Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Futurist Worldview

The most recent Discernment Ministries newsletter contains an article entitled "The Manipulations of Dominionism," which explains the paradigm shift to a "futuristic" worldview that has taken place in the neoevangelical church.* The newsletter begins:

"Dominionism is a form of futurism. Futurism is the belief that man can create his own future. This belief requires that man manipulate things in the present.

"For the past half century various groups of elite philosophers, scientists, sociologists, psychologists, economists, pastors, businessmen, and government leaders have met together and publicly discussed the future of planet Earth. All predicted dire scenarios for the future based on their calculations, speculations and political agendas. To solve this perceived crisis these leaders embarked upon a mind-boggling number of focus groups, councils, conventions, strategic planning sessions, and other futurist planning devices – all intended to reinvent, create, envision, or fashion a new future for mankind. The plans originating from each of these groups were remarkably similar. They were translated into a myriad of social policies, government programs, strategic plans, and vision statements.

"All of these future scenarios shared the common ideal that humans can forge consensus where none has existed, that harmony and unity will emerge if everyone 'collaborates' on these plans, and that only Christian fundamentalists stand in the way of creating a 21st Century Utopian Society. The goal, then, becomes one of identifying and targeting these fundamentalists for a 'global mind change.'"

The newsletter article details some key ways in which neoevangelical leaders have borrowed the rhetoric and techniques of the global futurists. This type of "futurism" is described by Wikipedia as "attempts to predict and analyze what might occur in the future of human history." However, there is more to it than that. A key concept in futurism is the idea that "alternative futures" can be shaped and that humans practicing "foresight" and "visioning" can create new futures -- both in a pragmatic and esoteric sense.

Researcher and author Marilyn Ferguson who publicly launched the modern Theosophical New Age movement onto the popular scene with her groundbreaking book The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (J. P. Tarcher, Inc., 1980) wrote that there were "legions of conspirators" who have become "revolutionaries" to "change society." And quoting from "philosopher Beatrice Bruteau" in chapter 1, Ferguson wrote:

"We cannot wait for the world to turn,… for times to change that we might change with them, for the revolution to come and carry us around in its new course. We ourselves are the future. We are the revolution."(p. 24-26)

This futurist worldview is expressed by Ferguson in several key paragraphs:

"For the first time in history, humankind has come upon the control panel of change -- and understanding of how transformation occurs. We are living in the change of change, the time in which we can intentionally align ourselves with nature for rapid remaking of ourselves and our collapsing institutions.

"The paradigm of the Aquarian Conspiracy sees humankind embedded in nature. It promotes the autonomous individual in a decentralized society. It sees us as stewards of all our resources, inner and outer. It says that we are not victims, not pawns, not limited by conditions or conditioning. Heirs to evolutionary riches, we are capable of imagination, invention, and experiences we have only glimpsed.

"Human nature is neither good nor bad but open to continuous transformation and transcendence. It has only to discover itself. The new perspective respects the ecology of everything: birth, death, learning, health, family, work, science, spirituality, the arts, the community, relationships, politics." (p. 29)

Later in the same chapter Ferguson described a "1979 symposium on the future of humanity" which "said in its announcement:

'Our first great challenge is to create a consensus that fundamental change is possible -- to create a climate, a framework, which can integrally organize and coordinate the forces which are today striving for growth along seemingly separate paths. We will create an irresistably vibrant vision, a new paradigm for constructive humanistic action…. Until we have created that master context, all talk of strategy is meaningless.'" (p. 40)

The Truth:

It is quite obvious that this mystical worldview of futurism is not biblical. Several foundational beliefs expressed in Ferguson's paragraphs quoted above teach the unbiblical concepts that:

1) man can override the sovereignty of God
2) man can create his own future/destiny
3) man can remake civilization on earth
4) man is basically good
5) man is "embedded in nature"
6) that man can evolve or transcend his current physical and spiritual limitations

Early Herescope blog posts from last September contain relevant historical information about meetings that took place between neoevangelical and Theosophical New Age futurist leaders back in the late 1970s. For nearly 30 years, these influential and respected neoevangelical leaders have been accepting the basic tenets of this futurism and openly cavorting with these Theosophical futurists.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." (Isaiah 55:8)

*This usage of the term futurism is not to be confused with a theological term "futurism" which has to do with an eschatological debate.