Posts Tagged ‘Naturalism’

20140204-161957.jpg

“These are exciting times. When I finished the Epilogue to Darwin on Trial in 1993, I compared evolutionary naturalism to a great battleship afloat on the Ocean of Reality. The ship’s sides are heavily armored with philosophical and legal barriers to criticism, and its decks are stacked with 16-inch rhetorical guns to intimidate would-be attackers. In appearance, it is as impregnable as the Soviet Union seemed a few years ago. But the ship has sprung a metaphysical leak, and that leak widens as more and more people understand it and draw attention to the conflict between empirical science and materialist philosophy. The more perceptive of the ship’s officers know that the ship is doomed if the leak cannot be plugged. The struggle to save the ship will go on for a while, and meanwhile there will even be academic wine-and-cheese parties on the deck. In the end, the ship’s great firepower and ponderous armor will only help drag it to the bottom. Reality will win.”

–Phillip E. Johnson in an article, “How to Sink a Battleship: A call to separate materialist philosophy from empirical science.”

Simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams

Please catch up with my posts in this series here.

When I was much younger, I made the following comment to my wife, in jest, of course, because young men are invincible, and think they’re immortal.

“If something happens to me, and I’m on a ventilator, don’t you give up on me…it ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

It was a frivolous statement I should have never made. Recent events have made me realize how cruel a burden that statement was to place on a loved one. I am thankful my loved ones have not had to make that kind of decision. My hope is that as I work through this, I can come to a better plan than that.

What Is A Worldview?

We need to begin by backtracking a minute and make a clear definition of what exactly a worldview is.

“So what is a worldview? Essentially this: 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) that 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 being.”1

A worldview is basically your philosophy of life or your conception of the world. It is the accumulation of your presuppositions and beliefs, and how you look at reality. 

“In the simplest terms, a worldview may be defined as how one sees life and the world at large. In this manner it can be compared to a pair of glasses. How a person makes sense of the world depends upon that person’s “vision,” so to speak. The interpretive “lens” helps people make sense of life and comprehend the world around them. Sometimes the lens brings clarity, and other times it can distort reality.”2

A friend of mine gave me some really good tickets to the Alabama/UTC football game last year. My son and I were excited to go to Tuscaloosa and see the Crimson Tide in person. When I was leaving, I picked up what I thought were my glasses from the bathroom. I noticed that all the way to Tuscaloosa from here in North Georgia, I was having trouble seeing, and then I got a headache. My son was wondering what was wrong with me, when I couldn’t make out the names on the jerseys. Finally, I took of my glasses and looked…I had my daughters glasses on. When you’re half-blind, one set of frames that are similar look the same, but mine had bling-haha.

My point is that the philosophical “lens” you look through is either one you have considered, pondered over, and chosen for yourself (as I did my spectacles at Lenscrafters), or you’re wearing someone else’s “lenses”, or worse yet, you’re wearing worldview “glasses” that are made up of a hodgepodge of different “isms” that mix about as well as oil and water.

Seven Worldview Questions

Maybe you picked up a little “Christianism” in Sunday School. Then you added some good ol’ Pragmatism from American culture. Throw in some Romanticism, and mysticism, and you’ve got yourself one messed up set of worldview glasses. It’s no wonder you can’t make heads-or-tails out of basic worldview questions. James Sire lists seven basic questions all worldviews must answer. They are:

1  What is the nature of Ultimate Reality?- Is there a god? Is He Personal? Can I know Him?

2.  What is the nature of material reality?“Does matter exist? Is what we see an illusion? 

  • Is it created or uncreated?
  • Is it orderly or chaotic?
  • Is it subjective or objective?
  • Is it personal or impersonal?
  • Is it eternal or temporal?”3

3.  What is the nature of humanity?Is he merely a machine? Does he have immaterial parts? Is he a god? Is he a created being? 

4. What happens when you die? “Here are some of the answers that various worldviews give concerning life after death.

  • People cease to exist.
  • Individuals are transformed to a higher state.
  • People reincarnate into another life on earth.
  • People depart to a shadowy existence on “the other side.”
  • Individuals enter into the spiritual realm (heaven, hell, or other place) based on how life was lived on earth.
  • People enter directly into heaven.”4

5.  How do we know anything, or can we know anything at all? “These are some of the ways that various worldviews deal with the issue of knowledge.

  • Consciousness and rationality developed through a long process of evolution.
  • There is no “reason” that human beings are able to have knowledge. That is just the nature of our existence.
  • Knowledge is an illusion.
  • Humans are made in the image of God who, himself, has knowledge.”5

6.  What about ethics? Can anyone one really know right from wrong? Here are some of the ways that various worldviews deal with this issue.

