C. S. Lewis observed that the most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones argued, but the ones assumed. And there's little doubt that in most universities across the United States, secularist materialism, in one form or another, is the assumed and unquestioned perspective from which most subjects are understood and taught.
So much so, that even professors theoretically committed to open-mindedness and inquiry are like the proverbial fish who don't know they're wet. And if they can't recognize their own materialist limitations, then neither do the students they indoctrinate.
Let me be clear. The real problem with secularist materialism is not that it is now largely assumed and unquestioned. And it's not even that materialist explanations are never right, because they are at times.
Rather, the problem is that as a worldview, materialism is so severely limited. You see, the "rules" of secularist materialism are that nothing other than purely physical causes or processes can be considered when looking at any area of life. Self-deluded as "neutral and scientific," materialism disallows up front any metaphysical, spiritual, or supernatural considerations at all.
But does this work in reality? Well, consider genetic research-especially with last week's news that scientists can now clone human embryonic stem cells. If the materialists are correct, then human beings are nothing more than soulless products of evolution, a chance collection of DNA, cells, and body fluids. The logical conclusion to this worldview would be to welcome human DNA manipulation, as well as the growing and killing of human embryos to harvest body parts for research.
That's just one example, but my friend Dr. Mike Adams, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, thinks that there are many, many more. You might know Mike for his popular column at Townhall.com. Mike knows the limits of materialism because, as a criminologist, he used to believe it. He's written about what changed his mind in his new book, "Letters to a Young Progressive."
As a secularist, Mike embraced moral relativism. He believed that right was right and wrong was wrong only because someone recognized them as such. They were mere social conventions, not a reflection of any universal moral laws. But after witnessing the brutal treatment of inmates at a South American jail, he saw the limitations of his secularist assumptions. There had to be a right and wrong, he concluded, and that set him on a new journey that led him to Jesus Christ.
Adams discovered that the Christian view of truth, morality, human nature, and reality was, well, much bigger than secular materialism, and provided a deeper explanation for the causes of crime, and better resources for understanding and pursuing justice.
In "Letters to a Young Progressive," Mike describes clearly and winsomely why materialism just isn't big enough for the real world. And Mike talks about this on our latest episode of "BreakPoint This Week." Come to BreakPoint.org to listen.
Here's the bottom line: Our ideas have consequences. We've all heard of the many students who walk away from their faith in college, and many more walk away from Christian truths by absorbing bad ideas from the secularist worldview that dominates the university. That's why Mike Adams and I devote our summers to teaching at the best worldview training program for students available-Summit Ministries. And, to help parents deal with this problem, I've created a teaching CD called "Why Students Walk Away and What We Can Do About It." Come to BreakPoint.org to learn about Summit, and I'll tell you how to get a copy of this CD.