In general, people are smart.
As we live our lives, we learn by what we see. We may not be professors or brilliant scientists, but we are smart enough to learn from our experiences. We learn not to leave our fingers in the door when we shut it. We learn not to steal from others so we can stay out of jail. Some things we learn only because others tell us about the experiences they have had. The more we can learn from our own experiences, the more accurate our worldview becomes, and the stronger our faith becomes in that view. This is a simple application of common sense to experiences in our lives.
Sometimes too smart?
Unfortunately, many view their faith as only a personal thing, totally separate from their work or play, even from most of their daily lives. They do not realize that their faith should affect their public lives. Our faith is really the basis of how we think the world works. When we believe in God, we must accept the fact that what He says is the way things are. That acceptance, if we are honest with ourselves, should affect our daily lives and responses to those who do not believe.
This statement doesn't mean that we should all go out and become ministers or stand on a street corner and carry a cardboard sign that declares the world is ending soon. It means that the world should be able to see who we are by how we live, work, play and think.
Who are you, really?
Think about it. For those of us who believe in God, many go to church and listen to the pastor declare the wonders of God's Creation, the horrors of the Fall from grace, and the glory of Christ in offering Himself for our redemption. Then Monday comes, many of us put our faith in a box, we go to work and act so much like part of the world that no one would ever know we believe in God. When we go out into the world, we should view the world as God did and act accordingly. He created it as a good thing (Creation), we disobeyed His guidance (the Fall from Grace), and He still wants to get us back into His Grace (Redemption), all before we are standing for Judgment. If we leave anything out of that list in our actions and thoughts, we fail to communicate His Will to those around us, and we may even fall outside that Will.
Do you live your beliefs?
The name for this interaction with the world is "worldview". It includes how we think everything came to be, how we treat those around us, Who is really in charge of the final disposition of this planet, and what we think is going to happen to us in the future. Everyone on earth has an opinion on this subject, whether they know it or not.
Your beliefs will show up in your actions
If you think the world was brought magically into being by a 6" tall pink unicorn that appears only at night in your bathroom when you brush your teeth, gives you instructions for the next day, grades you on the results for your actions during the current day, paints the sky for the next morning sunrise, and finally, distributes lemon lollipops to all children between the age of 2 and 4 before the morning, then that is your worldview. If that is really what you think, then this information will eventually come out in your actions and conversations with others.
Does it make sense?
When asked about this concept, you should be able to give a description and defense for your beliefs, and explain why moms around the world do not find lollipops (or the wrappers) every morning. Your worldview should be able to explain everything you see in the world around you. If it doesn't, it needs a tweak.
The worldview is a little more complicated than it sounds. You develop it as you grow and learn. You learn what works and what does not work for the way you live your life. Some worldviews include a bearded man in a red suit who delivers presents to children around the world in 12 hours every year on Christmas Eve. At some point, most adults have outgrown this idea or learned that it is just not true.
Of course, there are some ideas that people never outgrow. This can be because those views are True or because people have never had occasion to investigate them to discover that they are false. You should be able to look at the world around you and see if your worldview explains what you see or know. If there are gaps, then an investigation is in order. If you see something in the reality of the world around you and ignore the fact that it clashes with your worldview, then you are living a deliberate delusion (2 Peter 3:5
3 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: (NIV)
). For those who don't get it, this means they are being "dumb on purpose".
Take a stand
So, why don't more Christians stand up and relate what they claim to believe? Are they too embarrassed? Could it be they have not really explored their faith well enough to know what "being a Christian" really means?
It means things like "God created the heavens and the earth and all that in them is" in "6 days" and created the first man and first woman who started having children in a measurable way that tells us that the earth cannot be older than about 6,000 - 10,000 years. Hopefully, the reason you stay out of the discussion is not because you think others act smarter than you. Remember facts are facts, and lies are lies, no matter who speaks them. The truth is true whether you believe it or not.
But, make sure before you speak
Sure, most people are not really "afraid" of the discussion. They just know that an argument will follow, or the class will make fun of them, or the evolutionists will come up with a new string theory that "proves" that the earth is really old, even though they were not there when it happened, and they have not a shred of evidence. The evolutionists will say that the "smartest" people all "know" that the Bible is just a collection of stories that only people with limited intelligence could possibly believe. O.K. Let's look at a statement by one who some claim was the smartest person in the world:
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
If you can look at this statement and agree with it, then at least one of three things must be true:
1) You did not do well in physics class,
2) You do not know what a tautology or a circular reasoning argument is (Circular reasoning (circulus in demonstrando) - when the reasoner begins with what he or she is trying to end up with; sometimes called assuming the conclusion.), or
3) You, as is Mr. Hawking, are not limiting your understanding to the boundaries of science.
