Episode 17: 'The Other Worldview,' and How Jesus is So Much Greater Than You Knew

Episode 17 November 14, 2020 00:30:00
Episode 17: 'The Other Worldview,' and How Jesus is So Much Greater Than You Knew
Thinking Christian
Episode 17: 'The Other Worldview,' and How Jesus is So Much Greater Than You Knew

Nov 14 2020 | 00:30:00


Show Notes

The Thinking Christian podcast is back! I'm returning with thoughts on Peter Jones's excellent 2015 book The Other Worldview: Exposing Christianity's Greatest Threat. There are just two worldviews, says Jones: Oneism and Twoism. Of course these two have different manifestations. "Twoism" is Jones' term for the view that reality is two things: There is God, and there is his creation, and they are not the same sort of reality in any way. Near the start of this podcast I invite the listener into a new way of recognizing just how transcendent God is. Near the end, it's a study, drawn from Too Good to be False: How Jesus' Incomparable Character Reveals His Reality, in how amazingly transcendent Jesus was even in his ministry on earth. Oneism, Jones's term for what we usually call monism, is the view that reality is basically just one thing. It could be one spiritual thing, as in Eastern religions, or one material thing, as in atheistic naturalism. Either way Oneism's effect is to erase distinctions. We see it playing out in the call to destroy the gender binary, in animal rights activism, in the call to grant human rights to rivers and forests. Oneism ultimately fails due to its own internal contradictions. Twoism, by the way,  is the view of all three Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, although Jones and I both focus on Christianity. Philosophers typically call it dualism, but Jones was wise to avoid that word, I think, since there are so many different "dualisms." this helps the reader focus on the one he's talking about. Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or Stitcher; now also on YouTube! Please take a moment to rate the Thinking Christian podcast on your provider of choice. It really helps make this content visible and available to more people. Thank you! I'm returning now after a long hiatus for health-related reasons (not COVID). My time away has given me opportunity to re-think the structure and schedule of this podcast. I'm still experimenting with it.
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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:08 Welcome to the thinking Christian podcast, your weekly guy to solid Christian thinking on culture science, faith, and Christian confidence hosted by Tom Gilson. Speaker 1 00:00:22 Hello, this is Tom Hilson for the thinking Christian podcast. I've been away for a while several weeks. Now, actually it may have caused you to wonder if this podcast had met the fate of so many others, a false start, I suppose that's still possible, but I've had a cough and I've been really, really hoarse for weeks then to the right kinds of doctors to try to get a checked out best guess is that it was kicked off by an unusual side effect to some blood pressure medicine. And you can probably still hear some of that hoarseness in my voice. And I'll just mention it, let you live with it. It's not as bad as it was. You wouldn't have wanted to hear me earlier. And the other thing that can happen with a podcast in this early days is that, and this would be true for me as well is the whole idea that you'll be experimenting, trying to discover what works best. Speaker 1 00:01:17 What's the best method. What's the best way to approach topics. What's the best way to schedule it? How long should the podcast be in that kind of thing? I've had an opportunity during this break to be rethinking that I was going down one road where I was doing a read through the gospel of Luke and looking at jesus' uniqueness there. What I found was it didn't work as well as I expected it would. So I'm at this point, moving back to what I expect and hope will be a weekly podcast on major topics having to do with Jesus, Kevin, to do with culture, having to do with faith and having to do with, uh, whatever comes to mind, but all in the category of a Christ centered thinking Christianity, I've just finished reading a great book by Peter Jones called the other worldview, exposing Christianity's greatest threat published in 2015 by Kirkdale pressed. Speaker 1 00:02:19 The other worlds you Joan says referring to in this book is what he calls one ism that's capital O N E. The number one ism. It's almost exactly the same as what philosophers have long described as Mona's M M O N as in mano. Also meaning one. Now of course, he's contrasting that to the worldview of Christianity. Christianity, no surprise is not. One is it's two ism capital T w O I S M philosophers typically call this dualism. But I think maybe here we do see a reason why, why Jones would have used a term other than the ones. And that is the term. Dualism has an awful lot of different applications. And, uh, by using his own term of art for it to ism, he can describe this twoism and have us be thinking only about the twoism that he has in mind. Whereas if he would had been talking about dualism, he would have had to scrape away a whole lot of other baggage from other kinds of dualisms than the one that he's talking about. Speaker 1 00:03:28 So what is this one? Ism? What is this? Twoism one ism is the, the doctrine, the belief, the philosophical worldview that says essentially that there is one kind of thing. In all of reality, an example would be the naturalistic viewpoint