We will continue our review of Think Christianly. In the last post we took a look at part one: Understanding Our Intersection. In this post we will take a look at part two: Preparing to Engage, and we will cover chapters 4 and 6 and we will do another post on part two and post that tomorrow. This one was lengthier than I thought it would be, but there is a lot in there.
In order to prepare to engage we must realize that everyone has a worldview. A worldview is simply the way a person views the world around them and what they make of it. Everyone has a worldview whether they realize it or not, and whether or not they realize they cultivated it. Most people do not have a worldview that is formed by reading a textbook, as is pointed out in the book, but by what they take in around them.
A worldview tackles life’s ultimate questions. Questions on God, ultimate reality, knowledge (epistemology, how do we know what we know and what is knowledge, ethics, and human nature.These are all components of a worldview and will shape how a person thinks about all of life.
The issue is when worldviews collide. This is where we must be prepared. A collision will happen whether we are prepared or not. I vote we be prepared. There are two main worldviews which Christians will most likely collide with therefore we need to get a handle on it.
The first one is Naturalism, which is normally manifested in scientific naturalism. This view states that the physical universe is all there is, was, or ever will be (72). Science, according to this worldview, is the only source of reliable knowledge and is they only way we can know something. Therefore a naturalist can only explain things from physics, chemistry, biology, and genetics. There is no room for a human soul for instance because there is no way to test this scientifically. There can also be no God because we can not take God or the idea of God and test that with biology for instance. With naturalism there is no room for hope. Life is meaningless. We need to know this because we will come up against it.
Secondly Postmodernism. This is hard to define because the postmodernist will say you can not define anything. What is true for you is true for you and what is true for me is true for me. Neither of us are wrong this is just the way it is. That is the mindset of the postmodern mind. No wonder thinking has been downplayed in our culture. We sound intelligent but we really have not thought through anything if we hold to this view. Morrow says: “Postmodernism is a fundamental redefinition of truth, language, and reality.” (74)
In order to prepare there are three tests given on pages 74-75 by with to test a worldview. When these tests are honestly done Christianity will outshine all the competition. First off is the worldview rational? Is it logical. For instance a logical inconsistency with naturalism is they cannot explain the human soul. If science is all there is, though science is important, you cannot explain from science the human soul. There is no way to do it. The second question is it must be livable. In other words you must be able to put in practice what you believe. A person who holds to postmodern thought cannot live out the claim that there can be no truth claims because they make claims to truth by virtue of saying there are none. They claim there is no absolute all the while claiming an absolute. The last question is it must originate from an authoritative source. Christianity has as its founder Jesus Christ. “And if it is really true that he rose from the dead and is who he claimed to be, then he has authority to answer life’s biggest questions.” (75)
We need to cultivate a well-trained mind. Three good suggestions are made. Read good and challenging books. Books that will cause you to think through what they are reading, books such as Think Christianly. Second learn the basic rules of reasoning, critical thinking and logic. And lastly seek to apply what you are learning to everyday life. As you do that this will become second nature.
We are going to skip ahead to chapter six: “Confident engagement flows from knowledge.” This may seem simple but to be effective in engaging those who have different worldviews then are own we must be confident. We cannot be confident if we do not have knowledge. We need better responses than science is silly when someone brings up that science is the only way they can no truth.
First we must understand that knowledge of God matters. We need to know God and what He is like in order to have a robust Christian worldview. The more biblical our view of God the more confident we will be in defending our faith. In Hosea 4:1-6 the Israelites indicted because there is no knowledge of God in the land. When people do not have a knowledge of God, especially those who claim to be His children, they are destroyed. The problem many of us face is we hold to a different view of faith than the Bible does. The bible does not present faith as something we believe in blindly. Faith in Christ for instance is believing that He is who He claimed to be. That He was God in the flesh. We believe that he rose from the dead not because it did not happen but because historically it did happen. We are placing faith that these did happen, but the faith is based on something not nothing.
So what then is knowledge? Here is the definition given on page 95. For something to be knowledge you must believe it, the belief you hold must be true, and this true belief must be justified or supported by adequate evidence based on thought and experience. I think these explain themselves I will not elaborate on them.
A claim we hear often in our culture is the only way we can know anything is by testing it with science, or taking it through the scientific method. This claim refutes itself because the one making the claim cannot test the claim by science. This is a tenet of their worldview. Science cannot then disprove the existence of God just like it cannot prove the existence of God. All science can do in this case is point us in the right direction. We must remember that science is helpful and needed in its rightful place.
Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is fruitless. The knowledge we have must be acted on. In the next post I will continue to look at part two. There will be a particular emphasis on chapter nine: “Can we do that in Church?”. This chapter is important to think about as a church to see how we can tackle this here in Berea, KY.