  • Right and wrong are strictly products of human choice.
  • Right and wrong are determined by what feels good.
  • A sense of right and wrong was an evolutionary development as a survival mechanism for the species.
  • Right and wrong are learned by experience as we learn what pleases the gods.
  • We are made in the image of God whose character is good and who has revealed what is right.”6

7.  What is the meaning of human life and history?Some of the various worldviews deal with this by asserting:

  • There is no innate meaning to human history. Meaning is what humans make it to be.
  • Time is an illusion.
  • Meaning involves realizing the purpose of the gods.
  • Meaning results from discovering and fulfilling the purpose of God.”7

8. James Sire lists one more question that makes the point about a worldview being a matter of the heart, and not just an abstract exercise: “What personal, life-orienting core commitments are consistent with this worldview?”8

It’s very important that you understand your own worldview, and the worldviews of those around you, especially those who can affect your life significantly, such as your physicians, politicians, educators, etc.

As Christian we are told:

1 Peter 3:15

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;

You can’t make a defense to questions you haven’t worked through yourself. If you’ve ever tried to have a serious conversation with someone, and discovered you have no common point of reference, you have crashed into the worldview wall. Some of the most frustrating people I have ever tried to dialogue with are militant atheistic naturalists, and postmodern Christian Emergents. This is a clash of worldviews. If you don’t think that it’s important to understand different worldviews, consider this:

1611194_10202046474975690_69437121_oIn the past few weeks, my family has had to deal with the life and death situation of a loved one. In dealing with one particular doctor at a step-down facility that was supposed to wean my loved off of a ventilator, it became abundantly clear that there was a clash of worldviews. Our philosophy was that she should be cared for, medicated, and sustained with a ventilator, and heroic measures of resuscitation would not be employed. The doctor at the facility did not think it necessary to continue treating our family member as a human being needing compassion, but treated her like an animal needing to be put-down.

WORLDVIEWS MATTER!

Seven Worldviews That Developed After The Disintegration Of Christian Theism As the Dominant Worldview

James Sire, in his book The Universe next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, lists the following worldviews that have developed as the Christian Theistic worldview has disintegrated in the last 3 centuries:

  1. Deism Advocating either an impersonal force or deity, or a personal god that created the cosmos, but who doesn’t interfere with the laws of nature. The miraculous is denied. Reason is basically deified.
  2. Naturalism- Anti-supernatural; all phenomena can be explained by natural  or scientific causes.
  3. Nihilism Traditional values are useless; existence is meaningless; no objective truth or morality. Proponents: Max Stirner, Friedrich Nietzsche, 
  4. Existentialism- focuses on the existence of the individual, and the responsibility of humans with freewill and self-determination. Proponents: Soren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jaspers, Jean-Paul Sartre
  5. Eastern Mysticism
  6. New Age
  7. Islam

When dealing with a culture that is increasingly hostile to Objective Moral Truth, and the Sanctity of Life, especially when dealing with medical issues related to end-of-life care, understanding which worldview you are coming into conflict with as a Christian becomes something more than just an academic endeavor. Your loved one’s life may depend on your recognition of worldviews, and the questions you should be asking. As an exercise, just watch the news. Notice presuppositions, and how they relate to the seven worldview questions. It won’t take you terribly long to learn how to discern someone’s worldview. Asking the right questions, and listening to the answers could keep you from misinterpreting a medical professional. Trust me, it’s important.

“Despite the persistent boast that America is the most religious country in the Western world, the Christian worldview and Christian ethics are under attack by the dominant secular culture. The tactics employed by secularists vary from belittling religious belief in general to ridiculing Christian believers themselves.”10

1. Sire, James. “What Is a Worldview?” Christianity.com. Salem Web Network, 05 Mar. 2010. Web. 19 Jan. 2014. <http://www.christianity.com/blogs/russell-moore/what-is-a-worldview-11627153.html&gt;.

2. Samples, Kenneth R. “Reasons To Believe : What in the World Is a Worldview?” Reasons To Believe : What in the World Is a Worldview? Reasons To Believe, 01 Jan. 2007. Web. 19 Jan. 2014. <http://www.reasons.org/articles/what-in-the-world-is-a-worldview&gt;.

3. Sire, James W. The Universe next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 1997. Print. Kindle edition.

4. Sire, ibid.

5. Sire, ibid.

6. Sire, ibid.

7. Sire, ibid.

8. Sire, ibid. Loc. 178

9. Sire, ibid.

10. Slick, Matt. “What Is a Christian World View and Why Do Christians Need One?” CARM. Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2014. <http://carm.org/what-christian-world-view-and-why-do-christians-need-one&gt;.

