In James N Anderson’s wonderful book “Why Should I Believe in Christianity?” he speaks a bit about the nature of worldviews and how we might test a worldview out. He says that there are 4 good tests for any worldview: Is it consistent within itself? Is it coherent within itself? Does it match with the evidence? Does it provide explanatory power for what we intuitively know to be true or real?
I’ve been thinking through some example of worldviews that fail the test and have created a list. (Obviously, I believe Christianity does not fail these tests!). Here’s my list:
- The secular humanist view that life can be considered meaningful in a purposeless universe. (INCOHERENCE). If we are the cosmic accident of a universe that accidently spit us out and we are ultimately destined to be forgotten (along with all of humanity and all of humanity’s accomplishments), how can one rationally conclude that life has any purpose or meaning that is not ultimately arbitrary or delusional?
- The secular humanist belief in PROGRESS (INCOHERENT). If secular humanism is true (and there is therefore no God to tell us in truth who we are, why we are here, where we came from and where we are headed), then there is no story to our universe (we’re just an accident of blind evolution, destined to be forgotten along with the universe), there are no objective standards to inform us on what is good or evil behavior (might makes right, preference rules), and there is no goal for the human race (no goal that is not arbitrary or merely the results of those in power). If atheism is true, human progress is a myth or fable to make us feel better about ourselves, because progress in anything requires a story, legitimate standards, and a goal.
- The secular humanistic belief in MORALITY (INCOHERENT). If atheism is true, then there is no legitimate, true, authoritative moral standard to inform humans on what is right or wrong; morality is relative to human opinion and might makes right; morality is a myth, a mere human preference of an evolved ape trying to survive and reproduce. The only rational response to this would be to embrace nihilism, but even this is not binding on a person seeking to be consistent to an atheistic perspective, because in a purposeless universe then pursuing rationality or consistency is neither right or wrong or good or evil.
- The atheistic view that there is no such thing as good or evil, but religion is evil (INCOHERENT). If Dawkins is right, and there is no such thing as good or evil, just blind pitiless indifference from a universe that does not care, then religious manipulation or promoting religious myths (or truths!) is neither good nor evil. Why rail against religion if there is no such thing as good or evil?
- A worldview that holds all morals are relative while holding to KARMA (INCONSISTENT). James N Anderson points this out in his book “Why Should I Believe in Christianity?” If Karma were to work, there has to be some kind of standard that is appeals to which adjudicates right and wrong, but if there is no standard then we cannot appeal to one. Thus, a worldview that claims morals are merely relative and KARMA is real is inconsistent and shown to be false.
- An AGNOSTIC worldview which claims that all truth is inaccessible (INCONSISTENT). This is a self-refuting worldview, because if all truths claims are inaccessible, how would the agnostic person know that that particular truth about reality is true? Would it not be inaccessible?
- A relativistic worldview that claims all religions and perspectives lead to God and so no one should claim that their religion is right or more correct than others (INCONSISTENT). To make this claim, a person has to assume that their view about how to relate to God is correct and all others are wrong or only partially right, but if their view (all religions or perspectives are wrong) is right, then it is self-refuting view and would be stuck in the same confusion as all other religious perspectives.
- The secular humanistic myth that humans are of more value than any other animal (INCONSISTENT, EXPLANATORY). It is not consistent to say that every creature is the result of blind, unguided evolution and then to insist that one species ought to receive special treatment or is of more worth or value than another. (James N Anderson points this one out in his book too). But we do live this way, we treat humans with great significance and believe it is rational to do this: a human is to be prized more than a snail or a starfish.
- The naturalist myth that the only things that exist are the physical (EXPLANATORY, INCONSISENT). If naturalism were true, then love, justice, truth, beauty are merely human concepts that don’t exist in reality. Yet we don’t live this way and thus naturalism cannot provide the explanatory power for this aspect of reality that we know to be true. Also, one have to be inconsistent to hold this, because the very view assumes that thoughts and minds and truth exist (all immaterial things) and that they are not mere human conventions, but something that all humans tap into outside of themselves.
- The naturalist myth that the laws of logic are MERELY human conventions (INCOHERENT). To make this argument, the naturalist has to assume that the laws of logic are universal, unchanging, and immaterial, and that they have validity regardless of human opinion. If this were no so then one could right off the view that laws of logics are mere human conventions because it would be using logic as a mere human convention.
- The view that the resurrection of Jesus was just a myth (EVIDENCE). Actually, the evidence points the other way and shows that it is more reasonable and rationale to conclude Jesus really did die and really did rise again. (see “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” or “Case for Christ”).
- The secular criticism of Christianity as merely a myth and ought to be rejected (INCOHERENT, EVIDENCE). If there is no God, why does truth matter at all? Why do myths matter? The secularist has to borrow from a Christian worldview (one that affirms we should tell the truth and not promote myths) in order to criticize Christianity. If atheism is true to reality, then truth or falsehood (including myths about ultimate reality) are equally valid or moral (all is amoral).
- The view that a person can be spiritual but not religious (INCOHERENT). There is no “view from nowhere” as Schaeffer once said. Everyone has a view about who God is, how we can or cannot know God, and what we ought to do in response to God. The ‘spiritual but not religious’ perspective is a self-deceiving position: the spiritual but not religious person has a religious perspective about God even though they claim they do not. You cannot ‘have your cake and eat it too.’
- The “evidentialist” or “scientism” view that it is only rational to believe that which can be proved through empirical investigation (INCONSISTENT). There is no scientific experiment which can prove this philosophical position, so if the position where true it would have to be abandoned. Also, there are many things in scientific investigation that have to be assumed and cannot be proved: trustworthiness of our memory, moral value of truth, laws of logic, uniformity of nature, trustworthy nature of our senses, etc.