of most atheist and in America today, which is that the world, the universe, everything comprises matter and energy, which are actually one thing as Einstein showed us matter and energy, that's all there is. There is no spiritual reality. There is only physical reality. If we had a perfect physics, we would have a perfect understanding of all of reality, because that's all there is to it. That's one ism in one of its manifestations. In contrast to that, the truism of Christianity says that there is a God and there is a creation and they are not the same thing. They are not remotely. The same thing. Speaker 1 00:04:25 God is eternal. God is infinite. God is the creator. And when he created us, when he created the universe, when he created creation, he created it as something other than himself, something that he stands in a relationship with, but he is not the same as, and he stands in relationship with us as people, as, as humans, as persons created in his image. But he is not the same as us. We are not the same as him. So that's just a couple examples. We're going to go further into the one ism, but I want to spend a little time with us thinking about twoism and the difference between God and us. I've taught this in groups before, and I've had people say my brain hurts and you'll see why. If your brain hurts in this exercise being encouraged, don't let this scare you off their brain. Speaker 1 00:05:20 Hurting is proof that you have got it, that you understand the point. You see the doctrine of God as creator means that he is wholly other he's completely set apart from his creation. He's a different order of being in every way. I've given a lot of hours to try and sort that out in my thinking and the best, uh, the best outcome, really, to the best way to explain it is just as I said, my brain has hurt. So here, I'm going to give you a chance to try it yourself. I'm going to keep it down three quick exercises. They might seem as I, as I share them almost as if I'm trying to get you to imagine yourself being God. The real point of this is to show you that such a thing as far more impossible than you probably realized. So here's the first exercise. Speaker 1 00:06:13 If you can, uh, you may be driving. You may be walking, uh, but if you can sit down and close your eyes, this will give you the best chance at getting the outcome. The field, the, the understanding from this, sit down, if it can close your eyes, if you can, not if you're driving, but, but try, try. Imagine yourself being alone. I mean, really alone as in there is nothing but you, nothing exists, but you all of reality is you. Oops. I am going to guarantee you this. You're making your first mistake already. You're imagining yourself being alone, somewhere in space. That's not the way God is. That's not the way God was prior to creation. God couldn't have been alone in space. He hadn't created it yet. God was utterly, completely the only existence in all of reality, he was the only being in all of reality. Speaker 1 00:07:16 A more precisely. He is always has been, always will be being itself. God is God. Is it prior to creation? God is all of it. There, there is no other, there's no space. There's no distance. There's no relationship outside of himself. There is relationship within the Trinity, but God is all that there is. And so it would be if you're to succeed in imagining it, you would be imagining yourself as being all that there is and nothing around you. Not even a sense of a meaning to the word around you. There is no such thing as around you. Okay? That's the first exercise. Second one kind of helps explain what I just said about nothing around you. So you're alone and you're, and you've decided to create something other than yourself. So I'm going to suggest you start by creating space. Okay? You're alone. You're thinking, okay, I'm going to create something. Speaker 1 00:08:19 I'm going to call it space. And I guarantee you have just made your second mistake. You're trying to think of where you're going to put it. Where is space going to be in relationship to yourself in front of you, behind you, beside you around you? You can't do that. You, you can't put space somewhere. There there's no space to put it in. You can't put space somewhere, unless there space. And there isn't when God created space, he did something. We cannot even imagine, which is he created a, of a different kind that ever existed before. So the third one, and this one will be just as quick. If there's no space outside yourself, you might have thought of putting space inside yourself so that when you've finished creating space, you're bigger than space. Well, no, you've made two mistakes there. See the words inside and outside still require some space, which you're still trying to figure out where you're going to put, try to create. Speaker 1 00:09:27 And you're thinking of putting it inside yourself. Oh, you can think of that, but it wouldn't be accurate of God because God doesn't have sights. He doesn't have an insider and outside God doesn't have parts. You know, if you move from one place to another, in the space that he's created, that means that you're not moving from one part of God to another you're moving. God is fully present everywhere you are. Which by the way is one of the encouraging things that you can discover by thinking this, through that God didn't put space somewhere in himself in relationship to it. God is fully present everywhere. You are. All of God is present where you are. That's not the same as the doctrine of the Holy spirit, which says for