First Thing’s First
What’s a worldview? It’s how you see the world. It’s everything you believe about what’s real and what really matters in life. Ronald Nash defines it like this in his book, Worldviews In Conflict:
A worldview is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) which we hold (either consciously or subconsciously) about the basic makeup of our world.
During a presentation at Bridgeway Christian Church in Rocklin, CA (Steve Burdick’s church), philosopher J.P. Moreland observed that there are three major worldviews dominating the debate in America today.
You can see all three whenever you flip on the TV, see a movie, surf the Web, or consume popular media. You might not even notice it, but this is where most of the messages we get today are coming from. And so it affects us all, whether we know it or not.
Can you name America’s top three worldviews? Here’s a quick rundown of each one:
1. Scientific Naturalism
What’s Scientific Naturalism? Think about it like the X-Men movies. Remember all those awesome super-human powers? What was the explanation? It’s naturalism. No matter how out there something might seem (like bending a golf club just by thinking about it), absolutely everything can be boiled down to physical processes (like a genetic mutation). That’s because according to this view, only the physical world is real.
So what? Well, here’s what’s up with this: If that’s true, then you’re pretty much just your brain. And everything you do is just the result of things like your genetics and how you were raised. Think about that. How would believing something like that affect how you live your life? On this view, you have no free will because everything is determined. Also, nothing is really right or really wrong on this view.
Another key idea of this worldview: Science is the only way we know things. Naturalists say that if you can’t measure something in a lab or use science to prove it, you can’t know it. On this view, so you can say you know Advil will help with your headache. But you can’t say you actually know God exists.
Where have you seen this idea promoted recently?
2. Postmodern Relativism
What’s a postmodern relativist believe? Pretty much whatever works for them.
For example, think about most of the spiritual gurus who showed up on Oprah. They say that all truth and reality is relative to you or your community. You hear this in spiritual conversations whenever anyone says, “That’s true for you but not for me.”
Postmodern Relativism is supposed to be a feel-good, politically correct worldview where no one’s perspective is ever wrong about anything—especially when it comes to God, religion, and other spiritual things. Sound familiar?
Another key idea here is words don’t really mean anything. You decide what words mean to you. For example, it doesn’t matter if this article is about worldviews in America. Maybe to you, this article means we’re giving away free Titleist golf balls to everyone who shares this post on Twitter! We’re not.
Really, We’re not.
But feel free to tweet this post anyway. Because it’s important. 🙂
So now, we come to the third worldview in our list— a major movement in the opposite direction. And it’s the worldview of our historic Christian faith.
3. Historic Christianity
This is the idea that God’s real. That the God of the Bible created us and gave us a real moral law. And it’s something that all people everywhere are obligated to obey—whether they want to or not.
But what does this mean? It means that if God created the human race–and in fact this entire universe for a purpose–then some things, like loving your parents, are really good. Other things, like hurting a little girl for no reason, are really wrong. And it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about it.
This is in sharp contrast to Naturalism’s view–that nothing is objectively right or wrong. And that, at the end of the day, things like rape and murder are just violations of societal norms. Certainly, science can’t help us figure out what’s right and wrong. And if God’s not real, there is no real, objective moral law. What would the world of golf look like if nobody thought cheating was wrong?
Postmodern Relativism isn’t much different when it comes to morality. “Who are you to say what’s right for me or what’s wrong for me?” That’s the mantra. Because to a relativist, morality is also relative to you or your community. What would a basketball game look like if individual players decided to make up their own definitions of the rules?
Honestly. Who can really live like this?
Here’s the point
People who hold to the first two worldviews—Scientific Naturalism and Postmodern Relativism—would agree you can’t know things about stuff you can’t see, touch, taste, hear or smell. But this directly challenges historic Christianity and Jesus’ clear teaching that we can know the truth.
John 8:32 records Jesus’ words:
You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.
This means that our faith is one that is based on knowledge. It also means that there’s no such thing a “religious” truth and regular, everyday truth. If Christianity is really true, eternal life is real and it’s available to you and everyone you love.
Written by Apologetics Guy, Mikel Del Rosario, for College Golf Fellowship. Based on Worldviews Shaping Culture: Can You Name America’s Top 3?