Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Worldviews Essay

I finally finished my essay!  Yay!  =D  It is rather long, so you don't have to read it all, but if you do, I would very much appreciate some feedback.  :)

A world view is something that everyone has, but varies from person to person.   Many deny they have one, yet that is a world view all of its own; for a world view, as the name implies, is the way one sees the world.  It is the beliefs that form the mindsets we have about everything and everyone around us.  Michael Wittmer said, “A worldview is a framework of fundamental concepts of beliefs about the world. In short, a worldview comprises the lens through which we see the world.”   A worldview is very much like a pair of sunglasses: what you believe colours everything you see.  Someone with a different set of beliefs will see the same thing differently to you.  This does not mean that you are wrong and they are right, or vice-versa.  Indeed there is only one right way to live, and that is in the love, grace, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  In Him, everything finds its perfection and completion.
Not only does a worldview affect how you see things, it infiltrates into what you do as well.   Francis Schaeffer said, “…people function on the basis of their world view more consistently than even they themselves may realize. The problem is not outward things. The problem is having, and then acting upon, the right world view — the world view which gives men and women the truth of what is.”      For instance, Muslims keep the jihad because they believe it keeps them in good terms with Allah.  Christians pray because they understand that a relationship with God – like any relationship – is a matter of two way communication.  

The Christian faith is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and in faith believe that He is the Son of God, and Saviour of the world.  The aim for a Christian is to shine God’s love to all around them in the hope that they will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, and to become more like their Saviour with every day that passes.
Christian theology is decidedly unique to any other worldview.  Christianity is a monotheism, meaning Christians believe in and worship only one God.  However, Christians believe that God is triune, that is three persons in one Godhead.  These three persons are God the Father, God the Son – whom we call Jesus – and God the Holy Spirit.  None of the three is higher than the other two, and none of the three is any less God than the others.  It is a difficult concept for our finite, limited minds to grasp, but it is truth and we must believe in faith that what God says about Himself is true.   One might compare it to the three phases of water – ice, water and steam.  Each is as much H2O as the others, and yet each has its own distinctive characteristics that makes it what it is.
Philosophy for Christians is, like everything else, orientated around the Bible, the perfect Holy Word of God.  In Colossians 2, we read, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”  Some Christians think this means they are not to get involved in philosophy, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The verse says that we are not to be deceived by philosophies based on human customs or trends.  Instead, we should to study these philosophies in light of the Bible so that we can identify what is truth and what is fiction.   The word philosophy comes from the ancient Greek language literally meaning, “To love wisdom”.   Proverbs tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.    If we focus on knowing God, loving and obeying Him, then wisdom and philosophy is available to us through the God who holds all the answers in His hands.
Biology – the study of life and where it came from – is one of the most controversial topics that defines the Christian-Atheist war of worldviews.   Some Christians come up with all sorts of theories trying to combine different viewpoints.  They call it peacemaking, but it shouldn’t be so complicated when God Himself has given us the account of the beginnings of the world.    In fact the entire Bible kicks off with the details of Creation and the ins and outs thereof.  Then in chapter 2, we read, “This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,  before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown.”  The statement of authenticity is so clear and definite, how can anyone who claims to believe the Bible doubt it?  To attempt to combine it with evolution is foolish and he who does it will one day feel the consequences for adding to the Word of God.
Non-Christians often feel that Christianity is too restrictive with too many rules and ‘thou-shalt-not’s’.  But that is not the essence of Christian ethics.  The ethical system of Christianity differs from other worldviews in that it reflects the very character of God.  As a result, they more we strive to grow in grace and become more like the God we serve, the more like Him we become.  Because God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) we have a steady standard for which we can aim.  How can we learn this standard?  The main way we can learn the will and regulations of God is by reading His Word.  In fact, we cannot go wrong if we study it consistently and apply it to our lives.  Besides studying the Word, the most important thing we can do is to apply it for as James said, “…as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”  Ethics is one way that we ‘live out’ our salvation and what Christ has done for us.

