Monday, August 20, 2018

Sean McDowell on the WORLDVIEW of NATURALISM

Sean McDowell on the WORLDVIEW of NATURALISM
A generation ago, one of the most popular shows on TV was Cosmos.[1]  The host, Carl Sagan, began each episode by saying, “The cosmos is all that is, or was, or ever will be.”  In a nutshell, Carl Sagan was describing a worldview known as naturalism, which is the view that all that exists is the physical, material world in which there is no supernatural realm.  Naturalism is clearly the predominant view in western culture-shaping institutions like the educational system, the university, and even the media.
Naturalism offers non-supernatural answers to our four big worldview questions: 
First, what is real?  According to naturalism the only things that are real are those that can be tested by the five senses.  In other words, only those things that have height, weight, extension in space and other physical properties.  So essentially, if something can’t be weighed on a scale or seen through a microscope it doesn’t exist.  So things like God, values, purposes, objective morality, demons, and the soul are not real.   But, of course, things like grass,  water, and sand are real. 
So, what is man?  On naturalism, man is not the purposeful creation intended by a loving God meant to be a relationship with God and with other people.  In fact, the late atheist Victor Singer captured the naturalistic view of man well.  “Darwinism implies that humanity developed by accident, contradicting the traditional teaching that humans are special, created in God’s image.” (Victor Stenger, The New Atheism (2009)) So essentially what that means is that you and I and all of creation is a cosmic accident. 
Now the third question is, “What happens at death?”  There are really three options of what happens to you when you die.  One would be to face some kind of judgment and go either to Heaven or Hell.  The other possibility is to go through some kind cycle of reincarnation.  And the last possibility is –that when you die you cease to exist.  So from the naturalist worldview, since there is no God and no soul when you stop breathing your last breath, your life is done.  Death is final.  In the 1970’s the band, Kansas, had a famous song in which they described human beings as merely “dust in the wind.”[2]  That all our dreams are a mere curiosity.  So we are like a drop of water in an endless sea.  All that lasts forever is the earth below and the sky above. 
So then our fourth questions is, “What is the basis for right and wrong?”  Since naturalists don’t believe in God, there’s no standard outside of mankind that determines right and wrong.  While there are a variety of different attempts to explain morality from the naturalistic worldview, essentially it boils down to what benefits mankind and helps propagate the species. 
Naturalism is nothing new.  In fact centuries before the time of Christ, there were some Greek philosophers who believed that all reality could be described as these small tiny atoms.  While naturalism may not be new it is in direct contrast and conflict with the Christian worldview.  The question is, “Can it capture reality both as we experience it and know it to be?” 




[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos:_A_Personal_Voyage
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH2w6Oxx0kQ

Saturday, August 11, 2018

2.1 WORLDVIEW Lesson notes

 TEACHING NOTES----------------------------------------------------------------------
Write YOUR definition of a worldview:
world·view    (wûrld′vyo͞o′)  n.
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
2. collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. In both senses also calledWeltanschauung.
[Translation of German Weltanschauung.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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Worldview: a comprehensive view of the world and human life https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/world%20view
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world view  NOUN

·        A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.
‘a Christian world view revolves around the battle of good and evil’
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è How would you describe your worldview?
è How consistent do you think you are between what you say profess consciously and what how you react and what you do?
è What were the three theories of truth we discussed?
Pragmatic – Cohesive – Correspondent
Believing what corresponds with reality is critical
Having a cohesive worldview is also important and should happen if the first is true.
The pragmatic results can be a helpful assessment of our worldview but has limited value.
è Thinking about why we believe and act in certain ways can help us be more consistent in having a cohesive worldview that corresponds with reality.

Show Sean McDowell video---------------à
THE GRAND CENTRAL QUESTIONS: 
First, what is real?  What exists?  Is reality only the physical world that you can touch, taste, see, and feel?  Or is there a spiritual realm beyond the physical world.  Is the human being just a body, or is there also a soul?
Second, what is man?  What does it mean to be human?  Are we the product of blind evolutionary forces within nature?  Or are we part of the larger god consciousness and interconnected with all of reality?  Or are we a personal creation of the loving God who made us in his image?
Third, what happens at death?  Where do we go, if anywhere, when we die?  Maybe this is all there is, and death is final?    When your heart stops beating—that’s it and maybe you enter into some state of reincarnation until you finally reach Nirvana. Or maybe when you die you face judgment before God and go to either heaven or hell for eternity.  Every belief system has some claim about what happens when we die.
And fourth, what is the basis for right and wrong?  Where does morality come from?  Some believe that reality is relative—that there’s no absolute standard outside of us, and right and wrong comes from the individual or society.  Others would point to Karma, that we get rewarded or punished from actions we’ve done in the past, and they carry on into the future.  Whereas others believe that there is a standard outside of us, an objective standard that comes from either God’s character or God’s Command which determines right from wrong.
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What is a Christian worldview?

