Developing an Apologetic Mind, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 2)

This is a two-parter that is quite long, and technical. (It is the second part of a previous set [first, third].) You may also want a dictionary ready, this is a seminary level presentation. If you taken with this presentation[s] — knowledge of how we should better interact with our world and our culture comes through for those In His Service — ΙΗΣ.


Part 1

I. Six Enemies of Apologetic Engagement

A. If apologetics is biblical and logical, why does it flounder? Why so ignored in the church?
B. “Six enemies of apologetic engagement” (D. Groothuis article on syllabus hot link)

1. Indifference
2. Irrationalism
3. Ignorance
4. Cowardice
5. Arrogance and intellectual vanity
6. Superficial techniques or schlock apologetics

II. Jesus as a Philosopher and Apologist (D. Groothuis, On Jesus, Chapters 1, 3)

A. What is a philosopher?
B. Was Jesus a philosopher?
C. Did Jesus disparage rationality (Michael Martin)?
D. Jesus’ use of argument: our model intellectually

1. Escaping horns of dilemma (Matthew 22:15 — 22)
2. A fortiori arguments (John 7:14 — 24)
3. Jesus’ use of evidence (Matthew 11:1 — 11)
4. Reductio ad absurdum arguments (Matthew 22:41 — 46)
5. Jesus defended truth rationally; lived it out existentially

~ Had a well integrated worldview; didn’t duck rational arguments

III. Worldviews and Christian Faith

A. Three kinds of (or aspects of) faith (W. Corduan, No Doubt; see also J.P. Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind)

1. Saving faith: justification—either/or (Ephesians 2:8 — 9)
2. Growing faith: moral sanctification—incremental (Ephesians 2:10)
3. Knowing faith: epistemological sanctification (Colossians 2:2 — 3)

a. Relationship of faith and reason: not antithetical (Isaiah 1:18)
b. Reasoning in Scripture (Romans 12:1 — 2; Matthew 22:37 — 40)
c. Some texts used against reasoning: (1 Corinthians 1 — 2; Colossians 2:8; Isaiah 55:9)
d. Biblical value placed on knowledge outside Scripture (Amos 1 — 2; Daniel; Romans 1 — 2; Acts 17:16 — 34)

B. The nature of genuine Christian faith, subjective believing

1. Assent (fides): belief that “P” (essential gospel truths) is true (Romans 10:9 — 10)
2. Trust (fiducia): belief in “P” as true and trustworthy (Romans 10:11; John 1:12)
3. Disposition, orientation (action-producing): believe “P” is true and trustworthy, therefore act in a faithful way (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14 — 26)

C. The unity of truth (Corduan) and a well-integrated worldview

1. “All truth is God’s truth”—general and special revelation (Psalm 19:1 — 11)
2. Know “P” through authority (but must identify a qualified authority)
3. Know “P” through argumentation, reasoning, evidence
4. No dichotomy of religious and secular truth: a unified, integrated, worldview
5. Developing a well-integrated worldview

a. What is a worldview and why is it important? (James Sire, chapter 1)
b. What is a Christian worldview? Touchstone proposition (William Halverson, A Concise Introduction to Philosophy)

~ The universe (originally good, now fallen, and awaiting its divine judgment and restoration) is created and sustained by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, humanity, conscience, Scripture, and supremely through the Incarnation.