Christians, God lives in us in a special way, but it certainly has some connection to it in the knowledge that wherever we are, God is fully there. Speaker 1 00:10:26 But have you caught a picture here of how different God is from his creation? We could go on with this kind of exercise at length, but the point of it is it. God is utterly transcended, utterly distant, utterly other completely. Unlike us, we are completely unlike him. There is a relationship. There is a relationship, but it's, it's not a relationship of equals. There's not a relationship of similarity in, in the terms of the philosophers. There's no ontological similarity. God is completely other. There are two things in reality. One ism is false. If Christianity is true, twoism is true. There is God, there is creation and they are not the same kind of thing. Well, if your brain was hurting, we can give it a rest here. I'm going to move on to talk about the one ism that Peter Jones speaks of in his book. Oh, and by the way, if your brain didn't hurt through that, it's because I rushed it. Speaker 1 00:11:32 Uh, w we should take longer for this kind of an exercise, or maybe it's because you had to be thinking of something else, doing something else, making sure you didn't run the car off the road or whatever, but if you'd had more time and if you really sat down and gave this the kind of imaginative thought you would again, experience the sense. I'm sure of how unimaginably different God is, but let's move on. Peter Jones talks about one ism. He puts it in context of Romans one 25. I'll quote him. He says, these terms are my shorthand for what I believe the apostle Paul is getting at when he describes the heart of idolatry and falsehood as exchanging the truth for the lie and exchanging worship of the creator for worship of the creature. One ism is paganism really, or it could be pantheism, or it could be what we in America call Eastern religion, or it could even be, as I described earlier, anti-religious scientific materialism or naturalism. Speaker 1 00:12:39 One ism says that reality is basically one thing from top to bottom. And, and all of these worldviews actually do share that view for the religious one. IST. The one thing is spirit or Brockman or some universal transcendent principle. It's a spirituality that erases distinctions evil is illusion or Maya or isn't star Wars. We know that the idea was that good and evil light and dark are two sides of one principle, the force, and neither one of them could exist without the other, because they're really the same thing viewed from two different angles. There's just one thing, one ism. And so for the Eastern religionist, a lot of the times ultimate understanding ultimate. They don't use the word salvation, but the analog to salvation would be that it comes in knowing that you are a God, that you are one with the ultimate one with the transcendent course for the, non-religious already mentioned this. Speaker 1 00:13:42 The one thing is matter and energy interacting by what we call natural law. And ultimate understanding would come with with an ultimate physics, whether it's religious or non-religious the point remains that distinctions mean nothing. That's, that's a little overstated. Ultimately, there are no distinctions. There are distinctions in phenomena. There are distinctions in the way the world appears, but the truth of reality underneath it all is that there's really just one thing. So that's why you can find people saying that rivers to serve human rights. You can hear people saying that gender binary must be broken. You'll hear them saying that one moral system is as good as another moral system. And since hierarchies are illegitimate, we're all one thing. No one can tell another person what to believe. We can all choose our own truths. These are all natural consequences or outworkings of the doctrine or the philosophy or the ideology of one ism. Speaker 1 00:14:48 Now Jones holds Carl EWM responsible. Most of this, a lot of the book is about Carl Young and his history and his beliefs. His philosophy C's influence, which really in the 21st century has come to outstrip. That of Sigmund Freud Ewan was a analytical psychologist in the sense of Freud, but so much different in a lot of ways, much more spiritual, much more inclined to matters of the transcendent young look to things like archetypes and the collective unconscious things that were beyond individuals. You don't have a way of putting a scientific shine or a scientific veneer on an essentially pagan view of reality. The modern view of psychological health because of UNE is based in large part on a paganism inspired account of the way the world works. And that's a little bit disturbing, not all psychology is like that. I have greatly benefited from great Christian counseling and I'm a strong believer in it, but I am not a believer in pagan psychology Jones focuses on EWM throughout the book, but he calls on other thinkers as well, like Mircea Elliot, who tells us that in today's view of being human quote, the ultimate goal of individuation or maturation is the removal of opposites. Speaker 1 00:16:18 Personal desire, even fantasy become the root to science-based psychological wholeness. Now here, he does two things that are worth noting. One is he speaks in terms of science, but it also talks about a mid maturity having to do with their removal of opposites. This is one ism inaction, and the capital G capital w the great work of the noted Satanist and pagan Allister Crowley is quote the uniting of opposites, the uniting of