Blogs - The President's Desk
March 01, 2012
As Writer Calls for ‘Atheist Temple,’ Secularists Gather in Nation’s Capital City Mar 24
First Christian Worldview Organization Summit Ministries Encourages Christians to Defend Faith with Intelligence, Love
Manitou Springs, Colo.— In the U.S., thousands of atheists and secularists are scheduled to converge on Washington, D.C., on March 24 for the Reason Rally, called the largest gathering of its kind. Experts say atheism is becoming more than simply a denial of God.
In the meantime, atheist philosopher and writer Alain de Botton demonstrates this assertive atheistic thinking by proposing to build a 150-foot tower—a “temple to atheism” of sorts—to celebrate a new way of thinking about atheism, as opposed to what he describes as Professor Richard Dawkins’ “aggressive” and “destructive” approach to non-belief in God.
Rather than attack religion, de Botton said he wants to borrow the idea of awe-inspiring buildings that give people a better sense of perspective on life. “Normally a temple is to Jesus, Mary or Buddha, but you can build a temple to anything that’s positive and good,” de Botton said. “That could mean a temple to love, friendship, calm or perspective. Because of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, atheism has become known as a destructive force. But there are lots of people who don’t believe but aren’t aggressive towards religions.”
"Atheists don't need temples," Dawkins, the author of The God Delusion stated. "I think there are better things to spend this kind of money on. If you are going to spend money on atheism you could improve secular education and build non-religious schools which teach rational, skeptical, critical thinking."
Summit Ministries, the nation’s first Christian worldview educational ministry, has much to say about these issues and about atheism overall, especially when it comes to the territory they are trying to invade in our nation’s schools.
“The Reason Rally should be interesting– a group of people gathering together to celebrate what they don’t believe. It’s sort of like Occupy Wall Street for disgruntled amateur intellectuals,” says Summit president Dr. Jeff Myers.
Does Summit encourage Christians to avoid gatherings like this? “Actually, the opposite is true,” says Myers. “We’ll be encouraging our Summit students to be there and engage the attendees in dialogue. When people gather together to proclaim their non-belief in any kind of transcendent truth, we’ll be asking them what basis they have for talking about transcendent ideas such as love or friendship even reason. As C.S. Lewis said, if there is no God, then there is no basis for thought, so we can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
In fact, a group of Summit graduates have contributed essays to an e-book coming out in response to the ‘Reason Rally.’ Entitled, Reason, Really? the new e-book is a chapter by chapter refutation of atheists’ claim to be the legitimate heirs of reason.
Summit Ministries is a leader in worldview education, sharing the six main worldviews and their components of belief. Summit ’s founder, Dr. David Noebel, wrote extensively about these six worldviews during his 50 years at the ministry. They include:
The Christian Worldview: The Bible and Christianity are the embodiment of Christ’s claim that He is “the way, the truth and the life.” The distinctives of a Christian worldview include that humans have dignity because they bear God’s image, and that the good life is the pursuit of wisdom, fellowship, servanthood, and stewardship. This is why Christians have often led in opposing the world’s greatest evils, including slavery, poverty, and Communism. Christian worldview advocates point to the rise in abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research as resulting from a lack of understanding of what it means that humans are made in God’s image.
The Islamic Worldview: With 1.3 billion followers of Islam, the Islamic worldview has been growing exponentially in power and influence. Islam is not just a religion but a way of life, an all-embracing social, political and legal system. Christianity and Islam have some teachings in common, including belief in a personal God, creation of the material universe, angels, immortality of the soul, heaven, hell and judgment of sin. Likewise, Muslims accept Jesus as a prophet (one of many), his virgin birth, physical ascension, second coming, and miracles. The major differences between Christianity and Islam are Islam’s rejection of the biblical Trinitarian God, and the death of Jesus for the sins of the world. Muslims likewise reject Jesus’ divinity, his physical resurrection from the dead and his claim to be the Son of God. At the core of Islam is obedience and not redemption, which has significant ramifications for how the spread of Islam is to be achieved.
The Secular Humanist Worldview: With the tenet that “man is the measure,” The Secular Humanist Worldview says that mankind is the ultimate norm by which truth and values are to be determined. All reality and life center upon human beings and we act as God. Secular Humanists recognize the classroom as a powerful incubator for indoctrinating students into their worldview. Operating under the buzzword “liberalism,” a Secular Humanist agenda controls curriculum in America’s public schools and has even taken root in some Christian colleges. The ideas of Humanism have gained influence throughout modern society. Humanists are willing to support their worldview, often more faithfully than Christians.
The Marxist Worldview: The Marxist worldview is a militantly atheistic, materialistic worldview. Based on the writings of Karl Marx in the late 1800s, Marxism has taken on some new looks in recent years, including debasing culture as a form of revolutionary activity. Marx’s presence continues to be felt around the world and predominates on many American university campuses. Recruited as college students in the 1950s and ’60s, many Marxist “radicals” earned PhDs and are now the tenured faculty on many campuses. According to Marx, the key problem with capitalism is that it breeds exploitation. Therefore, capitalism must be replaced with a more humane economic system, one that abolishes free markets and replaces it with a government-controlled economy.
The Postmodern Worldview: The Postmodern Worldview describes a philosophical and cultural reaction to the convictions of Modernism (which is sometimes equated with Humanism). Postmodernism says that reality is ultimately inaccessible by human investigation; that knowledge is a social construction, that truth-claims are political power plays and that the meaning of words is to be determined by readers not authors. In brief, reality is what individuals or social groups make it. Postmodernism has three unifying values: a commitment to relativism, opposition to explanations of reality that are true for all people of all cultures, and the idea of culturally created realities. Each denies that there is a worldview or belief system that can be considered absolute Truth.
The Cosmic Humanist or New Age Worldview: The Cosmic Humanist worldview consists of two interrelated spiritual movements: the New Age Movement and neo-paganism, which includes occult practices, Native American spiritism and Wicca. New Ageism mixes ancient Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Zen Buddhism, with a touch of other religious traditions. Because we are all interconnected as part of the spiritual oneness of all reality, the assumption of this worldview is that truth resides within each individual. On a popular level is the myth that all religions are ultimately the same. This theology has ramifications that many members of the New Age movement have already discovered.
Since 1962 Summit has been the quiet leader in preparing young adults to resolutely champion a Christian worldview and engage the culture in an intelligent and compassionate fashion. Christian leaders such as Dr. James Dobson and Josh McDowell have trusted Summitto help train their own children to think and act from a Christian worldview. Influencers like Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, pro-life activist Lila Rose and author Joshua Harris are just a few of those who have attended Summit’s training courses and have utilized their education to produce life-changing results across the U.S.
Summit officially welcomed Myers as its new leader in October 2011. Myers took over the role from Summit’s retiring founder, Dr. Noebel, who started the ministry as a training ground to enable leaders to make a difference in politics, law, academics, medicine, science and business—all while focused on a biblical worldview.
Over the past 20 years, Myers has become one of America’s most respected authorities on youth leadership development. His passion for mentoring youth began when he was just 17 years old, after attending a Summit Ministries youth conference, where he says his purpose was awakened.
Through his appearances on FoxNews and in other media outlets, Myers has become a fresh voice offering a winsome blend of humor and insight from a Christian worldview. As a communicator, Myers weaves together biblical insight, penetrating social commentary, fascinating research and compelling stories to inspire audiences of teachers, business leaders, parents and young adults.
Summit has produced books and worldview training materials that are widely used in Christian day schools, churches and by homeschool families. These resources include Noebel’s text Understanding the Times, which has become the best-selling worldview text of all time.