Note: Much help in my journey through the murky waters has been given by:

Blocher, Mark B. “Christian Worldview and Medical Ethics, Part 2.” Lifemattersww.org/. Center for Biblical Bioethics, 2004. Web. 19 Jan. 2014.

My next post in this series will continue my family’s personal struggle with  bioethics in my critically ill loved one’s continuing saga.

simul justus et peccator,

Eric Adams

c45c6c37e8873f733f2bbba629d700685a861605a5252b951e200da2d32d574c

Moral relativism offers no standard, no authority, and no respect.

The only options available to the secular humanist where a standard and authority are concerned are: (1) the natural universe; (2) culture; (3) the individual.

The natural universe isn’t an option as amoral matter cannot produce moral beings nor prescribe moral behavior.

Culture cannot be appealed to as there are many cultures throughout the world, all with different moral standards and practices; there is no way to ascertain which culture is ‘correct’. Culture merely displays what “is” with respect to morality, and even the famous skeptic and antagonist of religion David Hume stated that humanity cannot derive an “ought” from an “is” where morals are concerned.

Lastly, if each individual is used as a standard/authority for morals, the problem seen in using cultures as a moral compass is suddenly compounded exponentially.

Seeing this dilemma, some moral relativists try to say that science can be used to dictate ethics, but even secular scientists admit that science is a descriptive discipline and not a prescriptive one. In addition, its empirical methods are impotent to answer such moral questions such as if the Nazi’s were evil. Einstein sums up the correct position in this matter when he said, “You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn round and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.”[3]

In the end, the moral relativist has no satisfying answer in his/her attempt to respond to the question of if there is anything wrong with anything, and why. There is no standard to turn to and no authority to recognize and respect.”

— Robin Schumacher

via The Problems with Moral Relativism.

simul iustus et peccator,  

Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 

 

Man, making up stuff so he doesn’t have to believe in God since the Fall of mankind (which he denies, as well). But even a huge number of multiverses only begs the question-where did the machine that spits out all of these multiverses come from?
English: Level II Multiverse: every disk is a ...

English: Level II Multiverse: every disk is a bubble universe. Universe 1 to Universe 6 are different bubbles, with distinct physical constants that are different from our universe. Our universe is just one of the bubbles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Nobelist Steven Weinberg agrees:Just as Darwin and Wallace explained how the wonderful adaptations of living forms could arise without supernatural intervention, so the string landscape may explain how the constants of nature that we observe can take values suitable for life without being fine-tuned by a benevolent creator.String theory has been known at times to sound like the Darwin of the cosmos, underwriting a God-free universe. M-theory is a composite of various versions of string theory, with an eleventh dimension added in the mid-1990s, in the hope of finding the “grand design” of the multiverse, as set out by Stephen Hawking in his 2010 book with physicist Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design 2010. Cosmologist Max Tegmark offers the most elaborate multiverse scheme to date, first introduced in Scientific American in 2003. Starting with the assumption that fine tuning is best explained by the existence of infinite undetected universes, he goes on to point out that therefore there is an infinite number of people just like you:The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10^1028 meters from here.” — Eric Chabot

via Not Only Is Earth One Nice Planet Among Many, but Our Entire Universe Is Lost in a Crowd | THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM.

 

simul iustus et peccator, 
 
Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
godsguy12@comcast.net 
christianreasons@gmail.com 

 

“Naturalism cannot truly even provide a foundation for science itself”

1385293_658330927531417_355358686_nAs explored in this series of essays, the worldview of the Naturalist fails to provide grounding for many important concepts, such as: the origin and existence of our universe, why there is fine-tuning of the cosmos and of biological systems, human consciousness, the ability to trust our reasoning ability, the existence of universal abstract entities such as the laws of logic, the consistency and reproducibility of Nature, or even why things like knowledge have any intrinsic value at all.  Because of this, Naturalism cannot truly even provide a foundation for science itself.  Ultimately the worldview of Naturalism is without objective meaning or hope.  Given this worldview, are there really even any moral \”oughts\” or requirements on us?  What would be the justification for them?  The worldview of the New Atheists provides at best a poor foundation to build upon.

An important point here is not that the Naturalistic worldview cannot give answers to many of the issues mentioned above.  The real issue is \”on what basis\”?  What are they grounded on?  Is there anything that is intrinsic or objective about them?  How are these beliefs justified?  That is the Achilles heel of this kind of worldview.”

via Reasonable Worldviews – Materialistic Naturalism vs. Christian Theism – by Apologist – Newsvine.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric “the unevolved” Adams

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pi...