Part 2

IV. Truth Decay: Understanding the Problem (D. Groothuis Truth Decay, introduction, chapter one)

A. The importance of truth

1. Truth: desired and feared by mortals east of Eden
2. Truth and integrity
3. People of truth; truth in jeopardy
4. Screwtape’s ploy: remove the very category of truth from the mind

B. The seven acids of truth decay

1. The end of the enlightenment vision/project
2. A unified world view is impossible today because of our cosmopolitan, media-saturated environment
3. A unified world-view is impossible today because of the great diversity of religious viewpoints available
4. Postmodernity does not allow for a fixed sense of personal identity
5. Language is contingent on human beings and cannot communicate objective truth
6. Written texts have no objective, determinative meaning or truth value (deconstruction)
7. “Truth” is a function of power relationships, not an objective reality

V. The Eighth Acid of Truth Decay: Television (See D. Groothuis, Truth Decay, appendix)

A. Understanding the nature of television and how it contributes to truth decay “The medium is the message” (Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media)

1. Moving image trumps or humiliates the written and spoken word (Exodus 20:1 — 4; John 1:1)

a. Images are limited in their power to communicate truth: second commandment (Exodus 20). Jesus’ appearance is never described in the Gospels
b. Power of deception through image manipulation: my TV interview about channeling. Malcolm Muggerridge: “The camera always lies.” See his Christ and the Media
c. Prefabricated presentations: shrink events into sound bites and memorable images that may be false or misleading
d. Cannot watch the Bible on video. You must learn to master the written texts. Church librarian in Denver laments that parents check out “Christian videos” instead of books for children

2. Discontinuity, fragmentation: “a peek-a-boo world” (Neil Postman) (Luke 1:1 — 4)

a. No continuity, coherence, development of ideas: “And now this…”
b. Leads to intellectual impatience, recklessness, distraction
c. ADD/ADHD: a national problem. Medical warnings about TV and infants. Pediatrics, Vol. 113 No. 4 (April 2004)

~ Conclusions: Early television exposure is associated with attentional problem at age 7. Efforts to limit television viewing in early childhood may be warranted…”

d. Biblically, the primacy of a coherent, orderly view of reality (Luke 1:1 — 4)

3. Hypervelocities: video equivalent of caffeine (Psalm 46:10)—jump cuts, scene changes, special effects

a. Out of sync with God-given natures: pathology of velocity, plague of rapidity
b. Stimulation, agitation—not edification instruction (usually). Ken Burns programs are somewhat different, though
c. Decrease in attention spans: sermons, classes, conversations; but this may be challenged—through good preaching
d. Biblical importance of pacing, stillness. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)

4. Entertainment orientation—amusement dominates all other values (2 Timothy 3:4)

a. The demand of all areas of life: religion, politics, news, education; amuse means “no thought.” “Laugh track is always running” (Jean Baudrillard, America)
b. Amusement is not appropriate for many things; loss of gravity, sobriety, rectitude; orienting our subjective response to the objective nature of what we experience
c. Biblically: don’t be a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God (2 Timothy 3:4). Get serious.

B. Conclusion (more on this in “Christian Ethics and Modern Culture” class)

1. Engage in television fasting
2. Decrease drastically television watching
3. Replace with thoughtful reading

Resources for growth and discernment

1. Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay (InterVarsity, 2000). The appendix addresses the nature and effects television in the context of postmodernism.
2. Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds (Baker Books, 1994). Excellent Christian critique of anti-intellectualism in the church, which addresses television and other truth-decaying agents.
3. Arthur Hunt, III, The Vanishing Word: The Veneration of Imagery in the Postmodern World (Crossway, 2003). Christian perspective on a pervasive but often ignored problem.
4. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death (Penguin, 1985). The best secular critique of the nature and effects of television; it is more insightful than most Christian books.
5. Douglas and Rebecca Merrill Groothuis web page: www.ivpress.com/groothuis/doug

Worldviews, Truth & Knowledge, Douglas Groothuis (S.S. Part 3)

This is a two-parter that is quite long, and technical. (It is the third part of a previous set [first, second].) You may also want a dictionary ready, this is a seminary level presentation. If you taken with this presentation[s] — knowledge of how we should better interact with our world and our culture comes through for those In His Service — ΙΗΣ.


PART 1

I.What is an Argument (Anthony Weston, Rulebook for Arguments)?

