SGBC Modesto

Your Child and America’s Worldviews

March 13, 2024 by

William Heinrich

America is a melting pot of many worldviews. It is in this environment that God has called us to raise our children. Were it not for the Word of God (which is designed to pierce the soul of our child’s very being) and the Spirit of God (Who graciously quickens), we would be left with hopeless fear. The worldview of “secularism” would want our children to believe that all of reality, all of life, every human value, every human activity must be understood in light of, and judged by, the value or norm of this present life. However, God calls the Christian to live his life in the light of eternity, having eternal values.

The worldview of “positivism” would want our children to believe that society evolves from the simple to the complex. This philosophy teaches that the first stage finds the meaning of life in religion; the second stage finds the meaning of life in philosophy; and the final stage finds the meaning of life in science. To those with the view of “positivism”, all truth is truth only if it can be verified by one of our senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting). All that is unverifiable is therefore meaningless, including God.

The worldview of “pluralism” would want our children to believe the opposite of the motto of the United States of America. Our motto is “E Pluribus Unum,” which means, “Out of the many, one.” To the pluralist, there is only the many, not the one. Pluralism insists there be a quest only for diversity, many people, many views, and only many – never one. Not “one nation under God.” God is not the unifying factor to those who insist on pluralism.

The worldview of “relativism” would want our children to believe that everything is relative and that nothing is concrete, ultimate, real, or true. To those who adhere to relativism, man has no reference point in which to find meaning of life or values. He has value, but no absolute values. He has “trues,” but not truth. He has purposes, but no purpose. What is right is right only for him, but since it is right for him, others should not object. This view allows one to have no conscience when she says, “I personally would not choose to have an abortion, but I believe every woman has the right to make that choice for herself.”

The worldview of “hedonism” would want our children to believe that good and true are defined by pleasure and pain. The highest good of man is to be found in the enjoyment of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. This is a deceptive lie, for informed Christians know that the greatest good is to please God and enjoy Him forever. Believers also know that pain is often necessary to refine us.

The worldview of “humanism” would want our children to believe that man is the measure of all things. According to the humanist, man is the ultimate being and ultimate authority by which all things are determined. He holds the view that life centers around man, not God. Humanism has evolved through many changes. From the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century, liberal religion and humanism became allies in their views of the social needs of the world. Today contemporary humanism is militant against the “religious right.” It teaches that Christianity hinders the evolutionary progress of man.

A final worldview to be aware of is “pragmatism.” The pragmatist would desire that our children believe that whatever works is right and true. Pragmatists will concede that if Christianity works for you, that for you it is right and true, but that all standards of right and true must be determined by self. Truth is not objective, such as Christ and Scripture, but is a subjective evaluation that varies with each person. Harvey Cox of Harvard stated that “pragmatism is the dominate influence that has produced American life.”

Attempting to understand America’s pluralistic society results in many reactions. One wrong reaction is to retreat from society and isolate our children to protect them. Christ clearly said, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one].” (John 17:15) One correct reaction is prayerfully to commit our children to the Father’s care – while faithfully teaching the Scriptures – trusting His Word to pierce truth into their souls and His Spirit to quicken them graciously. God sent us into the world as sheep among the wolves. He equipped us for a successful journey with His Word, His Spirit, and fellow believers. Fear not!