Francis Schaeffer once pointed out the main distinction in thought-forms before and after Hegel. Before Hegel, people thought in antithesis. One idea was opposed to another. Either one was right and the other wrong, or vice versa, or neither were right. But, however it came down, everyone knew that both could not be right. Either God existed or he didn’t. Either the earth revolved around the sun or the sun revolved around the earth. Either a person was a male or a female. Either marriage is between male and female or it is not between male and female.
Then after Hegel, everyone began thinking in synthesis. The blending of thought-forms became the worldview de jour. Today, people say things like “I am neither Catholic nor Protestant.” We are neither liberal nor conservative, for instance. We are neither Christian nor secular but a chameleon synthesis, neither male nor female but a transgender synthesis, neither young nor old but instead an adolescent synthesis. People have said they are neither Calvinist nor Arminian; today we wear clothing that is neither masculine nor feminine, our music is neither good nor bad, there are fifty shades of gray and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Before Hegel, people argued and debated. After Hegel, people “dialogue” and have “interpersonal relationships.”
One of the implications of this synthesis worldview is an inability to understand or even believe in antithesis. So, instead of standing firm upon conviction, Christians and conservatives alike have given away increasing amounts of ground to liberals and anti-theists. They think that if we merely appear agreeable on certain points then all will dwell in harmony. Can’t Israel and Palestine just discuss their differences over lunch? Netanyahu says no, but this is because he is a modern man.
But this is postmodernia, where the reasoning sounds much like David Hume’s skepticism: “I do not necessarily see a cause between A and B. It is possible, in some infinitesimal measure, that no correlation exists between both points. Therefore there is none.” More plainly, every advance by the culture to reduce opposing ideas and values is explained by inductive skepticism: we really do not believe that people can be opposed to each other, thus we do not oppose anyone directly.
However, an odd thing has happened along the way: the students of Hegel do not apply his method to their madness. Their writings blatantly say it: there is no neutrality in this battleground of worlds. There is only total war and the utter capitulation of the “other” side. A few of their writers, confident that the prize is almost theirs, have recently said as much. This is not in their nature at all, but it is the proper stance – the only stance – in the light of true Christianity and the true reality God has made – which is one of antithesis. “He who is not with me is against me. And he who does not gather with me scatters.” The anti-theists know this better than the theists. And this is the reason for the West’s incremental and yet ginormous capitulation to atheist naturalism: it is a perceived synthesis in a world of antitheses.
But in the beginning, God set the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent at enmity – at odds. Such is the nature of the world. Always has been and always will be until Christ puts all things under his feet; death not least – and even then he will reign absolutely. When Christians realize this, then they will take back the world, then they will preach and pray, evangelize and worship in spirit and in truth.