All the chewy goodness of one of the best books on worldview assessment; now in new fun-sized bites!

Principle #1: “The Twilight of the Gods”

Dr. Nancy Pearcey begins the chapter bemoaning the entertainment strategies of church youth groups. Because churches tend to major on “games and goodies”[1] that thrive on emotional commitment, many polls show that teens are leaving church. Their number one reason for leaving: unanswered doubts.[2] She ends the first part of the chapter advocating for church youth to be inoculated to various worldviews.

Principle #1: Identify the Idol. Pearcey points out that, while we often characterize Christians and non-Christians as “believers” and “non-believers”, this dichotomy is not actually biblical.[3] Everyone is a believer in something. If you don’t start with God, “You must propose something else as the ultimate, eternal, uncreated reality that is the cause and source of everything else.”[4] Therefore, it’s more useful to use the term “idol” when thinking about secular worldviews since every view must begin with an ultimate starting point upon which everything else depends.[5] For non-Christians this ultimate starting point will always be part of the created order and thus reduce one’s view of the world. This is akin to someone asserting that one puzzle piece is the complete picture; or that one color in the spectrum is the whole rainbow.[6]

Pearcey, then, provides a primer for the various major religions and philosophies of the world as well as the ultimate starting points for each. Some of the religions/philosophies she analyzes are: Buddhism, Hinduism, Pantheism, and Materialism (or Physicalism). One of the more interesting aspects of this chapter is Pearcey’s identification of the ultimate starting point for idealism.[7] “Instead of deifying matter, idealism deifies the mind… It makes consciousness the ultimate explainer.”[8] While some Christians might take umbrage with her characterization, her analysis cannot be easily dismissed.

Having established the first principle of identifying the idol, Pearcey prepares her reader for the next goal: helping people see the various problems with idol-based worldviews.

*Dr. Nancy Pearcey is a professor of Christian Worldview and Apologetics at Houston Baptist University, a fellow at the Discovery Institute, and editor of The Pearcey Report. Please do yourself a favor and buy her excellent book here!

Check back next week for Principle #2: How Nietzsche Wins

[1] Nancy Pearcey, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (Colorado Springs: David Cook, 2015), 58.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 61.

[4] Ibid, 61-62.

[5] Ibid, 62.

[6] Ibid.

[7] The notion that ultimate reality only exists in the mind or mental realm.

[8] Ibid, 82.