The world spins in a pattern of 500 year cycles. Embedded in each 500 year cycle are paradigm shifts in transportation, communication, technology, faith, and science. Man is different in the throughs of the cycles.
Some say we're at the top of the bellcurve of a cycle. Ancestors from 250 years ago are nearly unrecognizable. And while powdered wigs and wooden teeth are happily historical artifacts, the shift in faith may be the most damaging change over the last two centuries.
The Barna Group recently interviewed 14,000 people for the American Bible Society. For the first time in recorded history the number of Bible skeptics is larger than the number of people engaging Scriptures daily. At the same time, 68% of Americans believe the Bible is a comprehensive guide to living a meaningful life. What replaced the Bible is peeling the skin off humanity, and there is a desperate need to pick up the Bible and reorient life. Here are three fundamental reasons the world needs to study the archaic Christian faith, and get back to a Biblically-based view of the world.
The Bootstraps Aren't Long Enough, Edna
Caught in the historical timeline sits Edna. The fabricated woman is a midwest farmer's wife whose standstill on the time line in history is caused by the fact that she can't pick herself up, the bootstraps aren't long enough.
Since John Dewey's emergence at the turn of the 20th century, American schools have slowly shifted their source of ultimate truth away from a Biblical root to something manmade. Dewey rested on Science. Some leaders in education are sliding further from Dewey, driving students inward to discover ultimate reality. From imploring self-ascribed sexual preference to propelling students to write how they feel about history, the shift in American education is leaning clearly ego-centric. The move from a Biblical root is paving the path for post-truth thinking, a new idea recently recognized by most dictionaries as a tight hold on reality depending on how one feels rather than facts and documents.
The problem with these moves in education is the bootstraps aren't long enough. At the end of the day reality comes rushing in like a blunt force object. No matter how many times the universe is explained without God, there are four fundamental elements no human source can create or identify their roots; time, space, matter and energy. Science and personal beliefs are still incapable of creating these four things to initiate the start of the universe.
Logic drives science to the need for a higher power that generated time, matter, space, and energy. And while Science fiddles with leather straps, working to pull itself up to real world relevance, a Biblically-based perspective rests. It rests in the simple truth that of all the world religions only the Bible identifies a holistic worldview that holds a God both loving and organized enough to form a universe that propagates human beings who care for the poor for no self benefit. The Christian perspective enhances human care and concern, while explaining harsh realities like time, matter, energy, space, and gravity. At least, gravity is a harsh reality for me after a pan of meatloaf.
Maslow's Mischievous Mistake
Most college students know Maslow. In the 1960's, Abraham Maslow formed a theory to identify what motivates people to satisfaction. Through his study he found that food and water, basic needs, were essential if man was to be motivated to live a good life. From there, safety and security would drive man to seek love and belonging. Once the needs of relationship were met, Maslow found that man could achieve esteem, the prestige and feeling of accomplishment, which would drive man to the ultimate goal, self-actualization. Maslow's hierarchy of needs moves from one pleasure to the next in a figure of self-determination toward satisfaction.
On this pyramid modern man was formed, and as Maslow's hierarchy formed crude limbs it pumped hard on the chest of a lifeless worldview. As the idea was modernized, the breath of Biblical explanation wafted out of nominal Christian thinkers who found another reason to trust science over the Biblical account. Science revealed what drove humans to create. Mankind found purpose and meaning in being happy, but the pursuit of happiness leads off a cliff for most in Maslow's hierarchy.
Maslow's studies were wholly flawed. He identified less than 10% of the human population capable of being whole in his hierarchy. Meanwhile, the Bible's explanation of mankind enables everyone, and stands unmoved in the wind.
According to the archaic Biblical model, man is self-actualized when he breathes. Man bears the image of God. And with this image come a setup of dominoes that simple belief and action force a chain of events leading humans to holistic living in a Biblically-based model.
After recognizing the incredible reality of resembling the intelligent creator, humankind is set off to practice and hone creativity. We might call it building esteem. We build respect and admiration for the creator when we creates. Ask some of the greatest scientists in history who actually identified rules and realities set in motion by the Creator and you'll find a love and esteem in acquiring knowledge of the universe.
Newton, Galileo, Boyd, and even Einstein all noted that there is something more intelligent and powerful at work in the universe. In their marvelous discoveries they celebrate and praise the consistency of the universe. Through their findings they found self-esteem, not because they built it, but because they recognized and trusted the work of the Creator in building purpose. Recently, computer scientists working with the Discovery Institute in the realm of DNA and gene mapping have noted the information system in our cells is an advanced computer storage system unlike anything man has ever developed. Genesis 2 shows Adam building esteem as he names the animals. In a Biblical form, when students are at school and adults study and hone a craft, esteem is built, without the reliance on outside factors like Maslow posited. I like the Biblical model.
