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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.

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WAR

Of the

WORLDVIEWS

Christianity versus

its challengers


The challengers naturalism
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
Social Consequences

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.


The challengers postmodernity
The Challengers--postmodernity

No absolute truths; only human constructions

Again,God has no place in society

Steve Bruce.God Is Dead : Secularization in the West(2002)


Is God dead?

Friedrich Nietzsche(1844-1900):

"God is dead, we have killed him…

science has killed him

. . . science has killed Truth."


How did science ‘kill’ God?

It is alleged

● that science has

falsified Biblical miracles

● that scientific explanations

make God unnecessary


Can science really kill God?

The Myth

factual, objective, rational science

versus

mythical, subjective, irrational religion

The Reality

hard data –what we actually see

versus

subjective theory – how we explain what we see


Same data but many theories

Galactic red-shifts caused by

●expanding space

● motion through space

● gravity

● decreasing speed of light

● shrinking atoms

● increasing particle mass

● tired light


From data to theory

Carl Hempel,

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." 

Piet Mondrian

Composition in Blue


From data to theory

Nebraska man –artistic reconstruction (1922)

The actual data-a pig’s tooth (4 views of same tooth)


Saving the theory

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


From theory to critique

"Scientific theories are not only equally unprovable, and equally improbable, but they are also equally undisprovable."

Imre Lakatos,

philosopher of science


Choosing theories

●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.


Worldview Questions

Who is God?

What exists? 

Why does the world exist?

What is man?

What can we know?

What should we do?

What can we hope for?

religion

metaphysics

purpose

anthropology

epistemology

ethics

eschatology


Worldviews and Philosophy

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.


but

Worldview Answers. . .

DO have

consequences:


Ideals and Values

Deeply held ideals can lead to drastic action

Deeply held ideals can lead to drastic action

Liberty Leading

The People

Eugene Delacroix 1830

Liberty Leading

The People

Eugene Delacroix 1830


Critique

One’s worldview provides a platform to critique other worldviews, such as the shallowness of pop culture


The anti thesis
The Anti-thesis

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”


Science and the anti thesis
Science and the Anti-thesis

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.”


Science – operation and historical

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)

archaeology

●Data collection versus interpretation

●Worldview plays a large role in interpretation


Science and origins

● 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


Worldviews

A worldview consists of

● presuppositions

● a story – a framework

A worldview serves as

● spectacles

● a map


Assessing Worldviews

Consistency

Experience

Livability

Common sense and

science


Naturalism

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


Naturalist presuppositions

Story: full evolution

Metaphysics: only natural causes

purposeless materialism

Knowledge:empiricism

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


Three worlds—three mysteries

Roger Penrose, “Shadows of the Mind”


The physical world is mathematical

Generalrelativity

Mechanics

Maxwell’s equations

Electricity

Magnetism

Schrödinger equation                   .

Chemistry

If science is true, so is mathematics


Naturalist problems

Math to matter

Matter to mind

Mind to math

Self-refutation

Monument to the Third International

Vladimir Tatlin 1919


Math to matter problems

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?


Matter to mind problems

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?


Mind to math problems

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?


Self-refuting beliefs

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??


Why should we punish crime?

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)


Self-refutation

Arguing that naturalism

Is true presumes:

reliable minds

objective truth

purposeful selfs

rational norms

mental causation


Why are we here
Why are we here?

  • “There is no ultimate meaning for humans.“ William Provine

  • "We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA…That is exactly what we are for…It is every living object's sole reason for living". Dawkins 1994:58

  • "The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Westminster Shorter Catechism


Basics of the Christian worldview

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


A Christian view of knowledge

God

Math

Physical world

Bible

Scientific theories are fallible human inventions that should agree with observation, logic and Bible.


Christianity Enabled Science

“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


Christianity enabled science

The Reformation stressed everyday life and the importance of all occupations

Hunters in the Snow

Pieter Bruegel 1565


Founders of Science Praise the Creator

“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)


Founders of Science Praise the Creator

“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.”

Isaac Newton

(1642-1727)

Astronomer by Candlelight

Gerrit Dou 1665


Science needs God

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.


Materialism is a belief

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.


Why believe in materialism?

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.


The fear of God

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 Last

Judgment

Michelangelo

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.”


The tower of modernity

consumerism

economics

technology

science

human autonomy

Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel

1563


Rationality is Not the Issue

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.


Post-modern Blues

Atheistic existentialism…states that if God does not exist then man is only what he makes of himself. Jean-Paul Sartre

  • It is very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values disappears along with Him.

  • Hence, man is forlorn, because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to. Jean-Paul Sartre


The Demise of Reason

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


Is Truth Dead?

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 Futility of Atheism

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

Bertrand Russell

The soul finds no rest until it finds its rest in GodAugustine

Man has a God-shaped void that only God can fillBlaise Pascal


A long war against God

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)

Consequences

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)


Christian warfare

  • Be prepared

  • Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.Ephesians 6

  • 2. Be thoughtful

  • For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the opinion of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.II Corinthians 10: 4-5

  • 3. Be discerning

  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans12:2


The need for consistency
The Need for Consistency

● 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)


Apologetics defending the faith
Apologetics – Defending the Faith

Two aspects

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.


Apologetics defending the faith1
Apologetics – Defending the Faith

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).


Presuppositional apologetics
Presuppositional Apologetics

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.


Presuppositional apologetics1
Presuppositional Apologetics

● 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.


Conclusions

● 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)


The Challenge

● 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

Mark 12:30


God’s Covenant Faithfulness

Rainbow over Niagara Falls

Steve Jones,Ontario

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28


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