The Age of Advancement?

L. Russ Bush does the student a great service in identifying the proper audience for such a discussion of worldviews. If a Christian hopes to successfully sway or persuade someone who holds to a naturalistic worldview, the Christian must assume that the man is ignorant. If the man knows his view to be irrational, and yet continues to believe it, there is not much persuading the Christian can do. Prayer would be the last petition. Nevertheless in the case of ignorance, the Christian is given ample opportunity for persuasion. Bush states, “criticism of a worldview is effectively directed only to those people who hold it but do not realize the implications of their view.”[1]

In the information age, where it is everywhere available but rarely anywhere exercised, modern (postmodern) man is blatantly and easily confronted with the philosophy of the naturalism. It simply will not do to be ignorant; but despite naturalism’s saturation of all common interpretation of all that is now known to be known, it appears that ignorance still abounds. Perhaps ignorance does not best fit the meaning, for it is more so an apathy – one that is formed from ignoring the deep implications of the naturalistic philosophy that pervades every minute area of study. Perhaps it is apathy of their ignorance. Of course, apathy always thrives in ignorance – not complete ignorance, because apathy must have something to suppress – but even the interplay between ignorance and apathy is subsequent to the real issue at present. Deception is king.

Men hear the mumblings of naturalism, the new world order of science and rationality that trumps theistic interpretation, and they think it consists in newfound facts. Yet, they only hear of these ‘new facts,’ and they have never seen them for themselves. The rumors transform into ‘expert opinion,’ and the majority consensus establishes a new way to be human. All of this happens while the common man remains apathetic in his ignorance; but he feels justified in his apathy because the experts shout that this is ‘the advancement.’ “The world is embarking onto inevitable progress,” the common man is told, “so return to your diversions and be assured that everything will become better.” Their apathy is fueled by the delusional promises of naturalism. Thus, here the Christian stands, and his route to awakening the apathetic man is one of revelation – the adversary of ignorance.

One begins with the revelation of what is and then proceeds to the revelation of what is not in light of what is. The common ground between these two practices is the facts. Truly, the naturalists and the theist are not dealing with different facts in the ontological sense, but rather the interpretation of the facts. Bush notes, “The issue is not data but presuppositions.”[2] For example, “Only a person presupposing that nature is all that exists is forced to a naturalistic origin of life.”[3] Therefore, what the Christian is dealing with here is foundational rebellion. The apostle Paul notes that man plainly knows God but rejects him (cf. Rom 1:18-23). Consequently, from this foundational rebellion – this presupposition – men become ‘futile in their thinking’ (Rom 1:21). Their reasoning is spoiled, without worth, and wasted all in the name of ‘advancement’ and ‘inevitable progress.’ After a concise analysis of advancement thought, Bush summarizes its futility: “It is internally inconsistent, empirically inadequate, and lacking in satisfactory explanatory power.”[4]

What is the greatest threat of advancement thinking? It is the well-dressed philosophy of hollow truth, which masquerades as an angel of light, remaining foundationally futile. It is the advancement unto ultimate despair and deception – the chief end of all that serve the creature rather than the Creator.

[1] L. Russ Bush, The Advancement: Keeping the Faith in an Evolutionary Age (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2003), 87.

[2] Ibid., 22.

[3] Ibid., 103.

[4] Ibid., 95.

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