WAR Of the WORLDVIEWS. Christianity versus its challengers. The Challengers- Naturalism. It is widely believed that the only valid knowledge is science. that science has decisively disproved the Biblical worldview. that belief in God is irrational. Social Consequences.
It is widely believed
God no longer belongs in modern society
Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion(2006)
“(religious) faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.” (Dawkins 1996)
42% agree (2006 UK poll)
Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007)
USA and EU ban Intelligent Design Only purposeless evolution may be taught in public schools.
No absolute truths; only human constructions
Again,God has no place in society
Steve Bruce.God Is Dead : Secularization in the West(2002)
"God is dead, we have killed him…
science has killed him
. . . science has killed Truth."
It is alleged
● that science has
falsified Biblical miracles
● that scientific explanations
make God unnecessary
factual, objective, rational science
mythical, subjective, irrational religion
hard data –what we actually see
subjective theory – how we explain what we see
Galactic red-shifts caused by
● motion through space
● decreasing speed of light
● shrinking atoms
● increasing particle mass
● tired light
philosopher of science:
"The transition from data to theory requires creative imagination . . .
Scientific hypotheses and theories are not derived from observed facts,
but are invented in order to account for them."
Composition in Blue
Nebraska man –artistic reconstruction (1922)
The actual data-a pig’s tooth (4 views of same tooth)
Any statement can be held true come what may, if we make drastic enough adjustments elsewhere in the system. The totality of our knowledge, from the most casual matters of history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Willard Van Orman Quine
"Scientific theories are not only equally unprovable, and equally improbable, but they are also equally undisprovable."
philosopher of science
●Which theories should we prefer—the simplest?
●How do we know that simple theories are more likely to be true?
●We have no certain means of separating true theories from false ones.
●We choose theories that fit in best with our worldview--our most basic assumptions about the world.
●Only observational data can be accepted as fact.
Who is God?
Why does the world exist?
What is man?
What can we know?
What should we do?
What can we hope for?
The basic worldview questions are of a deeply philosophical nature. It requires deep, concentrated thought and is hard work. Philosophy strikes most people as boring and useless.
Worldview Answers. . .
Deeply held ideals can lead to drastic action
Deeply held ideals can lead to drastic action
Eugene Delacroix 1830
Eugene Delacroix 1830
One’s worldview provides a platform to critique other worldviews, such as the shallowness of pop culture
The global conflict between faith and unbelief, between Christian and non-Christian worldviews.
Science and culture are God-glorifying or God-defying.
Main issue: does the Bible reveals absolute truths?
God’s Word versus Satan’s deception
“Thus says the Lord” “Did God Say?”
Genesis 3:15:“I will put enmity between your (Satan’s) seed and her seed, he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel”
Tertullian (160 - 220 AD)–
What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?
Augustine (354 - 430 AD)– Human history is dominated by a battle between the City of God and the City of Man.
C.S. Lewis (1898 - 1963) –
“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan”
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) Principles of Sacred Theology: “Not faith and science, but two scientific systems… Two scientific elaborations, are opposed to each other, each having its own faith.”
Operation science– Common ground?
● Basic science – laboratory, repeatable events, laws, applications
●Most of science – physics, chemistry, biology
●All the science needed for technology
●Justified under the cultural mandate of Gen.1:28
Historical Science – Highly Worldview Dependent
●Speculative extrapolation into distant past
●Geology, astronomy, paleontology (prehistoric life)
●Data collection versus interpretation
●Worldview plays a large role in interpretation
● All observations are made at the presenttime,
so any conclusions about origins must rely on theory.
● No scientists were present at the beginning,
so only God knows what really happened.
● The origins debate is not about facts, but their proper interpretation.
●NOTscience versus Christianity but
naturalistic explanations versus Christian explanations
A worldview consists of
● a story – a framework
A worldview serves as
● a map
Common sense and
William Provine, historian of science
"Evolutionary biology tells us there are no purposeful principles in nature, no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable. . .
Second, there are no inherent moral or ethical laws. . .
Third, human beings are marvelously complex machines.
Fourth, when we die, we die and that is the end of us, no hope of everlasting life.
Free will simply does not exist, evolution can’t produce a being that is truly free to make choices
The universe cares nothing for us . . .
There is no ultimate meaning for humans.“
Naturalism versus Christ
The Two Crowns
Frank Dicksee 1900
A pagan king parades past Christ
Story: full evolution
Metaphysics: only natural causes
no divine revelation
Anthropology: man is an accident
no soul, no hope after death
Ethics: no universal norms
no mathematical entities
Religion: God is irrelevant
Roger Penrose, “Shadows of the Mind”
Schrödinger equation .
If science is true, so is mathematics
Math to matter
Matter to mind
Mind to math
Monument to the Third International
Vladimir Tatlin 1919
Why does the universe exist?
Why does it have order & uniformity?
Why is it mathematically intelligible?
Why does it have a particular mathematical form?
How are mathematical forms actualized?
How can purposeless matter give rise to purposeful life?
How can chance give rise to complexity?
How did information arise?
How can matter become conscious?
The unity of the self
How do non-physical factors influence the mind?
What transforms mental choice to physical action?
Why should we trust our minds?
How can non-physical absolutes exist?
How can “is” give rise to “ought”?
How do we access norms?
Why is math applicable?
