Pushing The Antithesis – Part 5 – Alternative Worldviews

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:

  1. Examples of several worldview options.
  2. The presuppositional cores sustaining those worldviews

Particular Worldviews

Hinduism

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

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.

Marxism

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.”

Existentialism

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.

Recommended Reading

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/

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