C. S. Lewis in “A Grief Observed” wrote, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?” There are millions ideologically and spiritually hanging on by a proverbial thread over the precipice that is eternity.
In the book of Proverbs from those whom King Solomon called the wise, we find these words… “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The declining influence of the Bible in American culture—and along with it, the belief that absolute moral truth exists—is evident in how people make decisions that determine their behaviors. What we do, the decisions we make and the results of those decisions have a lasting, even eternal impact. Earlier in the book of Proverbs Solomon would observe… “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” You see, what we do matters.
The American public flaunts its free will in many ways, not the least of which is by embracing a number of seductive—but decidedly unbiblical beliefs—as part of their worldview. According to new analysis of data from the American Worldview Inventory 2021 from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, the “Top 10” most prevalent “seductive unbiblical ideas” are… embraced by American adults include: the spiritually inclusive idea that “having faith matters more than what faith you have”; all faiths are of equal value; belief in “karma,” the idea rooted in Eastern religions that “you get what you give”; the dismissal of absolute truth; commitment to personal, subjective morality; the idea that people are “basically good”; success is determined by happiness, comfort, goodness, or fulfilled potential; sexual relations apart from marriage are morally acceptable; rejection of the notion that people are inherently sinful; and the conclusion that the purpose of accumulated personal wealth is unrelated to God’s purposes.
The fact is that even the 6% of adults who have a biblical worldview harbor many of these above-mentioned counter- biblical ideas as part of their personal philosophy of life is astounding! The survey reveals the most egregious departures from biblical teaching related to faith selection, personal behavior, decision-making, the human condition, and life outcomes.
The content of belief is important: Jonathan Whitfield was preaching to coal miners in England. He asked one man, “What do you believe?” “Well, I believe the same as the church.” “And what does the church believe?” “Well, they believe the same as me.” Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, “And what is it that you both believe?” “Well, I suppose the same thing.” Just believing is not enough though as Paul would warn, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”
The Gospel of Mark records… “And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ.”
Notice Peter’s response… in light of what he saw Jesus do previously he was saying more than just you are the promised one. He was saying, you are the one who can meet every need anyone has! Historians tell us that there were 14 temples to the god Baal in this region. Picture the scene…a Galilean carpenter, with 12 ordinary men, at the same time the religious leaders were plotting his death, stands in the midst of a countryside littered with worship sites dedicated to every known diety, asks an eternal question. Who do you say I am? Your answer to that question determines everything.
In April of 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn’t until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. Faith in anything but an all-sufficient God can be just as tragic spiritually. Only with faith in Jesus Christ dare we step into eternity.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
Tim Throckmorton is the Midwest Director of Ministry for the Family Research Council. He can be reached at 740-935-1406