Integrating Worldview and Public Policy

Family North Carolina Magazine—Spring 2010

By William C. Roach

Over the past several decades there has been a shift in the ideological framework of American society. This shift is most clearly seen in universities and in public policy. This change has not come in a vacuum, but rather results from a fundamental shift in the worldview of many Americans.

The contemporary use of the term worldview comes from the German Weltanschauung, which means “world and life view.” The two prominent worldviews in the West are Theism1 and Atheism or Secular Humanism2. A worldview attempts to consistently answer four major questions and make a formal declaration about the existence and nature of God. Look to the sidebar to see how these two worldviews answer these questions.

Question Atheism Theism
Origin-Where did I come from? Self-existing Matter and Evolution Created by a Personal God
Identity-Who am I? No Soul, only Matter, Exalted Animal, Not made in the Image of God Soul-Body Unity, Rational Being, Made in the Image of God
Morality-How shall I live? Morality is relative and grounded in humanity Morality is absolute and grounded in the nature of God and the moral law
Destiny-What happens after death? Annihilation, there is no life after death Immortal, there is a resurrection of the same physical body and its reunion with the soul
God? None One Infinite Personal God

Presuppositional Neutrality is Impossible
Since the time of modern philosophy, and especially since the rise of the scientific method, it has falsely been assumed that objectivity equals presuppositional neutrality—claiming, “I’m not driven by any type of agenda.” Modern thought seeks to claim that Atheism is a neutral position, whereas Theism is driven solely by religion biases. This assumption is false because everyone has biases, which create their worldview. To deny such is itself a presupposition, bias, and worldview—hence, it is self-defeating. Therefore, since neutrality is impossible, individuals should seek out those presuppositions that correspond to reality and legislate from that vantage point.

Opposing Worldviews Cannot Both Be True
The reality of conflicting worldviews is played out in the political arena. All laws legislate morality and all moral declarations originate in a worldview. A government cannot consistently legislate mutually exclusive worldviews such as Theism and Atheism. The nature of reality demands that either Theism or Atheism be true (or neither and a third view is true), but not both. Clearly, it is false to claim that God both exists and does not exist, that morality is absolute and relative, and that life has and does not have intrinsic value. Therefore it is imperative that legislators understand their worldview because it is the platform from which they make all of their moral and political judgments. Voters should also understand the candidates’ worldviews as they decide who will represent them in the political body.

Which Worldview Should Legislators Choose?3
Legislators are tasked with enacting policies that are beneficial to society. A beneficial policy promotes and does not infringe upon the rights of the people or the order of society. If a worldview effectively serves the good of the people and keeps order in society, then that worldview should inform the work of a legislator. But, if a worldview does not effectively serve the good of the people or keep order in society, then it should not inform the work of a legislator.

The following argument asserts that a politician should not hold to an Atheistic worldview because it does not effectively serve the good of the people: (1) All things harmful to society should not inform the work of legislators; (2) An Atheistic worldview is harmful to society; (3) Therefore, an Atheistic worldview should not inform the work of legislators.

1. All Things Harmful to Society Should Not Inform the Work of Legislators.
American politics rests on the belief that all were “endowed by their Creator” with “inalienable rights” for the good of the people and the ordering of society. If something infringes upon those rights or brings chaos to society, then it should be deemed unconstitutional and prohibited or limited through legislation. For this reason, the government outlaws certain activities, such as murder, rape, stealing, etc. Along the same line of thinking, if it can be demonstrated that a particular worldview is harmful to society, then it should be seen as unconstitutional and infringing upon the rights of the people—hence, it should not inform the work of legislators.

