The Clash of Two Worldviews

November 4, 2001

The image of a plane slamming into the World Trade Center is indelibly imprinted in our minds. It was more than just an evil act–it was a horribly accurate illustration of the crash of two worldviews.

America works because it was built on the foundation of the Christian worldview, and because we have been richly blessed by God. But for the Arab world, much of it living a seventh-century lifestyle, trying to enter the modern world hasn’t worked. Importing the goodies of America’s prosperity—things like jet planes, e-mail and McDonald’s—is easy. Importing what it takes to produce these things isn’t. America is blessed with things we take for granted—a free market, accountability in our political systems, and the rule of law. These things work because they are based on a Christian worldview.

The founding fathers embraced the Christian beliefs in both the intrinsic value of the individual as God’s image-bearer and the sinfulness of fallen man living in a fallen world. So they wisely set up checks and balances that allowed self-expression and self-government to flourish while at the same time setting limits to restrain the sin nature. Our political system splits power between the executive, judicial and legislative branches. Our free market system results in the benefits of competition. America’s political and economic systems work because they are based on a Christian worldview. The Islamic worldview doesn’t see man as fallen and sinful, just weak, misled and forgetful of God. There is no room for individual freedom or expression, and we see this in the lack of development of Islamic science or technology or creativity.

The rule of law is such a part of America that many of us don’t know what it is. It means we are a nation of laws rather than men; we are governed by laws rather than by individuals. It means no man is above the law. This comes from a biblical worldview that teaches all men are fallen creatures who cannot be trusted to govern well unless they submit to a transcendent authority. In an Islamic worldview, where there is no concept of separation of church and state, political leaders can and do demand submission to themselves. They ARE the law.

Many Muslim leaders hate the West because the decadent pleasures of Western culture are luring the faithful away from Islam. Of course, many Christians share this abhorrence for the culture’s indulgence in immorality, pornography, sexual perversion and divorce. But regardless of whether it’s the positive strengths that are a result of our foundational Christian worldview, or the negative worldly pleasures that result from abandoning it, our current war on terrorism is the result of a clash of worldviews. Which is why it won’t be solved easily or anytime soon, and we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

©2001 Probe Ministries.