In Worldviews, Part 1, I gave a brief overview of the results of the Center for Cultural Research’s American Worldview Inventory 2022. The results of that study revealed that only 2% of American parents of preteens hold a Biblical worldview and that most hold a syncretic worldview—bits and pieces from some of the seven common worldviews. Within that study, 67% self-identified as Christian, and within that subgroup, only 4% held a true Biblical worldview. Most commonly, these parents of pre-teens mixed ideas from Eastern Mysticism/New Age, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, and Biblical Theism.
While most people have an idea what New Age thinking (ex., reincarnation, crystal power, Hindu mantras, past-life recall, etc.) and Biblical Theism (the Biblical worldview) are, the term Moralistic Therapeutic Deism is probably new to you. Here are the five core tenets of that belief system:
1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
5. Good people go to heaven when they die.
Sounds good, right? Maybe, but it’s not all Biblical. Yes, THE God of the Bible, not a god, created and ordered everything and watches over us. And true, the Golden Rule says we are to treat our neighbors as we wish to be treated. Certainly good, nice, and fair fall into that. Being good is also central to point #5. But what defines “good?” Under this worldview, good is a relative term defined by your culture, not defined by the absolute moral imperatives of the Bible. When the culture accepts certain sexual behaviors as good because they’re pleasurable, that flies in the face of Biblical teachings that call it sin. “If it feels good, do it” is not found anyplace within the Bible. In today’s culture, what the Bible teaches is considered by most as intolerant and hateful.
What about one’s goal in life? Does the Bible teach that the central goal of life is to be happy and feel good about yourself? No, the Bible teaches that our goal is to honor God and to glorify Him. How? We honor God when we follow His ways and live our lives as He has directed us to. We glorify Him when we credit Him for all that we accomplish (among other ways). We also glorify and honor Him by allowing Him to be part of every aspect of our lives. He wants to be involved in all that we do, not just some “cosmic genie” to be called upon when everything else we try fails.
Do good people go to heaven when they die? According to the Bible, no one—again, no one—is good enough to go to heaven. We are all born as sinners and only through the grace of God will any of us go to heaven. His Grace gave us Jesus, who died on the cross to pay for our sins. Jesus is the only avenue to the kingdom of God. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. So no, lots of “good” people are going to stand before Christ on Judgment Day and discover they’re being cast into the “outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth” . . . for eternity.
BTW, before you argue that Jesus wouldn’t do that because He loves us all, please understand that Jesus discusses and describes “hell” more than any others in the Bible. What? There is no hell? Hmmm, tell Him that. Sadly, lots of people don’t believe there is a hell, but they believe there’s a heaven. That’s like saying there’s good but no bad, or sweet but no sour. In Romans 6:1-2, Paul addresses an idea that became widespread within the early church. Today, we call it antinomianism (the 50-cent word of the day). The belief was that God’s grace covered all our sins, so folks could just keep on sinning, doing as they pleased, and His grace would cover that. In today’s society, replace the word ‘grace’ with ‘love.’ God loves us all. We can do what we want, and we’ll still go to heaven because He loves us. We can follow Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. and all paths lead to heaven . . . because he loves us all. This is NOT what the Bible teaches. Again, Christ alone is the way, the truth, and the life.
So, I’ll ask again . . . where do you stand?
In part 3, coming April 27th, we’ll look at some of the specific topics/questions from the American Worldview Inventory 2022.
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