The End Time of the last days is where we believe our present history finds us. The Bible prophetically characterizes this time as a global delusion sent by God whereby He gives the world over to the culminating powers of satanic deception, yet for a season. In the light of the intensifying depravity of mankind, such a season will give witness to the lowest ebb of human history, resulting from the long and persistent investment of Satan’s ploys in his quest to control mankind. The End Time is the prelude to Satan’s greatest and most mature hour. It will mark his collaboration with the leadership of humanity to bring about what he believes to be the overthrow of God on the planet Earth. It will culminate with his ultimate covenant with the Man of Sin, the Antichrist.
In this prelude season, what are the present powers that rest upon contemporary humanity? Two such powers for candid observation and consideration await us in this issue of Straightway. Although they may seem to be contradictory at a glance, from a closer vantage point they are working together toward the same goal. These two powers or forces are New Atheism and Postmodernism. In this article we will examine New Atheism.
The Powers of the Age
In the study of the biblical terms for power in both the Old Testament (Hebrew) and the New Testament (Greek), there are basically four contexts: (1) “inherent power” for enabling in a task; (2) an “operative power,” or a power especially in exercise, as an energy that enables; (3) an “authoritative power” in its liberty of action to do whatever it wants; and, (4) a power of “physical strength,” or an endowment to be expended in living. This fourfold concept of power has not only come upon this generation but also may be said to rest upon it. This resting influence in our generation produces the very moral and mental atmosphere that we breathe. It is quite amazing how this godless environment has become the very fabric that surrounds every aspect of the world, including religion.
The nineteenth-century Greek scholar R. C. Trench gives a classic understanding of the Greek word aion (“world-age”):
It is all that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, being the moral, and or immoral atmosphere which at every moment we inhale, again inevitably to exhale.
But how does this “floating mass” of influence reach a global proportion? This definition indicates that an age is the outworking of mankind’s heart disseminated through forms of communication. The one-world system (Gr., kosmos) is ever flowing throughout history, linked with the past, residing in the present, and producing the future. Because sin is ever mutating in man, every generation is a new breed of a philosophical product that is ever deepening in the world system. The biblical concept of an age takes the developed worldview of a previous age and mixes it with the formation of its current thinking. Each age, therefore, mutates deeper and deeper into a finality of philosophical thought to what will be the “golden age of man.” The synthesized human thought of one generation is transmitted to the next generation, which continues to synthesize current and past human thought as it presses on. Ultimately, this matured world system of human endeavor (away from God) will birth the Man of Sin.
Trench’s detailed definition suggests that an age is a mood, a spirit, a shroud, or a massive tent pitched over humanity; it is an encompassing dwelling place of a generation. The End-time age is a global tabernacle of mood that pervades mankind. It is a spirit, a mindset, a moral philosophy in which humanity dwells. Everything of human existence is found in this dwelling place: the ideological air that man breathes and the very sight of the tent fabric in all directions. As man rejects God, this closed tent of human thought becomes the only world that men know; it is their singular, existing reality.
The powers of this tent of human thought forge and weave the mindset of mankind through education, government, music, business, science, medicine, and even religion: it is humanity’s world. It completely encompasses every concept, every presupposition, every perspective of reality that rests upon mankind. It literally is the tabernacle in which mankind dwells.
More than any time in the history of mankind, this globally-connected generation has begun to think the same way, to respond the same way, and to hope and aspire to the same goals. Our generation now breathes, eats, and even sleeps the same mood and spirit across the globe. The global confidence of man beneath this resting or “tabernacling” power now defines human moral and ethical concepts.
This “age-power” that now rests globally upon humanity can be more clearly defined by two philosophical and authoritative powers of our generation. The first, New Atheism, is endeavoring to maintain an allegiance to human reason while defying God through reason. Seemingly contradictory, the second, Postmodernism, seeks to deny all absolutes and force humanity to live without reason.
The Coming New Humanity
From one perspective, in this tabernacle of humanity’s present dwelling is the obsessive belief of secularism which at its core is the denial of God. Its present appearance in history is the mutation of a mighty force that has steadily risen in the earth, especially in the past 275 years; it is dedicated to the powers of man’s intellect, his “reasoning.” Emerging from the Enlightenment period in European history was its prodigy child Immanuel Kant. Kant stated in the latter part of the 1700s that man had now come “to age.” This acknowledgment by Kant was the belief that man no longer needed religion and the concept of God in order to exist. Man had come to that fourfold power of (1) the inward enabling, (2) the outward ability, (3) the power of authority, and (4) the living performance to do anything he wanted to do. Truly, he believed that man was the measure of all things and that his hour of boast and power had come to maturity.
