28. Answering the non-religious worldview of materialistic Atheism -- SECULARISM
Many unbelievers today adopt - some of them even unknowingly - a materialistic worldview. Our schools and universities today basically function as indoctrination camps for a materialistic worldview. A lot of research has been done in the last few years into the rise of atheism among young people. The British newspaper the Guardian published an article* recently about post-Christian thought in Europe. The research shows that young people aged 16-29 in many countries are moving away from the faith they - or their parents - grew up in. Between 70% and 80% of young adults in Estonia, Sweden and the Netherlands identify themselves as non-religious, and the proportion reaches to 91% in the Czech Republic. Similar studies have been carried out in Australia and the USA with similar results.
One of the main reasons young people lose their faith is their unpreparedness for the kind of worldviews they face when they go to college. They find that whatever they heard from their parents or church (assuming they attended one) is attacked in every way imaginable. It is easy for them to reach the conclusion that the Christian worldview must be wrong. They have no preparation for dealing with a materialistic worldview, because it wasn’t given to them. As a result, they are quickly indoctrinated in materialistic atheism. As it is so common in the West, it’s worth being familiar with this system of thought.
As we have said earlier, materialists say only matter exists. Knowledge is obtained empirically (by sense experience). Adherents of such a worldview are the most inconsistent persons you can come across. For example many naturalists insists on using logic, reason, universals, mathematics, and ethical absolutes. They even think those are the answer to any problem, and that science can solve any problem humans face. But if they are consistent with their stated worldview, none of these things could exist, as none of them is material in nature. So if we are talking to a naturalist atheist, we need to “answer the fool according to his folly” and ask how can we have any kind of discussion about anything, if we are naturalists? Discussion presupposes there is the “truth” we are seeking; furthermore, we have to be logical and follow the laws of logic to find the truth, otherwise we are irrational and incoherent. We have to presuppose moral absolutes, otherwise we could compel each other to change our views or lie or cheat. All of these things make perfect sense within a Christian worldview, but they make no sense at all for a naturalist. So a naturalist has one of two choices: either admit their worldview is wrong and abandon it (in other words repentance), or abandon using all things which their worldview doesn’t allow for.
We may take any other illustration when talking to a naturalist to show the futility of their worldview. For example, we show how their worldview does not allow for rationality, or the uniformity of nature, or abstract concepts, or individual freedom, or free-will, or human dignity, or the origin of life, or harmony and so on. Do remember though that Christianity is to be presented as an entire system, as a whole worldview, not as a collection of individual premises. However, an unbeliever of course isn’t going to agree until or unless the Holy Spirit convicts them, and thus the apologist will need to keep pressing the points, which is why it can be useful to present more than one example.