the soul with God of the microcosm, with a macrocosm of the female, with the male and quote, does that sound familiar? Have we seen that coming to the fore in today's etiologies? Of course we have. He mentions Francis Fox Tivan who was a former mentor to Barack Obama and a braced, a quote wholesale program of human identity politics, and quote. Now that as we all know, as an ideology, that's driving a whole lot of the cultural changes, the political changes in the world. Speaker 1 00:17:27 Remember the Jones wrote this in 2015 when I, I'm not sure that a whole lot of us were talking identity politics yet the book came out or at least was finished. Uh, well before Bruce slash Caitlin Jenner made his slash her appearance on the cover of vanity fair and kicked off the hugely rolling fast movement of transgenderism, that whole ideology of identity politics comes out of one ism. I am pretty sure that he would find one ism at the heart of the, again, much more recently discussed and highly, or in currency terms of cultural Marxism. And of course, black lives matter. So how does that fit into one ism? How does intersectionality fit into one ism? Intersectionality was really not anywhere on the scene for most of us to see in 2015, it would have been talked about in liberal faculty circles. One ism is one thing. Speaker 1 00:18:33 There's nothing quite so fragmenting and it's intersectionality. The kind of thing that takes one thing and divided into many intersectionality is the doctrine that person's experiences are defined by the intersection of their race, gender ability, status, sexuality, age, and who knows what else. So they, they will speak. It's not just your experience as a black person, but your experience as a black woman. And it's not just your experience as a disabled person. And it's not just your experience, maybe as a native American, it's your experience as a disabled person who is a native American. It seems the opposite of one isms doctrine. That all things are one thing, but it's still part of a larger package. We call it cultural Marxism. I won't get into that, but it's, it's a package that calls for an end to white privilege. And as Jones puts it, it calls for denouncing quote, sustainable racism and quote, which is, and according again, here now, which is immediately associated with the religion of the white founders of America, Christianity Jones continues saying the Progressive's understand that the depth and power of traditional Christianity must be undermined and eliminated. Speaker 1 00:19:55 If total equality is to be achieved and quote, but again, how does this fit into one ism? It's the idea that distinctions should be erased, but they're not being erased. So we need to identify the distinctions more clearly as they seem to be so that we can make them go away. Now, part of the whole doctrine of black lives matter is that we can't make the distinctions go away. White people in particular will always be racist. That's a strong, committed doctrine of black lives matter and of the anti-racist movement. And as they call themselves, what we're seeing here is where one ism hits a wall of unpracticed ability. That is it's a, it's a false worldview. And the more they try make it make sense. The more likely they are to run into internal contradictions, let's get rid of all distinctions by identifying them more clearly good. Speaker 1 00:20:58 We can work on them now, except I'm not overstating the case here, you get books like Abraham Kennedy's book, and they will tell you that white people are just incapable forever of understanding and overcoming their own racism. Contradictions. Yeah, it's, it's part of the whole difficulty in one ism, because you cannot make a false worldview work, scientific materialism fails to work. We won't go there though. This is all just a taste of thesis. I'm just summarizing a book. He says, according again, there are, but two worldviews, one ism and twoism and quote. And I'd say, if there's anything to be criticized in the book, it may be that he gives inadequate attention to the naivety, by which many persons embrace their ideologies like cultural Marxism or intersectionality, or even scientific materialism. I can certainly believe that those rural views have roots in one ism, but I doubt many of their proponents would recognize it for that because they just haven't thought it through to the proper ideological and historical roots. Speaker 1 00:22:14 So there's a lot of one ism going on that is unrecognized, but it is I think a pretty good case that there are, but two worldviews, one ism and twoism and twoism is chiefly in our culture practice in Christianity. I haven't mentioned Judaism and Islam. I should not fail to do that. They are to twist religions to the Abrahamic. Religions. Believe that reality is basically two things, but I'm going to stick with Christianity here. It is the worldview, the religion that I know. And it's the one that I embrace. I'll stick with that. And Jones is certainly correct in standing Christianity up against a one ism, even among the Abrahamic religions, Christianity's opposition to one ism is unique because Jesus Christ himself. His very life on earth stands as a denial of one ism. And this is one of the cool things about Jesus. You see, Jesus was different, more different than most of us realize he was extraordinary. Speaker 1 00:23:24 He was extraordinary beyond even Christian's usual view of him. I don't mean that he's greater than the way we describe him in our doctrinal formulations. He was God in the flesh worker of great