by Gavin Finley

As we consider the way we interact with the world around us we see that western society has two very prominent mindsets that are dominant in the souls of men. They are rationalism and existentialism. These are blinkers or filter glasses that he wears. They are like the browsers or search engines that he installs in the software of his computer. They show him what he will see and what he will not see as a flood of data flows before his 5 senses. Our mind or psyche is very much like software whereas our brain being the organ of bio-electrochemistry is like the hardware of our computers. Computer hardware is the form but it is the software that is the function. We share the software of our psyche with spirit sources, both good and evil. They tell us what is out there and we choose the spirit that we are going to go with. Other spirits affect us and help guide our thoughts and feelings as well. We are not in the total control of our lives that we think and imagine that we are.

The average person is most often completely unaware of these mind-sets and heart-sets. These outside spirits, whether they be holy or materialistic/hedonistic, God centered or man centered become the software he will use to download information into our his soul either for good or for evil. This downloaded information with the attendant mindsets comes into the computers of our brain by our selection and choosing. And this is how each one of us will end up seeing the world around us as we process the huge amount of information that we access as we walk though life.

A humanistic man-centered human being without access to an omniscient God only has small pieces of information about the universe and the created order and why things are as they are. His small finite mind cannot see the full picture any more than an ant can appreciate the anatomy and the life story of an elephant he stumbles upon. So any man who rejects revelation from an omniscient God is self-deluded. He may think that he knows all and is in total control of his life. But he is not. If he believes that he does know about eternal things beginning with reason alone then he has embraced a lie. In fact it is 'The Lie' that was told in the Garden of Eden. That man can be as God, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Man is and always will be a spirit being with connections outside himself into the spirit world around him. He needs these connections to live. If his connections are good he lives in peace and happiness. If they are bad or the spirits he has connected with are bad then he suffers or dies. He must make spiritual connection with some entity outside himself. If he shuts himself off his spirit within him begins to burn out and he ends up in a state of depression.

Man was created for fellowship with God. He had this before the fall. Adam walked with God in the cool of the evening in sweet fellowship. But man without God has an emptiness inside that only God can fill.

Man is a spirit being. His mindset, his presuppositions, his behaviors, and the soul orientations he has adopted have come to him from outside himself. They have been imprinted on him from the family, cultural and historical and spiritual milieu in which he was raised and to which he has responded. His opinions which he believes are impartial and objective have within them a myriad of presuppositions some holy and true and some profane and false. These mindsets, like directors steer him in his passage through life. They steer him into the paths of Life in God or into misery and grief and loneliness outside God.

Humanistic psychologists have classically asked the broad question,
"What is your philosophy of life?" And yes our philosophy of life is the type of software that we run in our souls. But our philosophical bents are not our own doing. They have come to us from outside of ourselves. They are spirits that we have invited inside us!

These spirits come to us in many and varied ways. Oftentimes they have been put there not through the agencies of the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God who made us but rather by the mores, movements, fashions and fancies of the peoples we travel with in this fallen world. The spiritual software they give us blocks out our view of certain things in the world around us while amplifying and distorting other things. They always prevent us from getting a clear and perfect view of God and what is really happening.

That is why we need to download Jesus Christ into our heart, mind and will. He is the Living Software of heaven and we belong in a state of connection to Him. He is omniscient and has access to all the facts. He is omnipresent and is always there to comfort and strengthen us by His Holy Spirit. -Psalm 139 And He is omnipotent, being all sufficient for us as we pilgrim through this life. He is simply the best software any soul can select for downloading. And this download is free to all who seek Him in Spirit and in Truth. He is a gentleman Spirit and never dominates. When He comes inside us to dwell He expels the viruses and releases us from the bonds that other spiritual softwares have written into our programs to dominate us. He opens vistas of Beauty and Truth that are visions of splendor. Would you like to download Jesus Christ right now?

Here is a question for us. Do our rational and emotional prejudices affect us as evangelicals? Do these philosophical mindsets or heartsets affect even an evangelical/fundamentalist as he walks through his life in his particular period of history? They most assuredly do! Even among Christians the impact of these cultural mores can be allowed to outshine the revelation we have coming to us from the holy scriptures. Our presuppositions can even cut us off from the personal guiding of the Holy Spirit. The proverbial pied pipers of this world often lead the masses and us as well to desert our Shepherd and turn away from Him. All too often we allow the fickle fancies, philosophies and fashions, the profane sentiments and thinking patterns of our particular age to supplant and sideline the Word of God. In our hearts and minds we know His word is true.