A. Philosophical argument: means of rational persuasion
B. Premises
C. Logical form
D. Conclusion
E. Validity and soundness
F. Clear language, consistent terms
G. Goal of good arguments: knowledge: justified, true belief

II. From Modernism to Postmodernism (Truth Decay, chapter two). See also Harold Netland, Encountering Religious Pluralism (InterVarsity, 2001), chapter two.

A. Distinguishing social conditions (-itys) from philosophies (-isms)
B. The premodern era (premodernity) – premodernist worldview
C. The modern era (modernity) – modernist worldview
D. The postmodern (postmodernity) era – postmodernist worldview
E. Postmodernism as a philosophy

1. No objective, universal, absolute truth; embrace of relative, pragmatic truths
2. Rejection of metanarratives; embrace of micro/mini-narratives
3. Rejection of essences, foundations; embrace of shifting surfaces
4. Language creates reality, does not reflect objective facts; self-enclosed, non referential, “prison-house of language”
5. Truth as “the new obscenity” (Os Guinness, The Journey)

F. Postmodernity as a social condition

1. The continuity with modernity regarding broad social forces
2. Breakdown of religious consensus; emergence of greater pluralism
3. The saturation of the self through communication technologies
4. Loss of cultural authority; Christianity loses it public face and voice
5. Surface over depth; image all the way down; factoids all the way down; etc.

III. The Christian View of (A) Truth and (B) What is True

A. Clarify the concept of truth, before getting to content of truth (Francis Schaeffer, The God Who is There)
B. General concept and Christian: correspondence view of truth (more in Truth Decay, chapter four)
C. Biblical words for truth

1.Hebrew
2.Greek

D. Biblical Concept of truth: radical monotheism (Deuteronomy 6:4)

1. Revealed—not constructed, created by us (Hebrews 4:12)

a. Supernatural and personal source of knowledge
b. Not all is constructed; some is revealed, received, discovered
c. Language as God’s vehicle to convey truth

~ God as Logos (John 1:1 — 3), human in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)

2. Objective—not only merely subjective (Romans 3:4)

a. Truth above cultures; truth as judging all cultures equally
b. Some things can be known as they are in themselves
c. Not based on preference only—comfortable, uncomfortable
d. We are entitled to our own opinions, not our own truths

3. Absolute—not relative (John 14:1 — 6)

a. Invariant, noncontingent, nonnegotiable
b. No exceptions, exemptions, exclusions

4. Universal—not situational (Matthew 28:18 — 20; Acts 4:12)

~ Cross-cultural realities: reconciliation with God and others

5. Eternal—not trendy or trivial (Isaiah 40:8; Malachi 3:6)

~ Not ephemeral, fragile, conventional

6. Antithetical—not synthetic (Matthew 12:30)

a. Law of identity
b. Noncontradiction
c. Law of excluded middle
d. Law of bivalence
e. Not a matter of taste but of truth

7. Systematic, not fragmentary, ad hoc, arbitrary, piecemeal

~ All Scripture inspired; God cannot lie (2 Timothy 3:16 — 17; Hebrews 6:18)

8. Truth is not completely knowable by fallen mortals (Deuteronomy 29:29; 1 Corinthians 13:9 — 12)


Part 2

IV. Relativism: Roots and Refutations (Corduan, chapter two)

A. Four laws of logic/thought/communication

1. Law of identity: “A” is identical to “A”
2. Law of contradiction (sometimes called the law of noncontradiction): “A” is not identical to “non-A”
3. Law of excluded middle: Not both “A” and “non-A”; not third option
4. Law of bivalence: any unambiguous proposition “A” is either true or false; not neither true nor false, not both true and false
5. Logic and God (see also, Geisler and Brooks, Come Let us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking, chapter one)

a. God is logical; does not break the rules (Isaiah 1:18: John 1:1
b. This is no limit on God, but a virtue. God cannot deny or contradict himself or tell a lie.
c. Omnipotence does not and can not entail actualizing logical contradictions

