There are several major paradigms active in the world today that have many adherents and are also in conflict one another. Some try to have a kind of synthesis of views, while others have no interest. There is a unified focus, but I don't reckon that participants are aware of the grand scheme. I don't see a kind of shoot-out at the OK Corral of philosophy, though.
There have been several philosophical eras over the years that had odd names as far as I'm concerned. Doesn't modern mean today? Not when it comes to labeling. The last three are premodernism, modernism, and postmodernism. (Some are saying that postmodernism is already morphing into something else, but there's no title yet as far as I can tell.) One of the main characteristics of postmodernism is that people believe that there are no absolutes. Forget presenting truth to postmoderns, they've asserted that there are no absolutes (a self-refuting claim) and that truth is relative.
Biblical Christianity and atheism can be held in equal disdain according to postmodernism because of their belief in no absolutes. (Some atheists are compromising their "standards" by redefining atheism as a "lack of belief", which is disingenuous, but may be seem palatable to postmoderns.) While many atheists have a moral code, atheism does not provide a consistent moral standard, and is consistent with postmodernism. Barna Research shows that many Americans base morality on subjective personal experience — many people believe that when it comes to trends of this nature, Europe and Canada embraced them years ago.
My father observed that people need a "religious experience", so they tend to get a philosophy with trappings. Who burns incense? A partial list includes Eastern religions, pagans (Wicca seems to be the best-known pagan religion), Roman Catholics, Native American religions, New Age meditation practitioners, people who just like the stuff, and so on. Who does chanting? The same sort of list applies. Who does ritual? Ditto.
|Allegory of Earth by Cornelis and Paul de Vos, ca. 1600|
Evolutionism is an ancient pagan religion, and Charles Darwin did not create a scientific version of it based on materialistic naturalism. Professing atheists embrace evolution because atheism needs it, and indeed, they have their own secular "miracles" that provide a sort of mystical experience. Here's a place where things get more confusing: the political philosophy of fascism is closely related to paganism. Atheists and secularists who promote evolution are actually promoting fascism. (For a detailed article on this, see "Evolution and the New Atheo-Fascism".) There are atheists who embrace paganism.
Competing with postmodernism are materialism and scientism, where the only reality is material (no God allowed). Truth is reached through the empirical method (another self-refuting claim) and through the applications of science. Professing atheists often use a "scientific method" (a philosophy of interpreting evidence that is in a state of flux) to determine truth. People have tended to put intellectuals, and especially scientists, on pedestals, accepting what "scientists say" as truth.
Easily the most despised competitor for postmodernism is the oldest, which is biblical Christianity. We assert that there are moral absolutes, and the consistent moral standard is revealed in the Bible, which was inspired (θεόπνευστος, "God-breathed"). Worse for postmodernists are those of us who believe in special creation. For that matter, there are tinhorns who try to mix bad theology with current secular science trends and then act as if they know more than what Jesus believed and taught about creation. (For my detailed examination of theistic evolution, begin with "Waterless Clouds, Wandering Stars".) Like many other false teachers, TEs use philosophy to perform eisegesis.
The elevation of personal experience has corrupted biblical Christianity, where Scripture is compromised in favor of emotional experiences and good feelings. There are professing Christians that are exceptionally shallow on Bible knowledge and clear thinking, but are more than happy to embrace false teachings that give them an emotional high and feel good about themselves. Problem is, these owlhoots don't even realize that they're following false teachers, partly because they believe the authority of what "the pastor says", and sit there with their Bibles closed. This is the opposite of the Bereans in Acts 17:11. Those people get good feelings and that mystical experience, even though those things did not originate in God.
Here are a few tips for those emotionally-driven but biblically shallow people: the Holy Spirit does not testify of your feelings, Pastor Feelgood, you, a religious organization. Instead, the Spirit testifies of Jesus (John 15:26), and God is not the source of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33). Direct personal revelations from God are not only false and contrary to biblical teaching, but also deny the sufficiency of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As the saying goes, I'm just saying. I'm also saying that we all need to check teachings and experiences with the Word of God. You savvy?
There is a drive for unity in world religions, but there is also a conflict regarding ultimate truth and authority from postmodern philosophies. Atheism and biblical Christianity are rejected, but paganism and related New Age philosophies are acceptable to postmodern thinking. I wonder what will become of the synthesis of paganism with evolutionary thinking down the trail.
Did you notice that there's a strong element of pride in all this? "I'll do what I want, what makes me feel good". It was pride that caused Satan to be cast out of Heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28:11-19), and pride that caused the fall of man (Genesis 3:5-7). Such people are actually committing idolatry by worshiping themselves and becoming their own gods. The real God still takes a mighty dim view of pride today, and many people are setting themselves up for a lot of pain.
Psalm 53:1 tells us that the fool says in his heart that there is no God. This shows us that atheists are fools as defined by God, but it goes deeper. People who have disdain for the authority of the Word of God are saying that he does not exist or is irrelevant, God will certainly not punish me for my sin and for rejecting his Word. Someone like this is a fool. This includes atheists, pagans, theistic evolutionists, secularists, religious people, and more. We need to humble ourselves and repent, accepting the real truth in God's Word and salvation through Jesus Christ who is God the Son, our Creator.