The world today has accelerated on its information highway to such an overwhelming, staggering proportion that it is believed mankind must not simply be looking for a future, but he must literally create a “new humanity.” This new humanity will demand a new global social change for mankind.
In the sciences there has been an explosion of knowledge in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, info-technology, cognitive technology, genetic technology, and robotic technology. A whole new world of unknown discoveries has now made its debut. With these sciences has been increased interest in the artificial interfacing of technology with humanity, such as finding ways to transfer human personality into an artificial carrier. This is now the aspiration, the hope, and the goal of those controlling governments, the global economy, and many world corporations.
World leadership collectively believes that the “old” mankind must be replaced with a totally new concept of humanity emerging out of the accelerating wonder of multi-technology. Those in power in the world believe that all of this exploding epistemology in technology and science will demand a new global philosophy, new ideology, new ethic, new culture, new psychology, and new concept of metaphysics. The old must go in order to make way for the new. These secularists are looking for a new man, a new birth of man, a new concept of man, and a new reality for this future man to exist. They have convinced mankind to believe that he needs to begin mapping out his own evolutionary path and direction of goals rather than the randomness and “chance” of man’s evolutionary past they once espoused. This new worldview believes it can stop the power of death upon humanity and then soar beyond the solar systems and stars to conquer the universe—mankind becoming God.
In 2012 and 2013, some of secularism’s greatest minds were summoned to meet in Russia with the expressed purpose to help bring about the radical change of human existence. Coming out of these meetings was the development of the 2045 Initiative. An agenda was set forth and goals implemented to involve the best minds from around the world to achieve these goals by 2045. One of its major goals is to build artificial bodies with both a human appearance and thought process; this is often called an avatar (originally a Hindu term denoting the “descent” of a deity into an earthly form). These avatar bodies would contain the transplanted thought processes and personality of a human brain as well as the semblance of man’s five senses. These secularists even speculate and anticipate that the conceptual thinking of a human brain can be reversed in order to conform thinking to the new humanity. Along with these hopes and aspirations, there is the race in time for immortality and the control of a perfect world. Many secularists from the world have committed themselves to bring this about. One such man is the atheist Ray Kurzweil, a key engineer with Google, who has been a forerunner in the historic hope to transfer the human brain and personality into an avatar.
With such hopes by mankind, a new breed of atheism has emerged from the philosophical think tanks of the world. This New Atheism movement swept through Europe and now has arisen here in the United States as both a social and political movement. This movement strongly promotes secularism and atheism through a selected band of atheist writers who believe that “Religion should not simply be tolerated but should be countered, criticized, and exposed by rational argument wherever its influence arises.”
The Christian is not against the term secular, for anything not sacred falls in this category. But secularism is a clear declaration of an intentional rejection of God in acknowledgment, even to the point of being anti-theistic in its identification.
One of the landmark writings that brought in the new era of atheism was The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (2004) by the young atheist Samuel Harris. This book, motivated by the events of September 11, 2001, commenced a series of popular bestsellers written by the new breed of atheists. In his book Harris directly attacked the religion of Islam for the calamity and also criticized the two religions of Christianity and Judaism. This publication was followed by Letter to a Christian Nation (2006) attacking Christianity. In 2006 Harris gave a television documentary entitled The Root of All Evil. During this same period, another atheist Richard Dawkins stepped forward with his book The God Delusion (2006).
New Atheism’s Four Horsemen
Rising out of the growing number of atheists in the past fifteen years, four of them have become known as “The Four Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse.” These men believe that there must be the orchestrated destruction of religion and that humanity’s world-to-come must be an atheistic world with man as his own God. These four reputed champions in the earth for secularism, reason, and atheism are Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins.
1. Daniel Dennett (1942– ) is noted as an American philosopher and cognitive scientist. He is a prolific writer and much sought-after speaker. His writings include Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (1995) and Breaking the Spell (2006). He has been a strong supporter of The Clergy Project, an organization providing support for clergy in the USA who no longer believe in God. Dennett believes, along with others, there must be the global destruction of religion and the existence of God; only afterwards can man’s intellect control everything without the consciousness of God.
2. Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) was a self-avowed homosexual/bisexual. He was named by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines as being among the “Top 100 Public Intellectuals.” His famous book is God Is Not Great (2007). This book helped to bring the New Atheism movement its international fame. His debauched life was given to drunkenness and smoking and the vices of destructive sin. He died of esophageal cancer in 2011. His last words were, “Capitalism, downfall.”
3. Richard Dawkins (1941– ) is a British evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford. He is the author of the book The God Delusion (2006) as well as the founder of the “Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.” He is a strong critic of creationism and intelligent design.
4. Samuel Harris (1967– ), a neuroscientist and philosopher, is the chief executive and co-founder of “Project Reason” (2007), which promotes science and secularism. Along with The End of Faith, his other bestselling books are Letter to a Christian Nation (2006) and The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (2010).
It is interesting to note that after the death of Christopher Hitchens in 2011, a woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali arose to be known as the “fourth horse-woman” of the Non-Apocalypse. This Somali-born Dutch-American fled from Somalia to the Netherlands in 1992, and eventually to the United States. She is a prolific writer and a strong critic of Islam and the treatment of women in the Islamic world.
Other proponents of the New Atheism include Lawrence M. Krauss, Jerry Coyne, Greta Christina, Victor J. Stinger, Michael Shermer, Steven Pinker, and David Silverman, president of the American Atheists.
The New Atheism movement is dedicated to the promotion of the powers of reason found within man, believing that he is no longer to be held captive to the concept of God. This movement believes that science and technology will bring man to his own powers of creation to be his own God. Their hope of the 2045 Initiative is to “create” a “new man” with an enduring body and to place within this artificial “life” a transplanted human thought-life, including its personality and human senses. It is the belief that this artificial life will take the place of the present human body and that the ruling government of the world will be able to select what brains and personalities will be perpetuated in these artificial life forms. With such a “creation” of a new humanity, the population of the earth could drastically diminish. The created avatars would become the servants and workers for mankind. It will be a world of a “new man” without a soul, without accountability to an invisible Supreme Being, and living for “his master,” man himself.
But according to the rising powers of atheism, this will not come about without a “theothanatology,” a death of God in the thinking of man. Though Christianity is the most hated of all the religions by atheists, they are strong in the belief that all religions must be destroyed because all religions believe in some concept of “God.” This neo-humanity must be delivered completely from all concepts of morality, of right and wrong, of ethics, and of predetermined absolutes. Again, to them, only the death of religion can bring this about.
Daniel Dennett has already observed that religion is actually in its death throes. As a result, he believes religion will end up in one of three possibilities: (1) As the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul began as a church, then became a mosque, and now is a museum, so this will be true of all religions. The Vatican, as well as Mecca and its Black Stone of Islam, will become simply a museum of a past religion. Or (2) religions may continue but become creedless teams, simply promoting self-helps. The world is still looking for some way to remove guilt, and because of this, it continues to be drawn to the supernatural. Thus religions may simply become humanitarian in their existence, being a source of hope, love, beauty, joy, moral teamwork, and supporting justice and freedom for everyone. Or (3) religions may become “homes” for the homeless and comfort for the afflicted. But all religions, he believes, will soon lay aside their belief in God or gods and exist solely for the assistance of mankind without morals or absoluteness of doctrines.
It is evident that atheism is becoming more and more prominent in the world. It has taken over the governments, the public educational systems, the voice of science, the approach to medicine and suffering, and has caused the denial of definitive morality. America, a nation that was founded upon the belief of God and His Word, has now become the leading nation in attacking God and in following the destructive powers of sin in sodomy and in atheism. Oh, what America could have been today in providential blessings in many ways if we had continued to honor God! But God has given us over to a mood, a spirit, and a mindset that are swiftly creating the tabernacle of evil resting upon us. The very philosophical air we breathe is fathered by the “prince power of the air,” the Devil.
How will America finally fall? Will it be through Islam? An implosion of debauchery and lust? A civil war? An assimilation by other nations? No matter how and when it comes, God’s hand will be upon it, and we will deserve whatever His appointment of judgment will be.