2. An Atheistic Worldview is Harmful to Society.4
Much of the modern era has been an experiment in forsaking the First Cause (God) and the Moral Law. The problem with this experiment is that a self-caused universe does not communicate morality. Naturalism—the belief that metaphysical beings and statements such as God and the moral law cannot exist and are meaningless because they are not physical phenomena—does not obligate morality or warrant a coherent justification for morality. This being the case, Atheism is deemed a necessary, but not a sufficient condition to justify moral wrongs against society.5

This claim can be demonstrated from four lines of evidence: (1) Case from Nietzsche; (2) Case from Hitler; (3) Case from Humanist Manifesto II; and (4) Case from G.K. Chesterton. The first three cases are examples of Atheistic regimes that utilized evolutionary principles to justify their political and social campaigns. The final case from G.K. Chesterton demonstrates that an Atheistic worldview can logically justify moral wrongs in order to speed up the evolutionary process.

Case from Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche said, “When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By removing one main concept, faith in God, one breaks the whole. It stands or falls with faith in God.”6

Friedrich Nietzsche believed the implication that God is dead meant there are no longer any moral principles. He said, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed Him. How shall we, the murders of all murders, comfort ourselves?” He answered, “Must not we ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?”7

Before his death, Nietzsche predicted that because God and morality no longer existed, the twentieth century would be the bloodiest century in human history. Unfortunately, he was right.

Case from Hitler
Darwin foresaw the logic of his theory of evolution when he said, “Looking at the world at no distant date, what an endless number of lower races will have been eliminated by the higher civilized races throughout the world.”8 Hitler understood this and combined it with Nietzsche’s writings to justify World War II. He once said, “I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality . . . . We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence—imperious, relentless and cruel.”9

Furthermore in Mein Kampf Hitler said:

If nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such cases all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.

But such a preservation goes hand-in-hand with the inexorable law that it is the strongest and the best who must triumph and that they have the right to endure. He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist.10

Hitler justified the killing of 6 million Jews and 6 million non-Jews, believing that it sped up the evolutionary process. Clearly the “prophecy” of Nietzsche was being fulfilled.11

Case from Humanist Manifesto II
While the Humanist Manifestos claim that they work for the good of humanity and society, they clearly advocate ideals that have been proven harmful for society.12 Take for instance, Humanist Manifesto II, which says:

  • We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. Article I.
  • We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction . . . Human life has meaning because we create and develop our futures. Article III.
  • In the area of sexuality, we believe . . . The right to birth control, abortion, and divorce should be recognized. While we do not approve of exploitive, denigrating forms of sexual expression . . . The many varieties of sexual exploration should not in and of themselves be considered “evil.” [Furthermore], short of harming others or compelling them to do likewise, individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their lifestyles as they desire. [Finally] moral education for children and adults is an important way of developing awareness and sexual maturity. Article VI (Emphasis Added).13
  • It also [human dignity] includes a recognition of an individual’s right to die with dignity, euthanasia, and the right to suicide. We oppose the increasing invasion of privacy, by whatever means, in both totalitarian and democratic societies. Article VII (Emphasis Added).

Case from G.K. Chesterton
In his book Orthodoxy, Chesterton accurately and wittingly characterized the perplexity of the modern worldview. The “New Rebel” he speaks about is the agnostic, or more formally the Darwinian-Atheist. Here is what he has to say about this worldview:

But the new rebel is a sceptic . . . He writes one book complaining that imperial oppression insults the purity of women, and then he writes another book (about the sex problem) in which he insults it himself . . . As a politician, he will cry out that war is a waste of life, and then, as a philosopher, that all life is a waste of time. A Russian pessimist will denounce a policeman for killing a peasant, and then prove by the highest philosophical principles that the peasant ought to have killed himself . . . The man of this school goes first to a political meeting, where he complains that savages are treated as if they were beasts; then he takes his hat and umbrella and goes onto to a scientific meeting, where he proves that they practically are beasts . . . By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything.14

Thus, the Atheistic worldview points to the conclusion that when God dies, man dies. And when man is reduced to an animal, inevitably he will be treated like one. Modern society has not been able to free itself from the ethics of malevolent dictators. Evolutionary theory is still used to “justify” the murder of millions of people through genocide, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Sadly, the “prophecy” of Nietzsche is still being fulfilled today.

