Archives For Zach

Hello and welcome back!

It’s Monday night and I have just returned from discipleship class at church.  I am teaching on the beatitudes and the parables of Jesus.  It is always a wonderful time and the community is so enjoyable!

Community is what Christianity is all about!  The closer the body (the local church) comes together and all of the parts (individuals) are in harmony, the closer is the church’s relationship with Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!

I hope your week has been a fruitful one and you are ready to investigate another worldview that is prevalent in today’s world.  That worldview is atheism.  Let’s develop a working definition for atheism.

For the purpose of this post’s investigation into atheism, we will describe the term atheist to mean an absence of belief or empirical evidence in deity or the supernatural (God).

If atheists do not believe in God, just what do they believe in?

“Theists, on the other hand, believe that there is a difference between the creator and the created.”

A Pew Research Center report that was conducted in 2012 suggests that 2% of the entire population of the United States reports to be atheist.  Among all of the nonreligious (claiming no religious beliefs), 12% of these people claimed to be atheists.

We will take a generalist view of atheism in this article.  Atheism, like every worldview, is not cut and dried in its description because there are several schools of thought concerning the worldview.  In the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose, we will delve more deeply into these various specific forms of atheism as well as the other worldviews.

In the book, we will consider how the more specific forms are viewed by those who hold them.   For the purpose of this brief article, we will keep it to the general overview of this worldview.

Atheists claim that there are two worldview positions within the worldview of atheism and that atheists do not believe in anything:

  • Weak Atheism.
  • Strong Atheism.

Weak atheism is that of disbelief in deity or gods.  You could say that some weak atheists believe that there is no such thing as the Christian God.  What this stance boils down to is considered skepticism (not a belief system), rather than certain knowledge.

Strong atheism suggests that the atheist beliefs explicitly that there is no such thing as deity or a higher power.  They believe that the only things that exists is materialism — period.  If you still have difficulty discerning between these two sub-types, consider this.  The main difference between the strong and weak stand is skepticism vs. absolute belief.

Weak atheism then holds to the fact that the atheist disbelieves the reality of deity because there is not enough evidence for them to believe in it at this time.  They also may disbelieve in the reality of deity because they do not perceive any importance to look into it any further.

Strong atheism then holds the view that there is no possibility of the reality of a higher power or deity.  They consider such a belief to be a total fabrication.

Atheists claim that they do not hold beliefs for or against theism.  They claim that the lack of empirical evidence of deity and miracles deny the possibility of the supernatural.  They claim that belief has nothing to do with their stand.

On the other hand, atheists also claim that theists (believers in a higher power) believe in ignorance and not by experience of something or through experimentation.  Atheists claim that theists accept the belief of deity out of ignorance and that theists believe ignorance is superior to empirical knowledge.

They claim that atheist rely upon provable fact while theists see no need for facts, only belief.

Theists, on the other hand, believe that there is a difference between the creator and the created.  In other words, empirical evidence and discovery applies to material matter, the creation; whereas, the creator (being outside of time and space) created matter and matter constitutes the creation.  Empirical evidence does not apply to the non-material and supernatural being of the creator God.

Remember, these posted articles are only brief overviews of the detail on the worldviews that will be represented in the book.  If you desire, further reading on any of these worldviews before the book is published, feel free to ask me by mentioning it in the comments for this post and I will be glad to provide them.

That’s it for the worldview of atheism!  We will consider the worldview of agnosticism next post!

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  Does atheism make sense to you?  If there is nothing but materialism, where did the first material come from?

Hello and welcome back!

I am just sitting here at my desk while reflecting on how beautiful God’s seasons are!  I love all seasons but like most of you I am ready to see the trees blossom out and the flowers to bloom.

 I’m sure that all of you who follow me on Facebook are aware that I have a new granddaughter who is turning 6 months old very soon!  How could you NOT know with all the photos and videos that I have been posting!

Belle and I are gonna have one fine time on our first excursion into nature together soon!

She is getting old enough now to really begin to enjoy new things and to commune with the creation in awe and excitement as the freshly created do!  I get to be a part of that wonderful mystery of life!

Can you sense my excitement?  I am practically grinning ear to ear as I write this!  I will give a special blog report along with photos when this wonderful event takes place!  I can’t wait to share it with you!

Ok, enough of my granddaddy excitement!  Let’s continue with our overview of the mainline worldviews in the world today.  Remember, these overviews are not meant to be comprehensive but to present the worldviews that will be presented in much more detail in the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  The purpose of this book will be to present a 21st century apologetic (defending the Christian faith) and to show the 21st century of their need for Jesus Christ in a dying world.

