Let’s say you had a magic wand that gave you the ability to change people’s minds about what they believe about the world around them (excluding belief about the Bible, Jesus, salvation, etc.), but you could only use it once, and for only one topic. What would you do with it?
If someone asked me, my answer would be “I’d convince them the earth is approximately 6,000 years old.”
And with all of the political turmoil, liberal ideology, and other social issues we are dealing with today, most Christians would have absolutely no idea why someone would “waste their shot” on what they would consider a complete side issue.
The Allied commanders in WWII learned something that many Bible believers (often bemoaning the state of the church and the decline of Christian morality and influence) should understand if they want to be effective in the fight for re-establishing godly values in society.
The Allied commanders in WWII learned something that many Bible believers should understand if they want to be effective in the fight for re-establishing godly values in society.
The world had felt the effects of the drawn-out affair that was World War I just a few decades earlier. The war had resulted in a protracted bloodbath characterized by mass casualties, colossal damage, and the utter misery and stalemate of trench warfare—something no one ever wanted to see again.
Air command strategists eventually decided that rather than concentrating bombing raids on German cities (“de-housing” German citizens and workers), munitions, or fuel depots, they would instead mount a focused campaign targeting factories that produced one component vital to the largest cross section of war machines used by the German army—the humble ball bearing.
Production was concentrated within five plants in Schweinfurt, where nearly two-thirds of Germany’s ball bearings were turned out. Apparently, the German aviation industry alone used 2.4 million a month, so having hundreds of B-17 bomber planes drop their payloads on this “bottleneck” target could effectively neutralize war production and potentially shorten the war.
Although the Allies lost many aircraft and crews, and the success of these raids have been debated (largely because the Allies did not keep up the attacks consistently due to a lack of protective fighters for the bombers), in his memoirs the German armaments minister Albert Speer specified the bombing caused a 38% drop in ball bearing production, and that
we anxiously asked ourselves how soon the enemy would realize that he could paralyze the production of thousands of armament plants merely by destroying five or six relatively small targets.1
The most efficient way to defeat an enemy more powerful than you is to not face them where they are strongest—rather, simply bring concentrated force against a vulnerable point.
The moral of the story? Well, Jael knew it. David also knew it as he prepared to engage Goliath. In fact, anyone trained in combat understands it quite well. The most efficient way to defeat an enemy more powerful than you is to not face them where they are strongest—rather, simply bring concentrated force against a vulnerable point.
So, for those Christians living in the blitzed out, devastated, post-Christian landscape of western society, where the very fabric of reality (gender, marriage, right and wrong, etc.) is brought into question on a daily basis, perhaps we should determine what the focal point of the takedown of the Christian worldview was so that we can rebuild and fortify the faith once again.
And there’s no better way to determine your weaknesses than to ask your opponents, because they tend to be analyzing them all the time.
Interestingly, Bible skeptic F. Sherwood Taylor (British historian of science, museum curator, chemist, and past director of the Science Museum in London, England) had a ready answer when asked what he thought changed his country from a Christian to a pagan nation.
I myself have little doubt that in England it was geology and the theory of evolution that changed us from a Christian to a pagan nation.2
Now, the answer Taylor gave (as a catalyst for the de-Christianization of his nation) would likely rocket over the top of most Christians heads. Quoting it in a church staff meeting would be like someone standing up and shouting “ball bearings!” during a 1941 war room briefing about the key to defeating the Axis powers. Those around them wouldn’t immediately see the correlation of that one key component to nearly neutralizing the German forces. Similarly, most believers say, “What on earth does geology and evolution have to do with church decline?”
And yet Bible skeptics understand it very clearly. The “ball bearing” of the Christian faith is simply this: biblical authority. Because without it, the mechanism of infallibility within the Christian worldview breaks down completely, disabling the believer’s ability to quote any passage of Scripture as authoritative.
Of course, this breakdown of infallibility works its way through a series of logical channels to arrive at the point where biblical authority no longer functions and requires explaining away. So, let’s look at another well-known Bible skeptic to get a fuller understanding of how that worked.
One of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists was a man named Ernst Mayr. He rejected belief in the Bible and the idea of a personal God and did so for very specific, logical reasons (like Taylor above).
Simply put, he reasoned (like so many others have), that once “science” (supposedly) disproved the biblical creation timeline (a six-day creation approximately 6,000 years ago), there was no reason to consider the Bible trustworthy in any other area either.
And this was completely logical.
In addition, it added the next layer of deconstruction to the footings of the Christian worldview; as once someone accepts the “deep time” or millions of years explanation of earth history as true, then accepting the possibility of the story of evolution as the explanation of all life naturally follows. He called this the “Darwinian revolution.”
And, in fact, if all of that happened through natural causes, why would there be a need for a Creator of anything at all? And you can see the pinpoint accuracy of the attack on biblical authority starting this simple chain of thought in this quote where he explains what he believed brought about the avalanche of secularized thought in society.