3. Therefore an Atheistic Worldview Should Not Inform the Work of Legislators.
Not all Atheists, Darwinists and Secular Humanists are evil people. But the evidence of those who have held to an Atheistic worldview logically concludes that it is a necessary condition to justify moral wrongs against society. With that in mind, Atheism is not a valid choice to inform the work of legislators.

Why Worldview Studies are Important to Public Policy
In Western politics, people have dedicated much time to battling specific issues. But, clearly no moral declaration about a specific issue exists in a vacuum. All effects have a cause, and the cause of a person’s moral declarations derive from their worldview. Worldview studies are important to public policy because understanding the worldview of a legislator provides insight into the type of laws and policies that individual would likely support or oppose. Therefore, to influence the laws of a nation, one has to develop the moral framework of the legislators—and to develop the moral framework of the legislators, one has to shape the worldview of both that legislator and the people—because it is the people who will elect the legislators who will write the laws of the land.


William C. Roach is director of special projects for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. He holds a Masters in Philosophy and is pursuing a Doctorate in Philosophy.

Endnotes

  1. When the term “Theism” is used in this article, I mean Christian theism. This is in contradistinction with Islamic theism. The Bible does not advocate the expansion of Christianity by the use of the sword or killing. But the Qur’an does advocate the expansion of Islam by the use of the sword and killing. At a later point, we plan to write an article demonstrating why Islamic theism should not inform the work of legislators. But for now please reference the book, Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2002) by Abdul Saleeb and Norman L. Geisler.
  2. Secular Humanism and Atheism will be considered synonymous terms for the rest of this article.
  3. It is the intention and goal of the magazine to publish an article at a later date to demonstrate that a Theistic worldview is better for the good of society. But, the purpose of the current article is to show that Atheism is harmful to society and should not inform the work of legislators.
  4. I want to be clear at this point. I am not advocating that all Atheists are immoral. My claim is that morality cannot be properly justified within an Atheistic worldview. Furthermore, if an atheist is moral, it is because they are inconsistently living within the framework of another system that advocates the morality and the moral law, not because they have logically derived morality from the presuppositions of their worldview.
  5. A sufficient condition is a state of affairs whose existence assures the existence of another state of affairs. A necessary condition is a state of affairs that must prevail if another is to occur. For example, fire is a sufficient condition for oxygen. But oxygen is a necessary condition for fire. Every time you have a fire, oxygen is present. But the presence of oxygen does not automatically entail the existence of fire, but merely provides the conditions for a fire to occur. Therefore, it should be clear that the presence of Atheism does not guarantee moral harms. But, it does provide a favorable set of conditions for moral harms to occur. It would be incorrect to advocate that Atheism is the sole cause of societal harm. Rather, it is one of many worldviews that provide the necessary conditions for societal harm (e.g., Islamic Theism).
  6. Friedrich Nietzsche, in Walter Kaufmann, The Portable Nietzche (New York: The Viking Press, 1968), 515.
  7. Ibid., Gay Science, 95-96.
  8. Darwin, “Letter to W. Graham, June 3, 1881, “in Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, ed. Francis Darwin (1888, repr; New York; Basic Books, 1959), 1:316.
  9. Quoted in Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004), 62.
  10. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (London: Hurst and Blackett Ltd., Publishers, 4th printing, 1939), 239-40, 242.
  11. Joseph Stalin justified the killing of tens of millions of people based upon evolutionary theory. The Atheistic communist regimes have justified the killing of over sixty million because of evolutionary theory. And the West has justified the killing of tens of millions of people through abortion, infanticide and euthanasia because of evolutionary theory too.
  12. For reading about the harms of Secular Humanist morality please read the book, Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is it Possible? (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998) by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.
  13. It is false to claim that Humanists advocate all forms of sexuality. This can been seen from phrases in Article VI which state, “We wish to cultivate the development of a responsible attitude toward sexuality, in which humans are not exploited as sexual objects, and in which intimacy, sensitivity, respect, and honesty in interpersonal relations are encouraged.”
  14. G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 46-47 Emphasis Added. For the full quote please see the cited text.

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