This post begins a new worldview exploration.  We will be considering the worldview of Cosmic Humanism.  What is cosmic humanism?  Another name that identifies cosmic humanism you may be more familiar with.  That name is the New Age movement.

Cosmic humanism or new age movement sees God and the universe as the same.  This concept of God is called pantheism.  Pantheists believe that the terms God and the world are interchangeable.

This New Age worldview believes that the world is God and God is the world.  Cosmic humanism sees the concept of God being everywhere at once to be impossible in the physical world unless he IS the physical world.

“Cosmic Humanism or New Age thinking appears to revolve around a Marxist platform.”

Cosmic humanism sees the world as heading towards a coming new age, an age of peace where all human beings come together in agreement or what they term the Age of Aquarius.  The song, Age of Aquarius was written for the musical Hair in 1967 and recorded in 1969 by the musical group, The 5th Dimension in 1969.  Cosmic humanism views everything that exists is God and the human being is a part of one whole which they state makes everything one.   Bottom line, cosmic humanists are saying: “Mankind is divine, mankind is God.”

Cosmic humanism does not believe in the Bible as being the word of God anymore than is the Qur’an or any other manuscript.  One outspoken cosmic humanist has been quoted as saying, “We can take all the scriptures, and all the teachings, and all the tablets, and all the laws, and all the marshmallows and have a jolly good bonfire and marshmallow roast, because that is all they are worth.”  This direct quote can be found in his book, Reflections on the Christ published by Findhorn Publications in 1982 on page 73.

Although cosmic humanists believe in the supernatural, unlike the other humanists that we have discussed, they do NOT believe in a personal God that created mankind and the universe.  Instead, they believe that THEY are God.  They believe that God IS the creation of which they are like a cup of God that is everything similar to a cup of sea water which makes the cup of sea water the same as the sea.

The cosmic humanist believes that there is no objective truth handed down by a personal, objective God but that all truth comes from the individual because the individual is God.

Jonathan Adolph has made the following statement and I quote: “In its broadest sense, New Age thinking can be characterized as a form of utopianism, the desire to create a better society, a ‘New Age’ in which humanity lives in harmony with itself, nature, and the cosmos.”

According to the description above, cosmic humanism or new age thinking appears to revolve around a Marxist platform.

Here is a quote from a widely viewed website that supports the New Age movement:

“New Age teachings became popular during the 1970’s as a reaction against what some perceived as the failure of Christianity and the failure of Secular Humanism to provide spiritual and ethical guidance for the future. Its roots are traceable to many sources: Astrology, Channeling, Hinduism, Gnostic traditions, Hermeticism, Spiritual Alchemy, Spiritualism, Taoism, Theosophy, Wicca and other Neo-pagan traditions, along with various aspects of Alternative Science and Healing, etc.”

  That wraps up our overview of cosmic humanism.  This will allow you to be able to recognize this worldview’s main concepts regardless of what form you may find it.

Next post, we will consider the worldview of Atheism.

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  Can you see any connection between secular humanism and cosmic humanism in terms of the age old question, “What is truth?”

Hello and welcome back!

I’m excited to continue our journey of investigating the worldview of Christian humanism as we continue looking at the different worldviews that currently shape the thinking of our world today here in the 21st century!

Last post, we began an overview of Christian humanism.  If you have just joined us, I thank you for your interest.  We are all working together in looking at the different worldviews that shape the world of the 21st century.

You may wish to read the previous posts relating to this book blog of my book – 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose. 

The purpose of this site is to blog the book before it is published by introducing the content from the book as blog posts.  To see what part you can play in the completion of this project, please click – Blog: Take a Look!

Of course, the description of Christian humanism has changed over time as humanist worldviews tend to do.

You can find all related posts in the sequence that has been written in the right-hand side bar.  I’m glad you have joined us and I look forward to your participation in this project.

Let’s move forward, and complete our overview on Christian humanism.

I am amazed at the confusion of the literature available concerning this worldview.  In the last post, a brief history was presented which gives the reader information of the historical beginnings of Christian humanism.

(Read Here)

Of course, the description of Christian humanism has changed over time as humanist worldviews tend to do.  Let’s wrap up this topic overview by discovering how it shapes Christian thinking today for those who subscribe to its tenets.

I’m glad that you are with me on this journey!

The following is an excerpt from The Christian Humanist website:

Once we get beyond the mythological language, it is clear that the disciples had a life-transforming experience that resulted in a re-ordering of their priorities toward a new way of thinking about what was seriously important in their lives and led to their commitment to carry on with Jesus’ teachings.

