The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Man is Man's God

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Now that The Da Vinci Code has had its opening weekend and the Bible is still intact, God is sovereign, and Jesus is Lord and Savior, it’s time to get back to business. The Da Vinci Code is a symptom of a greater problem. Worldviews are seen as vehicles for cultural transformation. Many in the entertainment field, for example, believe that they are the nation’s conscience and the only true guiding light. In an interview with film director and producer Francis Ford Coppola, most noted for The Godfather trilogy, the aggressive nature and comprehensive effects of worldviews are stated unapologetically:

My dream is that the artist class—people who have proven through their work that they are humanists and wish to push for what Aldous Huxley called the desirable human potentialities of intelligence, creativity and friendliness—will seize the instrument of technology and try to take humanity into a period of history in which we can reach for a utopia. Of course, it is possible for the technology to be misused—we could end up with a Big Brother—but we could also have a balanced society, with an artist class leading the culture toward something approximating a happy family or tribe. At the moment, the nation is in a fog, and we’ve got to put our headlights on. Artists—those who rely on their intuition—can be the nation’s headlights.[1]

Coppola believes that an “artist class” is the only group that can establish a consistent and workable worldview. But he goes even further. He wants us to believe that an artist class should be in the position of worldview leadership. Apparently no other group or combination of groups is capable of articulating a worldview without their supposed innate expertise. An artist’s “intuition” is the basic presupposed authority for Coppola. Nearly every discipline maintains the same exclusivity. We could substitute “lawyer class,” “economic class,” “education class,” “science class,” “political class,” or “medical class” for “artist class.”

Christians are often accused of interpreting reality from a religious perspective while non-Christians are being neutral or objective in their evaluation of the facts. This is a myth. “Every human being has faith in something which affects his understanding of everything. . . . The premise that facts may be objectively known, absolutely uninfluenced by the faith of the knower, is simply untrue.”[2] Religion in this case is simply a belief in something as the greatest interpreting principle. Being religious does not necessarily mean believing in a personal god. Atheists are religious since they maintain that god does not exist. Since there is no empirical evidence to prove such an assertion, such a belief is a statement of faith.

The rejection of the God of Christianity brings with it the deification of man. Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919), a German biologist who popularized Darwinism in Central Europe, wrote: “The secret of theology is anthropology. God is man adoring himself. The Trinity is the human family deified.”[3] To state it plainly, “Man is the measure of all things, of things that are as they are, and of things that are not what they are not.[4]

The Christian worldview, therefore, is not just opposed; it is replaced by an equally religious worldview that is man-centered. A refrain that was heard on every side at the beginning of the nineteenth century was “Mankind, reign! This is your age—which is vainly denied by the voice of pious echoes.” Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872), German philosopher and theologian, stated his exclusive man-centered worldview with the motto “Homo homini deus: ‘Man is man’s god.’”[5]

Endnotes:

[1] "A Conversation With Francis Coppola,"U.S. News and World Report (April 5, 1982), 68.
[2] Norman E. Harper, Making Disciples: The Challenge of Christian Education at the End of the 20th Century (Atlanta, GA: American Vision, 1981), 1.
[3] Quoted in H. Daniel-Rops, A Fight for God: 1870–1939, trans. John Warrington (London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd., [1963] 1966), 18–19.
[4] Protagoras of Adera (c. 485–410 B.C).
[5] Quoted in Daniel-Rops, A Fight for God,  18.

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