Book Review: War of the Worldviews

The evening of October 30, 1938 will stick out in the minds of most Americans for a very special reason: it was the day this country went to war… with Mars.

Those listening to their radios that evening were startled by this unexpected and menacing news bulletin:

Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program of dance music to bring you a special bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News. At twenty minutes before eight, central time, professor Farrell of the Mount Jennings observatory, Chicago, Illinois, reports observing several explosions of incandescent gas, occurring at regular intervals on the planet Mars.

More reports followed. An unidentified flaming object crash landing in New Jersey; an entire army obliterated by an unknown force; more landings in other parts of the country.

Soon the terrified radio audience came to the conclusion that Earth was the target of a full-scale attack from Mars.

Of course, it was soon learned that the entire broadcast had been an elaborate hoax engineered by Orson Welles and the cast of The Mercury Theater of the Air – a hoax that caused widespread panic for a significant segment of the U.S. population.

The basis for this rather morbid joke was H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. This inventive bit of fiction has long been the classic template for sci-fi tales of alien invasion. The invaders of Wells’ story were ruthless creatures, chilling and fearsome, with a penchant for bleeding humans dry. The thing is, they aren’t real. The invasion isn’t real. The alien battle machines aren’t real. They’re nothing but a figment – however elaborate and lifelike – of Mr. Wells imagination.

But there is a very real and very dangerous invasion that’s happening right here, right now. It’s not extraterrestrial… at least, not in the typical sense. These invaders don’t sport death-rays or blood-draining equipment, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less deadly than the creatures of Wells’ novel.

This invasion is an idealogical one, involving philosophies which attempt to control the very core of society. And it’s this very invasion that Dr. Gary Demar addresses in War of the Worldviews. In the introduction, he says

Today’s real-life battle is between the worldview of biblical Christianity, where the infinite and sovereign God of the universe reigns and rules, and the worldview of man-centered philosophy, where finite and rebellious creatures work to rule and reign independent of God.

We will see no significant positive change in our culture until Christians first realize that we are in a war over ideologies that have personal, institutional, and societal implications.

So what do we do about? That’s precisely the question Demar deals with throughout the course of his book. It’s a sad fact that when faced with dangerous secular idealogies, most Christians these days don’t know how to respond. They’re helpless – as helpless as the humans were against the Martian battle machines.

That’s not how things should be.

In War of the Worldviews, Demar seeks to make Christians more aware of the multitude of pagan ideas and philosophies that plague our culture. Not only aware, but ready to fight back. As followers of Christ, we are instructed to “be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15). In other words, we aren’t supposed to take this invasion sitting down.

Gary Demar’s book is a superb overview of this modern “war of the worlviews”, and one which should be on every Christian’s reading list. It’s a short, concise, but incredibly meaty book that will strengthen your defenses against enemy bombardment. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The book covers quite a bit of ground in only 150 pages – including such issues as deism, occultism, socialism, and naturalism. These issues and others are addressed from a thoroughly biblical perspective, all in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner – one of the things I admire greatly about Demar’s writing.

All in all, War of the Worldviews is a must-read. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 15 (due to some fairly mature themes), but for older readers who are looking for a good introduction on how to “engage the culture”, I don’t know of a better book to begin with.

“Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies”

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.

~ John Wesley