Like sheep who have lost contact with their shepherd we run blindly on without a thought. We just flow with the flock and do what our neighbors do. Sheep operate by peer pressure. So do we. We forget the One who has created us for fellowship with Him. We forget the one who has a plan and purpose for our lives and has a glorious destiny laid out for us. Following the crowd we just keep going along with the flock, running with the crowd. Thus we come into peril. When the inevitable crises come we then have a chance to stop and reconsider our ways. In such times we can repent and respond to the Shepherd's outstretched hand. We can return to Him. At those times of crisis some will return to God. They will find the ancient paths of faith that will lead them back to their real spiritual home. For example, revivals quite typically come in nations that are in a crisis of some sort. Some of course will not return to God. They will follow the pied piper into deeper and darker trouble and so on into personal grief and spiritual death.


Let's look at rationalism first. It grew out of Greek philosophy and conceptual thinking, logic, geometry and mathematics. Here was the discovery of a world that could be understood and grasped through human reasoning. Then a world could be built around all this human conceptual planning of the mind. This was the beginning of rationalism and it propelled the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great just as much as his military conquests.

Rationalism did not stop with the Greeks. It blossomed in the 18th century writings of Voltaire and John Locke. The Age of Reason was a heady time for thinking reasoning mankind. He had emerged out of the Reformation and the Italian Renaissance and western Christendom was leaving the Dark Ages behind. Now in the 1700's the steam engine was pushing us into the machine age. Steam engines were the basis of an intoxicating new sense of power for western mankind. It supplied power for the factories of the industrial revolution and trains and shipping as well. The coming of the machine age called for mathematics, geometry, and a reasoned logical process that man in the former agricultural age had not required. This led to a new elitism in parading the reasoning mind. The world was changing. It was being shaped by civil and mechanical engineering. Big new bridges and huge factories and railways that crossed continents were changing the world for the better. A thinking man, if he was not careful, might imagine that this was all his own doing. But all that was happening was that he was simply rediscovering the order of the universe and walking into the greater truths of God.

The Age of Reason, called by some, the "great enlightenment" was a heady time of exploding science and knowledge. It caused many people to fantasize that human reason, in and of itself, could take man on to truth and perfection. This of course required that he begin with himself and discount all external revealed divine Biblical knowledge. This was a new temptation. Western European civilization was once called Christendom. This so called "enlightenment" then, provided the opportunity for a subtle new rebellion against God by people who were so inclined. It came to be known as rationalistic humanism or naturalism.

The 18th and 19th centuries saw the industrial revolution transform society. What had previously been an agriculturally based economy now shifted to an industrial one. Many people moved from the countryside to find jobs in the cities of smokestacks and factories. The emergence of the steam engine and factory fabrication were huge boosts to human morale. The machine age also intoxicated man with a sense of power he had never known before.

As the 19th century came to a close human progress was undeniable. The advent of the steam train bringing fresh food to the cities cut the infant mortality rate in half. Wooden ships and gunpowder had given way to steel ships and cordite. At the turn of the 20th century huge German dreadnoughts were being launched and in central Europe there was talk of war. An arms race was on. Yet the mighty British Empire under the reign of Queen Victoria was an empire upon which the sun never set. Or so it was believed. But now trouble was brewing. It would eventually explode into the first world war. At this time rationalism ruled. Even God and faith had become subject to human reason.

To rationalists the universe was a huge piece of clockwork, like the watch in their waistcoat. It was ticking away in a perfectly rational predictable manner. So was their world. Or so it was believed. This rule of reason appealed greatly to the German national mindset. Indeed they had a God given desire to see 'order' in the world. But when this desire left God out of the equation and became a man-centered humanistic plan for the world then it brought the world untold grief. According to this thesis all this planet needed was the application of human reason to unlock all its inner workings. A "Plan" could be conceived by the god-men leaders who then could see to their execution. Provided the masses gave the leader or "fuhrer" the political power he was asking for then that leader would, like God, bring it to pass. Then the world around them could be planned and executed according to "The Plan". This would lead to Utopia. What could possibly be wrong with that? What could go wrong? And what could stop man now? It wouldn't be long before we human beings could be like God! Thus was born the myth of the "Ubermensch", a race of supermen. This myth is still with us today.

As the tree of rationalism began to bear its ugly fruit western man discovered that he was not as much in control of the machine as he thought he was. Like Dr. Frankenstein he had created somewhat of a monster. And now the machine was out to get him. It was beginning to take over his mind. Man even began to look upon himself and his society as a machine of sorts. The concept of 'social engineering', and 'human resources', and 'genetic engineering' would take human history on to greater evil than it had ever seen before. At the center of it all was this heady sense of human godhood that man slips into when he is given a new power he has never experienced before. This advance of this godless rationalism would have awful repercussions in the centuries to follow.

Rationalism did not limit itself to engineering. In the minds of deluded godless men it also lent itself to political interpretation. This was a hideous mistake. Man belongs to God. But a man-centered social engineering of the masses would release the handiwork of Dr. Frankenstein for all the world to see. The monstrous consequences of this advance of godless rationalism was seen as the machine age came to its peak in the early 20th century. At that time the hypnotism of powerful machines and the global power of the British Empire had taken humanistic arrogance to an all new high. Of the Titanic it was said that "....not even God Himself could sink her". The Titanic disaster was a fable and a parable of its time. Then came the first of two World Wars where men and machines together were ground into the mud of trench warfare and poisonous gas filled the air. Communism was on the rise too with the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 setting the stage for Communism and the bloodiest regimes this world has ever seen.

Both communism and Nazi fascism were both bundlings of men by Utopian political planners. Both the far left and the far right wing political parties adopted the machine model for their political apparatus. To these bitter leaders their fellow men and women were just machines. The god-man of German national socialism was the 'Ubermench' or superman. Stalin had the same godless view of mankind as Hitler did. National socialism and world socialism are birds of a feather. This impersonal and harsh viewpoint of the "masses" brought not only the two world wars but also 60 million dead citizens snuffed out at the hands of Stalin. A similar number were murdered under Mao Tse Tung.

Rationalism, like an increasingly sophisticated and deadly tank, was grinding onward into the 20th century. More and more the steel engines were bringing men under their hypnotic power. They were making him into their image, an image of cold hard steel. And man was becoming colder and harder in his heart, both toward God and towards his fellow men.

The impact of rationalism was also seen in theology. During the 19th century the German universities had become very advanced. From out of the universities this man centered machine age philosophy of rationalism began to spread very quickly throughout Europe. Not surprisingly, rationalism began to affect the theology of the age. Right next to the department of engineering and mathematics they had built their department of theology. The result was inevitable. Theology would go on to adopt the same rationalistic humanistic mindset as the other departments of the university.

These were bold new ideas. As the 19th century wore on a 'brave new world' was on the horizon. In matters of religion, man was not content to submit himself to the God who has revealed Himself in Holy Scripture. He would not invite Jesus Christ into his heart. Nor would he walk by faith in the power and Presence of God's Holy Spirit. These realities fell outside the radar screen of rationalism. Therefore, to rationalistic man, they did not exist. They were just so much 'religious superstition'. Rationalistic man thought he had a better idea. He was now becoming presumptive enough to try to put God under a microscope and treat Him objectively just like any other created thing. If God could not be seen and measured by his instruments then man would just kick God out of the clockwork universe his human mind had crated. Rationalistic humanistic man figured he had a complete handle on everything out there in the cosmos and in eternity. What amazing arrogance!

The triumph of human reason would lead on to even greater evil. Man had now taken the seat of ultimate rule. He himself would determine what was truth. And man himself, without any consideration for God, would declare what was to be!


Over in the biological sciences a man centered rationalistic approach was being tried out. This new science was called 'naturalism'. It was becoming a heady new mindset for those who revered nature. Naturalism, in its rejection of the Biblical account of creation, also gathered the Wicca nature worshipers, who have always been among us, to join with them at the scientific table. Naturalism thus began to embrace a belief that the cosmos creates and rules itself sort of like a huge organism across the galaxies. Naturalism was linked to rationalism in its humanistic man centered perspective. It too denied God His rightful place as creator of the cosmos and denied the supernatural or extra-natural. In particular it denied the biblical account of the origin of the cosmos in the Genesis record of creation.

Charles Darwin's book, "The Origin of the Species" was a pivotal moment in history. The book sold out as soon as it was published. Humanism had prepared western minds for this leap of pseudo-scientific faith. And profane men, who cared nothing about scientific truth, were scrambling to "liberate" themselves from the chains, (as they saw it), of an overly restrictive moralistic Judeo-Christian God. (-see Psalm 2). Claiming to base his belief on "pure reason" man was now going to bring in a new age. He was going to chart his own course. Religion was for the "superstitious". Man had moved on to better and more "reasonable" things.

The trick being played on western man, however, was that naturalism itself was actually a religious faith as well as being a mindset. Naturalism was in point of fact a pagan religion. It was a religious system based on worship of the cosmos and a worship of nature not far removed from that of the Wiccans. They almost let the cat out of the bag with their allusions to "Mother Nature". The fact of the matter was that for all its pretense of being based on human reason naturalism is a belief system and a religious faith. It was, and is, a pagan nature religion based on the Babylonian goddess of nature "Gaia. She is the goddess of nature, sex and fertility. She was the deity that naturalism had been opening the door to all along.

Humanistic naturalism was thus a cloaked deception foisted onto a silly people who had chosen to forget their God. It was a trick pulled off upon wayward men by evil angelic rulers in high places. And the devil was laughing.

As the 19th century wore on things were changing in Christendom. Back in the European and American seminaries rationalism's denial of the supernatural and its discounting of biblical revelation was poisoning Christian theology. The poison is still with us today as humanistic rationalism. Rationalistic/naturalistic theology threw out anything in the Bible that was not considered provable or "likely" by the "modern" natural understanding of things. Anything that appeared "unreasonable" or "supernatural" to human, man centered thinking such as the virgin birth and the miracles of Christ were therefore suspect and had to go into the rubbish bin. Spiritual truths were given "down to earth" alternative explanations. Over a period of time naturalism expelled supernatural thoughts from western thinking. The miraculous as seen in Bible stories came to be viewed as at best quaint religious fancy or at worst just plain unprovable superstitious nonsense. To the theologians of that time Mary the mother of Jesus was just another virgin who had sex. Jesus didn't die. He was just in a swoon. He was revived and taken from the tomb by his disciples. That was just the beginning of their giddy rounds of "rational explanations" of the miraculous in holy matters of biblical revelation. These skeptics didn't believe that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh and they were determined that all "intelligent" people didn't either. They trashed the holy and spiritual truths of the Bible with impunity. Hypnotized by naturalism and rationalism they baulked at anything supernatural. Everything beyond the natural was re-engineered to make it fit their mindset. It was rewritten in terms of the reasoned human and earthy realities that profane earthbound men could readily latch onto. Jesus and His divine conception was denied as was His resurrection from the dead. This is how organized revival resistant state religion got into the sorry state that is in today.

What impact does man centered reason or humanistic rationalism have on nations as they come to superpower status? Well in all its dealings with the ruling secular princes and powers the established church, down through the centuries since Constantine, has been careful not to tread on the king's toes. Any talk of Christ's return to rule as King of Kings, as Messiah, should be in whispers only. Such talk of a returning Christ in the hearing of the ruling powers just "wouldn't do". This is especially the case if one wishes to tread the halls of ecclesiastical power under the good favor of the ruling princes. Such end-time teaching of a returning Christ ruling for a literal 1,000 years (see Rev. 20) was and is "politically incorrect". Any teaching regarding Messiah's return to rule in a future Messianic Age was not to be taken literally. In the weekly readings of the Church of England those scripture passages dealing with the return of Christ are noticeably absent. Amillenialism with its allegorizations of the millennium began with Origen and Augustine back in the early centuries and the Congregation of the Elect continued to be claimed, usurped and dominated by church-state leaderships. The Millennium of Messiah is not future, (they say). We are living in Christ's "Kingdom Now"! So as the 20th century opened it seemed appropriate to speak of the "Christian Millennium" being capped off by the British Empire. Great Britain with its extensive mission outreach would wrap up the Great Commission. They would then, with all appropriate fanfare, proudly hand it over to the returning Christ. Great Britain would be the one to bring the Christian age to its glorious conclusion. That was the Dominion Theology spreading abroad then. Of course Great Britain never attained this lofty goal. But the dominionist "kingdom now" fantasy did not sink with the British Empire. It is still with us today. It has moved on to the next era of humanistic church-state intoxication. Now it is entertained in the American ecclesiastical halls of the CNP, the Latter Rain and prophetic movements now linking up with the Restorationists. All this is happening quickly now as the Pax Americana comes into its unquestionable world dominance.

How could this level of humanistic man-centered pride and presumption have been reached? Well before the world wars, Great Britain was the dominant superpower. It had the world by the tail. The Pax Britannia with its sea power and gunboat diplomacy called the shots in very much the same way that America does today with its airpower and tomahawk missile diplomacy. Great Britain was unchallenged economic and military leader at that time. It was said that the sun never set on the British empire. Just as under the present Pax Americana we have our "Kingdom Now" dominionists so the giddy rationalism and nationalism in the traditional quarters of the British Empire fancied itself on the verge of a global takeover of the world. The Rhodes scholarships were instituted to achieve this very end. Christendom could become arrogant under the British just as it had under the French and Spanish in earlier centuries. The British churchmen of that day, just as ours today could ignore and rewrite the scriptures to fit their more 'positive" mindset. After all, the money was rolling in by the boatload. In such buoyant times postmillennialism dreams spring up. Nationalists joined up with churchmen to celebrate the soon coming triumph. The millennium of Christ was here at last. It was in their hands! Or so they thought. A thousand years in Rev.20 doesn't really mean a thousand years. It could be easily be allegorized away by the usual gnostic religious diversion. The kings and nobility liked it that way too. Wouldn't do to talk of another King coming, let alone a King of Kings. And for a thousand years?! Embarrassing! Simply wouldn't do! "I'll have another brandy please, Jeeves."

But history and the judgment of God by this time were about to catch up with them. The first warning that the Victorian and Edwardian fantasy of British "dominionism" or a "kingdom now" was coming to an end was in April of 1912. In all the celebrations and the promotions by the White Star Line it was said that "the Titanic was unsinkable", and "Not even God Himself could sink her." With that there were some God-fearing passengers that cancelled their passage. The rest would sail out of Southampton on the Titanic's maiden voyage; and into history.

As the 20th century dawned human reason had left God and had progressed to the point of being an arrogant Godless man-centered rationalism. This man centered humanistic mindset disallowed the supernatural. Its effect on the western church was profound even though Christian holy writ was clearly full of the miracles of God. This skepticism and the so called "higher criticism" would go on to bring us in the middle of the 20th century to the profound discovery from our top theologians that "God is dead". The Pax Brittania, basing its economic might on colonialism and sea power, had dominated the world. This was a time of exploding rationalism. Early in the 20th century the British Edwardians believed nothing was impossible to them. They and their precious reason were invincible; or so they believed. The gay nineties celebrated this new humanism based on man's reason and his industrial prowess. Postmillennialist belief at the turn of the century was that the world was coming to a glorious Christian climax (courtesy of the British Empire). Sherlock Holmes books spread the notion that all problems could be solved with the application of a magnifying glass and human reason. Reason and rationalism was "in" and nebulous things like the miraculous and faith were "out". It was in this climate of giddy rationalistic optimism that word of the sinking of the Titanic was cabled back to Great Britain. The world was on the brink of two awful world wars with Germany. It was said at that time that "the lights were going out all over Europe". The faith that western man put on the power of human reason was about to be put to the test. The drums of war were sounding. Europe was about to enter into the crucible of the Great War. It was about to sober up.


What about existentialism? Well the first signs that rationalism was failing came after the two world wars. The nuclear bomb, like the the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads had put a damper on the world's postwar boom. The Cuban missile crisis and air raid drills at school had a big impact on the U.S. at that time. The cold war and the "iron curtain" had caused a longing for "peace". It was in that atmosphere of longing for things unseen that the writings of Kierkegaard, the emergence of the beatniks, and the drug culture arose in the 50's. They were the first protests against the way the world was heading. The hippies and "flower children" in the 60's followed with open rebellion against the mores of their parents. Make love; not war" was the catch-phrase. The concrete jungles, the materialism, the lack of meaning to life were vexing the souls of the ordinary citizen. Even Christian worship had become cold and meaningless. The questions over the Vietnam war all exposed the deep spiritual vacuum that the former rationalism had created. Now the hippies wanted answers. But there were no answers to the fundamental questions, "Who am I, where did I come from, and where am I going?".

I remember as a child asking a dear family member, (who incidentally was soon after born again into a saving faith in Christ), "What happens after you die?" His answer was classic rationalism. "Well, nobody has come back and told us. So we don't know". Authoritarianism without a foundation in biblical truth saw the parent's authority in the 60's and 70's collapse. They were then dismayed to see their children generally go into a steep and blatant moral decline. "Why can't I sleep with my girlfriend, dad? She's on the pill. She has a "ticket to Ryde?" The father, perhaps an Archie Bunker type, would answer,"Because I say so!!!" Well that was no help. The moral collapse occurred primarily because of the lack of a viable personal relationship with God. But the lack of an enlightened biblical foundation in the churches to counter the cold humanistic rationalism was also a big element. Then there was the lack of Holy Spirit power of conviction. Both are necessary for faith. But with the tumult in the western nations the 60's would see not only a man walking on the moon but an awakening occurring among God's people.

In 1967 in the face of overwhelming odds, Israel's army under General Dayan took Jerusalem. They reached the wailing wall at the very threshold of the temple mount. In the church the saints were also moving forward. They were awakening from their slumbers to realise that the lotus leaves of forgetfulness were in their mouths. Many were stirring from their beds of ease and were calling upon God. The results were soon seen in the early and more genuine flows of the charismatic renewal.

In the 60's the western world at large was rediscovering God's interest in their emotional being. And experience as a valid part of life was again coming to the fore. The flower children were out placing flowers in the steel gun barrels of returning Vietnam vets. And the Jesus freaks were going around telling of their new discoveries of a joyful and meaningful life in Jesus. The inevitable bankruptcy of human reason to answer the big questions of life was now painfully obvious. Rationalism could not answer the key questions; "Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going?" This along with machine age rationalism's emotionally cold detachment opened the door to existentialism. Catch-phrases of the day were "Goodbye cruel world" and "Stop the world! I want to get off!"

Francis Shaeffer wrote a superb little book at the time on this transition from popular rationalism to popular existentialism. He titled the book "Escape from Reason". In this book he explained why the shift from rationalism to existentialism was occurring. The way the hippies saw it, cold reason had led their parents to "angst", spiritual deadness, and despair. They were just not going to continue with it. Since they had nothing better offered them they were going to take a "leap" into existentialism where anything goes. The psychedelic bus was leaving for Woodstock right? Imagine! Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll along with the fumes of a bit of hashish. This would bring us all together as a single brotherhood of man! (Or at least this is what they thought). "Imagine!" Such a "trip" would give the world "life" and "peace" at long last!

Alas, the dream would turn sour. It would only last as long as the cannibinoid level in the bloodstream. The evangelicals, still steeped in rationalism looked looked down disapprovingly through their thick black rimmed glasses. They grimly shook their heads at the moral decline. (I know; I was one of them). But did we have any power for Christian witness in this hostile milieu? No. We were in pretty bad shape ourselves. At that time we had not realized that we had anything to celebrate about. We were on a precipice as it were. We were cold and weak. We were hanging onto our faith by our fingernails. We too were about ready to fall into the moral cesspool. But wait! The charismatic movement was just starting. Was this neo-pentecostalism real? Or was it just emotionalism with a bit of hysterical neurosis thrown in?

There was no question that God was doing a new thing. Christians were being energized experientially in the Holy Spirit! Old stuffy reclusive evangelicals were transformed. They were witnessing in power at last! Pothead hippies were being saved in the Jesus movement. They came in through an experiential door it is true. But look! The Holy Spirit was delivering them from drugs and taking them out of the pit of sin and into holiness! And they were delving into the scriptures with genuine rational inquiry! Their hippie anti-intellectualism was fading away too as they discovered the "mind of Christ". Lives were being changed! There was genuine revival! There was hope! And some problems.

But that is another story.
And for another time.

        Grace and peace to all.