Not every historical event can fit into a history curriculum. Historians are selective in what they choose to add to a history curriculum. This means that there is no neutrality when it comes to the study, research, compilation, teaching, and the “so what?” of history. Some historical facts and events are added, and some are left out. This is inevitable. The most crucial factor to understand writing about and teaching history is that every historian brings a set of operating assumptions in the presentation, interpretation, and application of the material. This, too, is inevitable.
Most of today’s well-placed “national historians” have little or no regard for the foundational principles that make the events of history meaningful and relevant. They are secularists. Many (most?) are atheists. They rightly rail against slavery and the ill-treatment of Native Americans, but their worldview does not have room for the moral authority to make such judgments. They can’t account for the basis of morality. Given the operating assumptions of the evolutionary worldview, stuff happens. Period. One race dominating another race can be chalked up to the survival of the fittest. Who can say otherwise? “If we are all biological accidents, why shouldn’t the white accidents own and sell the black accidents?” (James Scott Bell, The Darwin Conspiracy (Gresham, OR: Vision House, 1995), 64.) and vice versa. The fight for survival in the annals of evolutionary history is nothing more than an account of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s description of “nature, red in tooth and claw.” There is no moral judgment only a record of what happened.
Am I exaggerating? Not in the least. The high priest of evolutionary history Richard Dawkins set forth the operating interpretive history:
In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music. (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: HarperCollins/BasicBooks, 1995), 133.)
If this is true of biology, it’s also true of anthropology, economics, and historiography. The supposed neutral secularist historian, to be consistent with his operating assumptions about the matter-only impersonal origin of the cosmos, should only record what has happened as impersonal evolutionary history moves inevitably forward with “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”
Atheism cannot account for rationality, love or morality. This does not mean that atheists are always irrational, unloving and immoral, but it does mean that they can’t account for rationality, love and morality given their assumptions about the origins of the universe and our accidental place in it. In this audio series, Gary DeMar forces the evolutionist to live consistently with his stated materialist assumptions.
Bill Nye, known as TV’s “Science Guy” and the CEO of the Planetary Society, said the following in his 2010 “Humanist of the Year” acceptance speech:
I’m insignificant…. I am just another speck of sand. And the earth really in the cosmic scheme of things is another speck. And the sun an unremarkable star…. And the galaxy is a speck. I’m a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness. I suck.
Given Nye’s analysis of our galaxy and himself, we all suck and are insignificant. Human life in general sucks. And why shouldn’t it since we are nothing more than a “speck of sand.” There are black specks and white specks of sand, all of which “suck.”
The Bible describes those created in God’s image in a different way, and it’s this difference that separates us from the inanimate and animated created order. We are special, thus, stealing people and turning them into slaves and stealing their labor are contrary to how the Bible defines God’s special creation, crowned “with glory and majesty” (Psalm 8:5b).
Why does the earth matter if it’s just another worthless speck? Why bother saving something that is so insignificant?
Cosmic Evolution Impairs Sound Historical Study
Dr. Gary North, who holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of California-Riverside, explains the operating worldview of today’s secular social theorists, ethicists, and historians:
Immanuel Kant has been the dominant philosopher in the West for over two centuries. His intellectual categories shape social philosophy, including economic theory. He was a cosmic evolutionist. He wrote Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens in 1755. He wrote it anonymously. In the Preface, he declared: “I accept the matter of the whole world at the beginning as in a state of general dispersion, and make of it a complete chaos. I see this matter forming itself in accordance with the established laws of attraction, and modifying its movement by repulsion.” Out of chaos came order through unbreakable laws. The universe was self-created. It is autonomous. Man is therefore autonomous. Modern Big Bang cosmology is essentially Kant’s cosmology with equations.
Few social theorists understand the extent to which they are Kant’s disciples. Nonexistent is the textbook and rare is the treatise that discusses the author’s assumptions regarding epistemology, which is the question of what men can know and how they can know it.
Scholars begin with an implicit assumption: everyone agrees on the basics. This includes the basics of the origin of the universe, the cause-and-effect relationships that presently govern the universe, the logical structure of the human mind, the ability of men to perceive the cause-and-effect relationships in the external world, and a multitude of other related assumptions. Here is the problem: there is no agreement on the basics outside of academia. Different worldviews have different interpretations of these issues. There is no common logic of human reason. That is because there is no agreement on the covenantal issues of God, man, ethics, sanctions, and time.
