In the sixth chapter the focus is on the practical antithesis between the worldviews discussed up to this point. As was the case in previous posts, I’m going to be documenting notes from the chapter that I think are worthy of attention.Continue reading
The fifth chapter of the book focuses on comparing and contrasting various worldviews outside of the Biblical worldview of Scripture. The purpose for doing this is to demonstrate different characteristics that some of the more popular worldviews hold to and how they contrast to the Christian one.
There are two central tenets that are the focus of this chapter:
- Examples of several worldview options.
- The presuppositional cores sustaining those worldviews
The author expounds that Hinduism is a family of merged religions arising out of a thoroughly pagan backdrop. One source describes Hinduism as, “Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder.” Another key attribute of this worldview is the belief in millions of deities that are typically derived from objects found in nature. Hinduism aligns well with the New Age movement and mysticism and views all reality as relative since Hinduism believes that reality is an illusion.
Behaviorism is school of psychological thought developed by B.F. Skinner. The key concept in this school of thought that all human behavior can be attributed to the concept of “operant conditioning”. This basically says that human behavior is the result of of response to pure environmental factors such as our experiences and our senses. The material world is the ultimate endgame and all our motivations revolve around getting the most fulfillment from the material world. Since man is simply the result of his conditioned environment, there is no responsibility for actions taken since there is no moral code attached to this system of thought.
The next world view is the infamous worldview of Marxism. Marxism is an atheistic, socio-political belief system that teaches the material world is the ultimate reality and that religion is an illusion. The author quotes the American Heritage Dictionary’s definition of dialectical materialism on which Marxism is based as,
“The Marxian interpretation of reality that views matter as the sole subject of change and all change as the product of a constant conflict between opposites arising from the internal contradictions inherent in all events, ideas, and movements.”
Adam Schaff summarizes the maxim of Marxism as, “Mans is a product of society…it is society that makes him what he is.”
The last worldview system that the author examines in this chapter is existentialism. Existentialism is concerned above all else with freedom and self-expression. This system essentially boils down to feeling over thought, experience over logic, and the like. The author leaves some valuable quotes:
- “To kill God is to become god oneself: it is to realize on this earth the eternal life of which the gospel speaks.” –Albert Camus
- “If God exists man cannot be free. But man is free, therefore God cannot exist. Since God does not exist all things are morally permissible.” –Jean Paul-Satre
The author is trying to get the Christian apologist to think through the foundational beliefs of these various systems to understand how they oppose Christianity and how they are internally inconsistent.
Bahnsen, Greg, “Prolegomena To Apologetics“, https://www.cmfnow.com/articles/PA002.htm
Ravi, N.S.R.K, “Hinduism“, https://www.namb.net/apologetics-blog/hinduism/
The fourth chapter of the book focuses on the different components that comprise a worldview. They are the building blocks of a worldview and without any one of them you can not have a complete worldview and this is why it’s so important to define each one and to expand upon each level to under the questions that they need to answer.
Another key factor that each of these worldview building blocks serve to show how utterly non-sensical the Atheist worldview is in that since it cannot accept order in the Universe and therefore is left to attribute every event to chance he cannot justify in what he observes.
The study on what is the nature of reality. Beyond the physical as in laws of logic & science.
Metaphysics seeks to address three core questions:
- What does it mean to exist?
- What is the nature of man? Is he free? Good? An animal?
- What is the nature of the universe? Is it objectively real? Or is it simply appearance?
Metaphysicians seek to understand the world as a whole.
What Metaphysicians study is actually Christian theology in secular dress.
God is the ultimate ground of all reality. – Gen 1:1, Exodus 20:11, Neh 9:6, Rev 4:11
The study of the nature and limits of human knowledge.
Epistemological inquiry focuses on four class of questions:
- What is the nature of truth & objectivity?
- What is the nature of belief and of knowledge? What are their relationships? Can we know and yet not believe?
- What are the standards that justify belief?
- What are the proper procedures for science & discovery? How can they be trusted?
The unbeliever will not be able to rationally to account for the order of the universe which he experiences, since he is committed to the fate of chance.
There is no way to account for reason in the non-Christian system.
Studies right & wrong attitudes, judgments, and actions, as well as moral responsibility and obligation.
Focuses on four main areas of concern:
- What is the nature of good and evil?
- What are the standards for ethical evaluation?
- What about guilt and personal peace?
- How do we attain or produce moral character?
For the non-Christian there is no sure basis for ethics.
The chapter can be best summed up in this Atheist Creed crafted by Christian scholar Steve Kumar:
There is no God.
There is no objective Truth.
There is no ground for Reason.
There are no absolute Morals.
There is no ultimate Value.
There is no ultimate Meaning.
There is no eternal Hope.
Bahnsen, Greg, “The Concept and Importance of Canonicity”
Butler, Michael R., “A Truly Reformed Epistemology”
I had acquired through a friend on Twitter, a copy of Greg Bahnsen’s, “Pushing the Antithesis“. As such I have decided to publish a blog post for each chapter. This is the first of twelve blog posts. Each post will consist of some key bullet points along with some recommend reading links where available.
As the chapter title suggests, Dr. Bahnsen puts to bed the supposed “neutrality” that anyone has let along the Christian.
The main points to be observed from this chapter are:
- This “neutral” approach is neither biblical nor effective.
- Christians must not set aside their faith commitment even temporarily in an attempt to approach the unbeliever on “neutral ground”.
- If you don’t start with God as your basic assumption, you can’t prove anything./
- The assumption of God’s existence required to all reasoning.
- Evolution theory is taken for granted throughout the college curriculum, just as it is in all aspects of modern though and experience.
- Modern education is effectively subliminal advertising for atheism.
- The university and the media supposedly encourage neutrality by urging tolerance of all views.
- But we are all aware that the Christian view is seldom given equal tolerance.
- The Christian who strives for neutrality unwittingly endorses assumptions which are hostile to his faith.
- Simply put, you cannot adopt a position of neutrality toward God if you are to remain faithful to Christ.
- The Bible claims infallible and obligatory authority which demands commitment to its truth claims.
- Such neutrality actually amounts to skepticism regarding the existence of God and the authority of His Word.
- He (Satan) suggested that she must remain neutral in order to decide who was right, God or Satan. She did not accept God’s word as authoritative and conclusive, but as a true neutralist, determined for herself which option to take. (Gen 3:4-6)
- Robert South (1634-1716) said, “He who would fight the devil with his own weapons, must not wonder if he finds himself over matched.”
- Van Til – “there simply is no presupposition-free and neutral way to approach reasoning.”
- A true biblical apologetic does not set aside Christ from our hearts, but sets apart Christ in our hearts.
Bahnsen, Greg L., Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith
Gentry, Kenneth L., Jr., Defending the Faith: An Introduction to Biblical Apologetics