Tag Archives: Christian worldview

Can Secularists Survive Without Christianity?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Most secularists would laugh at this question, but not one. I ran across an article written a few years ago (thanks to the link provided by J. Warner Wallace) by an atheist,  John D. Steinrucken, that goes beyond acknowledging the debt secularists owes Christianity. He actually castigates those secularists who attack Christianity as irresponsible.

Steinrucken opens the article with this grenade:

Succinctly put: Western civilization’s survival, including the survival of open secular thought, depends on the continuance within our society of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

How so? Steinrucken goes on to make his case:

Although I am a secularist (atheist, if you will), I accept that the great majority of people would be morally and spiritually lost without religion. Can anyone seriously argue that crime and debauchery are not held in check by religion? Is it not comforting to live in a community where the rule of law and fairness are respected? Would such be likely if Christianity were not there to provide a moral compass to the great majority? Do we secularists not benefit out of all proportion from a morally responsible society?

Steinrucken challenges secularists to provide a transcendent moral code for our society:

Just what are the immutable moral laws of secularism? Be prepared to answer, if you are honest, that such laws simply do not exist! The best answer we can ever hear from secularists to this question is a hodgepodge of strained relativist talk of situational ethics. They can cite no overriding authority other than that of fashion. For the great majority in the West, it is the Judeo-Christian tradition which offers a template assuring a life of inner peace toward the world at large — a peace which translates to a workable liberal society.

Steinrucken admits that most men need God and reminds us that

so many of those who have forsaken the God of their fathers (it has been fashionable to do so) are now reaching for meaning in eastern exotica, new-age mumbo-jumbo, and other attempts to fill the spiritual hole.

He warns of the consequences of rejecting the Christian heritage of the West:

To the extent that Western elites distance themselves from their Judeo-Christian cultural heritage in favor of secular constructs, and as they give deference to a multicultural acceptance that all beliefs are of equal validity, they lose their will to defend against a determined attack from another culture, such as from militant Islam. For having destroyed the ancient faith of their people, they will have found themselves with nothing to defend.

What is Steinrucken’s advice to the atheist elites?

If the elitists of our Western civilization want to survive, then it is incumbent upon them to see to the preservation of the hoary, time-honored faith of the great majority of the people. This means that our elitists should see that their most valued vested interest is the preservation within our culture of Christianity and Judaism.

Steinrucken has recognized what Christians have been pointing out for centuries to those secularists who live amongst us: secularism is parasitic of the  Christian worldview. It incessantly borrows intellectual and moral capital from Christianity without ever admitting it is doing so. At least one secularist finally admits it. Hopefully the rest will come around.

How Should We Analyze a Worldview?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

There are many worldviews out there to choose from:  Christianity, Islam, secular humanism, New Age spiritualism, and so on.  Since choosing a worldview is perhaps one of the most important things a person must do, it is highly important that we have a trustworthy method to evaluate the options.  Our worldview colors the way we see almost everything around us, so we must choose wisely.

Apologist Ravi Zacharias offers what he calls the 3-4-5 method of analyzing worldviews.  I would like to share it with you because it will provide you a method with which to judge worldview options.

First, there are three tests that a worldview must pass.  It must be:

  1. logically consistent – Its teachings cannot be self-contradictory.
  2. empirically adequate – Its teachings must match what we see in reality.
  3. existentially relevant – Its teachings must speak directly to how we actually live our lives.
 Second, each worldview must address the following four ultimate questions:
  1. origin – Where do the universe and human beings come from?
  2. meaning – What is the meaning or purpose of life?
  3. morality – How do we know what is right and what is wrong?
  4. destiny – What happens to us after we die?
 Third, there are five academic disciplines that must be employed to study a worldview:
  1. theology – the study of God
  2. metaphysics – the study of what is ultimately real
  3. epistemology – the study of how we can know things
  4. ethics – the study of moral right and wrong
  5. anthropology – the study of what and who humans are

Why do I believe that the worldview of biblical Christianity is the best choice?  Its teachings are logically consistent, they accurately describe reality as it is, and they speak directly to the human condition.

In addition, Christianity provides compelling and powerful answers to the questions of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.

Finally, the theology, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and anthropology of the Christian worldview are expansively rich and deeply profound – unsurpassed by any other worldview. 

If you are a Christian and you haven’t analyzed Christianity using the 3-4-5 method, you are truly missing out.  Read, and read some more.  Dig into your faith, as it provides comprehensive answers to life’s most important questions.

If you are not a Christian, I plead with you to open your heart and mind, and study the Christian worldview.  Apply the 3-4-5 method described above, but never forget that Christian doctrine always revolves around a person, Jesus Christ.  He is the embodiment of our faith, and it is to him that we look.

