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Progress Leads toward God, not Away

July 15, 2012

The word “Progress” conjures up many different mental images: technological advances, the invention of new electronic gadgets, medical techniques and equipment, the development of advanced financial markets, worldwide supply logistics, the increase in scientific knowledge. In these and so many other areas of human intellectual inquiry, the clear line of advance serves as real evidence that we understand and can achieve more today than ever in history. It seems we wake up each day to find ourselves standing on an ever-rising summit of human understanding.

It is not surprising then, that many intellectuals, especially in academia – the forefront of society’s advancing leading edge – seek to apply this model of “progress” to religion, politics and morality in their own way. Just as society has now advanced beyond superstitious falsehoods in our understanding of nature (their argument goes) we should leave behind what they see as superstition in our spiritual ideas, or leave behind spiritual ideas altogether. Those who don’t encourage dropping religious belief altogether argue for a tolerant attitude which treats all religions as equivalent. Underneath the carefully-crafted language with which they present it, the religious tolerance position is really built on top of a faulty worldview assumption – that all religions are actually completely false, ergo it does not matter which is followed. They ignore the fact that the randomness of their prized evolutionary paradigm would actually make all of the “progress” we’ve achieved impossible! It is only because we have Creator who is a God of order that math and science even work at all and can build our understanding of the real world.

Leveraging the “Progress” model, these opponents claim that religion, including Christianity, has caused more pain and sorrow in the world than it has healed – ignoring the fact that the evil actions of individuals claiming to be acting on behalf of a particular religion say nothing about the truth of the religion itself. Although Islam and other religions actually do teach violence against non-believers, true Christian believers can never create evil in the world if they are acting in accord with Biblical principles.

In fact, it is the attack on religion that has created the most death, pain and suffering. Abortion alone can claim more casualties than the Crusades, Inquisition and all religious wars combined – over 50 million dead babies and counting. Tens of millions more died in World War II, the Holocaust, the Russian genocide and Killing Fields as a result of individual leaders’ atheism and nations’ apostasy. As western nations continue to ignore the Christian underpinnings of our society, to destroy the God-given roles of men and women, to expose our children to corruption and sexualize their identities at ever-younger ages, to accept perversions as acceptable life decisions, as we allow more children to grow up in unstable homes, to study liberal interpretations of history and to learn a Godless worldview in government schools, we see our society deteriorating before our eyes, and eastern societies with more stable values taking our place as the economic leaders in the world. If the vast majority see these effects as terrible, why is the outcry not louder against the ultimate cause: the purposeful replacement of the Christian worldview with secular humanism?

Opponents of religion point to the long list of religions which have already been discarded by civilized societies around the globe: African tribal, Native American and Druid belief in natural spirits, Egyptian gods, Greek/Roman gods, Aztec/Mayan/Inca sun worship, Polynesian volcano worship, and many more. They claim that just as humans have left these faulty religions behind in the steady “Progress” of the human intellect, we will soon also leave behind all of the religions which are “still” practiced in the world today.

FALLACY ALERT: Claiming that there is no God or that all religions are false because some have been shown false makes the same logical mistake as claiming that we should stop believing in the sun because so many past ideas about it have been proven false.

Just as we all see the sun with our own eyes, the universe testifies to the existence of its Creator, as do the consciences within each of us. Many have mistakenly believed that the sun moved across the sky, or was a god, or the eye of the heavens or a chariot of fire. Similarly many have mistakenly believed many things about the nature of the Creator and how we should live in obedience to Him. In either case does that mean they do not exist? No.

It is clear that the direction of “Progress” should be toward the right understanding of God, not away from Him. I pray by His grace that we and our faithful descendents can move the world toward that end.

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