It would be bad enough if fallacious worldviews stopped merely at theory, but they develop into others areas of covenant and covenant community as well. They affect every area of life, logically, and when followed, practically as well.
We have already seen how the foundations of the humanistic / naturalistic worldview are viciously circular, self-contradictory, and cannot support the claims its proponents make. We have seen further how in the area of knowledge and meaning, this view naturally develops into relativism and nihilism, or meaninglessness. It is left now only to see the further logical and practical outworking into the areas of social change and the future. We will see now how the atheistic, or humanistic, worldview of naturalism means not only relativism and meaninglessness, but also power struggle in both social change and succession. This, in short, means war, and “might makes right.”
Evolution and Jihad
Little scholarship has addressed the prevalence of the idea of “struggle” throughout non-Christian worldviews, yet the phenomenon exists. Heraclitus was one of the earliest of philosophers to speak of the idea of struggle as a creative force in metaphysics, and subsequently in history and ethics. He maintained a wide application of this idea, claiming, “War is the father of all things.” Darwin was a latecomer who only provided an explanation of struggle palatable to “natural philosophers”—that is, Darwin put the abstract notion of struggle into the scientifically acceptable formula of “natural selection.” Nevertheless, natural selection only describes the results of the struggle for existence among the flora and fauna. In the absence of any viable theory of truth, law or accountability, “struggle” (the central mechanism of evolution) must characterize not only the natural development of biology, but every area of life. Interestingly, other non-believing worldviews arrive at a similar view.
The atheistic philosophy of Marxism (communism or socialism) focuses on “class-warfare” and “revolution” as the engines of social change. In other words, the non-rich stand in perpetual envy and antagonism to the rich (thus as the incarnation and legitimization of envy). If the non-rich dislike their working conditions, pay, etc., they may rise in violent overthrow of person and property until they achieve what they want. This of course, does not solve the problem ultimately, but only shifts the categories of who is rich and not. Another revolution awaits in the near decades, guaranteed. Likewise, at the heart of Islam rests the doctrine of Jihad. While most people today understand this to mean “holy war,” the word more generally means “struggle.” It certainly applies to the perpetual holy war between Muslims and “infidels,” but it also describes all of life for the Muslim: the individual personal “struggle in the way of Allah,” as well as the collective advance of Islam throughout the world. Nevertheless, jihad is a “divine institution of warfare to extend Islam into the Dar alharb (the non-Islamic territories which are described as the ‘abode of struggle,’ or of disbelief) or to defend Islam from danger.”1 However you define it, “struggle” characterizes every facet of the Islamic worldview. We could add more, but the point should stand clear: apart from a Christian philosophy of Creation, Providence, law, and personal conversion, renewal, and reformation, human thinking must logically legitimize some form of conflict. More sophisticated autonomous thought will create more complex ideas such as biological evolution through natural selection, or even Marxist economics, but the base idea will remain the same: success depends on the ability to prevail in struggle. In other words, every man does that which is right in his own eyes, forcefully.
Superman and Other Futurist Fictions
Despite the preceding consequences of the fallacy of naturalism (actually, of all autonomous thinking), those who hold the view still believe in future progress. Despite the chaos, relativism, meaninglessness, lawlessness, and inevitable conflict inherent in their view, they still believe that evolution (as opposed to devolution) occurs and will eventually self-erect a glorious future on top of the rubble of demolished decades. Whatever scenarios arise, the central hope of the autonomous thinker usually appears as the anticipated advent of a highly-evolved man.
The quest for the perfection of man obsesses the pagan mind of almost all worldviews. Mystery religions and Gnosticism, for example, revolve around the idea of gaining secret knowledge and enlightenment, but in each case these are merely means to an end—the end of becoming divine. Their ultimate goal is to compile the knowledge necessary to transcend the material universe into some form or status of divinity. This quest is inherent in the heart of fallen man:
How you have fallen from heaven,
O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!
But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God . . . I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
This belief has manifested in various forms throughout history, and naturalists have no special immunity.
The German philosopher of nihilism, Friedrich Nietzsche, has famously expounded his philosophy of the “superman.” He believed that if man only followed his natural lust for power and denied the oppressive forces of Christian morality, an ensuing social struggle would lead to the triumph of a higher man. The highest aspiration of man, for Nietzsche, is to evolve such a superman—man at his pinnacle, transcending all of his own personal follies and those of all previous races.
Modern thinkers, especially those pursuing the dream of artificial intelligence (including many philosophical “neuroscientists”), have a very similar goal in hoping to fuse the productive capacities of computer chips with the human brain, or to create a computer that subsumes all that human brains can do and much more, thereby creating something of a super-human thinking machine. These thinkers have waged a fierce debate over the belief that they can successfully duplicate the human brain using computers. In short, is the human brain nothing but a powerful computer? . . . They believe so, and fully intend to create artificial intelligence that surpasses the human being.