Question: "What is a Christian worldview?"

Answer: A “worldview” refers to a comprehensive conception of the world from a specific standpoint. A “Christian worldview,” then, is a comprehensive conception of the world from a Christian standpoint. An individual’s worldview is his “big picture,” a harmony of all his beliefs about the world. It is his way of understanding reality. One’s worldview is the basis for making daily decisions and is therefore extremely important.

An apple sitting on a table is seen by several people. A botanist looking at the apple classifies it. An artist sees a still-life and draws it. A grocer sees an asset and inventories it. A child sees lunch and eats it. How we look at any situation is influenced by how we look at the world at large. Every worldview, Christian and non-Christian, deals with at least these three questions:

1) Where did we come from? (and why are we here?)
2) What is wrong with the world?
3) How can we fix it?
https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-worldview.html
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MISCONCEPTION: My worldview has NO BEARING on my everyday life.  Isaiah 22:13; Luke 12:18-19
Isaiah 22:12-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 And in that day the Lord God of hosts
Called for weeping and for mourning,
For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness,
Slaying oxen and killing sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts,
“Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you,
Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts.
Luke 12:17-20  (NKJV)
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’   18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’   20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
ILLUMINATION: A Biblical worldview TRANSFORMS the way we relate to all of life.  Romans 12:2; Deuteronomy 6:7; 2 Corinthians 10:5b-6
Deuteronomy 6:5-10 (NKJV)
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
2 Corinthians 10:5b-6 (NKJV)
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Colossians 2:
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
ROMANS 12:2
1. What CONFORMS you?                                                                                                    
41.29 συσχηματίζομαι: to form or mold one’s behavior in accordance with a particular pattern or set of standards—‘to shape one’s behavior, to conform one’s life.’ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ ‘do not shape your behavior to the standards of this world’ Ro 12:2. In order to express the concept of ‘conforming one’s life’ it may be necessary in some languages to indicate the factor of change, for example, ‘to change one’s life so that it will be like.’[1]
2. What TRANSFORMS you?                                                                                                       
13.53 μεταμορφόομαιa: to change the essential form or nature of something—‘to become, to change, to be changed into, to be transformed.’ ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοός ‘but be transformed by the renewing of your thinking’ Ro 12:2. In a number of languages the equivalent of μεταμορφόομαι in Ro 12:2 may be ‘become completely different’ or ‘become different from what you are.’[2]


3. What is GOD’S WILL                                                                                                       

WHAT TRUTH COSTS:
·         “The tendency to sacrifice COMFORT for TRUTH is practically hardwired into our psyches.”  (Abdu Murry p. 17)1.
·        Luke 14:27-33 —”It is interesting that Jesus challenged the crowd of people who chose to follow him to reconsider in light of what they would have to LOSE.” (Abdu Murry p. 22)1.
·        The best way I can think to expose someone’s underlying biases and barriers is ASK QUESTIONS.  ...this method gets them to understand the underlying assumptions they bring to the topic. (Abdu Murry p. 25)1.  
·             Careful listening not only keeps us from making fools of ourselves, but also helps us to UNDERSTAND the COSTS others face in considering the gospel.  (Abdu Murry p. 26)1.
Murray, Abdu. Grand Central Question: Answering the Critical Concerns of the Major Worldviews. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014.
JOSIAH—2 Kings 22-23:25

  • What was Josiah’s first step toward living for God? 
  • What big obstacle hindered King Josiah living for God? 
  • Did Josiah’s discovery of the Law change his “religious affiliation?”
  • How did his discovery impact his worldview?
  • What were two key elements for Josiah to be renown for following God?  (2Ki 22:25)
Something to think about:
How can you be impacted by what you don’t even know?  What is filling your brain?

“Jeff Baldwin, a fellow at the Texas-based Worldview Academy, says worldview "is like an invisible pair of eyeglasses-glasses you put on to help you see reality clearly. If you choose the right pair of glasses, you can see everything vividly and can behave in sync with the real world. ... But if you choose the wrong pair of glasses, you may find yourself in a worse plight than the blind man - thinking you see clearly when in reality your vision is severely distorted." To choose the "right" glasses, you have to first understand and embrace the true worldview.”  —Tracy F. Munsil
https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian-worldview/whats-a-christian-worldview/whats-your-worldview
1.Murray, Abdu. Grand Central Question: Answering the Critical Concerns of the Major Worldviews. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014.

