In our Postmodern era, many young people have become uncertain about virtually everything. When we do Christian Apologetics, there is often a prior step we need to take before we can convince someone to believe the Bible. Before they can believe the Bible, they must believe that truth exists and that it is knowable.
If you don’t believe that objective truth exists, and that you can know it with at least some level of certainty, you will be skeptical of any and all truth claims, including Biblical ones.
The Bible does not try to prove the existence of God. It simply presupposes it. The existence of God is not dependent upon our belief. God either exists, or He does not. You can neither prove, nor disprove the existence of God.
Whether or not we believe in God depends upon our response to the evidence we have been given. Romans 1 tells us that God has given us ALL the information we need to believe that God exists from the created universe (General Revelation).
So why then do people reject the idea of God? The problem is NOT that they don’t have enough evidence, the problem is that their hearts are hard and they do not want to submit to God’s rule and authority in their lives. This is the main problem with the skeptic. He is not unconvinced primarily because of his mind, but rather his will is in rebellion.
Moving someone from the position of Hard Atheist, to Strong Agnostic is useful because it essentially removes an element of stubbornness, and puts the conversation on a more humble footing, where it belongs. The decision to accept the existence of God is not based on Omniscient knowledge, but rather on reasonable certainty, based on the evidence God has provided.
After the Protestant Reformation, a new ethos pervaded the Western world. Christianity began to infiltrate every aspect of culture, from the Arts to Literature, from Philosophy to Science. But then French enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire, Rousseau and Decartes began to assert that we could know truth and reality apart from revelation; we could be good without God.
When Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, rationalists and empiricists began to win over the masses by claiming scientific support to their atheistic dogmas. 1859 was, in my view, the beginning of the Modernist era.
The Modern Industrial Revolution of the early 20th century typified the new cultural modus operandi. The new methods of industry were mechanical, predictable, mass-produced, calculated, and mathematical. The church is usually about twenty years behind the world in terms of allowing cultural trends to infiltrate her ranks. In time, however, Modernist tactics were seen in churches’ organizational structures and even in the evangelism approach of Billy Sunday and other Christian leaders.
Around the 1950s the seeds of Postmodernism began to grow. By the 1960s, America was witnessing a full-scale cultural revolution. In contrast to Modernism, its sociological step-child, Postmodernism is decentralized, relativistic, experiential, pluralistic and in many ways irrational. Again, it took 20 years, but soon enough Postmodernism found a foothold in many churches.
Today we find ourselves in a near civil war within the church. Postmodern Emergents are on one side facing off against died-in-the-wool traditional, institutional Fundamentalists on the other. The questions range from doctrine to style, with cultural presuppositions under-girding many of the arguments on both sides.
Culturally, I believe that September 11, 2001 has provided a sociological turning point into a new era. It has ushered in, in my opinion, the beginning of post-Postmodernism.
When a civilization is embodied by relativism and hedonism, history tells us that it falls apart from within. Despair first entered Philosophy, then the Arts, then General Culture and finally, the Church. (See: The God Who Is There, by Francis Schaeffer.) Dr. Schaeffer told us that the church is the final hold out in a culture against nihilism and despair. There are only two things that can keep a nation from sliding into the abyss of pleasure:
1. The gospel of Jesus Christ as preached by the true confessing church. The gospel exerts its restraining influence by means of he Holy Spirit working in someone’s heart to convict him of sin and empower him to live righteously. (i.e. Self-Government)
2. The arm of a totalitarian state. Totalitarianism can assault us from within or without. Neither one is very desirable.
Postmodernism is seen, in part, in the ordination of homosexuals in the liberal mainline churches, the embracing of higher criticism and skepticism of the Biblical texts, and the utilization of pop culture advertising techniques in reaching the masses.
While the church is waging internal wars about power-point choruses versus hymnbooks, praise bands versus organs, formal attire versus casual, our Postmodern nation is on the verge of losing the ability to maintain its foundational institutions. Wimps can’t govern themselves. God told Jonah that Ninevah was on the verge of being destroyed. “You’ve been concerned about this vine [something that made Jonah comfortable]…but Ninevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left…should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)
We face the threat of Islamo-Fascist attacks on hand and Femi-nazi dictatorship on the other, and yet we are so busy with our personal “vines” that I think we’re missing the big picture. It reminds me of the musicians on the Titanic playing ragtime as the ship sank. Perhaps it’s time to change the tune to “Nearer My God To Thee.”
We can be part of the solution by believing, living and proclaiming the unchanging truth of the gospel. As Schaeffer said in his excellent book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, “There must be confrontation: Loving confrontation, but confrontation nonetheless.”
