Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Worldview Class #2 – Part 6 – Cosmic Humanist (New Age) Philosophy

While teaching a Sunday morning class at church on the topic of various worldviews, I plan to share some of the more significant findings which our class is learning. The main text for the study is The Battle for Truth by David Noebel. A good deal of this class is also based on personal research.

We have defined philosophy as the “rational investigation of the principles of knowledge.” Put more clearly – How do we know what we know?

While secular humanism philosophy glories in naturalism (nothing is spiritual), and the Marxism worldview believes in a variant of that called dialectical materialism, the Cosmic Humanist (or New Age) philosophy goes completely in the opposite direction. For a New Age follower, everything is considered to be spiritual rather than material – people, rocks, light, methane gas – you name it. This philosophical belief is called non-naturalism.

This belief system admits to a God – and we are it. All things, living or otherwise, are considered to be part of a larger “God-force”. David Spangler, a principal proponent of New Age writing, says, “From a very early age, I was aware of an extra dimension or presence to the world around me, which as I grew older I came to identify as a sacred or transcendental dimension.” Such thinking pervades our society at every level today – in public schools, colleges, and community activities.

A popular bumper sticker seen around town proclaims that “The Earth is your mother” (something I’m pretty sure my mother, who endured a great deal of pain to bring me into this world, might find offensive). This New Age thinking comes from the Gaia Hypothesis (pronounced “guy-uh”) – a belief system that considers the earth to be alive. In fact, Gaia enthusiasts believe that the earth behaves like a living organism, able to regulate its own conditions and adapt for its own survival.

Consider the Gaia thinking around something as common as the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the air. From a Cosmic Humanist standpoint, here are some “known” facts:

· At one time, the earth had no atmosphere – it was a big, cold ball of rock circling the sun
· To create an atmosphere, the evolution of photosynthetic life forms was required
· Molecular oxygen is a waste product of plant photosynthesis – plants use carbon dioxide and water to create oxygen, while gathering sunlight during photosynthesis
· Atmospheric oxygen is now at a very convenient 21% level, and appears to have remained stable for “millions” or even “billions” of years
· If this concentration were to edge up to as little as 25%, forest fires would be raging across the globe (oxygen is a great catalyst for fires)
· Carbon dioxide is created by combustion, exhalation, volcanoes and plants at night (when there is no sunlight for photosynthesis)
· The oxygen/carbon dioxide balance seems to maintain itself very well, and has done so for a very long time

The conclusion that a New Age proponent reaches is that the earth is “alive” and takes charge of regulating this gaseous mixture – because that is what is good for its own survival. It all sounds very neat and tidy. But I have a couple of questions. Looking back to the second bullet point, how did the earth “know” that it needed an atmosphere? Why wasn’t it “happy” just being a cold rock? Does the earth “regret” its move now that evil man is trying to destroy the environment?

New Age philosophy often gets very close to the truth, but then veers off down an unfortunate path. They see the beauty of balance in the way things work – in this case, the regulation of our atmosphere, even when changes are introduced into the system. But instead of seeing this as a great and grand design by an all-powerful God, they attribute the wonder of such things to “smart” matter and material. In short, New Age thinking talks about us being God, but never about God being God.

Romans 1:20-23 bears repeating:

“For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
When a person sees the handiwork of God, but fails to attribute the grandeur to God, they become fools. Join with me in prayer, that these people’s eyes can be opened once again to the wonder of God’s creation – and that they will proceed down the path of giving God the glory.

Next: Worldview #2 - Part 7 – Biblical Christian Philosophy
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Back to the start of this series
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Back to Worldview Series #1

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