The Secret Battle of Ideas about God
A worldview book should be judged by how it helps us live out what we believe. Let me tell you about a good one. For many Christians, the word “worldview” suggests arguments about abstract and even arcane matters, the stuff of ivory towers and think tanks, not everyday life. But nothing could be further from the truth. After all, Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey entitled their seminal book about Christian worldview “How Now Shall We Live?” Emphasis on the “live” part. What we believe shapes how we live. Or, in some extreme cases, why some people give up on life altogether. Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl, quoting of all people the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, famously wrote, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” The question is “where do you find the ‘why?’” There are many competing answers to questions such as “Does my life have meaning?” or “Why do I hurt?” or “Why can’t we just get along?” or “Is there any hope for the world?” and even “Am I loved?” Finding the “why?” is the subject of “The Secret Battle of Ideas About God” by Jeff Myers, the head of Summit Ministries. In some ways, the “secret” in the title is a bit of a misnomer. Myers isn’t talking about a conspiracy or stealth campaign waged by nefarious actors. What he’s talking about is how different worldviews shape the way people, including Christians, think about these questions without people being aware of that influence. These different worldviews offer different answers to the question “what is life about?” One worldview says that life is about control, in particular control of nature and the created order, not as stewards but in furtherance of our desires. The second, taking its cue from Marx’s dialectical materialism, reduces all of life’s questions to economic arrangements. The third says that life is about context, that is, it denies that “Truth” with a capital “T” exists. Instead, there is only what people with power can trick the rest of us into thinking. The fourth says that life is about consciousness. What Myers has in mind is what Chuck Colson used to call “God kits.” Not just the New Age stuff of countless caricatures but also the more sophisticated variety peddled by the likes of Oprah Winfrey. The fifth worldview looks at the disorder of the modern world and insists that life is about conquering. While, thankfully, actual jihadists are rare in the United States, Europeans, through bitter experience, have learned about the appeal of this worldview to alienated young men in their midst. Then, of course, there’s the Christian worldview, the story of Creation, Fall, Redemption and the ultimate Restoration of all things in Christ. Myers’s goal is to help you resist what he calls “idea viruses” by teaching readers how to first identify them and then stopping their spread, not only in your life but in the lives of your loved ones. Like I said, “The Secret Battle” is different from other worldview books. The competing worldviews are judged by their answers to questions that directly touch every one of our lives. For instance, few philosophers and other intellectuals demand that a particular ideology or worldview answer the question “Am I loved?” But it’s a question we all ask, and any belief system worthy of our adherence had better provide a credible and satisfactory answer to that question. The same is true of questions about suffering and hope. Myers knows of what he speaks. He shares painful details from his own life that illustrate what Christian hope looks like. It took a lot of courage to do this but, as I said, this is no ordinary worldview book. It’s a book that takes the “live” part seriously. For more information on Jeff Myers’s book, “The Secret Battle of Ideas About God,” come to our online bookstore at BreakPoint.org.