Because humanistic authors rarely write treatises, they do not discuss at the beginning of their treatises what their views are regarding God, man, ethics, sanctions, and time. They also do not explain their concepts of sovereignty, authority, law, causality, and time. Instead, they begin discussing specialized issues of their academic discipline—issues that are implicitly based on the unstated presuppositions that undergird the worldview of each author. The authors assume the existence of intellectual and moral neutrality.
Criticisms of our nation’s history can only be justified when there is an ultimate basis for moral reasoning. There was no accounting for moral outrage in the clash between the earliest signs of life as they struggled in that supposed life-spawning chemical soup that is said to have given rise to sentient life. The violent struggle for life was onward and upward. This is what every child is taught in our nation’s public schools. Some lifeforms won and some lost in the struggle for survival. To teach anything else will bring down legal threats from the ACLU, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the Freedom of Religion Foundation.
In the final analysis, it comes down to by what standard? Those critical of The 1976 Report point out some of our nation’s sins. The question is, what ultimate standard is our nation going to use to determine what is morally right or wrong, and what standard will be used to remedy any injustice? Today’s historians don’t have a fixed moral standard to address these issues. Their materialistic worldview won’t allow a divine foot in the door.
The truth is, the moral and legal basis for abolishing slavery originated in the Christian West as Thomas Sowell points out:
The widespread revulsion which the hideous institution of slavery inspires today was largely confined to Western civilization a century ago, and a century before that was largely confined to a portion of British society. No one seems interested in the epic story of how this curse that covered the globe and endured for thousands of years was finally gotten rid of by the West — not only in Western societies but in other societies conquered, controlled, or pressured by the West.
The resistance put up by Africans, Asians and Arabs was monumental in defense of slavery, and lasted for more than a century. Only the overwhelming military power of the West enabled it to prevail on this issue, and only the moral outrage of Western peoples kept their government’s feet to the fire politically to maintain the pressure against slavery around the world. Of course, this is not the kind of story that appeals to the multiculturalists. If it had been the other way around — if Asian or African imperialists had stamped out slavery in Europe — it would still be celebrated, in story and song, on campuses across America. (Thomas Sowell, “Multicultural Instruction,” The American Spectator (April 1993), 47–49.)
The necessary elements to abolish the slave trade were inherent in the 18th century. England was the first to abolish the slave trade under the intense pressure of the Christian writings and arguments of William Wilberforce (1759–1833). Beginning in 1789, Wilberforce frequently introduced bills in Parliament to ban the Slave Trade, and he repeatedly was voted down by a large margin. But he pressed on. In March of 1807, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act abolished the slave trade in the British colonies with overwhelming support. Slavery itself was not abolished until 1833. A Christian worldview was operating at the time even if many of those who opposed slavery were not professing Christians. The same was true in the United States, a point made by George Marsden in his book The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief:
The American founders, men such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, and the like, took for granted that there was a Creator who established natural laws, including moral laws, that could be known to humans as self-evident principles to be understood and elaborated through reason. Most mainstream mid-twentieth-century American thinkers, who, like most modern thinkers, assumed collective intellectual progress, thought of themselves as having left such eighteenth-century enlightenment views behind. They were post-Darwinists who worked in a framework in which they took for granted human evolution and cultural evolution that shaped human beliefs and mores. They believed that societies developed their own laws, rather than discovering them in the fixed order of things. ((New York: Basic Books, 2014), xxi.)
The above is a spot-on description of where we are today when it comes to historical analysis.
What we’re seeing among these historical revisionists is to rewrite, reinterpret, reimage, and reconstruct the operating principles of our nation but with no unimpeachable foundational operating principles upon which to rebuild.
Worldview 101 is an in-depth course designed to help Christians do this very thing. Utilizing audio, video, and printed material, Worldview 101 will equip the student with the tools necessary to ‘think God’s thoughts’ about the world and the created order. It will reveal and re-direct the humanistic thought patterns that exist in each of us. The Enlightenment promised freedom, but brought slavery to man’s ideas instead. Worldview 101 points the way forward to true freedom of thought in Christ.
American Vision’s mission is to Restore America to its Biblical Foundation—from Genesis to Revelation. American Vision (AV) has been at the heart of worldview study since 1978, providing resources to exhort Christian families and individuals to live by a Biblically based worldview. Visit www.AmericanVision.org for more information, content and resources
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