Naturalism And How It Is Affecting Culture -- By: J. P. Moreland

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 24:4 (NA 2008)
Article: Naturalism And How It Is Affecting Culture
Author: J. P. Moreland

Naturalism And How It Is Affecting Culture

J. P. Moreland

Distinguished Professor of Philosophy,
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

Whatever role I have played in the church as a Christian scholar has really been born out of my passion to win people to Christ, to disciple them, and to plant churches. So, I have had experience doing that, and I come to you this morning with the assignment from Professor Little and others to discuss the world view of naturalism and how it is affecting culture. I want you to understand that my heart on this is not simply to give you an intellectual analysis of what is happening. More importantly, I want you to understand the culture in which we live and move and have our being. And so my goal is to explain to you in the time we have this morning and tomorrow morning what is going on in American culture that impacts the preaching of the gospel and the teaching of the Scriptures.

I was in the Seattle airport one Sunday coming back from a speaking engagement. I got a copy of the Seattle Times, and I made a beeline for the Sports page.1 But en route, I ran across the editorial section of the Seattle Times. The lead editorial in position number one on the editorial page was an article entitled “A Divided Nation.” It was a syndicated column which was reprinted in several newspapers that morning. The article said that we now live in the most divided nation in the history of our people, except for the Civil War. The author went on to identify what is at the core of this division, and when I read it, I practically fell out of my chair in the airport. He said the division is not fundamentally political. It is not fundamentally socio-economic. It is not fundamentally racial. The fundamental division among Americans today, he said, is a division of worldview. Now what shocked me is that we who love the Lord Jesus talk about worldview quite a bit, but it is very seldom that you see on Fox News or on CNN or in a major newspaper or Time or Newsweek an analysis of what is happening in culture that traces it down to the level of worldview. The professor who wrote the article can be forgiven (he’s a political science professor) for getting the worldview issue wrong because he said that we have two fundamentally different worldviews, and I think there are actually three that I will mention a little bit later.

But he said that the fundamental divide is between people that he would call “secularists” who believe that there is no transcendent realm, and that the

physical world is all there is. As a result, the family is merely a socially contrived arrangement produced by evolutionary struggle and to...

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