Worldviews Simplified – and why it matters

I tend to think every philosophy can be categorized into one of the five following Worldviews: Naturalism, Eastern Pantheism, New Ageism, Deism, or Theism. These are hard divisions, you can’t logically hold to more than one of these at a time; but I do see these Worldviews as a progression. Not that someone has to progress through each stage to theism (you can go from Atheist to Christian in one leap), but on one end of the scale is the belief that there is no divine being and on the other end there is a personal deity. I (obviously) believe that Theism is correct, I think the rest have some serious flaws biblically, logically, and experientially. Because I think everyone will agree that the Biblical account describes Theism, I’ll focus on the latter for this post. (Be sure to read the last paragraph on why I wrote this all down.)

Naturalism

The Basics – This is the belief that matter has always existed. Everyone must either believe God has always existed or “stuff” has always existed, and the naturalist believes that the accidental process of nature is the supreme force in the universe. They ultimately must bow-down to the indiscriminate laws of the universe or themselves (who were grand enough to figure it all out.)

The Flaws – If there’s an “effect” there must be a “cause.” The universe seems to have Intelligent Design and appears to be Finely Tuned. The rebuttal to this is that there are simply Trillions of life-possible planets and Trillions upon Trillions of potentially possible universes in the multi-verse, and we just happen to live on one of the planets in the one cohesive universe with all the necessary attributes for life. Statistically lucky? Or grasping at straws?

Eastern Pantheism

The Basics – This is the belief that only the spiritual world is real. The life we are living now is a dream or projection of the spirit realm. Hinduism and Buddhism both fit under this Worldview. The belief is that God is in everything and everything is God.

The Flaws – This might sound similar to the God described in the Bible, but it’s not even close. In the Bible, God goes far beyond just a mere summation of the Universe. He transcends it. God is smarter than all the knowledge in the World and bigger than the full expansion of the multi-verse. Descartes made the simple statement, “I think, therefore I am.” Everything we experience exclaims that what we go through on this earth is “real.” The innumerable scientific constants proclaim that this world was meant to be studied and understood and not dismissed as a mere dream of the cosmic turtle or whatever else those monistic religions claim.

New Ageism

The Basics – This is kind of a catch-all for all spiritual beliefs that seem to be so prevalent today. There are no structured beliefs like in an organized religion. It is just a generic claim that there is a spiritual realm beyond this physical one. The importance and role of this spiritual realm is subjective to each individual person.

The Flaws – There is no objective truth in this Worldview. There’s no mode by which to determine what could even be true. It’s so relativistic that anyone can claim anything and have no means to verify it. If people claim contradictory beliefs, New Ageism would state that both were true for each individual person. That obviously doesn’t fit the Biblical narrative, our naturalist experience, or philosophical scrutiny.

Deism

The Basics – This is the belief that God created the universe, established the rules, and then let nature take its course. This belief admits that there must be a Creator, but finds nothing convincing that this God has continued to “meddle” with His creation. This is referred to as “The Clockmaker.” God designed the “clock” of the universe, wound it up, and then never thought about it again.

The Flaws – The Word of God is the problem here, and I mean this in both senses. The Bible has a lot of claims about being the very words from God, whether in instances that He intervenes in human affairs (such as the Exodus, Jericho’s walls coming down, or stopping the army of Sennecharib) or prophecies He delivers to prophets (such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the return to the Promised Land, or the arrival of the Messiah). The claims have been made, and now it’s up to historians to determine their validity. Some claims can’t be validated, but nothing has ever been proven false. In instances when it seemed like the Biblical account was faulty, new evidence proved it correct after all. But simply Jesus (i.e. the Word) himself is a strong claim to a personal, interfering God. If Jesus did all that the New Testament claims He did, then Deism is objectively false. Jesus is either real or He isn’t. He is either God or a Liar. And Jesus either rose from the dead or He didn’t. Historically, it’s overwhelming that Jesus existed. Jesus claimed to be God and thus is either Lord, a Liar, or a Lunatic. But the crux of it all comes down to whether or not Jesus’ resurrection is true. Everyone that believes Jesus lived, believed He died. But obviously not everyone believes He rose from the dead. The answer to that determines whether or not Christianity is true and a distant, uninterested God is false. (Start following this blog and I’ll post some proofs of the Resurrection here sometime soon.)

Theism

The Basics – This is the belief that there is a personal, intimate God who cares about His creation. He is over and separate from His creation. This Worldview holds that both the physical and the spiritual world are equally “real.”

The Flaws – Being a theist doesn’t mean someone is going to heaven. There are plenty of people who believe in a personal God and have ignored or rejected Jesus as the Savior of the World. So theism itself can actually confuse a person as being more right than they actually are. Essentially, all true Christians are Theists, but not all theists are Christians. “Evil” is also specifically challenging to this Worldview. As the old adage goes, God is either not powerful enough to stop evil from occurring or doesn’t care enough to do anything about it. Neither is true. It’s a misunderstanding of “evil.” Taking a moral claim on an issue admits to an objective moral standard that cannot exist without a God, and honestly we don’t really want a world where nothing bad happens. We think we do, but we don’t (Read more of that crazy concept here.)

Last Paragraph

So why did I write this all out? It might seem like there’s Trillions of beliefs out there, but really there’s only a few worldviews from which people construct those beliefs. I believe in the very specific Theistic view of Christianity. Because of that I don’t view the Worldviews as equal in any way. I believe there is objective truth, and if my Worldview is true it means the others are not. More importantly, I believe there are dire consequences for those that do not specifically believe that Jesus was sent by God to save the world. Thus, I want naturalists, pantheists, new agers, deists, AND theists to truly trust Jesus to be their Savior. I believe that is their only hope for eternal life and I think it is worthy to know how these other worldviews think so that I might better communicate to them about the truth of Jesus Christ.

 

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