Testing “naturalism”

No, we’re not talking about naturalism as in the scientific study of nature. We’re back to reviewing schooloffish’s post “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST,” and we’re ready to have a look at his critique of the naturalistic (presumably as opposed to supernaturalistic) world view. First, let’s look at the three tests he uses to evaluate a world view.

When testing a world view, you need to take into account three things. Even if you are not familiar with all the aspects of a world view, if any one of these three test proves to be false, then the entire world view must – necessarily – be false. These tests are:

1. Is the world view contradictory within it’s own view?
2. Does the world view actually align with reality?
3. What do expects and eye witness have to say about the world view?

As we mentioned before, the relativistic world view (aka postmodernism) fails the first test, so we’ll skip over that analysis and go straight to the part about naturalism.

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Testing worldviews: defining relativism

Continuing our series on schooloffish’s post, DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST, we come now to his definition of the relativistic world view.

The last category to be discussed is a relativistic world view. This has become a very popular world view as of late. In general this world view believes that all world views are true for the individual and therefore all are right as long as it right for YOU. In a relativistic world view, the word truth, right and wrong are subjective as opposed to objective truth as the world would be used by the other two categories.

I don’t expect to have too much difficulty agreeing with schooloffish here, since the relativistic view is indeed rather silly and self-defeating. As Geisler and Turek point out, you can’t claim to have an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth. To make such claims is to exalt the human mind above the real world around us, to the point of merely deceiving yourself.

I will point out, though, that in my own personal experience, I’ve encountered far more Christians advocating a relativistic (or “postmodern”) worldview than I have secularists with similar views. Not that the secular relativists don’t exist, of course, but I personally have not met so many of them. Christians, though—lots, particularly once they realize that God actually doesn’t show up in real life, the way He ought to if the Gospel were true.

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Testing worldviews: the religious worldview defined

Continuing our look at schooloffish’s post DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST, we come now to the definition for the religious worldview.

In general a religious world view embraces that there is something greater than man. That a GOD in some form is responsible for creation, morals & an afterlife (in some form). This world views is much more broad than the naturalistic world view as there are many different religious positions.

To be nit-picky again, the religious view is certainly not the only worldview that tells us there is something greater than man. Indeed, naturalists are often criticized by religionists for failing to rank man as highly as they do. But I think it’s clear that this is not what schooloffish is thinking of here; he’s actually referring to the idea that there is something (or somethings) greater than the whole physical cosmos, namely God (or gods).

I’ve already talked at some length on the topic of the source of morality, so I want to take this post to focus on the last statement in the quote above: that the religious worldview is much more broad than the naturalistic world view. This is not a good thing for religion, as I would like to show using the parable of Mt. Sinai and the Burning Bush.

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Testing worldviews: the definition of the “naturalistic” world view

A Christian commenter who goes by the handle “schooloffish” has invited us to review a recent blog entry of his on the subject “DOES YOUR WORLD VIEW PASS THE TEST?.” He seems nice enough, so let’s drop by, shall we?

Everyone has a world view, which is best described as the way you see the world. There are as many world views as there are people, but in general, there are three specific world views that I will be analysing with this article. These three world view categories are religious, naturalistic, andrelativistic world views. Of course there are many subcategories within these three categories that we will cover as well.

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All things considered

The writer or writers at apologetics.org have noticed my commentary on their recent apologetics series, and though they carefully avoid linking to any of my posts, they do want try and address my points.

There is running commentary on another site by Deacon Duncan concerning this argument for the resurrection. Now what it is failing to do (among other things) in order to argue against these facts is not accounting for all of the virtually undisputed facts taken as a whole.

I can’t help thinking this is just a bit unfair, since they’ve only presented 3 facts so far (at least in the series I’m addressing), and I have accounted for them all, both individually and as a group. I do like the way they toss in the parenthetical “among other things,” as though they really have a lot more answers and just can’t be troubled to share them at the moment. But let’s go ahead and deal with this argument, and see exactly who is, and is not, addressing all the indisputable facts as a whole.

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The apologetics of Paul’s conversion

Apologetics.org is continuing its series on “evidences” for the resurrection, turning this time to the conversion of Saul, better known as the Apostle Paul.

The 3rd fact that virtually all NT scholars admit (e.g., liberal, Jesus Seminar, Moderate, Conservative) is that the church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. Saul of Tarsus thought that he was doing God’s will by persecuting Christians. He held the coats of those who stoned the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:58). Then all of the sudden, Saul becomes Paul on the road to Damascus. Now Paul is the chief proclaimer and defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the early church! How did that happen? Paul claims throughout his letters and it is recorded by Luke in the book of Acts that the risen Jesus appeared to him. Nothing else makes good sense of this radical transformation. What best accounts for Paul’s transformation? He had every reason not to become a Christian!

Two things we need to remember: 1) conversions happen all the time, and 2) stories—especially testimonies—tend to improve with the retelling.

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Apologetics.org on “Historical Evidence for the Resurrection”

Over at apologetics.org, the self-identified blog of the “CS Lewis Society,” they seem to be running a series on Historical Evidence for the Resurrection. At least, they’ve got two posts on the topic, labeled “Fact #1 and Fact #2,” so I assume they intend to post more. Let’s have a look, shall we?

“Fact” #1 is that Jesus was crucified. I put “fact” in quotes because I’m not 100% convinced that this is necessarily so. It seems reasonably plausible, however, and is certainly consistent with the events that followed, so I’m willing to grant them that one. Let’s move on to the second fact.

Fact # 2 – Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them.

First, the disciples claimed to have seen the risen Jesus. In addition to their own testimony recorded in the Gospels, we also have the testimony of the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 15:3-11), the oral tradition that would become the basis of the NT writings, and the written works of the early church. That they claimed to have seen the risen Jesus is without dispute.

This is true, as far as it goes. But context is crucial here. Before we can understand these statements, we need to remember that we’re dealing with Christians, and Christians also believe that God speaks to them and that Jesus comes into their hearts. Before we can draw reliable conclusions about what Christians regard as true, we need to ask “True in what sense?” And there’s more.

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