Islam began in 610 AD, when a merchant from Mecca named Muhammad claimed he had had a vision of the angel Gabriel telling him the words of God.  He said that God had ordained him the spokesman of God and promptly began telling everyone how they should live.  Of course we know that the way of Muhammad’s vision is not of God for Paul wrote in Galatians, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”  And again in 2 Corinthians we read, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”  Thus we can be assured that, while it may have appeared convincing that Muhammad really did hear from God, he did not and was (rather conveniently and easily, from Satan’s perspective) deceived.  Islam is major world religion today, but we need not fear it: Muslims are people just like us who need the love and the salvation of Jesus.  By studying a little of what they believe, we may be better equipped to share the hope that lives within us.

Islamic theology resembles Christianity in that it is a monotheistic religion.  However, Muslims do not believe in the trinity: they believe that God is just one person.  What is more they believe that God (whom they call Allah) is a distant being, impersonal and cold.  He has little interest in the doings of the world and often goes off on little whims of his own.
Islamic philosophy is supernaturalistic – they believe in a God and in spirits.  However, Muslims do not believe in miracles.  They find it hard to believe in miracles when Muhammad never performed any.  This of course poses a problem for them when they deny that Jesus is as great as or greater than Muhammad.   Blaise Pascal said, “Any man may do what Mohammad did; for he wrought no miracles, he fulfilled no previous prophecy.  No man can do what Jesus Christ did.”     While Muslims cannot explain the difference of miracles between Jesus and Muhammad, they do believe that he was foretold by prophecy.  They claim that the Bible and the Koran interrelate and that Islam is an extension of Christianity.   They believe that Deuteronomy 18:5 The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, and John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever… refer to the coming of Muhammad.  Christians, of course, know that these two prophecies refer to Jesus and the Holy Spirit respectively.
Like the other subjects thus far, Islamic biology resembles Christianity in many facets – but not so much in others.   It is rare for a Muslim to profess a belief in evolution: they believe that Allah created everything from nothing, and then man was created from the dust of the earth and Allah breathed life into him.  As previously stated, much of the story pertains to the Biblical account of Creation, but there are a couple of inconsistencies that betray the Islamic view.  The most notable of these is that the Koran gives varying time frames for the creation of the earth.  In one section it says it was created in six days.  Another section says Allah took eight days.  If the ‘authority’ cannot keep its own facts straight, how are we to believe it?
Ethics in Islam are significantly different to the ethics of a Christian.  Muslims believe that doing right and good things will earn your way back to Allah.  The basic foundation of these good acts is the jihad and the five pillars of Islam: praying five times a day, journeying to Mecca at least once, fasting and being celibate for the duration of Ramadan, giving two and a half percent of your life’s savings to the poor, and declaring that Allah is the only God and Muhammad his prophet.  There is an interesting twist on living an ethical, Islamic life.  Doing right and being righteous means doing the will of Allah.  This may seem rather basic and straight forward, until we remember that Allah can be capricious and erratic.  Thus, in essence, Islam says that you can know what Allah wants by living righteously and getting closer to him; but you can only live righteously by doing what he wants.

Cosmic Humanism
While a lot of Cosmic Humanism sounds rather ridiculous and farfetched, it is actually quite wide spread and accepted and is growing in numbers with several ‘big name’ celebrities such as George Lucas, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Dr. Oz included in its numbers.  Influenced greatly by some of the Eastern religions, Cosmic Humanism is intimately connected into the spiritual world which people can link themselves to through ‘channelling’ and meditation.
With faith that reaches from the stars to one’s own soul, Cosmic Humanistic theology states that everyone of us is God, that God is every one of us and that all is one and in some part God.  Science of Mind magazine says, “The significance of incarnation and resurrection is not that Jesus was a human like us but rather that we are gods like him – or at least have the potential to be.”   But it doesn’t stop there: not only is everyone God, everything is as well, putting Cosmic Humanism in the theological category of pantheism which comes from Greek meaning literally “all god”.   In saying this however, everything is not always referred to as ‘god’.  More often than not, ‘god’ is regarded as a force that surrounds us and from which we can obtain power and strength by meditation or channelling.  
The philosophy of Cosmic Humanism is entirely non-naturalistic.  In fact, Cosmic Humanists claim that nothing exists except spirit.  Everything we ‘perceive’ is just illusionary: none of it really exists.  In that belief however is the assertion that everything that does exist is God, because God is spirit.   If nothing we perceive is real, then, how do we know what is truly true?  The answer, or so we are told by Cosmic Humanists, comes from inside of each of us individually.  The more we meditate and concentrate on the inner self, the more we connect with and become more aware and conscious of the real us.  Since we are God, then when we come in contact with ourselves we are a never ending, never failing fountain of truth from which to draw life’s wisdom and guidance.  How can we know when we have that truth?  It is an unmistakable sensation, says the Cosmic Humanist.  You will know it when you feel it.
Cosmic Humanist biology is markedly unlike any other view that we shall cover here.  This difference lies in the fact that Cosmic Humanists believe that the world is simply an illusion and that everything that really does exist is spirit.  However, Cosmic Humanists d believe in evolution, but it is an evolution all of its own.  It concerns the evolution of man to spirit and our evolving consciousness of our higher selves.  The more we meditate and connect with our inner selves, the more highly evolved we become.
There is only one absolute in Cosmic Humanist ethics, and that is the absolute of individual autonomy, freedom and self-government.  Because of this, it is entirely unethical for a Cosmic Humanist to judge another person.  If we each are self-governing and each are God and have truth within us, then how can anyone ever possibly be wrong?