They interpreted this life-transforming experience to mean that the spirit of Jesus did not die with him but was alive in them, challenging them to continue what he had started.  For his early followers it was a life-transforming awareness that the spirit of Jesus was alive in them. They understood this to mean two things: they were to model their lives after his life and they were to carry on his teaching about the kingdom of god and what that implied for the people of the region.

Another excerpt from the above site provides their view of Christianity:

At its core, being a Christian today means exactly the same thing for us as it meant to his first disciples: consciously choosing to be an advocate of Jesus and his teachings. It involves what the medieval theologian Thomas A Kempis called Imitatio Christi, the imitation of Christ. It means to live as Jesus lived and to teach as he taught, to honor truth and show compassion, to stand with the victims of this world against their oppressors, to stand with the weak and the powerless against the abusers and the comfortably powerful, and to maintain one’s integrity no matter the cost. In short being a follower of Jesus meant then and now to be faithful to the spirit of Jesus and his teachings. That is both the meaning and the cost of Christian discipleship.

The bottom line, as will be seen in this last excerpt from The Christian Humanist will provide the reader an overview of the direction Christian humanism is taking since the 3rd century and throughout the centuries up to now:

It is a de-mythologized Christianity, a version without the necessity for god and freed from the theological and mystical baggage of the centuries preceding us, a Christianity that challenges us regardless of our view of god to model our lives after that of Jesus. Being a Christian is not any more complicated than that, but it is at least that.

If you desire to investigate the site above, here is the link: The Christian Humanist.

To be sure, there are other, modified premises of the above (considered unorthodox theology) in many, current Christian humanism versions; however, what they all have in common is this: A Christian does not need to have supernatural beliefs or events in order to be a follower of Jesus Christ of the Christian Bible.  Although some Christian humanists project a version of Orthodox Christianity, humanism eventually leads to secular humanistic beliefs and the true teachings of Christ lead to Deity.

The end result of Christian humanism in the church appears to lead into humanistic thinking and secular humanism over time as we see on The Christian Humanist site.

That wraps up our brief overview of Christian humanism.

Let me say it again.

REMINDER: This is a blog post and does not reflect the depth that will be considered on the mainstream 21st century worldviews that will be found in the published book.  The book will also offer excellent references at the end of each chapter for those interested in further information.

These blog posts are presented for you to reflect upon and to comment on as described in the blog post that describes this blog and your opportunity for involvement.  You can read about it how you can be involved in the Blog: Take a Look!

Thank you for joining me in this consideration of the worldview of Christian humanism in the 21st century!  That’s a wrap!

Next Post, we will consider the worldview of Cosmic Humanism (New Age Movement).

Until next time!

Zach

DISCUSSION QUESTION: Can Christianity be considered true Christianity without the deity of God and Jesus being the foundational reality?

Hello and welcome back!

Now that we’ve finished the secular humanism overview, let’s turn our attention towards another worldview that is prominent today.  This worldview is the 21st century version of Christian humanism.  As we discover the background of many of these different 21st century worldviews, I want to inform you that many of them will possibly unsettle you.

The concept of worldview — or how we view the world around us — allows us to have a window into the thinking and beliefs of others.  Without this basic understanding of what others are about is the basis of unfruitful argumentation and is the foundation of misunderstanding which is never fruitful.  Therefore, our investigation into the different mainline worldviews provides the opportunity to understand what others believe regardless of whether we see eye to eye with their beliefs or not.

History of Christian Humanism

The history of Christian humanism is almost as old as Christianity.  In fact, the second century church father, Justin Martyr, is credited by some to be the father of Christian humanism based on his use of classical (Greek secular knowledge) teachings into teaching non-Christians of the day about Christianity.

Christian humanism has continued from these beginnings throughout history.  In the 12th century, Peter Abelard, a French scholastic philosopher, brought logic to theology that was touted as correcting contradictions of the early church fathers.

This thinking was instrumental in bringing a new theological discipline of combining philosophy with Christianity which was heavily disputed by the 12th century church.

Thomas Aquinas was able to make a case for Aristotelian philosophy being utilized in forming Christian theology.  Throughout the renaissance, the reformation, and up to the Enlightenment—Christianity and classical philosophy influenced one another.

The United States Constitution is said to be an influence of Christian humanism brought about by John Locke, an English philosopher who expressed the idea of God-given rights above any government authority.

The above historical overview is a mere skimming of the complexity of the subject of Christian humanism but provides a snapshot of how classical Greek philosophy and Christian thought developed together from the 2nd century to the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment was the beginning of the split between traditional Christianity and Christian humanism.  Christian humanism is credited with the Biblical criticisms and the liberalism that is now rampant in Christianity today.