What Is the Christian Worldview? Part 2

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Post Author: Bill Pratt

In part 1 I introduced eight questions that every worldview should answer.  These eight questions are as follows:

  1. What is ultimate reality?
  2. Where did the world around us come from and what is its nature?
  3. What are human beings and where did they come from?
  4. Why do humans suffer?
  5. Is there a way for humans to be saved from suffering?
  6. How do I know right from wrong?
  7. What is the meaning or purpose of my life?
  8. What happens to me when I die?

Christianity offers profound and, what’s even more important, true answers to these questions.  The first four answers were provided in part 1, so now we will look at the answers to the final four questions.

Question 5: Is there a way for humans to be saved from suffering?

Christians believe that the only way humans can be ultimately saved from suffering is to be reconciled with God.  This reconciliation was made possible by the death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  Once a person trusts Christ for their salvation, suffering in this life becomes bearable and pregnant with meaning, for the Son of God is with us in our suffering and promises to bring good out of it.

Question 6: How do I know right from wrong?

Christians believe that there exists an objective moral law that is based on the nature of God.  God reveals his perfect moral nature both through moral commands which he has communicated in the Bible, and through a common moral conscience which God has given all humans.

Question 7: What is the meaning or purpose of my life?

Christians believe that the purpose of life is to do the will of God and to enjoy God forever.  One of the beauties of Christianity is that God has given us great leeway to pursue myriad interests and passions in this life, as long as we always keep Him front and center in our lives.

Question 8: What happens to me when I die?

Christians believe that there is an afterlife for every human.  The afterlife can be spent either in the presence of God forever or separated from God forever.  God respects human freedom such that He does not force anyone to spend an eternity with Him.  Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection provides the only means for any human to spend eternity with God.  Those who reject Jesus’ sacrifice for humanity will forever be separated from God.  Those who trust in Jesus’ sacrifice will spend a blissful eternity with the ultimate source of all that is good and the only being who can fulfill all human desires, God.

The Christian answers to these eight questions are unique among all the world’s religions and philosophies.  It is important to note that we don’t hold the Christian worldview because it works, or because it feels good, or because it’s emotionally satisfying, but because we think it is true.  We think that the Christian worldview most accurately describes reality the way it really is.

What Is the Christian Worldview? Part 1

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Post Author: Bill Pratt

According to James Sire in The Universe Next Door, a worldview is the following:

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) which 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.

It’s how we view the world!  All of us have a worldview, whether we realize it or not.  For those of us who are Christian, our faith heavily informs our worldview, or at least it should.  A person’s worldview should ideally answer a set of questions which are foundational to human existence.  These questions can be asked in several ways, but here are my versions of these questions:

  1. What is ultimate reality?
  2. Where did the world around us come from and what is its nature?
  3. What are human beings and where did they come from?
  4. Why do humans suffer?
  5. Is there a way for humans to be saved from suffering?
  6. How do I know right from wrong?
  7. What is the meaning or purpose of my life?
  8. What happens to me when I die?

You can evaluate any person’s worldview by asking them for answers to these questions.  Not only will you have a fascinating conversation, but you will learn what makes the other person tick.  You will get to see the world through their eyes.

So the next obvious question is this: how would a Christian answer these eight questions?  Christianity certainly offers compelling responses to these questions, as you would expect.  Below I will give you brief answers and then perhaps we can flesh them out if you (my blog-reading friends) would like to discuss them in the comments.

Question 1: What is ultimate reality?

Christians believe that the ultimate reality is God.  The Christian God has a number of qualities, but here are some of the most important: God is infinite, personal, sovereign, good, holy, transcendent, omniscient, and omnipotent.

Question 2: Where did the world around us come from and what is its nature?

Christians believe that the world around us is composed of time, space, matter, and energy, as scientists have demonstrated.  We believe that this physical world was spoken into existence by God.  We believe that God is separate from the world and not actually part of the world.

Question 3: What are human beings and where did they come from?

Human beings are soul and body.  We possess spiritual and physical dimensions.  We are created in the image of God, which means we represent God on earth as his representatives.  Being in God’s image, humans are also personal, intelligent, and moral beings.

Question 4: Why do humans suffer?

Humans suffer because of the Fall.  The Fall occurred when the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, rejected God and sought to usurp his position.  This rebellion – acting in a way contrary to God’s will –  introduced the disease of sin into the world, a disease which is passed on to every human generation.  All human suffering is ultimately the result of this pivotal event in human history.

I’ll finish up with answers to the last four questions in the next post.  See you then!