Secular Humanism
Secular Humanism – the worldview of the material world, humans and, essentially, self-centeredness.  Yes, Secular Humanism is all about Number One – you.  If you don’t want to, you don’t have to; if you want to what’s holding you back?  You were born to enjoy life and be happy.  It all seems pretty shallow but it goes much, much deeper as Secular Humanism is one of the weapons used against God by Satan to try and bring about his dastardly plans on earth.   Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said in his commencement address to Harvard University, “If, as claimed by humanism, man were born only to be happy, he would not be born to die. Since his body is doomed to death, his task on earth evidently must be more spiritual…”  
Secular Humanistic theology is atheistic and denies the existence of any divine being whatsoever.  What is more, Secular Humanists do not believe in any spiritual or supernatural world.  They firmly hold to their claim that humans are the highest form of anything in the universe: nothing compares to us and our science, reason and understanding hold all of our truth and knowledge.  This, of course, is not a secure platform on which to place our trust, but if there is no Deity for us to lean on for wisdom, where shall we go?
As can be expected from what has already been said, Secular Humanist philosophy is naturalistic, meaning that only what can be perceived with the senses of our physical body is real and truly exists.   This, of course, creates a problem when confronted with obvious things that are not tangible, such as thoughts.  Thoughts, says the Secular Humanist, are simply manifestations of electronic signals in the brain.  How they manage to make something intangible the manifestation of something that is palpable does not really make sense, but that is what they say.
Predictably, Secular Humanists believe in evolution when it comes to biology.  Taking their cue from Darwin from the get-go, Secular Humanists believe in the lot, because if they had any divine being behind any part of the process, they would cease to be atheistic, and their entire worldview would crumble.  The story goes that billions of years ago, there was an explosion out in space somewhere.  Where the gasses in the explosion came from, we aren’t sure - Secular Humanists aren’t sure either.  The point is, however, that the explosion left a heap of rubble and junk floating around in space.  One of these rocks had a swamp on which were floating some amino acids.  Somehow these amino acids found each other and created the first protein which grew and was eventually able to drag itself out of the water as some creature that multiplied (how that happened with only one spark of life remains a mystery) and over time coped with different variations on earth until all the creatures we have today – including wonderful beautiful you – were formed and evolved to face the harshness of this earth.  It sounds ridiculous, but sadly it is what most people believe now days because they refuse to submit themselves to a God who loves them and longs to receive them into His presence forever.
Humans “may, and do, make up their own rules… Morality is not discovered; it is made.”    So says Max Hocutt, a Secular Humanist.  And that is a fairly accurate sum up of Secular Humanist ethics.  They believe that there is no truth, for what can be true when each must make decisions based on his or her circumstance and his or her own judgement?

