America’s escape from reason
October 4, 2005
Editor’s note: This is the final installment of a four-part series of columns examining the Bible and the theory of evolution.
“. . . the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ . . .” 2 Cor. 4:4 (NASB)
“Early scientists believed in the uniformity of natural causes. What they did not believe in was the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system. . . . Today there are almost no philosophies in the classical sense of philosophy—there are anti-philosophies.” Francis Schaeffer made these remarks in his book Escape from Reason in which he argues that “modern modern” philosophies have left man irrational and in utter despair.
Evolution and deconstruction, two such anti-philosophies, are primarily responsible for America’s escape from reason. America is now suffering the consequences of these philosophies that have permeated all areas of our culture, be it science, education, judicial, political, religious, moral, ethical, etc.
Evolution is a naturalistic philosophy that asserts:
1. The entire universe, and all that is therein, came into being by natural causes alone (closed system);
2. Man is a material product of natural processes;
3. Morality, ethics, and religion are cultural creations; and
4. Absolutes, including truth, are myths.
In this belief system, the form of matter is naturally determined and such mental things as laws, morals, religions, etc. are but temporary cultural innovations.
Deconstruction is a naturalistic philosophy that asserts primarily one axiom; the author’s original intended meaning cannot be known by the reader. In other words, the only meaning that can be gleaned from what is written is what the writing means to the reader at that moment in time. For example, many Christians believe the author of Genesis intended to describe historic, literal creation and flood events. Today, deconstructionists describe the Genesis text as legend or myth.
The impact of these two philosophies on a society is profound. If adopted, the society is led to the following conclusions:
1. Since there is no higher order of being to whom man is accountable, man is only accountable to himself (autonomous) and to society to a self-determined degree.
2. Since man differs from other material matter in form only, all matter is equally valuable or equally worthless, depending on one’s personal perspective.
3. Recorded historical documents, such as the Constitution, are novel constructs of past societies with no fixed inherent meaning.
Below are a few examples that demonstrate the degree to which these conclusions have invaded our world. Space limitations only permit a few brief examples.
First, an example from science:
Scientists declare that what appears to be design in the structures of nature is only apparent design, that is, an illusion. For example, the genetic code is adamantly argued by scientists to be just a product of natural processes and not the product of an intelligent designer. The DNA code, for them, is but an illusion.
On the other hand, millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours are spent each year by scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI program). Electrical signals from outer space are collected and analyzed for intelligible patterns or codes that could only be created by an intelligent source. These scientists fully believe that they have the necessary criteria to recognize such encoded electrical patterns as being created by an extraterrestrial intelligent source.
What could be more irrational than for scientists to seriously look for encoded electrical patterns signifying intelligence and simultaneously declaring the blueprint for life encoded in the DNA of all living organisms to be just an accident of nature? Many of our scientists have truly escaped from reason.
Second, examples from our judicial system:
Since about 1960, coincident with the rise of deconstruction philosophy, the U.S. Constitution has been continually reinterpreted contrary to all legal precedence that had conclusively established the Constitution’s known original intent. For some prior 171 years—from 1789, when the Constitution went into effect, until the 1960s—the constitution was interpreted such that:
1. it was legal to pray in schools—in 1963 it became illegal;
2. it was illegal to teach evolution in our schools—in 1968 it became illegal to teach anything other than evolution;
3. it was illegal to perform abortions—in 1973 performing abortions became legal and performed at will;
4. it was illegal to engage in homosexual acts—recently homosexuals became an especially protected group free to engage in homosexual acts;
5. it was legal to display the Ten Commandments in court rooms and other public buildings—in June 2005 it became illegal to publicly display them with a religious motive.
The list is almost inexhaustible. The last example cited above is especially revealing. Our Supreme Court justices ruled against publicly displaying the Ten Commandments while they were sitting within a public building (the Supreme Court Building) not only with Moses holding the Ten Commandments emboldened on the building façade, but also displayed in the very room in which they made their ruling. I must ask, what could be more irrational? The Supreme Court Building was built in 1935, just two years before I was born. Our government and the justices were so recently still obviously proud to display the Ten Commandments.
My goal in writing these four articles has been to build confidence among all my Christian brothers and sisters that the Bible, God’s Word, is true in every dimension of reality to which it speaks; and that vain philosophies such as evolution and deconstruction are nothing but “wind.” And in closing, I pray that now “We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,” Eph. 4:14-15 (NASB). (Charles Warren, Ph.D., is vice president of institutional effectiveness and senior executive assistant to the president, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City.)