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BASIC WORLD VIEW QUESTIONS:

Basic Questions
If a worldview can be expressed in propositions, what might they be? Essentially, they are our basic, rock-bottom answers to the following questions: 
  1. What is prime reality—the really real? To this we might answer: God, or the gods, or the material cosmos. Our answer here is the most fundamental. It sets the boundaries for the answers that can consistently be given to the other six questions. This will become clear as we move from worldview to worldview in the chapters that follow.
  2. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?Here our answers point to whether we see the world as created or autonomous, as chaotic or orderly, as matter or spirit; or whether we emphasize our subjective, personal relationship to the world or its objectivity apart from us.
  3. What is a human being? To this we might answer: a highly complex machine, a sleeping god, a person made in theimage of God, a naked ape.
  4. What happens to a person at death? Here we might reply: personal extinction, or transformation to a higher state, or reincarnation, or departure to a shadowy existence on "the other side."
  5. Why is it possible to know anything at all? Sample answers include the idea that we are made in the image of an all-knowing God or that consciousness and rationality developed under the contingencies of survival in a long process of evolution.
  6. How do we know what is right and wrong? Again, perhaps we are made in the image of a God whose character is good, or right and wrong are determined by human choice alone or what feels good, or the notions simply developed under an impetus toward cultural or physical survival.
  7. What is the meaning of human history? To this we might answer: to realize the purposes of God or the gods, to make a paradise on earth, to prepare a people for a life in community with a loving and holy God, and so forth. 
  8. What personal, life-orienting core commitments are consistent with this worldview?
Within any given worldview, core commitments may vary widely. For example, a Christian might say, to fulfill the will of God, or to seek first the kingdom of God, or to obey God and enjoy him forever, or to be devoted to knowing God or loving God. Each will lead to a somewhat different specific grasp of the Christian worldview.
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1. What is the Nature of Ultimate RealityThis first worldview question relates to the very nature of reality in its entirety. The main focus of the issues it raises involve whether or not there is such a thing as the supernatural. If there is, what is it like. It deals with such questions as:  Is there a God or not? If there is, what is that he like? If there is no God, what is the origin of material reality?  Are there multiple gods? If so, what are they like?  Is there a personal element to ultimate reality? If not, what is the nature of impersonal reality?
2. What is the nature of material reality?
There have been those who have questioned whether or not the material world we live in really exists, and have posited that it is an illusion in one form or another. However, since it is the physical world that we live our lives in, most people assume that it actually does exist. That being said, not everyone agrees as to the nature of the material world. In fact, every worldview has a different perspective about it. Different worldview possibilities include: 
It is created or uncreated?   t is orderly or chaotic?  It is subjective or objective?  It is personal or impersonal?  It is eternal or temporal?
3. What is a human being?                       
The nature of worldview is such that it might seem strange to many people to even ask a question like this. We all have an underlying presupposition about what a human being is and we simply assume that everyone else understands it in the same way we do. That is simply not the case. Different worldviews hold entirely different understandings about it. And the reason it is important is because different understandings result in different ways of valuing and treating other people.
Some of the different possible answers posited by various worldviews concerning the nature of a human being include:  A highly evolved biological machine.  A god or potential god.C A form of energy which shifts forms through successive existences.  A person made in the image of God.
4. What happens to a person at death?
Every worldview has its doctrine related to the afterlife. While the practical implications of this may not, at first glance, seem to be that profound, those implications actually run very deep. For instance, if a person believes there is no after life, why is there any reason to refuse oneself anything in this life. Of if a person believes that they will get 72 virgins if they die as a martyr, why not go for it. Here are some of the answers that various worldviews give concerning life after death.
·        People cease to exist.  Individuals are transformed to a higher state.  People reincarnate into another life on earth. 
·        People depart to a shadowy existence on “the other side.”
·        Individuals enter into the spiritual realm (heaven, hell, or other place) based on how life was lived on earth.
·        People enter directly into heaven.
5. Why is it possible to know anything at all?  It is interesting to think that different people might actually have a different way of conceiving of human rationality. After all, we all have to use it even to discuss the topic of knowledge. In spite of that, the different worldviews actually do have different ways of understanding it – from considering it to be an illusion to thinking of it as an objective reality and places in between. These are some of the ways that various worldviews deal with the issue of knowledge.
·        Consciousness and rationality developed through a long process of evolution.
·        There is no “reason” that human beings are able to have knowledge. That is just the nature of our existence.