Or, it may be a combination of all three. Nonsense from the brilliant mind is still nonsense. This stand is not because I think I am even remotely as educated as Mr. Hawking, but because his statement cannot be supported in proven science, even if they claim they can do so in theoretical science. The stand derives from the real science that a state of "nothing" cannot create a "something". To state otherwise requires the suspension of the laws of science, or at least redefine them, in a way that is not demonstrable. Science, by definition, describes results that are determined by experiment or observation (from Dictionary at Google):
With confidence, it is easy to say that this statement by Hawking was not the result of observation or experiment, but is clearly philosophy. A very real problem today is with the general acceptance of this kind of statement by the public with no investigation because of the "credentials" of the author. An example of this blind acceptance was published on a site at Quora:
Question: What does Stephen Hawking mean when he says "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing"?
Here is the first of the four answers listed:
First, you need to know that the quantum vacuum of space is not empty. Its very nature causes it to become a seething cauldron of virtual particle/anti-particle pairs which poof into existence because the vacuum is inherently quantum unstable, and then self annihilate in less than a Planck time, so there is no violation of the Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy.
When matter congregates so closely that gravity overcomes the strong and weak force, and electrons, protons and neutrons collapse into complete congruence, there is Nothing left in the core of a black hole but a gravitational well that swallows spacetime itself. So when black holes are all that is left, and they evaporate due to Hawking Radiation, you are back to nothing. Real nothing.
Since the sum of all matter and energy in the Universe is Zero, then nothing and the totality of something are in exact balance. But the quantum vacuum is inherently unstable and pure nothing is totally unstable. Nothing HAS to explode.
So, we are immediately told that to understand such a brilliant statement about unknowable information, we must first be told more unknowable information to make the first part make sense. Nothing is not really nothing, but really is something that was always there. So, there never was really nothing, but there has always been something, but before it existed, nothing was actually something that reorganized itself into something else. Clear? (Oww!, hurt my brain.)
Once you get that basic understanding, the rest is easy to swallow. And, of course, this something that was always there, with no beginning, "proves" that God, who has no beginning but was always there, does not exist. Right?
And, once again, I am not alone as you can see on pages at Daily Mail or Wintery Knight. In case you think I am getting in over my head, more of my reasoning is on the page Big Bang listed under Secular Religion in the menu on this site.
Clashing of worldview and the real world
Following is an example of claiming to believe one thing, but accepting something that directly contradicts that belief as being true. I receive a magazine from a specific organization that has what I would call a pretty solid Christian basis in the Bible. However, their most recent issue to this date hailed a recent scientific discovery of gravitational waves that resulted from the collision of two "black holes" 1.3 billion years ago. I was surprised by this article, so I emailed my concern that this directly contradicts the creation story and the age of the earth based on the story of man since that creation. I asked how the event could have happened so long ago if there was no universe at the time? I received an email stating that they received my question and would get back to me. This was years ago, and I had still not heard from them as of June 2017.
"Just read our pages...", again
Well, while writing this page, I was reminded of this and emailed them again. They responded this time by asking me to read an online article called How Old is the Earth?. They have an explanaton that includes a translation of Genesis 1:2
2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.(NIV)
that claims that this verse means that the Earth was already in existence before creation week even started. I had already read their reasoning, which was why I sent the email. Now, while I understand the reasoning here, the basis they use for this explanation is that scientists have "proven" that the Earth is very much older than the 6000 years of the Bible. This evidently disturbed the owners of this site so much that they had to find a reason to believe them.
I decided to pursue this discussion, but the first questions to him were:
How can an uninhabitable formless wasteland sustain fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old if it was not formed into a firm planet until roughly 6000 years ago? Maybe I am misunderstanding the point of the page, but this does not make sense to me.
The verses you gave regarding the existence of Satan before creation were not convincing, since they could also mean that He created Satan before he started on the Earth, as in Gen 1:1, and He did everything in six days (Exodus 20:11).
I drive a car, program computers, use cell phones, and habitually use scientific products, so I am not against science. However, that does not make everything they say "gospel".
No response as of December 4, 2017.
We all have beliefs...
Now, I have my own belief about the existence (or more to the point, non-existence) of black holes, but that is not the point, and I cannot prove it either way - no one can. Believing the Creation story and subsequent history of man as told in the word of God by definition must deny the explanation of the gravitational waves that scientists have recently detected, because of the 1.3 billion years. If they care about the truth, based on a particular worldview that they claim by being believers of the word of God, it seems to me some "information" in this article would have been questioned before publication.
