Americans who want to know what is wrong with their country might seriously consider the possibility that people are finally making their behavior consistent with their beliefs. For decades, many thinkers have been calling Western culture a “cut-flower civilization” because of its detachment from the historical roots of Christian theism. One could also call it a “smuggler’s civilization,” since it continues to nourish itself on values derived from another world-view. For naturalism, the system of thought holding that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws, without attributing moral, spiritual, or supernatural significance to them, is the basic view of modern, educated man, and this system cannot subsist without smuggled values. Christians believe that scientific humanism has no adequate metaphysical framework in which one can discover and embrace the True, the Beautiful, and the Good.

Naturalistic smuggling is evident, first of all, in knowledge. The naturalistic view of mind is so deficient that one wonders how the scholar could keep on searching for truth with such a humble instrument as the human brain. The naturalist smuggles in a high regard for the operation of the mind, a regard that fits more comfortably with the synthetic-metaphysical systems of Plato and Augustine than with the analytical-empirical views of Hume and Russell. A naturalist starts out thinking but ends by undermining all thought. He must use his mind to prove his philosophy, but then his philosophy affirms that all reasoning is mere cerebration by a physical brain. If reasoning is just an electrochemical operation in the material brain, then why should a naturalist ask anyone to accept his thoughts as “true”?

One normally ...

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