The eyes of the nation were on Washington, D.C. this past week. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s public hearing on President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee was taking place. During this hearing, Senator John Kennedy asked the nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a series of questions.
I was intrigued by her answers. This is because her responses defines the worldview she holds to. It is the same worldview that far too many Christians live by. The Q&A went this way (emphasis mine).
Senator Kennedy: When does life begin, in your opinion?
Judge Jackson: Senator, I don’t know.
Senator Kennedy: Do you have a belief?
Judge Jackson: I have personal, religious and otherwise beliefs that have nothing to do with the law, in terms of when life begins.
Senator Kennedy: Do you have a personal belief of when life begins?
Judge Jackson: I have a religious view that I set aside when I am ruling on cases.
Senator Kennedy: When do equal laws of protection attach to a human being?
Judge Jackson: I don’t know the answer to that question. I am sorry.
I do not share this exchange to debate the politics that are always part of the confirmation process for a nominee to the Supreme Court. However, Judge Jackson’s responses show a tragic condition that has become part of the fabric of society and, unfortunately, today’s church.
It is my opinion that far too many Christians would respond to these questions the same way that the nominee did. In fact, many Christians will “set aside” their “religious” beliefs when it comes to voting for individuals, how they educate their children, and a host of other life decisions.
Behind Judge Jackson’s answers lies a worldview characterized by dualism. Dualism is the false idea that life can be divided up into two or more compartments. Each compartment of one’s life can operate according to different beliefs and values. This is exactly what Judge Jackson was very honestly stating.
She believes that she has personal beliefs, religious beliefs and, even, “otherwise” beliefs. “Otherwise” beliefs seem to be different to her than personal and religious beliefs. This is why she states that she has religious views on some areas of life that can be used or set aside when making decisions, depending on the situation.This dualism is commonly referred to as the secular/sacred divide. My beliefs and values in the sacred compartment of my life can be very different from the beliefs and values in my secular compartment of my life.
Of course, this is a false worldview that really can’t bring true meaning to one’s life. Believing that I can have different and even conflicting beliefs about any area of life does not match reality. There is an even more important truth when it comes to trying to compartmentalize one’s life. It is impossible for anyone to “set aside” one of his/her beliefs when it comes to making decisions.
This is because all beliefs and values are religious in nature. In order to believe something, one must have faith that it is true. For example, you cannot claim that “religiously” you believe life begins at conception and, at the same time, decide that life doesn’t begin until birth when deciding whether or not abortion is murder. When one states that abortion is right, his/her real belief is that life does not begin at conception.
I know that when this is debated many people will play a game of semantics. For example, those who believe abortion is morally right will say something like this.
Life may begin at conception. However, this does not mean that the fetus is a person. Personhood is different!
Atheist and secularist Daniel Dennett states that five conditions must exist in order for someone to be considered a person.
Among the conditions he applies to personhood are rationality, consciousness, the attitude or stance taken by society, capacity for reciprocity, capability for verbal communication, and a self-consciousness.
Of course, most of these conditions are subjective and can be answered in many different ways — especially the attitude or stance taken by society. This means that if society has a certain “attitude” or “takes a stance” on any thing, that attitude and/or stance determines its truthfulness.
By playing this semantic game, one can claim to believe life begins at conception but, since the new life does not have some of these conditions, it is not a person and, therefore, can be killed. When this is one’s belief, then it is accurate that the person cannot determine when equal laws of protection attach to a human being.
Having a dualistic worldview causes life to be fragmented with no unified meaning to one’s existence. The most evident example of the devastating consequences of living a divided life is seen in how Christians educate their children. By dividing life up into the secular and sacred compartments, the vast majority of Christian parents enroll their children in secular educational programs, both public and private. It even shows up in Christian schools where a biblical worldview and philosophy of education are not understood and implemented in everything these schools do.
Parents can do this because they simply “set aside” their “religious” beliefs. They will enroll their children in schools where beliefs and values that are totally opposed to Scripture will be taught to their children.
The result is that children go out into adult life with either a secular worldview or, at best, a dualistic one. When they are confronted with a choice, usually the secular mindset wins out and drives most of their life decisions.
This is why it is imperative that Christian parents, pastors & church leaders, and Christian educators develop a biblical worldview and address the issue of education biblically. This is exactly what will take place at this summer’s two Kingdom Education™ Summits. I cannot stress it enough how important it is for you to attend one of these Summits.
We must ask ourselves this question. Do I have any “religious” beliefs that I have set aside in order to make certain decisions in my life? If so, we are living in a divided house. A house divided against itself cannot stand and a dualistic worldview will only result in disaster. Scripture makes it clear that one either loves God and hates the world or he loves the world and hates God. We must develop and live by a biblical worldview in all areas of life if we are going to make right decisions.