Explain this to me...
I am no scientist, but like to think of myself as studious and not totally ignorant about the physics of the universe. Yeah, yeah, how can I question these brilliant scientists? Did you agree with Stephen Hawking in his statement a few paragraphs above about gravity? If you did, and yet still claim to believe in God, how do you explain that? And, based on my understanding of black hole theory, they are supposed to be made of extremely dense matter that creates a magnetic attraction so strong that nothing around the immediate vicinity can escape - not even light (hence the name "black hole"). Well, if two of these somehow attract each other, wouldn't they just absorb each other and become even more matter with a stronger attraction than each one individually? Also, if we could not detect the presence of either of them (there is no proof that they even exist), how can we detect that they were here 1.3 billion years ago?
Maybe someone detected some gravitational waves from space, but where did the rest of the "facts" about how, from where, and when originate?
By your own definition...
Think I am just spouting? Look at the definition given by Wikipedia:
A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting such strong gravitational effects that nothing - not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light - can escape from inside it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole. The boundary of the region from which no escape is possible is called the event horizon. Although the event horizon has an enormous effect on the fate and circumstances of an object crossing it, no locally detectable features appear to be observed.
According to the definition, if "nothing - not even particles and electromagnetic radiation such as light - can escape", how did we detect it 1.3 billion years later? If you go to the site, you will read things that suggest that most galaxies have black holes in their center. My silly novice question is, "If they keep absorbing things because of all this gravity, how can a galaxy exist around them?" We are also told on the page that "Despite its invisible interior, the presence of a black hole can be inferred through its interaction with other matter and with electromagnetic radiation such as visible light.", both of which we were told in the definition cannot be emitted.
Ah, now I get it...I think?
Trying to understand this, the way to tell that a black hole exists is that we cannot see it, and it emits no electromagnetic waves or light to indicate its presence, but it emits light or electromagnetic radiation, and it affects the things around it, so it must be a black hole. If doubtful thoughts about this reasoning make me ignorant, then I will remain a dummy.
There is one caveat to my statements above. If you care about declaring the Truth to others, then you will find out what it is and share it. If that is not a priority for you, then you will let people go on thinking what they want and keep your beliefs and worldview to yourself. If it is a priority, then you will learn what you can of the Truth, plug it into your worldview, begin to live it, breathe it, and discuss it whenever the opportunity arises. After all, isn't that what Jesus told us to do? (Mark 16:15
15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."
). Oh, that's right, He only told that to the Israelites (His apostles) and Jews, so we don't have to do that... (grin)
More "worldview vs real world" clashes
I just found a book in the Religion section of the local Goodwill called Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. Since Truth is a subject near to my heart, I glanced through it. In my opinion, the author has a well-rounded perspective on the subject of worldviews, how many of them came about, and how they affect the way people view the world. She recognizes that most Christian people compartmentalize their faith (and resulting worldview) and keep it separate from everything else in their lives, even while they are not even aware that they are doing it. Many people have no idea that they claim one set of beliefs, then display a radically modified one when they interact with the world.
One example that Nancy Pearcey gives in her book on page 118 is the result of a survey performed in the 1970's. Of the three largest Lutheran synods:
75 percent of Lutherans agreed that belief in Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation. But 75 percent also agreed that all roads lead to God and it does not matter which way one takes. Based on these numbers, at least half of the Lutherans polled held two mutually exclusive theological positions at the same time. (emphasis mine)
It's not that people are not smart, they just don't think through what their declared statements, stands, or beliefs actually say to others. If they declare that they believe in opposing truths, then they do not believe in Truth. Anyone who sees this, will not be convinced by any argument for God or Christ that they present. Would you?
You believe what?
This book, Total Truth, in describing the Christian worldview, calls the concept of original purpose for the creation of the universe, and everything in it, the "Cultural Mandate". The author describes it as the original Plan for the Creation which we humans were supposed to accomplish (the Plan, silly, not the Creation). We are to have dominion over the planet and keep it in line with what God gave us as the Plan. The more you know about this Original Plan, the more you see the way the world was intended to function and how far away from that we have come.
The only way to make sure people know about this is to act, speak, and think the way God (and Jesus) told us to do. This doesn't happen only in secret Bible studies or prayer groups, but in the way we actually live that Truth. To allow the "scientific" and materialistic crowd to voice their worldviews without opposition is to ignore the original Plan of God.
