In part 4 (see parts 1, 2, and 3), Dr. Bahnsen continues discussing specific ways in which universities are not intellectually “neutral.” Part 3 introduced intellectual bullying and double standards, and we continue with the latter.
2. Double Standards and Hidden Agendas cont.
If you think that universities are objective, even-handed dispensers of neutral, agenda-free knowledge, you are “living in a fairy tale world.” Double standards exist both inside and outside of the classroom.
Inside the classroom, you need to be aware of the following considerations:
- Professors select both the questions and answers that he or she considers important to discuss in class.
- Professors select the books you are to read regarding those pre-selected questions and answers.
These selections are not neutral. Both in asking the questions and in seeking the answers unbelievers process life according to the tenets of their ultimate heart commitments.
On Christian terms unbelievers are more than merely “not neutral” in discussing man’s purpose in life, the purpose of the world, etc.; rather, unbelievers are hostile to God.
3. An antithesis exists between Christian and Non-Christian Thought; Unbelievers are hostile to God’s truth
The Scriptures are clear on teaching that unbelievers are not “open-minded, objective truth seekers.” Listen to Paul in Ephesians 4:17-19 (ESV):
Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
Although in their thinking unbelievers are hostile to God and His truth, believers do not think this way. Rather, believers are to think according to God’s authority (vv. 20-24):
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Review of main point 1: Unbelievers are Not Neutral
Bahnsen’s two main points on neutrality are simple: (1) “They aren’t;” (2) “You shouldn’t be.” Unbelievers are not neutral because:
- They use double standards,
- They selectively consider questions of truth based upon the confines of their secular worldview, and
- They have a worldview/mindset that is hostile to God.
In the last two sections, Bahnsen expounds his second main point, “You shouldn’t be.”
Main Point 2: Christians Should Not Be “Neutral”
Dr. Bahnsen turns to the following Scriptures to argue that Christianity’s epistemology demands that Christians think as Christians, and not as supposed “neutral” automatons. The following texts are by no means exhaustive, but they give a brief introduction to basic concepts in Christianity’s worldview.
In Jesus’ High Priestly prayer, He prays: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17 ESV).
- To be “sanctified” means consecrated or set apart by the truth.
- Because Christians are set apart or distinguished from the world by God, believers cannot be neutral. Rather, believers are to think according to God’s revealed truth which has “sanctified” them.
In Matthew 6:24 (ESV) Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.“
- Jesus’ point is that it is impossible to have two ultimate authorities governing your life. (By definition an “ultimate authority” precludes the possibility of neutrality.)
- Believers, then, are to think, feel, and live in obedience to the Sovereign Lord of all (which means believers cannot be neutral in their thoughts, affections, or actions).
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV): “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
- On Christian terms, attempting to be neutral forbids one from knowledge because the ultimate foundation of truth is God Himself.
- To know one’s self, one’s world, and ultimate reality correctly, the Christian’s starting point is the non-neutral fear of God.
Colossians 2:3 (ESV) “in whom [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
- Christianity does not just claim “religious” truths, as if the religious sphere of life is separate from the non-religious (i.e. the so-called “secular/sacred” divide). Rather, “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” includes “all” truth.
- Because, then, on Christian terms God is the owner of all truth, Christians cannot claim to be neutral in any area of life.