Chapter Excerpt

What Is Your World View

You have a worldview. Everybody has a worldview. Your worldview is fundamentally a lens by which you interpret and judge reality or any data presented about that reality. The biases your worldview may bring to your interpretations about that reality can, if you are not aware of them, skew your interpretation or conclusions. This is an important consideration to keep in mind when reading this text.

The worldviews presented below are, in the authors mind, conclusive. Although some might argue the point the choices available, once distilled, become an either or proposition like black and white or day and night.

At some point in life everyone will ask themselves these fundamental questions: Who am I? Where did I come from? What is my purpose? What happens when I die? When pondering these questions one thing becomes crystal clear. Your answers will result in your adoption of one of only two fundamental worldviews. There are some variatis of this theme but they distil themselves into only these two choices. You and the universe are either the result of a cosmic accident, as Darwin suggests, or you and the universe are the consequence of intelligent design by a supernatural creator.

The implications of your choice between these two worldviews is personally staggering. If you determine that everything and everyone is the result of random chance and cosmic accident then it also follows that (1) there is no creator to answer to; (2) your life and actions will have no spiritual consequence because there is nothing in our universe beyond what you and your senses can perceive; (3) there is no absolute truth or ultimate purpose to your life therefore the truth will always be relative to your situation; and (4) in the final analysis your life will be viewed as meaningless and without consequence since it was an accident in the first place. Ultimately your death will hold no more significance to the cosmos than a candle being snuffed out.

If the cosmic accident scenario prevails in your worldview the law of the jungle will also prevail. Your actions or reaction to situations you encounter will only be in regard to your self-interest and personal gain. All science, philosophies, governments, societies and individuals are built on one or the other of these two worldviews. This conclusion is inescapable.

The search for the answer to these questions of purpose is ancient. Around 1000 B.C. Aristotle and Socrates explored the philosophy of divine purpose or Teleology. Teleology is based on the discovery in nature of a things divine purpose. At its foundation Teleology assumes divine origins for everything in nature including man; it rejects pure naturalistic and mechanical explanations of cause. Teleology involved the attention and time of many prominent scientists, philosophers and theologians over the ages. In ancient Greece it captured the imagination of men such as Plato, Diogenes, Aristotle and Socrates. Socrates once in a Teleological debate with an opponent extolled the human eye as proof of the wisdom of the gods.

“Is not that providence, Aristodemus, in a most eminent manner conspicuous, which because the eye of man is delicate in its contexture, hath therefore prepared eyelids like doors, whereby to screen it, which extend themselves whenever it is needful, and again close when sleep approaches?…And canst thou still doubt Aristodemus, whether a disposition of parts like this should be the work of chance, or of wisdom and contrivance?”

Aristotle used Teleology to try to explain the harmony and causes of the natural world. He explained the process in this way.“When we have ascertained the thing’s existence, we inquire as to its nature…when we know the fact we ask the reason.”

Aristotle’s Teleological method was supported widely for over 2,000 years. A scientist once remarked that Aristotelian Teleology “…has been the ghost, the unexplained mystery which has haunted biology through its whole history.” These ancient thinkers would later influence the works of such European scientists, theologians and philosophers as Robert Boyle, William Paley, David Hume, St. Augustine of Hippo, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, St. Thomas Aquinas, Johannes Kepler, Nicolaus Copernicus and Sir Isaac Newton.

Teleology dominated the search for the nature of the universe until about 1600 A.D. when a challenge appeared with the introduction of theories proposed by astronomers Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and philosopher Giordano Bruno. These new theories moved man from the center of the heavens to a lesser position. This was contrary to the Catholic Church’s authority and proclamation that man resided at the center of all of God’s creation. When the Roman Inquisition questioned Bruno about his new theory he unfortunately declared in response that Christianity was irrational as it could only be accepted through faith not physical evidence. The Inquisition, in response to his free thinking, condemned him to death and burned him at the stake. This unfortunately was only one of a series of mindless decisions by the Vatican that has haunted its reputation to this day.

The deathblow to Teleology and a radical shift in direction for answers about man and the universe occurred with the advent of Charles Darwin. When Darwin arrived it was clear that he did not think that the universe or man had to be explained in terms of divine purpose. As an ex-clergy student and a new atheist, Darwin set out to overturn the assumption that man and nature were anything but divine. As an illustration of this radical new approach Darwin once posed the question, “What would the astronomer say to the doctrine that the planets moved [not] according to the laws of gravitation, but from the creator having willed each separate planet to move in its particular orbit?”

Darwin introduced his new theory in 1859 in a book titled On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. When it hit the public arena it was widely viewed as the model of enlightened human reason in the Victorian age. “Origin” rocked the world of science, politics and religion because it seemed to make rational, scientific sense on how life unfolded on this planet. As a consequence, Darwin’s theory was almost impossible to resist and as his evolution theory gained general acceptance it began to dominate all human endeavor and conduct. Today, for better or worse, it forms the basis of all science, biology, politics and philosophy.

An interesting detail about the social effects of Origin’s acceptance by the public is that from 1859 to the present, the number of human beings killed or exterminated by dictators, tyrants and other theory advocates in leadership easily outnumbers all the human beings killed in all the wars ever fought from the dawn of civilization to the theory’s publication. This number easily surpasses 300,000,000 human beings; all massacred by the likes of Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. This is a staggering fact.

As an illustration of the adverse effects of Origin’s acceptance and endorsement you need look no further than the theory’s inclusion in the philosophy and politics of the dictator Adolf Hitler. Hitler was entranced with Darwin’s concept of favored races and used it to justify his attempt to exterminate the Jewish race and other “enemies”.

The Germans were the higher race, destined for a glorious evolutionary future. For this reason it was essential that the Jews should be segregated, otherwise mixed marriages would take place. Were this to happen, all nature’s efforts to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile.” (Mein Kampf)

And then there is this quote from a speech in 1941:

“National Socialism and religion cannot exist together…. The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity…Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.”

As history has a tendency to repeat itself, once again a vigorous debate has ensued over the purpose and origin of life, the universe and mans place in it. Groundbreaking discoveries in the fields of cosmology, biology and physics have fueled this heated argument. The protagonists are a group of scientists and Christians promoting what has been termed “creation science” sparring against their polar opposites, evolutionists and methodological naturalists. We will refer to these two groups here simply as Christians and Naturalists. The Christians are staking their claims on the Bible and the Naturalists are staking their claim on Darwin’s origin theories.

The verbal sparring between each group over the exact mechanism of creation has gotten to the point that it seems time to put them in a venue that will determine which point of view has the weight of clear evidence to be considered correct. A trial seems perfect. This seems a reasonable venue as both camps are armed with, upon close analysis, only circumstantial evidence. The Naturalists, whose base foundation is the scientific method, surprisingly have no incontrovertible proof that anything from the universe to man evolved through blind chance and random process according to the theories proposed by Charles Darwin. The Christians, who rest on faith in the word of God, have no physical evidence that a creator God initiated any grand design for the universe and man. What better way to come to a clear decision on these two warring factions than with a trial of each group’s philosophies and opinions?

The jury in this trial will be you the reader. Why? So reasonable men and women can listen to the testimony and evidence from both sides and render a verdict. Letting an unbiased reader decide the outcome of these opinions seems perfectly reasonable, as both camps are intractable in their opinions. It’s obvious that with only circumstantial evidence to be considered your verdict will rest solely upon which group has the most compelling testimony and evidence and which groups testimony and evidence has the higher probability of being correct.

 

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