Next post, we will complete our investigation into Christian humanism in the 21st century and move on to the next worldview.

My book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose will expand on the history as well as provide excellent references for further study and investigation of the many worldviews presented within its pages.

If you are interested in further research into Christian humanism before the book is available, please make a request in the comments section below for this blog post.

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  What are your thoughts about Christian humanism?

Hello and welcome back!

I’ve thought a lot about how I should present the next two segments in blog post format.  I decided to be as brief as possible without brushing over the proclaimed values of secular humanism.  It’s very important that I relate to you the lens of the worldview through which those who choose secularity over theism currently view the world.

Let’s both take another peek through this lens together, shall we?  That way, we will be ready to compare other worldviews that clash with secular humanism more accurately.

Ok, let’s get to it!

Our perusal of the world of the secular humanist is important.  Being a post-modern lens, from which to view mankind’s world, this secular philosophy has been around for centuries.  Having been entertained by philosophers who refused to believe in the supernatural, it has only become popular as a worldview paradigm since the mid-19th century.

The effect of this worldview expanded from Darwin’s evolution then rapidly into the dominant worldview in the West that we see today.  You might wish to review the historical information of secular humanism from the first post.  Hey, it can’t hurt, can it! 🙂

This final overview on secular humanism only reflects, in the most general manner, what will be detailed in the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  The following wrap-up will be in two parts to contain the length of this blog post.

This overview will summarize several values — categorically — through the lens of secular, humanist thinking.  The understanding of humanist values can be used by you to compare this philosophy against other the other worldviews that we will investigate next.

The following areas, that constitute a humanist worldview, are compact rather than comprehensive but they will provide all the information necessary for a clear understanding of secular humanism for our purposes in this blog post.  The book will delve deeper and provide more emphasis on each of the following secular, humanistic attitudes towards life (For further reading on this worldview, please ask for references in the comments section below).

“They believe that truth and morality change with the times rather than being established forever by God as an ultimate guide to understanding what is acceptable to Him and best for mankind.”

Mankind’s Existence

Humanists view the world as strictly material.  The denial of God and the supernatural is like a thread that weaves throughout their worldview about the world and the known universe.  Humanists declare that the evidence against the reality of Almighty God’s existence and His creating everything in existence is mostly conclusive.

Humanists non only declare that the evidence for evolution is greater than that for God but also that Darwinism explains truth of mankind’s existence and God is, at best, a myth. Their subjective worldview of truth is subject to change with each new discovery or their individual acceptance by their own admission.  In response to the argument that God is the creator of everything and the source of all existence, the humanist will argue, “If God is the creator of all that we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste — then who created God?”

There is no room in their paradigm to believe that an eternal creator exists outside of time or that He created all and therefore is eternal — where the meaning of eternal is having no beginning and having no end.  They deny the existence of a totally self-sufficient, all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful Creator.

Humanistic Responsibility

Again, there is no belief of anything beyond mankind to provide a pattern for responsibility vs. irresponsibility.  This can also be transcribed as order vs. chaos.  Looking at the world from this lens indicates a belief that, “I am responsible for my own life and to live as I see fit.”

In other words, there is no creator who set everything into motion and provided the guidelines that are outside of the secular humanist.  There are no objective laws given by a perfect Creator that should govern our thoughts and behaviors and that will provide the best possible life for those who follow them.

Humanists believe that they have a responsibility towards the rest of the world.  Since they believe that they are the height of evolution, it is they who must take the reins and control the order in the world because they are the highest order and all there is.  There is no God, no fate, and no divine providence.  All responsibility is in mankind’s hands.

Changing realities

The humanistic paradigm revolves around a certain belief that nothing is certain.  This means that all truth is relevant and changing with each new scientific and societal discovery.  This, in effect, is stating that there is no objective truth because what is subjectively believed now — will change at a later time.

Humanists consider science and the material universe all that there is and that they are open to the never-ending, changing truth of discovery — not relying on a fictional and stagnated, ancient book written by simple people trying to make sense of what they did not understand.  They believe that science and morality is in constant flux; therefore, they are always changing what is true and what is considered moral reality.

They believe that truth and morality change with the times rather than being established forever by God as an ultimate guide to understanding what is acceptable to Him and best for mankind.

Self-Centered vs. Others-Centered

The humanist declares that he alone is in control of his life and does not rely on God for anything nor expects any divine help or eternal life.  They rely upon themselves, other humans of authority, and science.  They, not God, decide on what is right and what is wrong for them.  In other words, by looking out for their own interests, they put self first.  Self-will rather than God’s will best describe the lens of the secular humanist.