miracles teacher of unparalleled truth, conqueror of death, savior of the world. Of course, all that's true. But what I mean beyond that, that there's a tangible kind of touchable superlative uniqueness to Jesus that we can connect with directly in the accounts. So Jesus, the gospels Jesus was different. I mean, he was cute, usually different incomparably different in my book, too. Good to be false. I tell of many of these differences, his self sacrificial love for example, is unmatched in story or in history. He's the only one ever to have had such power in you. Yeah. Use it only for others. Brilliance is without compare in both his teaching and in his disputations. Speaker 1 00:24:21 And speaking of his teaching, can you think of anyone else who could have taught and demonstrated the hardest virtue of all love for one's enemies and do it the way he did? No one else comes close. He is great from the moment of his first emergence on the scene, or even before it in the announcements of his birth, he remains great with no faltering, no failing all the time, way through his arrest, trial, torture and execution. And of course in his resurrection now I opened this podcast, speaking of the unfathomable, other ness of God. And in many ways we see Jesus displaying that same otherness, old Testament, prophets and heroes did miracles, but they did it in the name of God. Jesus did it in his own name, old Testament, prophets spoken God's name, Jesus spoke in his own name throughout the gospels. Jesus assumed a status equal with God, even while speaking of a hierarchy of authority in the Godhead. Speaker 1 00:25:23 Oh, and by the way, from this, we learned that difference in power status should never imply a difference in worth, but rather it's an agreed distribution of authority among equals. I said, should I emphasize that it's a principle that gets violated really often in practice, but Jesus is equal in status to the father. Not to us. He says, we can be as friends. If we do what he commands. If we do it, he commands. That's not equal status. Only his great love and his truth. And his obvious authority could lead anybody to say yes to a friendship like that yet millions or even billions have done. So again, Jesus is not equal to us. He stands as an obvious refutation of the one ism that says everything is equal and everyone is equal. He stands as a one man barrier against one ism. He is God who we are not. Speaker 1 00:26:17 It is he who made us and not we ourselves. He is to be worshiped. We must not be. And my goodness let's thank God for Jesus coming to us in this two whist reality, just to remind you, we saw just how unreachably unlike us. God is the chasm between us is infinite. He made us in his image. So we're like him in some ways, but in other ways, he is remotely unlike us and distant, or he would be had he not chosen to bridge that gap, which he did in Jesus. Jesus came as one of us, not so that we could be like God, in his, uh, in, in the essence of what he is not for that, but so that we could relate to God, not so that we could be absorbed into God or United with God in the sense that the Eastern religions they expect. Speaker 1 00:27:11 And in there, one is a philosophy. They would say, eventually we would become one with God. There's no such thing as us becoming one with God, we're too different, but he brought us into relationship with him. So that rather than being one with God, in some kind of a absorption sense, we can have a loving relationship with him. He is still God, we are still us. Our identity continues. We are who we are. And in Christ, if we will accept what Christ has done for us, we can continue in that loving relationship with God forever. The cap is bridged. And I haven't even talked about how Jesus bridged the gap of sin. That's a different topic. Unimportant one, just not the one that we're talking about this time. Jesus Christ has rescued us from hopeless forever, infinite distance from God. He has brought us into relationship with God by becoming one of us. Speaker 1 00:28:08 And by living among us, by teaching for us, by dying for us, by rising for us, he's brought us into relationship. And in fact, I think we concentrate so much on Jesus rescue from our sin, which is certainly appropriate when we need to concentrate on that. But we can miss out on the other great thing that he did for us, which is to provide the relational bridge between finite creatures like us and the infinite God who created us. We live in a two IST reality. One ism doesn't work. It fragments. It falls apart into pieces. Jesus himself shows that we live in a reality that's to IST, to use Peter Jones, his words. So I'm going to close here by just recommending to you, Peter Jones's book, the other worldview exposing Christianity's greatest threat. If you want to know more about this one ism and twoism, you'll get it from him a lot more than you will from me in a short message like this. I'm also going to recommend you my book too. Good to be false. How jesus' incomparable character reveals his reality because in there you'll see how Jesus has brought us back into relationship with this transcendent creator, infinite, God, Speaker 2 00:29:28 God who loves us infinitely. So I hope you pick up a copy of too good to be false. I'm Tom Nelson for the thinking Christian podcast. Thank you for listening. Speaker 0 00:29:42 The thinking Christian podcast is copyright by Thomas Gilson for more information, visit the thinking Christian [email protected]. <inaudible>.

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