B. The challenge of relativism

1. Denies law of contradiction for statements
2. Or: makes truth relative to individuals or cultures
3. Conceptual relativism: every concept is relative
4. Moral relativism: only moral concepts are relative

a. Normative relativism
b. Individualist relativism

C. Six roots of relativism

1. The information explosion makes objective, absolute, universal knowledge impossible
2. The claim to objective, absolute, universal knowledge leads to totalitarianism and intolerance
3. The sincerity of religious believers means they cannot be wrong
4. “Buddhist logic” allows for contradictions to be true; only “Western logic” disallows this
5. Having individual rights means I can determine my own truth
6. Humility requires relativism; otherwise dogmatism

~ Tolerance requires relativism

D. Moreland against relativism

1. Descriptive relativism a weak thesis concerning principles
2. Against normative relativism

a. What is the morally relevant culture? Indeterminacy problem
b. May belong to more than one culture. Indeterminacy problem
c. Reformer’s dilemma; reductio ad absurdum
d. Some acts are clearly wrong whatever society you are in: we have knowledge of particular moral truths
e. One society could not blame another morally, given this theory; reductio ad absurdum

V. The Christian World View—Objectively: The Faith (Sire, chapter two; Groothuis, On Jesus, chapters 4 — 7)

A. World-view: assumptions about the basic make up of the world (James Sire, Universe, 16). See also David Nagle, Worldview: The History of Concept (Eerdmans, 2002)
B. Importance of world views, meta-narratives—for individuals and cultures
C. The Christian world view (J. Sire, chapter two)

1. God is infinite and personal (triune), transcendent and immanent, omniscient, sovereign and good.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

2. God created the cosmos ex nihilo with a uniformity of cause and effect in an open system.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

3. Human beings are created in the image of God [Genesis 1:27] and thus possess personality, self-transcendence, intelligence, morality, gregariousness and creativity.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

4. Human beings can know both the world around them and God himself because God has built into them the capacity to do so and because he takes an active role in communicating with them.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

5. Human beings were created good, but through the Fall the image of God became defaced, though not so ruined as not to be capable of restoration; through the work of Christ, God redeemed humanity and began the process of restoring people to goodness, though any given person may chose to reject that redemption.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

6. For each person death is either the gate to life with God and his people or the gate to eternal separation [hell] from the only thing that will ultimately fulfill human aspirations.

~ Jesus’ worldview…

7. Ethics is transcendent and is based on the character of God as good (holy and loving).

~ Jesus’ worldview…

8. History is linear, a meaningful sequence of events leading to the fulfillment of God’s purposes in history.

~Jesus’ worldview…

9. Touchstone proposition: “The universe (originally good, now fallen and awaiting its divine restoration) is created by the Triune God, who has revealed himself in nature, conscience, Scripture, and through the Incarnation.” (D. Groothuis revision of Ronald Nash, Faith and Reason)


Appendix

I. Components of Knowledge (Corduan, chapter 3)

A. Need for an epistemology
B. Self evidence and epistemology

1. Analytic, necessary truths
2. Basic beliefs, religious experience
3. J.P. Moreland on religious experience (Scaling, 231 — 240)

a. Causal argument: explaining a changed life
b. Direct perception argument: sensory perception and numinous experience: seven common features

4. Immediate sensory awareness
5. Self-evidence is a necessary but not sufficient test for the truth of a world view; need more than self-evidence and religious experience

C. Rationality and epistemology

1. Logical deduction
2. Rationalism: Plato, Anselm, Descartes, Gordon Clark
3. The ontological argument: a priori argument extraordinaire. See Stephen Davis’s chapter in God, Reason, and Theistic Proofs (Eerdmans, 1997).
4. Rational deduction is a necessary, but not sufficient test for a true world view; need more than deduction

