Recently I was studying one aspect of the history of the Holy Land, namely the impact that Alexander the Great had on that part of the world. Few even realize the Holy Land was part of his empire, and perhaps even fewer know that one of Alexander's goals was to transform the world by influencing it to adopt Greek thought and culture.
Little did he know how wildly successful his efforts would be. As his soldiers established Greek colonies throughout the Middle East, they built theaters, arenas, schools and temples to popularize and establish Greek entertainment, sports, education and religion. To this day you can see the remains of these structures scattered across the landscape of the Middle East. And while they are mostly broken-down ruins, his ideas remain alive and well.
After Alexander's death the Greek kingdoms that sprang from his empire were in time swallowed up by the Roman Empire, which absorbed Greek thought and culture and adopted much of it as its own. And through the Roman Empire many of those ancient Greek ideas became woven into the fabric of Western civilization and thinking.
One idea in particular was central to Greek thought and culture— that man was the center of the universe, and human thought, creativity and ideas were the epitome of what was to be respected and admired.
So what do ancient Greek ideas and concepts have to do with our world today? Very simply, they're at the heart of an ongoing war of worldviews—a battle to determine which values will govern our lives and actions. It's a struggle over what will shape our societies, civilization and our future.
To illustrate, consider my school years several decades ago.
To this day I can recite the prayer from the Bible that was read over the school intercom every morning before classes started. I also clearly recall several times when every student at my school was given a pocket-sized New Testament—two of which I still have with me after all these years. I remember the prayers over the loudspeakers at every ball game. (And somehow the world didn't come to an end, as some would have us believe!)
Those days are long gone, with prayer and Bible readings—supported and even funded by the Founding Fathers in the nation's early years—banned from our schools decades ago. In their place children are indoctrinated with secular humanism, the same old Greek ideas that man is the center of the universe and we are our own authority for determining what is right—a lie that goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4-5).
That, in turn, has led to the poisonous philosophies that are corrupting society and civilization, as described in this issue's cover article. This war of worldviews has grave implications for all of us, because ultimately it comes down to whose values and standards will guide and govern our lives—the God of the Bible or the god of this present evil age, Satan the devil (2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4).
In The Good News, we proclaim the values and standards of a King and a world to come—the Kingdom of God. And we encourage you to adopt and live by those standards now, turning from the ancient lies that have produced a world of sin, suffering and death to a new way of life based on the light and eternal standards of our Creator! Won't you join us in sharing that message of hope?