Societal Responsibility

The secular humanist holds to the belief that they, not God, are to be sovereign over the world and in authority for the rules of morality that govern society.  They expand on their self-proclaimed sovereignty by stating that they will not hold with intolerant, prejudicial moral values of a non-existent God like the theists do.  They denounce God as non-existent but reserve the right to change their minds about that at a later date because truth changes with the whims of society.

That wraps up this first of two, final segments on secular humanism.  Did you enjoy it?  I have tried to present this segment without bias but openly admit that I hold the personal worldview of Christianity and my lens is from biblical conservatism.  A response, relating to the question asked in the title of this post, is left to you, the reader.

Please comment on the question below as this will greatly help me in the structure of the book! [See Why]

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION: DOES SECULAR HUMANISM APPEAR TO ANSWER MANKIND’S QUESTIONS CONSISTENTLY FOR YOU?

Hello and welcome back!

I’ve thought a lot about how I should present this last segment in blog post format.  I decided to be as brief as possible without brushing over the proclaimed values of secular humanism.  It’s very important that I relate to you an accurate lens into the worldview that those who choose secularity over theism currently view the world through.

Let’s both take another peek through this lens together.  That way, we will be ready to compare other worldviews with secular humanism more accurately.

Our perusal of the world of the secular humanist is important.  Being a post-modern lens from which to view mankind’s world, this secular philosophy has been around for centuries.  Having been entertained by philosophers who refused to believe in the supernatural, it has only become popular as a worldview lens since the mid-19th century.

The effect of this worldview expanded rapidly from Darwin’s evolution into the dominant worldview in the West today.  See a more complete history of secular humanism here.

This final overview on secular humanism only reflects, in the most general manner, what will be detailed in the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  The following wrap-up will be in two parts to contain the length of the blog post.

This overview will summarize several values — categorically — through the lens of secular, humanist thinking.  This understanding of humanist values can be used by you to compare this philosophy against other worldviews that we will investigate next.

The following areas, that constitute a humanist worldview, are compact but provide all the information necessary for a clear understanding of secular humanism for our purposes in this blog post.  The book will delve deeper and provide more emphasis on each of the following secular, humanistic attitudes towards life (For further reading on this worldview, please ask in the comments section below).

Mankind’s Existence

Humanists view the world as strictly material.  The denial of God is like a thread that weaves throughout their worldview about the world and the known universe.  Humanists declare that the evidence against the reality of Almighty God’s existence and His creating everything in existence is most conclusive.

Humanists also declare that the evidence for evolution is greater than that for God and that Darwin explains truth of mankind’s existence and God is a myth. Their worldview of truth is subject to change with each new discovery by their own admission.  In response to the argument that God is the creator of everything and the source of all existence, the humanist will argue, “If God is the creator of all that we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste — then who created God?”

There is no room in their paradigm to believe that a creator exists outside of time that He created and therefore is eternal, where the meaning of eternal is having no beginning and having no end, totally self-sufficient, all-present, all-knowing, and all-powerful.

 

“They expand on their self-proclaimed sovereignty by stating that they will not hold with intolerant, prejudicial moral values of a non-existent God like the theists do.”

 

Humanistic Responsibility

Again, there is no belief of anything beyond mankind to provide a pattern for responsibility vs. irresponsibility which can be transcribed as order vs. chaos.  Looking at the world from this lens indicates a belief that, “I am responsible for my own life and to live as I see fit.”  In other words, there is no creator who set everything into motion and provided the guidelines that are outside of the secular humanist.  There are no objective laws given by a perfect Creator that should govern our thoughts and behaviors and that will provide the best possible life for those who follow them.

Humanists believe that they have a responsibility towards the rest of the world.  Since they are the height of evolution, they must take the reins and control the order in the world because mankind is all there is.  There is no God, fate, or luck.  All responsibility is in mankind’s hands.

Changing realities

This humanistic paradigm revolves around a certain belief that nothing is certain.  This means that all truth is relevant and changing with each new scientific and societal discovery.  This, in effect, is stating that there is no objective truth because what is subjectively believed now — will change at a later time.

Humanists consider science and the material universe all that there is and that they are open to the never-ending, changing truth — not relying on a fictional and stagnated, ancient book written by simple people trying to make sense of what they did not understand.  They believe that science and morality is in constant flux; therefore, they are always changing what is true and what is considered moral reality.