D. Sensory information and epistemology

1. Empiricism: open and closed
2. Teleological argument, naïve version (J.P. Moreland’s in Scaling is far better)
3. Sensory information is a necessary, but not sufficient test for the truth of a world view: need more than sensory information

E. Workability and epistemology

1. Pragmatism: it’s true if it works
2. Pragmatism and religious truth: conflicts
3. Evaluation of pragmatism; cannot be the meaning or definition of truth. Is one element of testing truth claims.
4. Workability a necessary, but not a sufficient test for the truth of a world view: working doesn’t make a belief true

F. A combination of criteria are needed to test the truth of a worldview

A Combined Documentary About Evidences for God (Serious Saturday)

The Signs of God’s Existence is an interesting high quality documentary that explains in an intellectual way why it is logical to believe in God. This documentary gives some good rational answers and food for thought.

An Atheist`s Journey to Faith ~ Holly Ordway, Ph.D.

Holly Ordway (author of Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith) was a hard-core atheist who thought Christian theism was a complete joke. She was openly hostile towards Christianity and thought their followers were superstitious idiots! She was even a fan of Richard Dawkins’. However, as a college academic and scholar she was challenged to look into Christianity and took a surprise turn in her life and realized how intellectually defensible Christianity was. She is now a proud born-again Christian who speaks in apologetic circles defending the faith. In this lecture, she gives her testimony of her conversion from atheism and answers five questions: Why was I an atheist? What was it that made me listen to apologetic arguments? What was it like to experience these apologetic arguments? What was the role of the imagination in this journey? Now that I’m a Christian, now what? Buy her book “Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds a Radical Faith

The Evidence of Supernatural Design in Contemporary Big Bang Cosmology

From Video Description:

Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (2012) – ‘The Evidence of Creation & Supernatural Design in Contemporary Big Bang Cosmology & Space-Time Geometry Proofs’ by Robert Spitzer. The new popular atheism movement may lead one to suspect that faith and science are opposed to one another. Fr. Spitzer addressed (in layman’s terms) the three most significant kinds of evidence for intelligent creation from physics (space-time geometry proofs, new evidence from entropy, and fine-tuning of cosmological constants). He gave special consideration to recent theories concerning eternal inflation, the multiverse hypothesis, and a bouncing universe (in the higher-dimensional space of string theory) to show that these hypotheses also require a definitive beginning.

Does God Exist ~ William Lane Craig Debates Lawrence Krauss

Description:

North Carolina State University, March 20, 2011 – William Lane Craig (author of Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology) and Lawrence Krauss (author of A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing) debate the existence of God. This is the debate where Krauss famously unbuttoned his shirt and boldly told his audience that 2+2=5! Is this what it takes to be an atheist? In fact, Krauss did so embarrassingly bad he was voted as the loser* of the debate. Craig does a masterful job of exposing Krauss’ unscientific and wacky view of physics and science. Unfortunately, many atheists are parroting his arguments and thoughts. Transcript: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-craig-krauss-debate-at-north-carolina-stat…

* – The voting results at NCSU on who won the debate:

-516 cards turned in
-286 Dr. Craig made the clearer/better presentation
-130 Dr. Krauss made the clearer/better presentation
-100 stated it was a draw

Does God Exist ~ William Lane Craig debates Peter Atkins

This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the University of Manchester (including an overspill room). It was recorded on Wednesday 26th October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Atkins is former Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Lincoln College.

The debate was chaired by Christopher Whitehead, Head of Chemistry School at the University. Post-debate discussion was moderated by Peter S Williams, Philosopher in Residence at the Damaris Trust, UK.

Does God Exist? William Lane Craig debates Professor Peter Millican

http://reasonablefaith.org – This debate on “Does God Exist?” took place in front of a capacity audience at the Great Hall, University of Birmingham. It was recorded on Friday 21st October 2011 as part of the UK Reasonable Faith Tour with William Lane Craig.

