by Randy Pope
Most Christians are products of the progressive education system developed by John Dewey in the middle of the 19th century. The religion of Secular Humanism has been a controlling force in America since John Dewey and his allies gained control of the education system. Because the religion of Secular Humanism leaves its devotees with no absolute standard or purpose there is an overplus of historical theories vying for public acceptance. The oldest of these views is the cyclical view of history.
The Humanist Manifestos I and II (John Dewey signed Manifesto I) reveals the presuppositions of the religion of Secular Humanism. Consider this admission from these documents, “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created...We find insufficient evidence for the belief in the existence of a supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfillment of the human race. As non-theists, we begin with humans, not God, nature not deity...(W)e can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”
Since history is just an endless cycle of repeating events with no purpose, those who order their life through this grid often become fatalists. Individuals and cultures that are influenced by this pessimism have no reason to better themselves or the culture. All is caught up in this all-powerful cycle of the universe. Many third world cultures are trapped in poverty, with no hope of improvement for their culture, because of their belief in the determinism of the cyclical view of history.
The tragic effects of this philosophy is most drastically seen in the multi-generational dependency on welfare of many families. These people have accepted the idea that they can do nothing to improve their lot in life, and besides, there is no reason to do so because all is meaningless. The sad result of the influence of the cyclical view of history on the Christian theology is seen in its degeneration into pessimism, and the idea that salvation is offered merely to keep man out of hell. To the degree that a Christian has been affected by this view of history, he will shrug off sin in the culture, and in his life. After all, nothing can be done about these problems, because life is an endless cycle of meaninglessness.
To the extent that the Christian has been influenced by the cyclical view of history, his dedication to the dominion mandate and the great commission will suffer. Why should he “subdue” all things for the glory of God, or “teach all nations” to submit to the authority of King Jesus, if the world is degenerating until the next cycle begins and then the cycle starts its degeneration all over again. For the Christian to be relevant to a culture that is trapped in a cycle of meaninglessness, he must grasp the concept that God is sovereignly in control of history, and that He is purposefully moving in the events of history to a glorious climax.