I was having coffee with a friend the other morning. He is one of the smartest friends I have, but he is also very secular in his worldview approach. In the course of our conversation he told me that he was concerned with his own worldview. “There is no cohesive system of thought in secular thinking,” he said. “It’s all disjointed; it’s all a reaction to something else.” Of course, as a Christian, I totally agree with his assessment, but I was surprised (to say the least) at his admission.
The problem with a secular worldview is that it knows more about what it is against than what it is actually for. The very foundation of secularism is atheism. Just think about that word. A – theism or against theism; against the notion of God. More commonly today people refer to themselves as agnostic: a–gnosis, against knowledge. These are all reactionary words. They aren’t founded on any sort of anchored belief, but they are reactions to belief.
The appeal of secularism is that it rejects absolutes, but this is also the problem with secularism. G.K. Chesterton once said, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” All secular movements are only a reaction to something, therefore the mouth never really shuts in any solid place. The sexual revolution, for example, is a reaction to the sexual order put in place by God. The feminist movement, to a certain degree, is a reaction to the biblical order of the home. Liberal or more secular theology is a reaction to the clarity and authority of scripture.
Interestingly, as the world has secularized, all of these movements have struggled to find identity, because the thing that the movement has identified against has become less obvious. It is also interesting that many of these reactionary movements have now found themselves in conflict with one another. For example, the sexual revolution has objectified and monetized sex from its inception, therefore it has also objectified women; this is now running head long into a feminist movement that seeks to restore and preserve female dignity. Atheists and agnostics have long had to face the conflict of a worldview that eventually leads to meaninglessness; meaninglessness against their own human souls that long for meaning. These are just a few examples, but it should be noted that all reactionary thought eventually turns back in on itself.
So what is the answer? The answer is a worldview that is built on an absolute; on stable ground and not on a reaction. The answer isn’t a-theism but theism. The answer is figuring out what the world is built on and building your life around that. In other words, the answer is in knowing the true God. The good news for us is that God is not a mystery, but he has actually made himself known in many ways. Most particularly, he has made himself known through his son Jesus. You can know God because (in Jesus) God actually became a man and lived among us. What you will find in theism (in Christianity in particular) is a cohesive belief system; a cohesive worldview that is built on a solid foundation of absolute and eternal truth. And if you find God in Christ Jesus, and build your life around him, there is a poise and strength that isn’t a reaction, but an anchor. Your worldview and identity is built on something. Remember that you will only be as strong as your foundation.