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, La Mirada, California and a leading philosopher of religion. Peter Millican is Gilbert Ryle Professor of Philosophy at Hertford College, University of Oxford and a noted scholar in studies of Hume.

The debate was hosted by the University of Birmingham Student Philosophy Society, and the debate was moderated by Professor Carl Chinn.

For more information on the Reasonable Faith Tour see http://www.bethinking.org/craig

Worldview-Defined and Explained

For an in-depth introduction to worldviews, read my first chapter to my book…
click graphic below

“Ours is an age of religious cacophony, as was the Roman Empire of Christ’s time. From agnosticism to Hegelianism, from devil-worship to scientific rationalism, from theosophical cults to philosophies of process: virtually any worldview conceivable is offered to modern man in the pluralistic marketplace of ideas. Our age is indeed in ideological and societal agony, grasping at anything and everything that can conceivably offer the ecstasy of a cosmic relationship or of a comprehensive Weltanschauung [worldview].”[1]

Worldviews… What Are They?

And More Importantly, Do You Have One?

Many people today do not realize what a worldview is or how it effects their every day life. Let us first define in a general sense what a worldview is. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it two ways: 1) The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world; 2) A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. With these broad definitions, one can see that everyone is caught ion a web of defining their relation to the universe and the world. However, this generation doesn’t get much beyond this dictionary definition, and the actions behind this generation’s thinking are quite evident.

Let me give an example of how this lack of understanding about one’s worldview can effect a whole generation. Alexander W. Astin dissected a longitudinal study conducted by UCLA started in 1966 for the Review of Higher Education[2] in which 290,000 students were surveyed from about 500 colleges. The main question was asked of students why study or learn, seeking to develop “a meaningful philosophy of life” (to develop a meaningful worldview) was ranked “essential” by a majority of entering freshmen. In 1996 however, 80% of the college students barely recognized the need for “a meaningful philosophy of life” and ranked “being very well off financially” (to not necessarily develop a meaningful worldview) as paramount.[3]

This is quite eye-opening. It says a lot about where people’s “heads” are, or aren’t. A few decades ago most college students were looking to answer life’s big questions and learn how to relate to them. Today? Not so much. What are these questions that everyone’s worldview must answer? Below are the main ones that every viable worldview should answer:

Ultimate Reality

What kind of God, if any, actually exists?

External Reality

Is there anything beyond the cosmos?

Knowledge

What can be known, and how can anyone know it?

Origin

Where did I come from?

Identity

Who am I?

Location

Where am I?

Morals

How should I live?

Values

What should I consider of great worth?

Predicament

What is humanity’s fundamental problem?

Resolution

How can humanity’s problem be solved?

Past / Present

What is the meaning and direction of history?

Destiny

Will I survive the death of my body and, if so, in what state?

These questions are the bedrock of any worldview that holds any weight. So before we go any further, let’s define a bit more for clarity purposes what a worldview is. Norman Geisler has the best working definition that will help guide us through the maze of religious and non-religious worldviews we will encounter in our lives. He says:

A Worldview is how one views or interprets reality. The German word is Weltanschauung, meaning a “world and life view,” or “a paradigm.” It is a framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life. A worldview makes a world of difference in one’s view of God, origins, evil, human nature, values, and destiny.[4]

Something is missing from this definition though. In it there is no relational comparison to show that merely knowing one’s worldview doesn’t “presto” make it somehow true, this definition delves a bit deeper into what is at stake:

A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our well being.[5]

Another engaging way to put it is found over at All About the Journey:

Many haven’t poked their fingers into their presuppositions[6] in order to test their worldview. The author of an online book entitled Faith with Reason: Why Christianity is True, starts out his book like this: “This is a book about worldviews. Everybody has one, but most individuals never really pay much attention to their own personal philosophy of life. This is a tragedy because there is no state of awareness so fundamental to living life.” Again, no state of awareness is so fundamental! Another author supports this idea by saying that “raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity.”[7]

