment,” becoming the counter-culture: the “guru followers,” the “flower children.” What happened to them? They didn’t just “go away.” They “went in” – into the establishment: business, government, entertainment, health professions, journalism, education, and religion injecting many of their once-maligned anti-Christian ideas.
Humanism and New Age-ism are not strangers but relatives – sharing some bonds, rejecting others. Both are rooted in denial of God, Christ and the Bible. Both exalt change and evolution. Interlocking of the two is logical. Humanists reject supernaturalism, but easily accept the “divine within” since humanity has always been their “god.” New Age-ism or Cosmic Humanism teaches spiritual evolution and a spiritual dimension, which is actually counterfeit Christianity, as they speak of “God,” “Christ,” “spiritual fulfillment.” Ask always: “What do you mean by these terms?”
WHAT ARE NEW AGE GOALS? PERSONAL POWER and a GLOBAL UTOPIA – goals to replace the Western world-view, including Christianity, with a “new planetary consciousness.” The book Networking lists 1526 organizations sharing this resolve to “build Another America.” 7
“I Am God”
New Age-ism embraces supernaturalism, but ascribes it to the creature, NOT the Creator (as in Romans 1:22-24). This is Eastern mysticism: that all things, including man, constitute God, the ONE – called Universal Mind, The Source, Universal Self, Cosmic Consciousness, Universal Presence, or The Force 8 – your Inner Voice, Higher Self, or Intuition. Be alert to the language, and “Be not deceived!” New Agers do not mean God or Christ of the Bible. They flaunt the “I am God” concept. It naturally appeals to man’s ego and thirst for power, an appeal as old as the Garden of Eden. Satan promised Eve: “Ye shall be as God.”
Swami Muktananda advises: “Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own being. God dwells within you as You!” 9
Philosopher L. L. Whyte says: “In dropping God, man recovers himself. It is time that God be put in his place, that is, in man, and no nonsense about it.” 10
New Age writer Barbara Marx Hubbard: “At this moment of our planetary birth each person is called upon to recognize that the ‘Messiah is within.’” 11
The Reincarnation Appeal
This pagan Hindu teaching (many lives in succession) is promoted in movies, TV, magazines, books, songs, games (such as Dungeons and Dragons), 12 school courses, and by celebrities such as Shirley MacLaine 13 and John Denver.
The appeal? It offers hope of life after death, while totally destroying all sense of guilt. (If you “blow it,” you simply try again and again, in other lives).
The result? This justifies and encourages immorality and suicide (when life gets tough, one can simply go on to the next one). Murder or euthanasia is merely sending another to his “next plane.” So reincarnation de-values human life – NEVER MENTIONED in conferences on suicide or euthanasia. Belief that all things are sacred (part of “life progression”) forbids killing animals for food – one cause of world poverty and hunger; one rationale for vegetarianism.
Reincarnation is totally anti-Christian, giving false hope and destroying many. God says: “It is appointed to men ONCE to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). 16
The Spiritist Appeal
All who reject the Creator still feel a spiritual thirst, search for meaning, and curiosity about the after-life, becoming easy prey to the promises of spiritists (who teach contact with spirit world). So occultism (that which is hidden or veiled) is mushrooming, as some seek “a spirit guide,” or “altered state of consciousness.” Ideas of occultists Alice Bailey and Madame Blavatsky are popularized by writers such as David Spangler (Revelation), Marilyn Ferguson (The Aquarian Conspiracy), Shirley MacLaine (Dancing in the Light). We MUST KNOW a writer’s world-view before accepting his/her conclusions. For example: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, oft-quoted author of Death and Dying, is a reincarnationist who participated in group séances claiming sex between participants and spirit entities. 14 Influential psychoanalyst Carl Jung would not publicly admit his spiritist involvement in séances, saying: “My colleagues would regard me as mentally unbalanced.” 15
By Westernizing the word “spiritism” to “spiritualism” occultists have sold their wares (even witchcraft) to people desiring to be “more spiritual” or to have “more personal power.”
A tract distributed on college campuses: “A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality” says, in part:
“I am a pagan and I dedicate myself to channeling the Spiritual Energy of my Inner Self to help and to heal myself and others . . . May I always be mindful that I create my own reality . . . May I always be mindful that the Goddess and God in all their forms dwell within me and this divinity is reflected through my own Inner Self, my Pagan Spirit.”
Our nation is experiencing an explosion of Self Growth plans, designed to nurture this Inner Self, this Pagan Spirit – offering spiritual fulfillment/answers to problems WHILE REJECTING the one true CREATOR GOD.
Such Motivational Courses are promoted in businesses, schools, and churches, under a myriad of names: Stress Management, Self-hypnosis, Relaxation Therapy, Meditation, Pre-testing Anxiety, Guided Imagery, Quieting Reflex, Sensitivity Training, Silva Mind Control, Biofeedback (which can be used for altered states of consciousness and psychic experience), organized groups such as Est (now called Forum) Lifespring, Scientology, The Esalen Institute, and John Denver’s Windstar.
NOTHING IS STRONGER THAN ITS FOUNDATION. If you should build a house on the sand, or with a weak or faulty foundation, the house would eventually crumble – no matter how beautiful and expensive may be the stones in the superstructure. Though Humanistic or New Age programs may contain some seemingly “beautiful stones” in the superstructure, the foundation is the premise that the answers are found IN MAN (or from a “spirit guide”) but NOT from our Creator/Guide. So investigate! Always examine the foundation before “buying the house.”