Truth and morality change with the times rather than being established forever by God as an ultimate guide to understanding what is acceptable to Him and best for humankind.

Self-Centered vs. Others-Centered

The humanist declares that he alone is in control of his life and does not rely on God for anything nor expects any divine help or reward.  They rely upon themselves, other humans of authority, and science.  They, not God, decide on what is right and what is wrong for them.  In other words, by looking out for their own interests, they put self first.  Self-will rather than Gods will best describe the lens of the secular humanist.

Societal Responsibility
The secular humanist holds to the belief that they, not God, are to be sovereign over the world and in authority for the rules of morality that govern society.  They expand on their self-proclaimed sovereignty by stating that they will not hold with intolerant, prejudicial moral values of a non-existent God like the theists do.  Humanists denounce God as non-existent but reserve the right to change their minds about that at a later date because truth changes with the whims of society.

That wraps up this first of two, final segments on secular humanism.  I have tried to present this segment without bias but openly admit that I hold the personal worldview of Christianity and my lens is from biblical conservatism.  A response, relating to the question asked in the title of this post, is left to you, the reader.

Until next time!

Zach

PS: Please comment on the question below in the comments as this helps me to structure the finished book! 🙂

QUESTION: DOES SECULAR HUMANISM APPEAR TO ANSWER MANKIND’S QUESTIONS CONSISTENTLY FOR YOU?

Hit Between The Eyes

Zach —  February 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

Hello again!

I just had a nice conversation with a gentleman yesterday who explained to me that his worldview has changed three times in his life.  I was at Starbucks having my favorite brew when he approached me – due to the title of a book I had lying on the table next to my laptop.

“I just noticed that your book over there is on humanism,” he offered as he reached out his hand.  I felt a little uncomfortable thinking that he might be thinking that I am either a humanist or something.

“Actually, I am doing some research for a book that I am writing,” I responded back.  The cashier called out my total so I paid with my Starbuck’s card then turned again to my acquaintance that was still standing there.

“Mind if I sit with you for awhile,” he asked, as he waited for an answer.

“No, I would love the company,” I answered, still wondering what he was thinking.

I sat down and closed my laptop as the gentleman sat down opposite me and leaned his elbows on the table. He placed his chin in his hands and asked me another question.

“Are you a humanist?”  He asked with the second question since I first met him a few minutes before.

“No, actually I am a pastor,” I stated.  “I am researching for a book that I am writing and secular humanism is only one worldview that I will be presenting.  I plan to cover every major worldview with a thorough overview.  I’ll provide excellent references to my readers, at the end of each chapter, giving them ample opportunity to investigate each worldview more thoroughly if they so desire.” I opined which seemed to satisfy his curiosity.

He then launched into a dialog that was quite informative and interesting to me so I sat back and listened.

“In my teens and through college, I considered myself an agnostic,” he began with a look of reflection on his face.  “I came from a Christian family and never quite fit in with the rest of my family of origin in that regard.”  He looked away, sighed, and returned his gaze on me and began again.  “As the years passed, I became an atheist or, at least, I thought I was for some years,” he continued as I listened closely to what he had to say.

“I remember when I had my first real encounter with Jesus Christ,” he continued.  “In my prideful, human knowledge of how the world works and how everything came to be, I had overlooked one, very important thing, my friend,” he stated in a very matter-of-fact manner — then he reached for his cup, raising it to his lips, and drank deeply from it.  I was waiting for him to continue when a friend of his dropped by the table and exchanged greetings with him.  He introduced me and told his friend he would be right over as soon as he finished telling his story.

“Man, that hit me, hit me right between the eyes…”

“That is one of my very best friends,” he offered as he settled back in his chair.  “I introduced him to my Lord Jesus Christ about 5 years ago this month as a matter-of-fact,” he stated with satisfaction in his eyes.  “I never miss a Friday morning discussing Jesus with him, haven’t missed a Friday in over 5 years,” he continued, obviously thinking back over those years—then he turned his eyes on me again and continued.

“Back to my story,” he resumed, “I was on a camping trip alone up in Montana, guess it was about 22 years ago.  No wait, it was 23 years ago because I remember it was on my 35th birthday.”

“Wait,” I interjected—putting my own cup down and leaning over the table.  I whispered, “You were an atheist right up until the time of that camping trip?”

“Yep, I suppose I was, or perhaps I wasn’t,” he said in a soft voice, obviously revisiting that day in his mind.  “It was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” he announced.  “I was lying on top of my sleeping bag, the sky overhead was overcast—I, my friend, was reading the Bible for the first time in many, many years. When I first felt the need to turn to 2nd Corinthians 6:20-21, I almost ignored the feeling.  When I had read that particular Scripture, I looked down to chapter 2,” he mused, taking another sip from his cup.

