Worldview


worldviewNancy Pearcey described a worldview as a mental map that helps us effectively navigate our world.  The better our worldview, the more effectively we ought to be able to navigate reality with it.  Faulty worldviews are easy to spot because they always run contrary to our pre-theoretical experience of reality at one point or another.  For example, scientific naturalists claim the material world—working according to natural processes—is all there is to reality.  There is no God, there are no angels, and there are no souls.  All that exists is what we can put in a test-tube.  This creates a problem for the concept of free-will, which in turn creates a problem for the concept of moral responsibility.

If there is no God everything is purely material, including ourselves.  Material things do not make decisions, but respond in determined ways to prior physical events.  They don’t act, but simply react to prior physical factors.  For any particular event there exists a series of prior physical causes that not only results in the event, but necessitates it.  Life, according to scientific naturalism, is like a series of falling dominoes.  When you ask “Why did domino 121 fall?” it will be answered, “Because domino 120 fell.”  Domino 121 could not decide to not fall when acted upon by domino 120.  It must fall.  If man is just physical stuff, then our “choices” and “knowledge” are like falling dominos: nothing but necessary reactions to prior physical processes.  There is no free will.  Scientific naturalists admit as much.  Naturalistic philosopher, John Searle, wrote, “Our conception of physical reality simply does not allow for radical freedom.”[1] He admitted that there is no hope of reconciling libertarian freedom with naturalism when he wrote:

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Isn’t it ironic that those who espouse to Darwinian evolution are also the least likely to have multiple children and most likely to support and/or obtain abortions. They are supposed to believe in survival of the fittest. Only those who reproduce stand a chance at survival, and those who reproduce the most stand the greatest chance for survival and subsequent evolution. Apparently Darwinian liberals are not fit to survive!

In all seriousness, I think this reveals the cognitive dissonance of liberals. They cannot consistently live out their worldview. In fact, given the maxim that people behave in accordance with their beliefs, I tend to think most adherents of Darwinism do not really believe it. They may give intellectual assent to it, but they don’t live it. All that matters is that God is out of the picture.

I am told that Christian apologist, Os Guinness, thinks we should replace religion-speak with worldview-speak in the public square. The reason? Religion is something you may or may not have, but everyone has a worldview. Some worldviews simply have a supernatural element to them while others do not.

The advantage of worldview-speak over religion-speak is that it prevents non-religious folks from claiming the high ground of rational neutrality; as though we are hopelessly biased by our religious presuppositions, but they remain objective. Are religious people biased? Of course, but so are non-religious (secular) folks. No one is epistemologically neutral. We all bring certain presuppositions to the task of knowing, and use them to interpret the world. Having a religious worldview makes us no less objective than those with a secular worldview. We can no more dispense with our worldview than can the secularist, and indeed, we need not do so. While it is wise to consider a question from the perspective of a worldview different than your own, we are not required to do so in order to be rational.

I think Mr. Guinness is onto something.

“The classic Christian worldview affirms that a supremely powerful and personal God created the world ex nihilo (from nothing) and maintains it; humans may attain knowledge of God through Scripture, sensory perception and introspection; human beings are moral agents subject to God-given immutable moral laws that are as fixed and universal as are physical ones; and human beings are sinful, fallen and in rebellion against God, but they reflect a distorted image of God and are divine right-bearers.


“In contrast, the secular worldview (also called naturalism) denies the existence of God or his personal character; considers creation the result of random events and a battle of the fitters persevering out of biologic selfishness; believes knowledge is limited to sensory perception; believes human beings create their moral order for convenience and enforce it solely through public coercion; and consider human beings different from, but not necessarily more important than, creation except to the extent that our sentience or affinity for the arts distinguishes us.”[1]



[1]Nathan Adams IV, Ph.D, J.D., “An Unnatural Assault on Natural Law” in Human Dignity in the Biotech Century, Charles Colson and Nigel Cameron, eds. (InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL, 2004), 165-6.

“Western culture is pervaded with scientific naturalism and with postmodernism. The first of these strips the world of spirit, the other of knowledge. Both take away the hope of ultimate, transcendent meaning. Naturalism denies there is anything more to life than what we can touch and see, and postmodernism says there is almost nothing beyond ourselves that we can truly know.”


—Tom Gilson, in his review of J.P. Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle, available at http://www.thinkingchristian.net/C2031585454/E20070625223226/

See part 1 and part 2 of an article written by John Snyder, in which he explains why liberal democracy did not come to life until the 16th and 17th centuries. Not only is Christianity in general responsible for this success, but a decidedly Protestant, Calvinistic worldview in particular.

 


The entire article is only four pages, so it’s a quick read.

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