The revolution began when it became obvious that the earth was very ancient rather than having been created only 6000 years ago. This finding was the snowball that started the whole avalanche.3
Many Christians shake their heads at the lack of common sense reflected in policies adopted in our education systems, outcomes expressed in our court rulings, and political decisions made in society today.
“Common sense” only makes sense when there is a commonality of thought among the overall group of members in a society.
But what they fail to understand is that “common sense” only makes sense when there is a commonality of thought among the overall group of members in a society.
Societies deem certain actions or concepts as acceptable or unacceptable based on the overarching views and beliefs promoted and accepted within it, and patterns of acceptable behavior within a given society are then deemed societal norms.
To reiterate, years ago, the truth of what the Bible taught was the “meta-narrative” that the western world rallied around. The principles contained within it (including the idea of an original perfect world—fallen because of man’s sin—that would one day be restored by the loving Creator who sent his Son to die for the sins of the world) provided the framework of western culture.
The Bible’s historical storyline provided a baseline for law, morality, ethics, science, etc. and influenced our understanding of the past, how we should live in the present, and what awaited us beyond our life here on earth. However, that narrative has been replaced.
Thoughts indeed have consequences, and societies don’t move in different directions as rapidly as we’ve seen in recent years unless influenced by new ideas. And the grander the idea, the more powerful the result. And what was this powerful new view?
Years ago, under the guise of science, a new grand explanation for existence was introduced. The concept was that matter contained within itself the inherent ability to transform into everything that is and that has ever been if given enough time (which had now been established as “proven” by science).
Thus, everything—the universe, the planet, the biodiversity of life, including humans—came into being through a process of evolution. And this explanation for everything became part of the lesson plan in schools—all without reference to, and as a replacement for a creator.
A key concept in winning the worldview battle is an ability to control the conduit of information fed into the minds of the next generation. As millions of young people’s minds were exposed to these views, the culture inevitably began to change. However, it happened so slowly that most Christians didn’t see it quickly enough to react. It was like turning a great ship—it took time to refocus the inertia.
A key concept in winning the worldview battle is an ability to control the conduit of information fed into the minds of the next generation.
But as unobserved evolution—supposedly occurring over millions of years—was taught as the true history of our planet in place of the Genesis account, the entire trajectory of culture changed. People began to see the Bible (especially the historical account of Genesis 1–11) in a new light.
No longer seen as real history, the Bible was therefore less authoritative and grew less influential while the concept of materialistic naturalism (“nature is all that is”), became increasingly more dominant over time.
Indeed, many people today accept the entire package of materialistic explanations of all things—cosmological, chemical, biological, and human evolution (i.e., no God required). That concept has now permeated into almost every aspect of western world consciousness, including much of the church.
Notice the pinpoint accuracy with which pro-evolution, anti-creationist, and liberal Anglican theologian, Rev. Michael Roberts’s (Vicar Cockerham, UK) targeted strategy on how to destroy someone’s belief in the plain reading of Scripture is initiated.
My primary aim is to demonstrate the age of the earth, or rather the vast age of the rocks . . . for the simple reason that if the earth is more than 50,000 years old Biblical literalism is a dead duck . . . If I can persuade someone that the earth is at least a million years old I consider the war to be won.4
He, like his atheistic counterparts, understands clearly that the age of the earth issue is primarily about the trustworthiness of Scripture, and therefore, compromising to allow for long ages severely undermines biblical authority.
This grand explanation for reality had logical consequences regarding morality and ethics too. Atheist Jeremy Rifkin summed it up quite well.
We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else’s home and therefore obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever.5
Continuing down the path we are currently traveling is simply not a viable option for the church. And for those thinking that accepting “deep time” and the story of evolution will bring some type of compromise between science and the Bible—between the church and culture—they’re absolutely wrong.
That has already been tried, and if it were going to work, it would have by now! But in fact, it has only resulted in catastrophic failure because it has built up the naturalistic worldview while signaling compromise within the church.
What we need are for Christians to stop being embarrassed by what the Bible clearly teaches and get equipped to defend it as plainly written.
We don’t need believers chipping away at the foundation of their own worldview and contributing to the deconstruction of it. What we need are for Christians to stop being embarrassed by what the Bible clearly teaches and get equipped to defend it as plainly written.
This means getting emboldened with biblical creationist Christian apologetics material that will debunk old-earth explanations regarding geology and fossils (including unreliable radiometric dating), fortify the faith of believers, and allow them to have great conversations with unbelievers where the gospel can be shared more frequently and effectively.
Think about it. This is the most atheistic generation (Generation Z) that the West has ever seen, and all thinking atheists believe in some form of the story of evolution. But how many people could be consistent atheists if they didn’t believe in millions of years? None!
Because without millions of years, there wouldn’t be enough time to evolve anything—which would logically leave only one option: God!
So, although there are many fronts to cover on the landscape of the spiritual battle we are all facing as believers, remember that the weak point of the atheistic worldview is the concept of millions of years. Breaking that paradigm is the “kill-shot” for the materialistic mindset, which is why it is so vigorously protected. Without it, their whole worldview tumbles.