Every subject we think about is filtered through our worldview. The picture of reality we hold in our minds is what we use at the most basic level to answer every question in life. This is especially true of big questions, like those pertaining to man’s origin, ethics, life’s meaning and ultimate destiny. This makes faith central to every aspect of our lives and being. The bigger question, of course, is whether or not the picture of reality we have is actually true.[8]

Have you ever put on a pair of prescription glasses from a family member or friend? The distorted view one gets when putting on these prescription strength glasses is like a worldview. What one accepts as truth will effect all aspects of their life. A wonderful example of this comes from an illustration via Norman Geisler:

Professor: “Miracles are impossible, don’t you know science has disproven them, how could you believe in them [i.e., answered prayer, a man being raised from the dead, Noah’s Ark, and the like].”

Student: “for clarity purposes I wish to get some definitions straight. Would it be fair to say that science is generally defined as ‘the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us’?”

Professor: “Beautifully put, that is the basic definition of science in every text-book I read through my Doctoral journey.”

Student: “Wouldn’t you also say that a good definition of a miracle would be ‘and event in nature caused by something outside of nature’?”

Professor: “Yes, that would be an acceptable definition of ‘miracle.’”

Student: “But since you do not believe that anything outside of ‘nature’ exists [materialism, dialectical materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism – whatever you wish to call it], you are ‘forced’ to conclude that miracles are impossible”[9]

The professor had a worldview that presupposed “naturalism,” or, “materialism,” which is defined as “the philosophical belief that reality is composed solely of matter and that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes.”[10] This presupposition that guided the professor caused him to be unable to even consider a non-natural event as an actual event. Therefore, Jesus couldn’t have risen from the grave, ergo, Christianity is false. Another way to see this “begging of questions” is in the following example:

Premise: Since there is no God,

Conclusion: all theistic proofs are invalid.

Premise: Since the theistic proofs are invalid,

Conclusion: there is no God.[11]

Again, I hope one can see how a worldview, or pair of prescription glasses, can warp a person’s view of the world around them. Here we have dealt with the naturalist, or, atheistic worldview, what are some other worldviews we can categorize, and how do they view reality? Let’s see. A pretty good chart comes from the book Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews, realize that the chart is enlargeable:


Another informative chart can be found here (PDF File). I am pretty sure you are getting the idea of just how important a worldview can be. Once someone has a good idea of what worldview (Weltanschauung) is true, whether by a) investigation; or by b) bias, they then live out their lives according to those principles presupposed. John Stott explains, somewhat, the power of that worldview in the bringing forth “of actions into the external world” and influencing it.

“Every powerful movement has had its philosophy which has gripped the mind, fired the imagination and captured the devotion of its adherents. One has only to think of the Fascist and the Communist manifestos of this century, of Hitler’s Mein Kampf on the one hand and Marx’s Das Kapital and The Thoughts of Chairman Mao on the other.”[12] [I would include the Humanist Manifesto’s I, II, and 2000 as well.]

One researcher says that there are 10,000 religions in the world, but if you bring all these religious beliefs to there core values, there is only a handful left in the hous, in fact, Francs Schaeffer said this:

People have presuppositions, and they will live more consistently on the basis of these presuppositions than even they themselves may realize. By ‘presuppositions’ we mean the basic way an individual looks at life, his basic worldview, the grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. People’s presuppositions lay a grid for all they bring forth into the external world. Their presuppositions also provide the basis for their values and therefore the basis for their decisions. ‘As a man thinketh, so he is,’ is really profound. An individual is not just the product of the forces around him. He has a mind, an inner world. Then, having thought, a person can bring forth actions into the external world and thus influence it. People are apt to look at the outer theater of action, forgetting the actor who ‘lives in the mind’ and who therefore is the true actor in the external world. The inner thought world determines the outward action. Most people catch their presuppositions from their family and surrounding society the way a child catches measles. But people with more understanding realize that their presuppositions should be chosen after a careful consideration of what worldview is true. When all is done, when all the alternatives have been explored, ‘not many men are in the room’ – that is, although worldviews have many variations, there are not many basic worldviews or presuppositions.” [13]

All this should make you want to Jump In, and Engage Life:

L. Cohen – who is a mathematician, researcher and author who chose to jump in. He is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and officer of the Archaeological Institute of America. In his book, Darwin was Wrong: A Study in Probabilities, Cohen writes:

In a certain sense, the debate transcends the confrontation between evolutionists and creationists. We now have a debate within the scientific community itself; it is a confrontation between scientific objectivity and ingrained prejudice – between logic and emotion – between fact and fiction….

…In the final analysis, objective scientific logic has to prevail — no matter what the final result is – no matter how many time-honored idols have to be discarded in the process….

…after all, it is not the duty of science to defend the theory of evolution, and stick by it to the bitter end — no matter what illogical and unsupported conclusions it offers… if in the process of impartial scientific logic, they find that creation by outside superintelligence is the solution to our quandary, then let’s cut the umbilical cord that tied us down to Darwin for such a long time. It is choking us and holding us back….

…every single concept advanced by the theory of evolution (and amended thereafter) is imaginary and it is not supported by the scientifically established facts of microbiology, fossils, and mathematical probability concepts. Darwin was wrong….

…The theory of evolution may be the worst mistake made in science.[14]

By using his worldview backed by logic, science, math, and sound presuppositions, Cohen rejected Darwinian evolution. Another worldview that should be tested is that of Carl Jung. And it is a worldview, as a site mentions: “Thus, far from being just another theory, Jungian psychology embraces the universe in all its manifestations: art, history, myth, philosophy, and spirituality are all essential components of Jung’s worldview” (this quote was taken from the Jung Center of Houston, founded in 1958). I hope these definitions and charts helped to bring to mind some areas of your life that need study. If not, then so be it. I hope those reading will enjoy the below presentation:

FOOTNOTES

[1] John Warwick Montgomery, Faith Founded on Fact (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1978), 152-53.

[2] Alexander W. Astin, “The changing American college student: thirty year trends, 1966-1996,” Review of Higher Education, 21 (2), 115-135.

[3] Some of what is here is with thanks to professor Stephen Whatley, as, they are notes from one of his classes.

[4] Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), 785-786.

[5] James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept (Downers Grove: IVP, 2004), 122.

[6] To require something as a prior condition; to make something necessary if a particular thing is to be shown to be true or false. The sentence “Fred loves his daughter” presupposes that Fred has a daughter.

[7] Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity In a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 9.

[8] Joseph R. Farinaccio, Faith with Reason: Why Christianity is True (Pennsville: Book Specs, 2002), 9.

[9] Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), 63-64.

[10] David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Manitou Springs: Summit Press, 2006), 101.

[11] Robert A. Morey, The New Atheism: And the Erosion of Freedom (Phillipsburg: P & R, 1986), 57.

[12] From a radio sermon.

[13] Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture (Crossway Books; 1976), 19-20.

[14] I. L. Cohen, Darwin was Wrong: A Study in Probabilities (?: New Research Pub, 1984), 6-7, 8, 214-215, 209, 210.

William Lane Craig Gives the Best Evidences for the Theistic/Christian Faith

William Lane Craig gives one of his best presentations on evidences for theism. It is directly aimed at the heart of atheistic arguments and destroys many of the straw-men placed by said atheists.

There is a short follow up by atheist professor Daniel Dennett that lasts about 10-minutes or so, who has no defense of his atheism in light of what just happened. He basically mentions that his non-knowledge will some day be filled in (atheism-of-the-gaps). Professor McGrath (theist) finishes up with about a 5-minute outro.

Theistic Evidences at Philsophers Convention from Papa Giorgio on Vimeo.