·        Knowledge is an illusion.
·        Humans are made in the image of God who, himself, has knowledge.
6. How do we know what is right and wrong?
As we look around the world at the differences in various cultures, one of the things that jumps out quickly is that there are certain moral principles that are almost universal. Questions related to honesty and integrity, sexual issues, how we should treat other people and so on are integral parts of virtually every society. Even when individuals or societies don’t seem to follow the principles, they will still tell you that they exist. The search to identify what is right and wrong and to give reasons for why morality should be dealt with certain ways is an integral part of every worldview. Here are some of the ways that various worldviews deal with this issue.
·        Right and wrong are strictly products of human choice.
·        Right and wrong are determined by what feels good.
·        A sense of right and wrong was an evolutionary development as a survival mechanism for the species.
·        Right and wrong are learned by experience as we learn what pleases the gods.
·        We are made in the image of God whose character is good and who has revealed what is right.
7. What is the meaning of human history?
Some may wonder why the issue of time is included in the questions about worldview. Actually, the focus is more on the issue of meaning than it is on time. It is just that the meaning is set in the context of time. The search for meaning may be the most profound issue that human beings deal with in life. It is so profound that some people even choose to end their lives because the cannot manage to find a reason to continue on. Different worldviews have different ways of addressing this question. Some of the various worldviews deal with this by asserting:
·        There is no innate meaning to human history. Meaning is what humans make it to be.
·        Time is an illusion.
·        Meaning involves realizing the purpose of the gods.
·        Meaning results from discovering and fulfilling the purpose of God.
Using the Questions
It is important to understand the nature of these questions so that they can be useful in helping you more effectively interact with people who believe differently than you. First, you need to understand that typically you will not just sit down with someone and ask them the seven questions. If you do have the opportunity to do that, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. But the questions are not ends in themselves. They are only tools of understanding. Getting the answers does not provide a witness.
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Another way to start understanding your personal worldview to see how you answer key life questions. James Sire uses seven central questions to get to the heart of anyone’s worldview:
  1. What is prime reality – the really real? To this we might answer God, or the gods, or the material cosmos.
  2. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us? Here our answers point to whether we see the world as created or autonomous, as chaotic or orderly, as matter or spirit, or whether we emphasize our subjective, personal relationship to the world or its objectivity apart from us.
  3. What is a human beingTo this we might answer a highly complex machine, a sleeping god, a person made in the image of God, a “naked ape.”
  4. What happens to a person at death? Here we might reply personal extinction, or transformation to a higher state, or reincarnation, or departure to a shadowy existence on “the other side.”
  5. Why is it possible to know anything at all? Sample answers include the idea that we are made in the image of an all-knowing God or that consciousness and rationality developed under the contingencies of survival in a long process of evolution.
  6. How do we know what is right and wrong? Again, perhaps we are made in the image of a God whose character is good; or right and wrong are determined by human choice alone or what feels good; or the notions of simply developed under an impetus toward cultural or physical survival.
  7. What is the meaning of human history? To this we might answer, to realize the purpose of God or the gods, to make a paradise on earth, to prepare a people for a life in community with a loving and holy God, and so forth.5
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 What's Your Worldview?
By Tracy F. Munsil
In my teaching of worldview and Great Books to homeschool students ages 12 to 18, I've used a series of seven questions to help them formalize their own worldview and to help them evaluate competing worldviews. These seven questions are common to many worldview resources and provide an effective tool for adults, as well as teenagers, particularly to evaluate the worldview of books, music and movies:
•          Is there a god and what is he like?
•          What is the nature and origin of the universe?
•          What is the nature and origin of man?
•          What happens to man after death?
•          Where does knowledge come from?
•          What is the basis of ethics and morality?
•          What is the meaning of human history?
A similar seven-question approach is found in the excellent worldview resource, The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog by James W Sire, and also in Worldviews of the Western World, a three-year worldview and Great Books curriculum for homeschoolers written by David Quine. Chuck Colson's How Now Shall We Live uses a four-question approach. It doesn't matter how many questions you use, just that you begin asking the big questions of life in four key areas-deity, origin, nature and rules- and then answer them based on Scripture.
https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/christian-worldview/whats-a-christian-worldview/whats-your-worldview




[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 506.
[2] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 154.