However, with the decline in Biblical literacy, most students study 40 hours of Maslow's views with little-to-no Biblical insight, throwing graduation caps in an effort to gain satisfaction, recognition, and purpose. The danger in liberal thinking is the self-made man finds satisfaction. In reality, Maslow's man is on a cavernous hunt for pleasure, climbing a pyramid of outside forces for self-actualization. Standing movements in history are built on archaic faith, not liberal thinking. Biblically-based perspectives propagated western civilization, and are slowly eradicated poverty much like the progress Maslow sought to recreate in his hierarchy. A Biblically-based view humanizes mankind from conception, not relying on their perception or reception in the world.
The 106.5 Year Test
Recently we published an article on our oldest alumni, Minnie Nelson. We published another article beside it noting the staying hand of the Lord on Hillcrest during the Great Depression. The 1930's cut the number of Lutheran boarding schools in half following the dust bowl. A Hillcrest alumnus wrote to me shortly after the publication. He noted what I call Maslow's Push, a movement in academia and school choice to meet base biological needs. Clothes, shelter, and food are primary drivers for most parents. If their kids have base needs met it opens a path for progress and satisfaction. For many, school is a place for students to learn a trade or develop an intellect to become consumers, people designed to produce and consume to their satisfaction, safety, and comfort.
An alumnus wrote to us after receiving the publication. He noted the difference in his mother's education, who attended Hillcrest during the depression era, from the modern era. His mother's drive in high school training brought an understanding of God and His world. Her ability to produce and care was built on an identity and connection with the Creator and Caretaker.
Minnie's story is somewhat sad. She attended Hillcrest for a year. Life-threatening ailments cut her time at the Castle short, but not before she spent a year in a Biblically-based environment. In my interview with her I was shocked at the things she couldn't remember about her time at Hillcrest. The dorm rooms and names of friends were unrecognizable. She looked in the distance like looking through opaque glass, squinting in an effort to remember small details of things she said were significant. However, when we began talking about the spiritual impact God made on her during her time at Hillcrest, the alumna recalled with clarity, breaking into song and citing Bible verses. She said one teacher told her to study the Bible like a cow chews its cud. She told me at the end of the interview that Hillcrest made a great impact on her and her faith. Her identity was founded on something that poverty, a failing memory, illness, or the Great Depression couldn't take from her.
It was during the depression era that my friend, Minnie Nelson, attended Hillcrest. And at 106.5 years she looked weathered. However, her family felt it wholly necessary for her to study the Bible to prepare her for difficult times. That's what prompted the letter from the alumnus' letter after we published the two stories. Take a look below and consider for yourself why training in an archaic faith may be the most important investment you make:
When I saw the story of the Bible School in the Great Depression I thought, "Who goes and studies the Bible in the Great Depression?" Today we send kids off to college to earn a skill to make money...not to become a Bible scholar...certainly not to go to a Bible School like LBS which just studied the Bible...not other vocational courses with a Bible class or two in today's Christian Colleges. Somehow, going off to study the Bible for a year seems too impractical today...yet my mother did this and as a result had a level of Biblical literacy that I'm sure neither any of you or my grand kids have today. She saw it as essential to know scripture and understand it to just live as an effective Christian ...so going to Bible School didn't sound so crazy if your faith was important to you. I don't think she ever, in all the time I lived with her, missed a time of daily devotional Bible reading and prayer...a discipline that few have today. The memory of her inspires me a new to more disciplined in this area.
Hillcrest incorporates Bible study into every academic study. One Junior High student told their teacher, Ms. Ronnevik, that they felt they their Bible class was more like a history class and their history class was like a Bible class. Sit in Hillcrest's marketing class and you'll hear the teacher note the marketing principles they're studying are God's design. When they open Scripture the teacher spends time pausing to identify the marketing principles inside Scripture by going through history and the communication channels during that time. English class is an exercise in seeing eternal truths, found first in scripture, bubbling inside Shakespeare, Crane, and Hawthorne. History class is an endeavor of seeing God cause nations to rise and fall, noting what happens when a nation bows its knee to Jesus Christ. Hillcrest's STEM program pauses to marvel at the creative structure of the universe. Studying at Hillcrest is a practical exercise of seeing the Bible explain the world. There is a deep study of how general revelation is supported by the fundamental truths of special revelation. Faith and knowledge are integrated as Hillcrest works to build faith, develop intellect, and strengthen character. Spend time at Hillcrest and you'll see students get so much more than a diploma at the Castle. There is a strong case made for studying an archaic faith at Hillcrest.