By Brannon S. Howse
Kierkegaard's existentialism proclaimed that "truth is subjective," a worldview very much alive today. "Existentialism is a philosophical movement that became associated with the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre (who rejected the name as too confining) and whose roots extend to the works of Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger."
Martin Heidegger's existentialism and that of Kierkegaard's differed in some ways as did the existentialism of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, but there is room for both on the highway of postmodern thinking. "Kierkegaard and Nietzsche differed radically, most famously in their approach to religion (Christianity in particular). Kierkegaard was devout while Nietzsche was a blasphemous atheist. But so, too, twentieth-century existentialism would include both religious and atheistic philosophers."
Of course, once a person or society rejects absolute truth, the consequences of the downward spiral into moral relativism become increasing brutal. Hitler greatly admired Nietzsche and liked to have his picture taken staring at a bust of Nietzsche. Heidegger was a member of the Nazi Party and an influential German philosopher who became rector of the University of Freiburg. In a 1933 article in the Freiburg student newspaper, he publically endorsed Nazism: "The German people must choose its future, and this future is bound to the Führer."
Nietzsche may not have agreed with all that Hitler did, and I am certain Kierkegaard would have absolutely rejected Hitler's worldview, but his rejection of a Biblical worldview and commitment to subjective truth set up a cultural, slippery slope. We find that such slopes are often greased by professors, philosophers, intellectuals, and liberal theologians to the benefit of a dictator or tyrannical central government.
The wide way of existentialism is described by Walter Kaufmann in his book, Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre:
"Existentialism is foreshadowed most notably by nineteenth-century philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, though it had forerunners in earlier centuries…Although there are some common tendencies amongst "existentialist" thinkers, there are major differences and disagreements among them (most notably the divide between atheistic existentialists like Sartre and theistic existentialists like Tillich); not all of them accept the validity of the term as applied to their own work."
Hubert Dreyfus puts Kierkegaard’s particular contribution to the movement in succinct perspective: "Contemporary Heideggerians regard Søren Kierkegaard as, by far, the greatest philosophical contributor to Heidegger's own existentialist concepts."
Nietzsche and Kierkegaard believed a person could not know truth, that we should embrace the mysticism of the world and reject absolutes. We can see this influence of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche on both the American culture and many of America's churches, seminaries, and Christian colleges.
Postmodernism, which is closely tied to existentialism, was introduced through the English departments of many American colleges and universities. The study of literature offered a convenient vehicle to teach the idea that one can never know what an author means to convey. Any interpretation is subject to each individual reader. As David Noebel notes:
"Postmodernism's most effective methodological tool is known as Deconstructionism, which means (1) that words do not represent reality, and (2) that concepts expressed in sentences in any language are arbitrary. Some postmodernists go so far as to deconstruct humanity itself. Thus, along with the death of God, truth, and reason, humanity is also obliterated."
One of the most basic and successful methods of teaching reading—phonetically–has already been tossed aside by "enlightened" educators. "Whole Language" is now the instruction of choice for most public schools. And what is whole language? “Rethinking Whole-Language,” an article in the January 1994 issue of The Executive Educator, explains:
"The most basic principle of Whole Language, according to many laudatory books on the subject, is that illiterate people can best learn to read and write in precisely the same way they learned to speak…To develop writing skills, children are encouraged to "invent" the spellings of words and the shapes of letters they need for their compositions. In short, Whole Language demands that instruction be directed unsystematic, and non-intensive. The second fundamental principle of Whole Language is that individual learners should be "empowered" to decide what written materials mean."
Later, the article makes the crucial point, "Language never can communicate exactly what the author intended to convey."
In teaching kids to read, Whole Language proponents utilize relativism or postmodernism, which rejects absolute truth, as the Executive Educator article reveals:
"The founders of Whole-Language call reading a guessing game; in other words, the meaning of a written passage is generally anyone's guess. Whole-Language teachers urge students to use sentence context cues to guess at the identity of the various words they read. Students accordingly substitute, add, and omit words in sentences they read—as they see fit…As a student is at liberty to "reconstruct" the meaning of a reading selection in his or her own personal, idiosyncratic terms, differing interpretations of the author's intended meaning are encouraged. Whole-Language advocates dismiss concerns that such reading habits leave students unprepared to examine an author's ideas and expression critically."
You can imagine the results. Parents of children who have experienced the Whole Language approach have wondered why Johnny can't read, spell, sound out words, construct a simple sentence, or analyze the meaning of a story. Now you know.