Well, there is one thing
One point of difference I have with Pearcey's view in Total Truth is in her statement that all worldviews must determine how they handle the three "modules" of a worldview: Creation, the Fall, and Redemption. Of course, these are the names used by the Christian worldview, but she describes how every view needs a statement about how everything came to be, why things are not working perfectly now, and how to get them back on track. I don't think the issue is quite that simple.
The simplest example is the worldview of Evolutionism. Since that view has no moral component, there are no Fall or Redemption modules to be addressed since, for them, there is no god with expectations from which to fall. An autonomous, self-creating society cannot fall because there is no "elevated" status from which to fall. Similarly, since there was no "fall", there is no need for recovery (redemption) to a previous position. The view that Pearcey presents of Margaret Sanger's religion (based on evolution) of sex does not restore society with "sexual liberation" but supposedly "elevates" social interaction to a new level of "freedom".
The author does try to establish a self-creation and "fall" for Marxism from the one-time position of a powerful influence in the world. However, this does not establish the need for Redemption unless loss of the previous position is defined as a fall from "obedience" to some standard set by the matter "god". Actually, she described the fall of Marxism as "the creation of private property", which presupposes that the god "matter" set up a rule that said "Thou shalt not have private property".
The "fall" from what?
While I understand the point she is trying to make, the lines of comparison are tenuous at best. The disconnect appears to be that the self-creating universe started things out, then man took over as "god" and created the rules that never worked according to his own intent. This makes man the "god" with the expectations, not matter, and "redemption" is only necessary to restore the "power" to the people in charge to enforce the same rules that never worked.
This same thread runs through the other scenarios presented as worldviews by Pearcey, with the same commandeering of society by a man or men who seem to be exempt from the rules they would impose on the pack. Another common thread is that all these views appear to be some attempted improvement (direct contradiction) of the original Genesis Creation, the Fall from God's grace, and the need for a Savior.
Even so, the book is right on target for the most part
However tenuous the analysis above may be, Pearcey's point about the damage done to society by these worldviews is deadly accurate. We need a way to defend the Christian worldview against any and all comers, and an army of defenders that will step up and use it. We must develop a way to keep our worldview in the public eye as a valid, reasonable, strong, even scientific (in the true sense of the word) viewpoint. In order to accomplish that, we must analyze every detail and fully understand what we mean when we say we believe in God.
How do we stand for the Truth?
Oh, yeah, I know. You would never hide your faith from the world. You would never refuse to discuss "religion" or "politics" with someone because that just starts arguments or hurts someone's feelings. You would always make it known that you would never vote for that guy or gal because they believe abortion is OK or that they want to release known terrorists back into the world. And, I'm certain that you would tell your boss "No!" right away if he suggested that you lie to someone in order to make a sale or be fired if you didn't.
If you are a Democrat, I'm certain that you will not vote for Hillary because she is under investigation for breaking multiple laws regarding national security, with a large amount of corroborating evidence as well as her own admissions of guilt. If you are in class, and someone brings up the age of the earth as being some 4.6 billion years, I'm sure you will jump right in there and clear up their confusion by telling them the Truth that you claim to believe as a Christian. Right?
Just ask for proof
Think of things this way. If you are afraid to get into an argument with a scientist because they are "smart", and they propose a statement that defies logic or denies God, then just ask one of them where they get their facts. Now, don't let them turn it around and just ask you where you get the facts about God. They are just dodging the question and trying to make you feel inadequate. You may find out that everything they propose is just a theory, like the Hawkins statement about the origin of the universe. He certainly didn't read that in any book of facts.
That little thought that "there will just be an argument" always seems to quiet only one side of the argument - the Christian side. The rest of the one-sided discussion continues with no defense for the Creator or the nature of His whole universe. Their side continues to trash the idea of the God, in whom we so firmly claim to believe. Their argument often uses lies and deception without any factual support to stand behind those statements. Think about it. Just because some Christians don't know enough about gravity or the nature of light to explain how it works doesn't mean that it wasn't created by God! The argument is not about how it works, but how it got here in the first place.
There are numerous books in the Bible that carry on about the importance of knowledge, while making statements that explain the way the world really is (Proverbs 1:7
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
, Matt 22:29
29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God."
). Jesus chided the Pharisees and the Sadducees about their lack of knowledge (Mark 12:24
24 Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?"
). How can we say we believe in God and Jesus if we don't try to learn everything we can about Them? To keep your faith buried in your heart is to cheat the world of the opportunity to get to know these People (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as well as you do.
