Immanuel Kant stands supreme as the philosophical godfather of millions of Americans who probably do not know his name. Kant’s epistemological system posits that truth is the synthesis of information filtered through one’s own needs (mostly) and perceptive ablities (greatly). Thus born, individualist philosophy survives Kant to nourish Nietsche (Hitler’s favorite philosopher) and the aforementioned millions of modern Americans.
While fundamentalists bemoan (or use as their dual boogey-men) the presence of homosexuals and pro-abortion voters, a more subtle evil influences the daily lives of most Americans. Individualism runs rampant. From every corner one hears ideaologically weary citizens say, “You have your truth. I have my truth. Keep your truth that works for you and I will keep my truth that works for me.”
You recognize the result. Individualism puts to death any objective standard of truth. My truth works for me. I synthesize information through my own needs and perceptive abilities to form a world view that works for me. The Hitlerian world view includes belief in the superman-genius (himself) born to create a race of supermen who would perform a final solution of ethnic cleansing. Several millions of deaths ensue.
Meanwhile the legacy lives. According to a Gallup poll, more than one-third of Americans believe that God lives in them. They conclude, however, that since God lives within them, churches of any kind are unnecessary. Objective truth takes a back seat to individualistic epistemology and the local faith community becomes road kill.
I am going to argue for a Christian world view, whispered until people get ready for something louder, that includes what the British philosopher H. A. Hodges calls Abrahamic theism. John Newport (Life’s Ultimate Questions, Copyright John C. Newport, 1989, p. 11) points out the New Testament “insists again and again that Abraham is a model for Jew and Christian alike and that the true Christian is the spiritual child of Abraham.”
Abraham, our spiritual father-model, (according to the Roman and Hebrew Letters) leaves off worship of the creation/created images like idols, gives himself over completely to God whom he cannot see and sets off on a life faith journey complete with myriad failures. In so doing he presupposes that God is the only God, creator of the world and purposefully in control of actions and events in that world.
Human beings own a place in that world. God communicates with humans in revelation understood and interpreted as command. Humans, Christian humans, can guide their lives by the revealed purpose of God.
Objective truth exists and matters. The God of the Bible is the creator of all and the sum total of objective truth. Christians act on that belief. The world is not divine, nor is it uncreated. The presence of God in us is the birth of the divine experience and it is supernaturally occurring, rather than the ordinary experience of humankind.
So, to the millions of Kantian saturated individualists in our nation and the full one-third of us who do not believe we need much of anything since we have God within us, we wish to say, “We wish to hear your story of ultimates and absolutes. In listening to you, we gain much. Our thought, from our Judeo-Christian Biblical worldview is that you and I are less and other than God. We are poorer when we fail the fellowship test with God and each other. There is a wholeness to the fabric of the universe that transcends the one lone voice insistent on its own genius.”
I still think that an evangelist is a disciple-making disciple. I contend that the three tactics of the evangelist, to start, might be:
Live like you ought to live.
Strengthen the love bond between you and God.
Invite others to walk, talk, eat with you and to join your ministry,
Peace and love.