The February 13, 1995 issue of Forbes reported the failure of Whole Language:
"Parents dislike Whole Language because it downgrades accuracy—children are allowed to approximate meaning—and also because it seems not to work: San Diego schools, for instance, found that the percentage of first-graders scoring above the median on a reading test dropped by half after 18 months of Whole Language instruction. And a study of two schools by University of Georgia professor, Stephen Stahl, shows that children at the school using traditional instruction far outperformed those at the Whole-Language school. Yet Whole-Language is increasingly inescapable: Many states have actually mandated its use."
Postmodernists seek to deconstruct western society by denying absolute truth even in the disciplines of reading and writing. Postmodernists within the American Church deconstruct Christianity—as did Kierkegaard—by proclaiming that the Bible is not the absolute, inerrant, divinely inspired Word of God. And the Emergent Church is gaining ground in spreading this false church.
In rejecting traditional morality and values, existentialists uphold what they call an ethic of authenticity. You will also hear this phrase from the Emergent Church as they reject traditional, orthodox Christianity for an “authentic” Christianity.
There are other symptoms of deconstructionism as well. Deconstructionists tell us America was founded by rich, white men who wrote our founding documents in order to control the masses and implement an evil capitalist worldview by which to enrich themselves at the expense the majority. Many deconstructionists within the Church add that rich, white men also founded the Church as we know it and defended certain Biblical theology and doctrines in order to control and manipulate the masses while commercializing the Church for their own personal gain.
In The Emergent Church: Undefining Christianity, Pastor Bob DeWaay describes the worldview of Church deconstructionists:
"Deconstruction assumes that like the producer in the Truman Show, authorities have conspired to make us believe that the limited and constricted version of our "world" is all there is…In the minds of some in the Emergent Church those motives are "command and control" and the spread of white, Euro-centric male-dominated Christianity over others. Hints of such motives are ferreted out in written material."
DeWaay also explains how this affects a person’s reading of Scripture:
"Literary deconstruction has serious ramifications for the interpretation of Scripture…One can see the perverse affects of this postmodern approach to texts in many Bible studies that are far too common nowadays. A portion of Scripture is read and the question, "What does that mean to you?" is posed. So rather than seeking the singular meaning of the Biblical author, the group shares various feelings about how they respond to the text. The authority of Scripture becomes a meaningless concept because the Bible no longer binds anyone to one valid meaning….Deconstruction also doubts that language corresponds to reality."
Deconstructionism undermines a Biblical worldview in the areas of law, family, science, education, economics, history, and social issues, and replaces it with “social justice,” a masking term for socialism, communism, and Marxism. By deconstructing the influence of the Bible and Biblical doctrine, the neo-orthodox create a "neo- evangelicalism" that is all inclusive, pluralistic, and committed to a social gospel which is actually nothing more than socialism.
You’ll recall that Alice Bailey and her demon predicted the "new order" would come about through the educational establishment and the apostate church. Clearly, both institutions promote the same humanistic, postmodern worldview. Now let's add another piece to this worldview puzzle.
How will this false-dominant church be blended into the coming one- world religion? The answer is simple. With its rejection of Biblical authority, the false-dominant church is left with only one option, and that is pagan spirituality. Again, this trend can be traced to a modernist group of German theologians in the tradition of Wellhausen.
German theologian Jurgen Moltmann in the 1960s created what he called "a theology of hope," based largely on the philosophy of Friedrich Hegel. What makes this so critical is that Hegel had a huge influence on the German people, which helped to lay the foundation for Adolf Hitler. Yet, how many Bible-believing Christians are aware of the fact that Hegel's philosophies, as promoted by Moltmann, are now being promoted by some of America's most well-known "Christian" authors, pastors, and conference speakers? Pastor DeWaay reveals that the heretical teachings of the Emergent Church find their source in Moltmann:
"The Hegelian synthesis denies absolutes, such as absolute truth or knowledge, and instead claims that everything evolves as incompatible ideas merge into something new and better. Two incompatible opposites, such as good and evil, combine and evolve into an improved third option that surpasses both. Moltmann applied Hegel's synthesis to theology and eschatology, deciding that because incompatibilities were evolving into new and better things, God could not possibly allow the world to end in judgment. Instead of judgment, Moltmann set aside scripture to declare that the entire world and all of creation was heading toward paradise and progressively leaving evil behind."
The Emergent Church, like many liberal, mainstream churches, has rejected the idea of the return of Jesus Christ and His judgment of the world. Instead they see it as their responsibility to build God's kingdom through utopian ideals of the redistribution of wealth, the social gospel, disarmament, and a world community committed to social justice and pluralism.
Copyright 2009 ©Brannon Howse. This content is for Situation Room members and is not to be duplicated in any form or uploaded to other websites without the express written permission of Brannon Howse or his legally authorized representative.