The issue isn’t whether Modern or Postmodern church is better. They’re both bad. Neither culture from which they sprung was based on Biblical ideologies. The issue is Truth. Truth isn’t a Modern invention. Absolute truth is only found in Jesus Christ, who said, “I AM the Truth.” (John 14:6)
The bottom line is this. Yes, we need to be concerned about secular cultural influence within the church, whether Modern or Postmodern. But we also need to be concerned about the fact that the church finds herself within a broader cultural context that is self-destructing at an alarming rate. If the church can’t get her act together and faithfully proclaim the Truth to a waiting world, we will find ourselves in a depressed cultural ghetto much like the weakened churches of Eastern Europe in the last century.
It is hard for me to be objective in declaring who won the debate because Turek’s ideas make so much more sense to me than Hitchens. However, I have to say that while Hitchens dodged many of Turek’s very direct questions, even in his avoidance he appears to be brilliant and clever. Even when you disagree with Hitchens, you can’t help but like his sarcastic (almost apathetic) wit and pithy humor. (Personally, I think even if Hitchens was a complete idiot –which he certainly was not!– he would still SOUND smart with that phenomenal and perfectly accentuated British voice!)
In this debate you will hear Turek trying to nail Hitchens to the wall on Intelligent Design, Morality, and other evidence for Theism. You will also hear Hitchens largely ignoring those arguments and giving compelling reasons why he doesn’t like God, the notion of God, Religion, Christians, Imposed Morality and more.
This is a worthy debate between worthy opponents, and I hope you find it to be instructive and benefitial.
The Independent Christian Film genre has grown exponentially over the past 8 years or so. The vast majority of these new independent films have been produced by young, homeschooled graduates (and their families). Creed of Gold is a fine example of the expanding nature of these films.
This is an action, adventure film that takes on a James Bond style storyline, while still pointing the viewer towards a Christian worldview. What I like about the film is its ambition in tackling a rather controversial topic (the Federal Reserve), its ability to keep the story moving and the well-executed humor that punctuates the action and drama. This film points the viewer back to the necessity for moral absolutes, and reveals the danger inherent in losing those fixed reference points.
With all independent films, you need to judge them within their genre, not up against epic movies with budgets in the 9 digits. In that respect, Creed of Gold is a quality film that exhibits some ground-breaking elements, pushing the limits of what is commonly attempted by most independent Christian filmmakers.
If there is a down-side to the film it would be the elaborate back-story. I’ve seen the film three times now, which is rare as I usually never watch a movie twice. This is a compliment in that the film is compressed enough that there is something new to be gained from additional viewings, but I still don’t understand the entire back-story. It is largely told (in conversations), not shown (a no-no in film-making), and it was too in-depth for me to catch it all. I think Creed of Gold needs to be released as a novel for those who really want to enjoy the intricate historical plot that underlies this story. So with that said, even if you couldn’t explain to someone about the back story, the movie really doesn’t hinge on it in many ways. You can fairly easily follow the modern-day plot and all you really need to know is that the modern-day bad guys are somehow inextricably linked to the bad-guys of yesteryear. Problem solved, now you just need to enjoy the film! Here is a description of the film from the producers (to help you with my dilemma!):
A secret group that financed the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 did not break any laws but was what they did ethically right? The film follows three college students as they investigate this shadowy secret group of individuals who influence national economies for personal advantage. For centuries, this group has manipulated finances around the world and is now using the Federal Reserve to undermine the U.S. economic situation. Everything they do is essentially legal and undetectable.
When, unbeknownst to the others, one man gets greedy and creates a computer program in the Federal Reserve accounting program to siphon money into his own pocket, the race is on. Can our heroic band put together a compelling case strong enough and fast enough to reveal corruption at the Federal Reserve and ultimately the truth about the Bolshevik revolution before their trail of evidence is destroyed and they are eliminated?
As an immigrant from Russia, Adam relates the ideas that led to the Bolshevik revolution to modern America. Cody, as Adam’s brilliant but humorous side-kick, helps bring the message of the film home by sometimes just stating the obvious. And Kirsten allows us to empathize with the trio as we follow her personal journey from high-society to heartfelt faith.
Creed of Gold… Who Controls the Wealth of Nations?
Some young children may be disturbed by the mild violence in the film (different families have vastly different standards on these issues), but overall, this is a good, clean, fun film for the family that parents and older children (12 & up), will really enjoy. If you like independent Christian films, this is one you will want to add to your collection.
For more information on the film, visit: http://creedofgold.com
Israel Wayne (who wrote this review) is an Author and Conference Speaker who serves the Lord at Wisdom’s Gate Ministries.