Self-deification and personal power are individual goals. Look at global goals. If heaven is a myth and this world is all there is, the highest hope is utopia on earth. So globalism (one big world living in peace and prosperity) is being pushed in governments, schools, and churches. “Unity” is the sacred word. Not Biblical unity, but: one-world socialism, one world government and law, and one-world religion. Their motto is: “Think globally; act locally.”
SOCIALISM has failed everywhere tried. To advocate it on a global scale is foolish! Disarmament (pushed by the “Peace Movement”) 17 is a planned step forward toward world government. But Stop and think! World government could exist only through force, thereby destroying freedom completely!
Here is a Question to consider in the voting booth: Are our elected officials promoting or opposing New Age-ism (Globalism)?
“Brotherhood through Natural Law” is the door through which they plan to lead us all to world religion. Christians, think! Natural Law existed before Christ. If it could heal the world’s ills, then Christ’s coming was altogether vain and unnecessary! Which is exactly the point that some seek to establish. World religion does not mean that all would believe the same thing – but that ALL RELIGIONS MUST BE ACCEPTED AS EQUALLY VALID. This leaves NO ROOM for the distinctiveness of Christianity.
So, Christians, do not bite the bait of “Natural Law.” It is not possible to accept both it and Christianity.
Healing Our World (HOW) is a tax-exempt organization. Small Core Groups are being formed, and New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard (previously quoted) invites all to join:
“A grassroots movement is erupting spontaneously throughout the world. Events such as Live Aid and Hands Across America have connected millions globally in spirit…. Healing Our World is a new vehicle to link up the many individuals and groups. Experience the joy of discovering yourself In a spiritual family locally and globally…. Fulfill the greatest teachings of our most illuminated beings and become like them In thought, word, and deed.”
These are lofty-sounding words indeed! However, remember: this planned “Spiritual family” leaves absolutely no place for biblical Christianity. New Age leaders know this quite well. So don’t be deceived. Wisdom pleads: “if you don’t agree with their goals, don’t play their ball game! Don’t carry their ball – as any kind of player!”
What Is the Answer?
Let us resolve to reverse this rush backward to Paganism! Since the dictionary defines Paganism as a rejection of “the God of the Christians, Jews, or Muslims,” this includes both Humanism and New Age-ism. So we must be informed.
Don’t be fooled by the language. With enticing “Christianized” labels (Peace, Unity, God, Christ, Inner Peace, Brotherhood, Spirituality) some of this world’s most pagan, anti-God teachings are being sold to honest unsuspecting people. The faulty foundations cannot withstand the inevitable storm (Matthew 7:24-27).
Label-switching changes nothing! To label poison as “candy” doesn’t change the poison’s deadliness. As in ancient times, some now call evil good, and call good evil (Isaiah 5:20). Label switching does not change error to truth, or prevent error’s consequences. Christians who turn to anti-Christians for direction are trading gold for garbage, beauty for ashes! Not a smart trade!
Understand that Humanism and New Age-ism are not NEW or DIFFERENT! Both are retrogressive – tired old bankrupt throw-backs to pre-Christian times when the world languished in sin and darkness – before Christ brought Light and Salvation and Hope to our hearts.
Our moral/social/spiritual foundation – both nationally and individually – must be strengthened by following the Light from our Creator God and His Son. This is the true progress and enlightenment!
Endnotes and Related Resources
To supplement this very brief overview, material available includes:
(1) This fact and many others are being censored out of public education. For documented evidence, we recommend Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks, by psychologist Paul C. Vitz.
(2) Humanist Manifestos I and II.
(3) Values Clarification by Simon, Howe, Kirschenbaum, 79 Strategies used in schools. Values and Faith by Larson and Larson, Values Clarification designed for churches. These two books not recommended for use, but research only.
(4) What About the Junior Great Books? Pamphlet by Hobbs.
(5) Education’s Trojan Horse: The Paideia Proposal, pamphlet by Hanna and Hoover.
(6) On this issue, we strongly recommend Psychological Seduction: The Failure of Modern Psychology, by psychologist William Kirk Kilpatrick ($9.95) and Psychology As Religion: The Cult of Self-worship by psychologist Paul C. Vitz.
(7) Networking by Lipnack and Stamps (Doubleday, N.Y., 1982).
(8) The Force: The New Age “God” – pamphlet by Barbara Hanna.
(9) Quoted in The Cult Explosion, by Dave Hunt (Harvest House, 1980), p. 106.
(10) From The Universe of Experience, by L. L. White (Harper and Row, 1974), p. 6.
(11) From The Evolutionary Journey, by Barbara Marx Hubbard (Evolutionary Press, 1982), p. 157.
(12) Dungeons and Dragons: Only a Game? Pamphlet by Hobbs.
(13) Out on a Broken Limb, by LaGard Smith.
Refutes Shirley MacLaine’s New Age book, Out on a Limb.
(14) The New Age Journal, November 1984, p. 40.
(15) Quoted in Occult Shock and Psychic Forces, by Wilson and Weldon (Masters Books, 1980), p. 379.
(16) The Reincarnation Sensation, by Geisler and Amano. Excellent expose of reincarnation. Response to past-life recall, altered states, Eastern mysticism, and other New Age concepts.
(17) To learn how the “Peace/Disarmament Movement” is pushed in schools, get N.E.A.’s CHOICES: How to Indoctrinate Students in Ten Easy Lessons, by Hanna and Hoover, and the book Educating for Disaster, by Thomas B. Smith.