Marxism-Leninism is based on the ideals of Karl Marx that were added to and built on by Vladimir Lenin and all tied together by Joseph Stalin.   The essence of Marxism-Leninism is to abolish social standings and form a classless society.  To accomplish this, all private property is removed and belongs to the state.  The commoner works on communal farms, all the produce of which goes to the state.  It is impossible for one to improve oneself: there is only way to go under Communism, and that way is down.
Marxism-Leninism theology can only be classed as atheistic.  Marx, Lenin and Stalin were all positively set against religion of any kind, Marx calling it the “opium of the people”.  To a Marxist-Leninist, humanity is the highest form of life, and relying on a deity or on religion is considered weakness.
One of the points that sets Marxist-Leninist philosophy apart from other philosophies is the Marxist dialectical system.  Dialectics say that there is a constant tug-of-war happening between the forces all around us.  The thesis and the antithesis struggle and then the best parts of both are combines to make a new thesis which then struggles with its own antithesis and so on.  The theory of dialectics is very prominent in Marxism-Leninism, and they apply it to every area of life.
Biology for Marxist-Leninists is – not surprisingly – evolutionary.  In fact, when Karl Marx first read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species he was very excited that he had finally come across a theory that supposedly answered the question of the origin of life without a Creator.  Marx took Darwin’s theory and tweaked it to fit inside of his theory of dialectics.   The problem with the theory dialectics in relation to biology is that the first spark of life had to come from somewhere.  For this reason, many Marxist-Leninists – such as Friedrich Engels in Marx’s time – believe firmly in spontaneous generation.
Marxist-Leninist ethics also embraces the theory of dialectics.  By the clashing and ‘evolving’ of classes, all one has to do to achieve morality in a Marxist-Leninist society is advance the cause of communism.  If this involves killing millions of people so be it.

Arguably the most paradoxical and self-condemning worldview, it is somewhat concerning to discover that postmodernism is also one of the most popular worldviews.  This is possibly because it doesn’t require anybody to commit to anything, nothing has to make sense, and people are free to believe what they want to without being judged for what they believe.
In light of the above paragraph it is with intense hesitation that postmodernists label themselves as atheists.  In reality, no one really minds what you believe, as long as you don’t try to push your beliefs onto those around you.
Postmodernist philosophy is somewhat confusing and self-contradictory.  Statements such as “There is no metanarrative,” “Words don’t have set meanings,” and “You have no right to judge me,” are all self-conflicting in some way, yet postmodernists hold to them.  Because of these beliefs, John 3:16 makes no sense to a postmodernist as it describes a God who loves the entire world, and according to postmodernists, there is no “whole world”, only small groups according to race, culture, lifestyle, age, gender, etc.
Because everything in Postmodernism is relative and based on opinion, no one really minds how the world began.  For the sake of having a standard to believe in, however, postmodernists claim to hold to punctuated equilibrium.  This rather unique take on biology says that everything came into existence by means of fast evolution: things didn’t slowly change from one species to another, instead they remained what they were until – bang! – one generation was significantly different to the one before it.
Ethics in postmodernism are, like everything else, relative.  Truth can only be found in the individual, whether that be the individual person, individual community, individual culture, or so on.  Each ‘group’ creates its own set of ethical standards to live by because only they can know their situation and what they want to require of themselves.  Something may be utter lawlessness in one culture or community, and yet be perfectly acceptable in another.  And we are not allowed to judge.  That is the lowest wrong-doing according to a Postmodernist because it does not allow another individual to be who they are and who they want to be.  As a result, Postmodernism has no authoritative set standard of right and wrong.

Now that we have seen the ins and outs of the six main worldviews that we come into contact with, it is time to ask ourselves: which way is the way to live?   Is it possible for everything to have come into existence by chance, or was everything created?  Is there a universal standard for morality and justice?  Is there a God at all?  No matter what different people say, there can only be one answer that will fully satisfy the human soul, and that answer is Jesus.  Until we find Him and realize that we were created by Him, are justified through Him, were made to live like Him and worship Him as our God and our King, than we will never have real satisfaction or peace in this world.   And so the question remains, why do people continue in their own wicked ways when it brings no real joy or gratification?  Jesus said in John 3:20-21 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”  Because those who follow another way other than Christ are evil, they resist the righteousness of God.  Does this mean they are hopeless cases?  Not at all!  May God give us the grace to continue to love those around us and to shine His light to those who we come into contact with day by day, that they might come to know Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment