Since the Christian worldview is largely on the defensive these days, it is easy to forget that non-Christians also have a worldview. They are not neutral or undecided about the nature of reality, but have a network of beliefs that is designed to explained the way the world works, or more importantly, the way they think it ought to work.
Some non-Christians may not even realize they have a worldview, and even those who know they have one rarely put all their intellectual cards on the table. You have to sniff around a bit to determine what some people really believe.
But then, in other situations, people just put their worldview out there for all to see. The other day I pulled up behind a car that contained a litany of bumper stickers expressing their view about all sorts of things. They were not hiding their worldview (or at least parts of it).
But, as might be expected, this individual apparently took very little time to consider whether the content of these stickers made sense or even agreed with one another. So, I decided it would be interesting to evaluate this person’s “bumper sticker worldview.” Below is a photo of the bumper (forgive the fuzziness, it was not an easy shot!) and I will analyze each sticker one at a time.
1.”Pro-Child, Pro-Family, Pro-Choice.” This is a popular bumper sticker out there for the pro-choice crowd. In order to allay fears that they may be anti-child (gee, what might give people that impression?) they insist you can be for abortion and for children. Needless to say, the recent Planned Parenthood videos have exposed the tragedy of this logic. You can’t say your pro-child when you kill babies in the womb and sell their parts. The abortion movement is not pro-child, but pro-self. It puts the pleasures and conveniences of the individual above all else.
2. “Compassion is the radicalism of our time–the Dalai Lama.” If compassion is highly valued by this individual, then they ought to extend some to babies in the womb. How can you call for compassion, and then, on the same bumper, turn around and advocate for abortion? Utterly incoherent. Moreover, this tacit endorsement of Buddhism (Dalai Lama) raises issues. Buddhism, as a monistic and pantheistic worldview, has no basis to account for good and evil in the world. If so, then why care about compassion in the first place? On a monistic/pantheistic worldview, why does it matter what one person does to another?
3. “Coexist.” This bumper sticker is everywhere these days. If this bumper sticker simply means that all religions should find a way to get along without trying to destroy the other, then one might have little objection to it. But often this sticker is used to suggest that all these religions are essentially the same, or that no one religion could be true. But, that is nonsense since all these religions make truth claims that are mutually exclusive (see critique of this sticker by my friend Jake Hunt). One might also ask if the call for tolerance that this sticker implies would extend to those people in America who are pro-life or believe in traditional marriage. One wonders…
4. “Whenever there’s a huge solar energy spill it is just called a nice day.” Obviously, this is a pro-environmentalist sticker designed to make us feel guilty about using oil for energy. Ironically it is stuck to a car that is running off gasoline and thus using the very oil that the bumper sticker mocks. Again, a major internal contradiction. It would make more sense of this sticker was attached to a bicycle. In addition, one should note that the van driver seems more concerned about the environment than the lives of human beings in the womb. This is the same reason our culture for the last few weeks is enraged about Cecil the Lion but relatively silent about the release of the Planned Parenthood videos.
5. “If the people lead the leaders will follow.” This is a modified version of a quote that was attributed to Gandhi. On one level its true. Leaders tend to respond to the wishes of their constituency. Then again, today we are in desperate need of leaders who are willing to do what is right, regardless of whether it is popular.
6. “Adoption a beautiful choice.” We certainly agree that adoption is a wonderful thing. But, notice the word “choice” tacked on the end. For this individual, it doesn’t matter if a person choose abortion or chooses adoption. Both are equally viable. That is tantamount to saying that it doesn’t matter if one takes a life or saves a life, it’s the same thing. Again, an incoherent worldview.
7. “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.” I am not going to enter the fray over public school funding. But, I wonder if Reagan could have ended the cold war with the philosophy of this bumper sticker. Moreover, it should be acknowledged that it is only because America has bought many, many bombers of the years (from World War II to the Cold War and beyond) that this individual has the freedom to speak about such things on the bumper of their car.
In the end, this individual has a worldview, but it proves to be an incoherent and inconsistent one. This is a reminder that Christians today need to not only explain and defend the Christian worldview, but need to challenge the non-Christian worldview. We need to be on offense, not just on defense. Although the non-Christian worldview might seem like a steady structure on the outside, we can have confidence that it won’t hold up under closer scrutiny.
For a deeper look at worldviews, check out the latest book from RTS Charlotte professor James Anderson, What’s Your Worldview? (Crossway, 2014).
Thanks for the post Dr. Kruger. Always interesting to see those cars with a multitude of stickers.
What does the Georgia Bulldogs sticker say about their worldview? 🙂
I strenuously object to this false charge.
Although the top of the Bulldogs sticker is not visible, allow me to draw your attention to the top left, where you can see a corner of a white letter, presumably the initial letter of the school or team’s name. There is a 90 degree corner at the bottom (all that’s visible of the letter), suggesting it is perhaps a D or B. Certainly not a G, as you can see from the G in the word “Bulldogs” on the bottom part of the sticker.
Perhaps Mike has an unedited photo that could help us out. Perhaps not. I can’t prove that the driver of the Odyssey is not a Georgia fan, but this I know: the evidence we have is not sufficient to back up your assumption.
Michael Kruger says
This is correct. The sticker is for the “Butler” Bulldogs, not Georgia Bulldogs. Butler is a high school here in Charlotte. I am sure this means that no one from UGA would ever have such a conglomeration of stickers…
JMH, I would like to sincerely apologize for the false accusation that these bumper stickers belong to a Georgia Bulldog fan. Please forgive me.
It’s interesting how people can hold conflicting positions oblivious to the tension when the functional reason for holding these views is not thoughtful as much as it is relational. These views are largely propaganda, a persuasive bill of goods with a more nefarious agenda behind it that the person who has adopted these views is less aware of.
Interestingly, orthodox Christian ministers are often accused of doing the same thing with doctrine. Some people believe that there is a hidden agenda behind it. However, there is no inconsistency in biblical doctrine and we are forthright in our motives. That’s what they fear – hence the accusation.
Suffice it to say that the best we can do for most people is what you have done here: and that is to point out the inconsistencies in the ideological bill of goods. If the Holy Spirit works in their minds to see the error in their thinking through this method, it seems likely that they are willing to hear the truth of the Gospel, which we should be ready to elucidate at every turn.
This is a really great article that says what I, and probably many others, think when we see such bumper stickers. I must admit that I’ve seldom seen so many with such a variety of topics on them. Usually I see a number of them with pretty much the same message, whether it’s environmentalism, abortion, and the like. But the end of the article is what really caught my attention. It is true that non-believers’ worldviews are often contradictory. But we in the church can’t lay claim to having it all together when it comes to consistency. I’ve come across a lot of folks within the body of Christ who have completely contradictory beliefs; and they seem absolutely oblivious to that fact. Take predestination as just one example. Some believe in predestination, but then turn around and say that without man’s “free will” salvation will not take place. So, it behooves us to ensure that we’re consistent in our worldview, a fact that will not only make us more effective in our apologetic, but it will also strengthen our own faith in Christianity as the true.
Thank you for providing such thoughtful insight and commentary.
There are strong biblical cases for careful management of the environment, creatures & humanity. Evolution(molecules to man) although unbiblical seems to have a have a biblical twist in the world of bumper sticker belief (fish with feet).
So things can get a bit tricky at times but what you have pointed out is nevertheless true, I also like the one you did on popular/secular culture & its musical messages.
Great biblical insight, we live in a world filled with belief & its not neutral, it is challenging & promoting belief all the time…& they want to call Christians Bible bashers…as you point out their messages are often mixed up, not differing on points of doctrine but anything goes really, unguided & out of control.
Carmen S. says
The Reformers had a great “bumper sticker” religion: Sola scriptura, Sola fide, Sola gratia, Solo Christo, Soli Deo gloria.
Hello Dr. Kruger. Everything you write is spot-on and makes perfect sense. I would also imagine that your points would carry very little weight with such people. I’ve often found that such folks aren’t really all that interested in operating in a reasonable way, which means even when confronted with what you’ve written, they simply either deny it or rationalize it away with further non-sensical claims. They are more interested in clinging to their own self-interest than accepting the truth. What are we to do in that case?
1) Show them, as Dr. Kruger wonderfully displayed in this article, that their worldview is inconsistent and absurd (this applies to any and all ideas that contradict the truths found in God’s revealed Word).
2) Preach the gospel to them. The goal is not to win an argument but to communicate God’s truth to them, as that is the means by which the Holy Spirit opens eyes and hearts to a saving understanding of the gospel. I cannot recommend highly enough “Covenantal Apologetics” by Dr. Scott Oliphant as a guide for how to think and engage in this way.