Putting the cup down again, he read from his Bible,  “Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, ‘Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” For He says: I heard you in an acceptable time, and I helped you in the day of salvation.  Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.”  When he finished, he looked up at me and in a voice with more conviction than I have heard in quite some time from anyone, he whispered, “I don’t know why I never heard those Scriptures quite like that before.”  He was silent for about a minute, then he looked back up at me and continued.

“Man that hit me — hit me right between the eyes and settled deeply into my heart.  I called out to Jesus right then and there.  I went down on my knees. I confessed all of my sins, repented from the depths of my humbled soul, and asked forgiveness and for Him to come into my life.”  He was quite for a little while, and then continued, “I’ve never looked back, no sir, not once have I ever looked back,’ he mused.  “No sir, I spend my life now talking to people about Jesus and the good news of the gospel”

After about another minute had passed, I reached over and shook his hand.  He looked me in the eyes, finished his coffee, and stood up while gathering his things.

“See ya around,” he said through a small grin.  I watched as he ambled over to his friend’s table.  I sat there thinking,  as I watched him walk away, that I had just heard the message of a spiritually solid testimony.  I had just witnessed his testimony that had granted this man hope and purpose in this life with the reward of eternal life in the future.

I continued my research all the while remembering the look in his eyes when he revealed how those verses had affected him.  I thought about his saying, “Man, that hit me, hit me right between the eyes…”  I finished my morning’s research and left Starbucks.  I left with the feeling that I had just received something more than a wonderful cup of coffee and good company.

I left there with a song in my heart and a strut in my step.  That gentleman had been much, much more than just a new acquaintance.  He had provided some salt and light right there at that little table in the middle of Starbucks.  I left there after an encounter with Jesus.

I hope this story blessed you as much as it did me.  I will be back with the next installment on secular humanism next post.  I just felt that this encounter with my new acquaintance might just touch your heart in a way that my words could never do.  There is just something very tangible in the air when God works.

Until next time!

~Zach

 

Question:  Regardless of your personal worldview at this time, have you ever looked up at a starry night and thought – creation makes sense?

How to See Out of the Window

Zach —  January 16, 2013 — 4 Comments

I’m looking out my office window as I write these words.  The sun is shining and a gentle breeze is attempting to grant release to the last vestiges of dry, brown leaves from the tree outside of my window.  Birds are singing in the branches and a small deer is eating something beneath the tree.  A pastoral scene if I ever saw one.

If I was to remove my glasses (nearsighted as a bat), this beautiful scene would blur into different blotches of blues, browns, and grays.  The birds in the tree would become invisible to me.  The leaves would become sounds only, as they were rubbed together by the breeze.  The deer would be quite invisible unless it decided to move; in that case, it would become a mysterious blob of movement that might stir my imagination.

This brings me to the title of this post: how to see out of the window.  The window I am talking about is your personal worldview.  Your worldview is your interpretation of what it is that you see when you look out of the window.  Are you with me so far?  In the next paragraph, we will take a look at what it is that you see out of your 21st Century window at this world that you live in.

What Is a Worldview?

The first thing you need to know about worldviews is that everyone has one.  That’s right.  Even people who do not even know what a worldview is – has one.  You might be saying, “Ok, Zach, you made your point.  Now, what is your interpretation of the term, worldview?”  What matters is if you and I can agree upon a basic, working interpretation for the term worldview in order to help us to be on the same page as we continue in this post together and others to come.

There are many definitions for the term but, for our purposes in this blog post, the following definition should suffice.  A worldview is how you interpret the things you see out your window.  Think of your window as a pair of glasses.  Imagine that these glasses color what you see – which determines how you comprehend what it is that you see.   Each worldview comes with its own, different pair of glasses.

Remember the definition of what I see from my office window as I am writing this post?  What happened when I removed my glasses?  I saw differently and I had to interpret what I saw differently, didn’t I?  Now, if I had looked out of my window in the beginning without my glasses, do you think when I put them back on and looked again—perhaps I would have a different viewpoint (worldview) of what I was looking at?

Certainly I would!  I would be seeing the scene out my window from a different perspective (worldview)!

That presents the definition that we will use in this post and for several posts to come on this topic.  Let me now present to you the different worldviews that we will be considering for the next few blog posts.  I will now present them below.  In each future blog, we will consider each one of these 7 worldviews in more detail and bring several subsets into the mix as well.

Let’s look below at these worldviews now.

