A War of Worldviews
Red vs. Blue, Christian vs. Humanistic Worldview
While the worldviews of those people reflected by the red and blue in Map 1 vary greatly, the general ideologies can be reduced to two positions: Christian versus humanistic. In short, a biblical Christian worldview has been the source of liberty in history, while a humanistic, man-centered worldview has promoted tyranny. The Founders of America believed, in the words of Thomas Jefferson’s pastor Charles Clay, “the sacred cause of liberty [is] the cause of God.” Those who oppose God and freedom of worship, oppose true liberty.
John Adams summarized the struggle between freedom and tyranny: “The world, the flesh, and the devil, have always maintained a confederacy against [liberty], from the fall of Adam to this hour, and will, probably continue so till the fall of Antichrist.” Adams admonished the American people to fight against this demonic plot to destroy their liberty.
To more fully understand this war of worldviews, we must first understand that every nation is built upon some set of presuppositions, some basic ideas of right and wrong, which are ultimately rooted in the religion of the people. The laws of a society will reflect these foundational principles.
On one side of the war is a humanistic worldview. With this religion (and all worldviews are religious), there are no absolutes. Right and wrong are based upon what a majority says or what a minority in power says; hence, law is evolving. Law is whatever the people or courts or legislators say it is. This view began to be taught in various law schools and colleges around the turn of the 20th century, with the state secondary schools following in succeeding decades. Over time this evolutionary view of law began to impact the courts’ actions. Judges began to see our law as evolving. In the words of Charles Evans Hughes, Supreme Court Chief Justice from 1930 to 1941: “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”
Most people are not aware of how much a humanistic worldview permeates our society. It is predominant in the market place of ideas — in movies, newspapers, television, public schools, civil government, and most books, including dictionaries. As an example let’s compare the definition of immoral from a modern dictionary to America’s first exhaustive dictionary produced by Noah Webster in the early 19th century and first published in 1828. Webster, as most of our Founders, had a Christian worldview which is reflected in his definitions. Under his definition of immoral he writes: “Every action is immoral which contravenes any divine precept.” To him, divine precept is the standard to judge immorality.
The modern Webster’s New World Dictionary defines immoral as “not in conformity with accepted principles of right and wrong behavior.” What is the standard for immoral action here? It is what the consensus of the population thinks. Immorality today is usually presented in this light where man determines right and wrong conduct. He is his own god.
Since man is the source of law in a humanistic society, man is the god of such a society. Historically, when man is his own god, the outcome is not freedom, but tyranny and destruction. Consider the fruit of the French Revolution or the gradual decay and collapse of the Roman Empire after the Caesars began to be viewed as gods.
In great contrast is the Christian worldview, where there are absolutes, right and wrong. Since God is the source of what is right and wrong, He is the source of law. To those with a Christian worldview, God reveals His truth in the Bible. This was the view of law in America for most of our history. William Blackstone, whose Commentaries of the Laws of England (1765) was the primary resource for those studying law in America until the 20th century, said that “no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to [the] law of nature [which is] dictated by God himself . . . [or to] the law of revelation [which is] to be found only in the holy scriptures.”
A Christian worldview was predominant in America from our founding in the seventeenth century up until the twentieth century. During the past century the Christian worldview has gradually been replaced by a humanistic worldview. As our worldview has changed, our law-system has changed. This changing of law-systems reflects a changing of religions.
Some would ask, “What difference does it make, if we have a Christian or humanistic foundation? Just as long as I have my freedoms.” We must understand that ideas have consequences. The fruit we get is determined by the seeds we plant. The fruit of America has been liberty and prosperity beyond that of any nation in history. It is important that we understand the seed principles upon which America was built. If we change seeds, we will get different results. The external state of nations today, as in all of history, has been determined by the foundational principles of the nations. Since these foundational principles are primarily rooted in the religion of the people, we should ask in what religion was America’s foundation rooted?
If you base your answer on what is taught in government schools, you would think we are a product of the secular European Enlightenment. But if you were to examine the laws, the schools, the writings, and the lives of early Americans, you would conclude, as did the United States House of Representatives in 1854 that “the great vital and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and divine truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
This same view was summarized by President Andrew Jackson when he said on June 8, 1845, “that book [the Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.” Early Americans would almost universally agree that the religious, social, educational, and political life of America was primarily shaped by the Bible.
Our states were colonized by people who desired to freely worship the God of the Bible; our schools were begun so that everyone would be able to read and understand the Bible for themselves; our universities were founded to train ministers who were knowledgeable of the Scriptures; our laws and constitutions were written based on biblical ideas; and our Founding Fathers overwhelmingly had a biblical worldview.
In early America there were those who attacked Christianity, for the war of worldviews has gone on since the fall of man. But they were few, and even the non-Christians fought against them. Toward the end of his life, Benjamin Franklin (who was not a Christian) wrote a reply to Thomas Paine seeking to dissuade him from publishing a work of an irreligious tendency which spoke against Christian fundamentals. He told Paine that no good would come from his publishing his ideas, writing that “He that spits against the wind, spits in his own face.” Franklin pointed out to Paine that “perhaps you are indebted to…your religious education, for the habits of virtue upon which you now justly value yourself….Among us it is not necessary, as among the Hottentots, that a youth, to be raised into the company of men, should prove his manhood by beating his mother.” Only evil would result if Paine’s ideas succeeded, for, as Franklin wrote, “If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.”
Many today in America are “beating their mother” when they seek to remove Christianity from our public life. Christianity is what has produced the liberty and prosperity that has allowed people to pursue such unwise action.
The winner of the present battle of worldviews in America will have great impact upon everyone in our nation. If the forces of humanism prevail, the fruit will be loss of liberty, increased crime, more broken homes, and less prosperity. These bad results will affect the humanists as much as the Christians (really more, due to God’s providential protection of His people), and in that sense they are “spitting in their own faces.”
The leftists rage because they have a wrong worldview. We must not only oppose them in the political arena, but we must also teach and demonstrate the principles and ideas that made America exceptional. Christianity has been the life-blood of America. If the Christian worldview prevails it will once again nourish every aspect of the life of this nation producing freedom, justice, prosperity, and life for all.
 Quoted in Stephen McDowell, The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, Charlottesville: Providence Foundation, 2016, p. 181. See Chapter 12 for more on “Liberty.”
 For historic support of this, see Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty, A Religious History of the American Revolution.
 John Adams, “Governor Winthrop to Governor Bradford,” February 9 and 16, 1767, quoted in Kidd, p. 35.
 Charles Evans Hughes, speech at Elmira on May 3, 1907, The Autobiographical Notes of Charles Evans Hughes, David J. Danelski and Joseph S. Tulchin, editors, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973, p. 144.
 Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Philadelphia: Robert Bell, Union Library, 1771, vol. 1, 38-42.
 B.F. Morris, Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States, Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1864, p. 328.
 Stephen McDowell, The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty, p. 15. See Chapter One for more on the influence of the Bible in the history of America.
 See various books published by the Providence Foundation that document the Christian foundation of America, including America a Christian Nation, America’s Providential History, and The Bible: America’s Source of Law and Liberty.
 The Works of Benjamin Franklin, by Jared Sparks, Boston: Tappan, Whittemore, and Mason, 1840, p. 281-282.