First page of the Gospel of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak, a Medieval Armenian scribe and miniaturist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently heard this demonstrated on a podcast of Fighting For The Faith, where Chris Rosebrough interviewed Joseph Atwill Of Covert Messiah. If you enter into a conversation with an disciple of naturalism, understand they will not accept your evidence, since they refuse to admit the possibility of the miraculous, including prophecies. The best you can do is what Chris does in this podcast-point out that they are suppressing truth, and have an a priori assumption about the supernatural, and share the Gospel with them. Don’t try to win an argument. Trust the Holy Spirit in His Word, and pray.

“When visiting with Dan Wallace earlier this year, Greg Koukl and I asked him about the skepticism on the part of people like Bart Ehrman related to early dating. We asked Wallace if there was some specific manuscript evidence that inclined people to deny the early dating of the Gospel accounts. Wallace said there was no such evidence. We then asked why people continued to deny the early dating if, in fact, we were continuing to find early fragments and there was no contrary manuscript evidence. It turns out that the late dating of the gospels is due primarily to a denial of supernaturalism.

One of the primary reasons why skeptics date the gospels later than 70AD is the fact that Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple in the gospel accounts (i.e. Matthew 23). Secular history records that the Temple was destroyed in 70AD, fulfilling this alleged prediction by Jesus. In order to avoid the accurate prophesy from Jesus, skeptics argue that the gospel must have been written after the temple was destroyed. After all, how could Jesus possess the supernatural power of prophecy if nothing supernatural exists? The philosophical naturalism of the secular historian prevents him from accepting the possibility of accurate prophecy.

The gospels also contain many descriptions of miracles. The philosophical naturalist must also deny the truthfulness of these supernatural accounts. Skeptics, therefore, date the gospel accounts very late, arguing that eyewitnesses to these events were already dead and unavailable to deny the claims. It turns out that the presupposition of philosophical naturalism is at work in the minds of those who would deny the early dating of the gospels. When this presuppositional bias is removed, the remaining evidence confirms that the gospels were written in the lifetimes of the eyewitnesses.”

via There’s No Good Reason to Deny the Early Dating of the Gospels | Cold Case Christianity.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric

Personhood and Christ

It is argued that personhood does not exist by those who favor Eastern religion over the so-called “rational” doctrines of the West.   The argument is that individual personhood dissipates upon death and is either subsumed into the eternal, infinite cosmos, or ceases to exist.  The former is congruent with a New Age Pantheism, similar to Hinduism, while the latter is in concord with Naturalism, which teaches that there is nothing except that which we can verify through empirical sense-data.  Naturalism holds that there is no god, no angels, no demons (certainly no devil), no afterlife, no soul.  Most naturalists are materialists, believing that only matter exists; however, some naturalists do believe in immaterial entities: namely the laws of nature (gravity, cause and effect), or the laws of logic (law of non-contradiction, law of identity, and law of excluded middle).

What reason would someone give for denying individual personhood?  Some argue that a personal afterlife, such as the Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is inconceivable and that personal dissipation is to be preferred.  However, when put to the test, and asked about whether persons exist at present, if it often suggested that even personhood itself is an illusion.  This is, again, in deep concord with the Hindu doctrine of evil and “maya,” or illusion.  Hence, there are no distinctions between good and eviil.   It makes sense, does it not, that someone who would deny individual personhood would, with a consistent worldview, deny objective good and evil.  For, when someone is violated in this life, it is very personal.  A woman who has experienced rape has been violated in her personhood.   She is a real person, not a random collocation of chemicals.  Denying personhood denies ethical commands, which require a Person who issues those commands.   Why is this the case?

It is the case because given Pantheism, “God is all.”  That is, the universe is permeated by and is equivalent to, God.  That means that worms are god.  Strawberries are god.  The stream is god.  The flowers and sun and sky are god.  And best of all, you yourself are god.  But there’s a darker side to this.  It also means that everything that occurrs in life is a manifestation and outworking of god.  So, all of the evil in the world and all of the good in the world are both, equally, god.  A Hindu once told me that a little girl who gets violated by a man is “getting what she deserves” because she “did something bad in a past life.”  That’s Karma at work:  the suffering you experience now is due to the evil you did in a past life.  Not only is that sick and wrong, but it’s a contradiction: if evil is an illusion, how can it be that someone must suffer for something evil they did in a past life?

Given naturalism or pantheism, we have a monist worldview, where “all is one.”  In either scenario, individual personhood is denied, and the value of human life and dignity are destroyed.

Continues reading at Personhood and Christ | Ratio Christi.