Sir Francis Crick, Nobel prize biologist:
"The Astonishing Hypothesis is that "You", your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells...“
If all your beliefs are illusions caused by brain neurons, as Crick believes, where does that leave Crick’s belief that all beliefs are illusions??
Given our best scientific theories, factors beyond our control ultimately produce all our actions ….we are therefore not morally responsible for them.
PhilosopherDerk Pereboom (Living Without Freewill)
Arguing that naturalism
Is true presumes:
Story: Creation, Fall, redemption
Metaphysics: God is the ultimate reality: all-powerful, all-knowing. He sets physical laws and performs miracles
Knowledge: God reveals truth to us through the Bible
Anthropology:We are created in God’s image to serve Him. Body & soul.
Absolutes: God sets all norms
Scientific theories are fallible human inventions that should agree with observation, logic and Bible.
“The God said, “let us make man in our image…”
And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen.1:26-28)
● The cultural mandate provided motivation to study God’s creation.
●Belief in a rational God, Whom man imaged, made science feasible
The Reformation stressed everyday life and the importance of all occupations
Hunters in the Snow
Pieter Bruegel 1565
“For as all works do shew forth the power and skill of the workman…so it is of the works of God, which do shew forth the omnipotency and wisdom of the maker…”
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
“I give thanks to Thee, O Lord Creator, Who hast delighted me with Thy makings and in the works of Thy hands have I exalted.”
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
“The laws of nature give clear testimony of a lawgiver… Nature is written in the language of mathematics”
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
“This most beautiful system of sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”
Astronomer by Candlelight
Gerrit Dou 1665
Physicist Paul Davies:
For 300 years, science has based itself on materialism, leading inevitably to atheism and the meaninglessness of physical existence.
Even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence.
So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.
Richard Lewontin, biologist:
We take the side of materialism - in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, because we have a prior commitment to materialism...
We are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive,
Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door...
To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.
John Searle, philosopher:
How can so many philosophers and scientists say so many things that seem obviously false?
Acceptance of the current views is motivated not so much by an independent conviction of their truth as by a terror of what are apparently the only alternatives.
The choice we are tacitly left with is between a "scientific" approach-- Materialism–
and an "antiscientific" approach--some traditional religious conception of the mind.
Thomas Nagel, philosopher:
I am talking about the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.
The fear of God
Thomas Nagel, philosopher:
It isn't just that I don't believe in God. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that. . .
My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is responsible for much of the scientism of our time…
it supports the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about life, including everything about the human mind.”
Tower of Babel
Richard Rorty, postmodern philosopher:
I do not think that Christian theism is irrational.
I entirely agree that it is no more irrational than atheism.
Irrationality is not the question, but rather, desirability.
Atheistic existentialism…states that if God does not exist then man is only what he makes of himself. Jean-Paul Sartre
Critical human reason, once uncorked, is an insatiable acid that dissolves all absolutes, eventually eroding its own foundation.
The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters
Francesco Goya 1799
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900):
"God is dead, we have killed him… science has killed him
. . . science has killed Truth."
Where is the debater of the age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Cor.1:20
The centre of me is always and eternally a terrible pain--a curious wild pain--a searching for something beyond what the world contains, something transfigured and infinite
The soul finds no rest until it finds its rest in GodAugustine
Man has a God-shaped void that only God can fillBlaise Pascal
Rebellion in paradise
“You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes shall be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”.(Gen.3: 4-5)
Since they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator…God gave them up to a debased mind and improper conduct…Claiming to be wise, they became fools... (Romans 1)
God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:11)
● Worldviews come as package deals, as all-encompassing systems
●You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength(Mark 12:30)
●No one can serve two masters(Matt.6:24)
● Compromising Christianity with naturalism introduces an inconsistency that will eventually undermine our commitment to God
●We destroy arguments raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to Christ(2 Cor.10:4)
1. Defense – clarifying the Biblical worldview
”Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Pet.3:15).
Positively - proclaiming the gospel, clear up misunderstandings, respond to objections.
Outline how the biblical worldview offers a cohesive and comprehensive explanation of reality, particularly concerning man, with all his problems.
2. Offense – Show deficiencies in other worldviews
Unmask the foolishness of unbelief.
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness...I will destroy the wisdom of the wise" (I Cor.1:18 -19).
Hence we must be busy with, "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor.10:5).
Transcendental Argument for Christianity Cornelius van Til The Defense of the Faith (1967).
1. Stress worldview presuppositions.
2. Show that the Christian worldview gives a coherent explanation of man and his experiences.
3. Show that the unbeliever's worldview makes nonsense out of history, science and even reasoning itself.
● The transcendental argument is primarily a reductio ad absurdum of the unbeliever's worldview.
● Only the truth of Christianity can rescue meaningful logic, science, and morality
● Only Christianity provides the philosophical basis necessary for man's reasoning and knowledge in any field whatever.
● Science is worldview-driven
● Worldviews are based on presuppositions
● Naturalism & Post-modernity are ultimately self-refuting
● Christianity gives coherence, meaning, purpose & hope
● A heart choice – obey or rebel?
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone who is proud and lofty…and the haughtiness of man shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:12, 17)
● To articulate your worldview
What are your most basic beliefs, presuppositions, and priorities?
● To work it out consistently
Worldviews come as package deals, as all-encompassing systems.
Compromising Christianity with naturalism introduces an inconsistency that will eventually undermine your commitment to God.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength
Rainbow over Niagara Falls
We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.