  1. Secular Humanism
  2. Cosmic Humanist –
  3. Post-Modernism —
  4. New Age –
  5. Marxist–
  6. Islam –
  7. Christianity –

Are there other worldviews out there?  To be sure, yes.  We will cover others as we go along.  These 7 major worldviews will provide the fodder we need in order to take a close look at worldviews in the 21st century and how they play out in vision casting for the rest of this century and beyond.

That’s it for this post and I look forward in interacting with you next time.  For now, look over the question below and please comment on it.  This will help direct the direction of future blogs as well as help guide the formation of the book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.

 

Question:  What current worldviews do you feel are having the most effect in politics, ethics, education, and leisure today?

How To Ruin God’s Work

Zach —  January 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

Thank you for stopping by to read my humble blog.  I have been working hard to get everything ready for this blog to offer something more than just more words on the internet.  I have a confession to make.  This morning, amid all of the hoopla of wrangling schedules, preparing sermon notes, etc…I had one of those moments of clarity that hits home…

I noticed something this morning. It was barely noticeable at first but as I began to let my mind decelerate and relax – it became more noticeable.

At first, it was akin to that feeling that something is just not quite right. It was something slightly familiar but just out of conscious reach, you know? Like the name of someone from your childhood.

Then it hit. It hit hard. It hit with that heart stopping bolt of adrenaline – flooding through the vascular system – shocking mind, body, and spirit into total focus and anguish. I was lonely!

In my quest to serve my savior, in my desire to reach out to others with His glorious message of truth, I had focused my attention upon the work – losing my focus on He that I was working for!

My first love was being replaced by the duty of my calling. I was focusing my complete attention and effort upon the advertisement rather than the product! I was relishing the sizzle at the expense of savoring the taste of the steak!

This has been a morning of awakening, confession, repentance, and introspection. My re-focus today is upon my priorities with Christ Himself, my personal relationship with Him, with Him being moved back to His rightful position at the top of my spiritual pyramid!

Before I progress any further on this blog, before I write one more post in relation to the planned book that God has called me to write, I first must concentrate upon my relationship Jesus, my savior.  He can’t be second in my desire to perpetuate His good news of the kingdom.  I lost the forest because of so many trees!

I back away for now to seek God’s face.

I humbly ask for your prayers today as I work on my most important of relationships…my Lord and my God!

Bless you.

Question:  Have you ever found yourself wandering through the forest of your faith and duty only to discover that you left your compass behind?

Blog: Take a Look!

Zach —  December 17, 2012 — Leave a comment

Hello and welcome to the first blog post for 21 century confusion.    My name is Zach Malott  and I have started blogging my new book, 21st Century Confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose.  You, the reader, can have a critical part in its final structure by commenting on the various topics that I will blog about and will become the body of this book.

I decided to write this book to answer a current need.  That need is to gather together – in one volume – information and understanding of the various worldviews prevalent in the beginning of the 21st century in a non-academic format.  Worldview determines future.  Your future.  My future.

The finished book will be a handbook for 21st century evangelism – a book that will lead the lost through the different worldviews, help them identify their current worldview, and systematically lead them to the point where they can have the information that they need (the full gospel of Christ) so that the Holy Spirit can convict them of God’s truth, Jesus, the only way back to God!

Important information, don’t you agree?

The persons whose comments substantially influences the finished draft will be mentioned on a specially dedicated honor page in the book’s front matter with bio and photo. Those chosen will be at my sole discretion.

This book blog will drill down into the center of the confusion of 21st century worldviews in an attempt to discover order in the midst of chaos.

  • What is a worldview?
  • Could unreality be couched in your current worldview premise?
  • Can every worldview be true?
  • Is truth whatever we deem it to be?
  • What is your worldview?
  • Does it answer your questions about reality to your satisfaction?
  • What questions do you have about your worldview?

These and many other questions will be considered on this blog.  I invite you to join me in taking a look at the worldviews of the 21st century.  See how your worldview fits into the mix.  I invite you to join me in discovering the pros and cons of these worldviews.

This site is ready to begin delving into these concepts and the first post will appear in January, 2013. Please ask to be included above for notification of when the first blog post for 21st century confusion: Finding Your Path to Hope and Purpose is ready for your review.

You can register to receive an email when new posts are available and an occasional newsletter update about the book.  Just give me your email above in the upper right-hand corner.  This is all your email will be used for and your privacy is safe with me.

Thank you in advance for joining with me.  I need your help in making this book become a reality!  Please consider the question below:

Question:  “What would you consider important to discover in a book about finding a path to hope and purpose for you and your family in the 21st century?”