Worldview, Anthropology, and Gender: A Call to Broaden the Parameters of the Discussion -- By: Bruce Ashford
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Worldview, Anthropology, and Gender: A Call to Broaden the Parameters of the Discussion
For years, evangelicals have been able to assume enough common ground with their interlocutors that they could focus on stating clearly their arguments concerning gender roles, and tracing out the implications. With Christian interlocutors, one could assume quite a bit of common ground (imago Dei, many moral issues, etc.); and, even with non-Christians, one could often assume a residue of basic Judeo-Christian views on humanity and morality.
But it seems that, because of shifting cultural winds, there is an increasing need to articulate a biblical view of the nature of humanity, of man himself, as a matter prior to discussing gender roles and relationships. As the United States becomes more multicultural, both factually and ideologically, the challenges to a Christian view of man increase exponentially. We must be prepared to converse with Hindu and Buddhist pantheists, Muslim theists, New Agers, militant pluralists, and even more importantly, confused and syncretistic Christians.
An example of the need to articulate a biblical anthropology is the re-emergence of atheism in the public eye. In 2006, three bestselling books were Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell, and Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation.1 All three were written by atheists committed to overthrowing Christian belief and any of its cultural remainder.
While it is not at all clear that there is an actual resurgence of atheism in the United States, one notices that prominent atheists are turning up the volume and are receiving increased media exposure. As such, Christians should seek to articulate the biblical view of humanity as created in the image of God, and flesh out the implications thereof in a manner that is intelligent, winsome, and persuasive.
The problem with atheism, as with other worldviews, is that it is not able to account for the unique nature,
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capacities, and ends of human existence. Inevitably, it tends toward either an enthronement or a denigration of humanity, unable to strike a proper balance.
At times, atheists tend toward the enthronement of humanity. This might seem an obvious move; if one chooses not to worship God on his throne, the next best thing would be to enthrone oneself. This can be seen in Humanist Manifesto II, which states, “At the present juncture of history, commitment to all humankind is the highest commitment of which we are capable.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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