Engaging Culture — Track 2 Lecture 1 The Christian Worldview and Why it Matters John Marriot — Biola University A Worldview is 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. – James Sire WORLDVIEW: DEFINED A worldview is a set of assumptions we hold about reality that effect what we believe, think and do. SIMPLER DEFINITION: A worldview is like a set of glasses that affect how we see reality. They interpret and make sense of our experience for us. ANALOGY: A worldview is like a map of reality we carry around in our mind that describes reality for us. WORLDVIEWS ARE ATTEMPTS TO MAP THE NONPHYSICAL ASPECTS OF THE WORLD: Economics, Law, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Theology, Ethics, Metaphysics Aesthetics, Origin of life, Human value, Human Meaning, Rationality, First Life, “Design” of the universe, Personhood. Consciousness THE NONPHYSICAL INCLUDES 7 Questions WORLDVIEWS ADDRESS 1. What is prime reality? 2. What is the nature of external reality? 3. What is a human being? 4. What happens at death? 5. How is it that we have knowledge? 6. How do we know what is right and wrong? 7. What is the meaning of history? WORLDVIEW: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS Few people have a propositional worldview. For most it is story. Ultimately it is what we do. WORLDVIEWS: CAN THEY BE EVALUATED? Is it possible to evaluate worldviews when each one presupposes different fundamental commitments which are pre-theoretical? Can one discern neutral and unbiased criteria to evaluate worldviews, or will they be worldview dependent? Are there trans-worldview criteria? Are we left with simply a faith commitment and no way to rationally decide between worldviews? WORLDVIEW: CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION Reason - Coherence - Logical Consistency Experience - External Empirical Fit / Correspondence - Internal Fit Comprehension - Livable WORLDVIEW: NATURALISM EVALUATED Materialism - Everything is comprised of material things. Matter is either eternal or springs out nothing. Monism All of reality is comprised of one stuff. All things can be explained in terms of natural, physical and material objects or forces. Physicalism Attempt to explain the mind-body problem. All realities can be explained in terms of physics and chemistry. NATURALISM: BASIC BELIEFS Scientism The only reliable method, or the most dependable method for acquiring knowledge. The natural sciences are the only means of achieving truth. Religious, philosophical and moral statements have little contribution to make in terms of knowledge. Darwinian Evolution Darwin 1809-1882 Random advantageous genetic mutations are selected to survive. Humans are the product of lower primates. Anti-supernaturalism There are no non-natural entities. God, angels, souls etc… Atheism If there are no supernatural entities then there can be no God. Some naturalists are agnostics. Secular Humanism Would hold to the previous seven points Man is the measure since he is at the top. Morals, values and norms of society are founded on human agreement. Libertarianism, Pragmatism, Relativism, Utilitarianism Naturalism’s Logical Conclusions WHAT THIS MEANS We are the evolved products of natural selection, which operates without intention, foresight or purpose. There’s no evidence for immaterial souls, spirits, mental essences, or disembodied selves which stand apart from the physical world. WHO ARE WE? As strictly physical beings, we don’t exist as immaterial souls. Thought, desires, intentions, feelings, and actions all arise on their own without the benefit of a supervisory self, and they are all the products of a physical system, the brain and the body. THE SELF Naturalism as a worldview is based on the premise that knowledge about what exists and about how things work is best achieved through the sciences, not personal revelation or religious tradition. KNOWLEDGE Human beings act the way they do because of the various influences that shape them, whether these be biological or social, genetic or environmental. FREE WILL This means we do not have what many people think of as free will, being able to cause our behavior without our being fully caused in turn. FREE WILL ILLUSION Individuals don’t bear ultimate originative responsibility for their actions, in the sense of being their first cause. Given the circumstances both inside and outside the body, they couldn’t have done other than what they did. Nevertheless, we must still hold individuals responsible, in the sense of applying rewards and sanctions, so that their behavior stays more or less within the range of what we deem acceptable. This is, partially, how people learn to act ethically. Naturalism doesn’t undermine the need or possibility of responsibility and morality, but it places them within the world as understood by science. MORALITY Because naturalism doubts the existence of ultimate purposes either inherent in nature or imposed by a creator, values derive from human needs and desires, not supernatural absolutes. VALUE NATURALISM AND THE WORLDVIEW TESTS COMPREHENSIVE–TEST #1 Biology, Economics, Psychology, Sociology, History, Law, Ethics, Theology REASON-TEST #2 Origin of the Universe Emerged from nothing, by no one, without a plan or purpose. COHERENCE Design in the Universe Order and fine tuning in the universe emerged coincidently, without a designer. Design is only apparent. First Life Emerged from nonliving matter through purely natural processes. Personhood Persons emerged from impersonal and unintelligent processes and forces. Minds Mindless/nonconscious matter produced beings that have minds and are self aware. Rationality Human rational faculties and sense organs came from a blind non-rational survival mechanism. Morality Blind, impersonal, non-moral forces stand behind human moral conventions. There are no objective moral truths just culturally relative “truths”. Laws The universe is well ordered. Laws of physics Laws of biology Laws of chemistry Is this what we would expect if the universe is the product of chance? Reason X –TEST #1 Facts of Experience –TEST #2 Evidence for other substances: Near death experiences, Demons, Angels FACTS OF EXPERIENCE: EXTERNAL Dignity and Cruelty - Can account for cruelty but not dignity. There is a real me! I am not deceived! I am more than a brain. FACTS OF EXPERIENCE: INTERNAL Human Meaning There is no ultimate, objective MEANING. There is subjective meaning that is created by each person. Human Value Humans are the product of valueless, purposeless, accidental natural processes. Livability TEST #3 No Self, No Free Will, No Ultimate Responsibility, No True Right and Wrong, Survival of the Fittest, No Ultimate Accountability DR. WILL PROVINE WOODY ALLEN Livability WHY WORLDVIEW MATTERS –Because ideas have consequences.