Yet, logically the quest of humanistic thought (in all of its forms) to find the perfect man must always end in despair. The very fact that such “higher man” philosophies and religions exist shows that the humanists themselves know that man in his current condition needs a change. The American journalist H. L. Mencken, himself a fan of Nietzsche, had no illusion in this regard:
Man, at his best, remains a sort of one-lunged animal, never completely rounded and perfect, as a cockroach, say, is perfect. If he shows one valuable quality, it is almost unheard of for him to show any other. Give him a head, and he lacks a heart. Give him a heart of a gallon capacity, and his head holds scarcely a pint. The artist, nine times out of ten, is a dead-beat and given to the debauching of virgins, so-called. The patriot is a bigot, and, more often than not, a bounder and a poltroon. The man of physical bravery is often on a level, intellectually, with a Baptist clergyman. The intellectual giant has bad kidneys and cannot thread a needle. In all my years of search in this world, from the Golden Gate in the West to the Vistula in the East, and from the Orkney Islands in the North to the Spanish Main in the South, I have never met a thoroughly moral man who was honorable.2
Little has changed since Mencken wrote this in 1923—save, perhaps, a little more education on the part of Baptist clergymen—because human nature has not changed. We encounter no new material (physical or intellectual) despite Nietzsche’s prediction of a higher man. We have faced plenty of war and bloodshed since cultures began more widely to adopt his ideals, but we have experienced no progress in the nature of man.
Nietzsche’s attempt at creating a “higher man” provided following generations with plenty of intellectual ammunition with which to assault Christian liberty. Worse yet, under the plan of elevating man to a status where he could truly enjoy life, Nietzsche set in motion the wheels of the war machines of human avarice. He, in a sense, saw this coming. He knew that the overthrow of traditional values, which he saw as lies (curious that someone who denies moral absolutes would worry about lies), would mean the end of human peace. (Again, humanism requires war and struggle to advance.) He writes,
For when truth enters into a fight with the lies of millennia, we shall have upheavals, a convulsion of earthquakes, a moving of mountains and valleys, the like of which has never been dreamed of. The concept of politics will have merged entirely with a war of spirits; all power structures of the old society will have been exploded—all of them are based on lies: there will be wars the like of which have never yet been seen on earth.3
This publication first appeared in 1908; the astute observer will note that history has proven Nietzsche correct in this regard. While some have seen this comment as only metaphorical, Nietzsche elsewhere makes it clear that he means literal war as well:
We owe it to Napoleon . . . that we now confront a succession of a few warlike centuries that have no parallel in history; in short, that we have entered the classical age of war, of scientific and at the same time popular war on the largest scale.4
I am glad about the military development of Europe; also of the internal states of anarchy. . . . The barbarian in each of us is affirmed; also the wild beast. . . . [This is an] age of tremendous wars, upheavals, explosions. . . . where masses of barbarians are crossed with a lack of all restraint for whatever has been. . . . I am not afraid of predicting a few things and thus, possibly, of conjuring up the cause of wars.5
The wars—both literal and intellectual—have indeed been disastrous on many fronts. This inevitably results when man—collective man, governmental man, tyrannous man, machine-gun, tank, helicopter, nuclear missile-armed man, guerilla and terror-wielding man—rejects a higher, divine law, and sets his own law and agenda.6
Can we expect anything more than a bleak future under such circumstances, should we consistently follow such a philosophy? And yet, these emerge as the logical conclusions of human thought when suppressing the knowledge of his Creator. When man attempts to determine reality for himself, he must ultimately rest on some arbitrary assumption. Whether he settles on naturalism, as I have described it, does not necessarily matter, for all worldviews that have their origin in autonomous human thinking must stumble at the same logical hurdles and suffer the same logical deaths. Man-dependent thinking immediately traps the thinker in his subjective experience and destroys knowledge and communication. Relativism in truth results in and leads to nihilism in values, morals, and meaning. In a valueless and meaningless world, the only method of social change and progress becomes struggle. This can take one of many forms—from personal struggle, to class warfare, to holy warfare, to total warfare. Despite such a crude method, humanists entertain beliefs about progress and evolution, always endeavoring to improve mankind. Yet the carnal nature of the worldview fallacy and its attendant doctrine of struggle always exposes the ethical failures of the worldview: it cannot improve man, it can only set him against himself or other men in violent conflict.
All of this results from simply adopting one false assumption about reality. You can see that little logical fallacies, especially Worldview Fallacies, have big consequences. In fact, Worldview Fallacies by their very nature spread into every area of life because they infect the most fundamental beliefs about God, man, law, society, and history. A little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). A single carefully constructed false witness, when taught and accepted, can send an entire generation into an intellectual jihad against its Creator.
This series is taken from the author’s Biblical Logic: In Theory and Practice.
- Quoted in David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times, 2nd Ed. (Manitou Springs, CO: Summit Press, 2006), 397.(↩)
- “The Good Man,” in A Mencken Chrestomathy, ed. H. L. Mencken (New York: Vintage Books,  1982), 19.(↩)
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, “Why I am a Destiny,” 1, tr. Walter Kaufmann. In On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, ed. Walter Kauffman (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), 327.(↩)
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs, Section 362, trans. Walter Kaufman (New York: Vintage Books,  1974), 318.(↩)
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, Sec. 127, 130, trans. Walter Kaufman and R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Vintage Books, [1883–1888] 1968), 78–80.(↩)
- For more on Nietzsche and his idea of a superman in contrast to the true perfect man, Christ, see Joel McDurmon, Manifested in the Flesh: How the Historical Evidence for Jesus Refutes Modern Mystics and Skeptics (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2007), 116–120, 128–131.(↩)