Part of this aversion to discussing faith and beliefs in public is displayed in a more subtle fashion. When asked about their beliefs, some Christians respond that they are "spiritual" and not "religious". The apparent difference between the two is that "religion" suggests an institution, denomination, official doctrine, or formal rituals, while "spirituality" is based on the private, personal experience of the individual.
This "spirituality" stand allows one to speak of something they believe without fearing criticism or being required to defend their belief. After all, who can question or doubt what a person feels inside? One problem with this defense is that you also avoid sharing God and the very real plan He has for mankind and that requires no specialized knowledge at all.
"My faith is personal"
There is another side to this worldview discussion, but it always confuses me. Some say that their faith is personal, just between them and Jesus, and it is not necessary to display it in public. I respect that to a point, but that view always seems to minimize the Savior and places Him in a box that is only opened in church or at home. Jesus created the world and all the physical material, properties, and laws that govern it. When we hide that link from the world, they go off on their own and make stuff up. When Christians avoid the discussions, they appear weak and incompetent to carry on a conversation to demonstrate what they believe to a non-believer. The solution to this problem is knowledge.
This is another reason to do a diligent search for the Truth. You may have heard the old saying, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." I think that is a large part of the reason that there are so many "Christian" churches that all believe something different. It is also the reason why so many agree with the mandates of the federal government even though those mandates are often so opposed to the well-being of the family, and especially, the "church".
There can be only one Truth about anything. Oh, there can be some amount of truth in many churches, but when two churches believe the opposite about some particular subject or thing, there is only one thing you can conclude - at least one of them is false, and maybe both. Sometimes even the government gets something right. Most times, though, the best course is to research all of the conflicting ideas and see what God says about them.
One important point must be made here. I am not speaking of disputable matters here (Romans 14:1
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.
), only those fundamentals that faith in God requires. Before the discussions about worldviews begin, every Christian must be aware that his or her worldview does make definitive statements about the material world. If the Christian feels that matters of faith are only in the heart and do not involve the world of science, then they should not get involved in the discussion.
The Christian must be aware that the statement made in Genesis 1:1 sets the stage for the existence of matter and the age of the universe. Belief that this is a true statement locks the Christian into believing that God created life (not chance), Eden existed, Adam and Eve were the first man and woman, the Biblical flood happened and affected the distribution of fossils on the earth, dinosaurs lived with man on the earth, DNA did not evolve to create different species, the Devil is real, prophecy will happen the way God said it would, Jesus was a real man as well as God, and He died "on the cross" (see my page The Christian Cross for some facts on this) for our sins if we accept that gift and act accordingly. If you believe Genesis 1:1, you must believe the rest. If you believe some other story, then read 2 Cor 11:4 or Galatians 1:8 below, and stay away from the debate:
4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Cor 11:4)
8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse! (Galatians 1:8)
It's in the Book
So, where do we start to find this knowledge? First, we need to narrow the argument. People start arguing from many different points without noting the real base of the argument. This causes them to be confused by some of the questions asked by their opponents. For example, if an atheist is arguing with a Christian and asks, "Do you believe the universe was created in six days or over millions of years?" This diverts the argument from the real question and gets the Christian to defend arguments that are going on between Christians.
The real question here between these two is "Did the universe create itself or was it created by an Intelligence?" Any answer given here sets the arena of the discussion, and any given answer that is to the point will require a defense that gives reasons for a belief or proof for a statement that claims to be fact. Once the discussion is narrowed to the real questions, you can prepare a defense in advance. As long as the debate is kept on point, the arguments will not change.
Help define the debate, don't let them control it
From a solid definition of the debate, the discussion can move to direct questions based on each starting position. Both sides must describe things like "How did life begin?", "Where did the matter come from?", "Explain the location of fossils.", and "Where are the transitional life forms?" It is a requirement of both sides to determine the nature of the questions and make sure they are on the subject of discussion.
Remember, the ultimate question at this point is not whether gravity really works or if light really travels about 186,000 miles per second, but how they came to exist in the first place. Just because God created things does not change how they work in the real world. Real science is descriptive of facts, not determinative of origins.
Who sets the rules?
Sometimes the atheist side will determine a rule that "No supernatural argument can be used to explain the origin of the universe". Who made up that rule - an atheist? While this sounds right to the atheist, the statement is arbitrary and only limits the discussion to his advantage. In the same context, why can't the Christian just say "No explanation without God can be used"? With the same amount of authority, the tables are now turned. This doesn't solve the problem, it only limits the responses from one side or the other.
What is your worldview? Does it fit the world you see? Do you know why? Are You Sure?
Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your view.