Unbelievers identify with the concept of evolution. They believe in evolution of life, evolution of a moral code, and evolution of religion. They embrace what they see as an evolution of unbelief in the West. Of course, these people believe that evolution is progressive, and that this is a good trend because things are getting better. I might point out here that scientific law presents evidence to the contrary. Based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the entire universe is actually evolving from order to chaos.
Indeed, surveys do show that an increasing number of Americans are checking the box marked “none of the above” when answering the question of what religion they are. In fact, theologians tell us we are now living in a post-Christian America. This reality begs the question: As we appear to be evolving more towards unbelief, what is happening in our culture? I think that even unbelievers have to concede our society is not progressing the way they had hoped. When we look back to our growing up years and compare the divisiveness in our society today with those times, doesn’t it seem as though we have been progressing from order to chaos? Could there be a connection between what is happening now and the fact that our society has gradually evolved away from a society dominated by Christian morality and ideals?
We know Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds as the lamp stand continues to move east towards India and Africa, and this is wonderful news, but here in America, we need to understand where this evolution of unbelief is taking us and what to do about it to slow its “progress” in our culture.
Christians have faced this challenge before in our history. Ever since the gospel accounts initially presented the character and purpose of Jesus Christ, followed by the letters of the apostles organizing the Christian doctrine and the church, Christianity has been subjected to the challenge of unbelief; and, until Christ returns and every knee shall bow and tongue confess that He is Lord, those who reject Him will always be with us. So then, we must continue to be diligent in maintaining our witness and proclamation of the truth of the gospel to the world.
Over the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church gradually evolved towards unbelief in the sense that it relegated the Word of God to a secondary position under the authority of the Church. The Reformation brought us back to sola scriptura, the Bible alone. It was this commitment to the Bible as the ultimate source of all knowledge that slowed down the process of this Romanist evolution away from the truth of the Gospel.
Then modernism was introduced to us in the Enlightenment. As theologian Dr. Albert Mohler, Jr. once said, “The result was a totalitarians imposition of the scientific model of rationality upon all truth, the claim that only scientific data can be objectively understood, objectively defined, and objectively defended. In other words, the modernist worldview did not allow for the notion of special revelation and openly attacked the possibility of supernatural intervention in world history.”
Modernism has evolved into postmodernism which rejects modernism and maintains neither science nor revelation can provide us with the truth because there is no such concept as absolute truth. Mohler tells us that postmodernism is nothing more than the logical evolution of modernism into a new form. “Claiming that all nations of truth are socially constructed, postmodernists are committed to total war on truth itself, a deconstructionist project bent on the casting down of all religious, philosophical, political and cultural authorities.” Mohler tells us that Karl Marx recognized an evolution from modernism to postmodernism when he stated that “all that is solid melts into air,” an evolution from order to chaos. And certainly we can see what Marx meant as we begin to understand where postmodernism is taking us: from the order inherent in knowing the truth to the chaos of not knowing or caring to know the truth because there is no truth. So then, how is the Christian to live in this new age of evolved unbelief?
Dr. Mohler recommends that as we “continue to face opposition from false gospels and from the culture at large, we must continue to protest.” He says the only way to retaliate against the nihilism of postmodernism is to proclaim through our witness and word a return to the doctrine of sola scriptura. We have God’s Word written down for us in the Bible. “God has spoken to us in a reasonable way in language we can understand, and has given us the gift of revelation which is His gracious disclosure of Himself…we cannot capitulate to revisionist models of the doctrine of Scripture.” Mohler concludes by expressing the hope that, as we celebrate the 500th year anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, the theology of the reformers like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and others “finds new life in our modern Christian church.” Only in this way can we hope to stem the tide of the evolution of unbelief.