The Oxford Dictionary defines a worldview as: “A particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.” We all have one whether we realize it or not.
I have given two worldviews here (below) that represent two diametrically opposed views. The first one (Richard Dawkins) represents a naturalist worldview. The second one (C. Baxter Kruger) represents a Christian worldview.
The naturalist worldview postulates that the natural world is all there is and everything can (or will eventually be) explained by science. The Christian worldview believes that the natural world was created and is ultimately sustained by God through His Son, Jesus Christ (Col.1:15-17). This is also called a Trinitarian Worldview.
It should come as no surprise that I embrace the latter view. But that should not be taken to mean that I’m anti-science. Quite the contrary. I believe science has delivered the goods on helping us understand and benefit from the natural world we live in. But I also agree with Nobel Prize winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar, who said:
“these are questions that science cannot answer and that no conceivable advance of science would empower it to answer.” (“The Limits of Science,” p.66)
As far as I know, Medawar was not a Christian (referred to himself as a rationalist). And Richard Dawkins referred to him as “the wittiest of all scientific writers.” (The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 179). I mentioned Sir Peter Medawar because I personally believe that the naturalist worldview is inadequate for explaining everything in reality. I also believe that the natural world of science can be subsumed within my Christian worldview.
But enough about my personal view. I would like you to consider the two worldviews I’ve put forth here. To be clear, I’m not asking you which one is correct (which is impossible to prove) but to consider which one sounds more appealing to you. Perhaps neither one represents your personal worldview, which is fine. There’s certainly more than two. In that case, you can hypothetically decide which of these two sounds better. Both worldviews are from direct quotes. The second quote is longer, only because I needed more of it in order to capture the complete thought. I’ve tried to fairly represent both views here.
Richard Dawkins’s Naturalist Worldview
In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind, pitiless, indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music. (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden, New York, Basic Books, 1992, p. 133)
C. Baxter Kruger’s Trinitarian Worldview
From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son and Spirit in a rich and glorious and abounding fellowship of utter oneness. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or insecurity. The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight. This life is good. It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.
The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life. There is no other God, no other will of God, no second plan, no hidden agenda for human beings. Before the creation of the world, the Father, Son and Spirit set their love upon us and planned to bring us to share and know and experience the Trinitarian life itself. (from C. Baxter Kruger, PhD, “The Trinitarian Vision Summary“, 2012)
What’s interesting to me is that both Dawkins and Kruger use the metaphor of a “dance.” Both describe a “dance” that’s in our design (or biological makeup). For me, Dawkins’s “dance” seems cold and impersonal; we have no choice, we must dance to the music to our DNA. Conversely, Kruger’s vision comes across as intimate and very personal. While we’re included in the “great dance” of God, it’s a “dance” we’re invited to participate in.
Now it’s your turn. Which worldview sounds more appealing to you? And why so?
NOTE: Please keep your comments concise and to the point of the questions. I will not respond to other questions or topics not directly related to this post.
I like this post, Mel, simple but interesting and effective!
While I’m more inclined towards Kruger’s worldview (as I’m a theist), I struggle to understand certain aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity. When he says “The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy” this just sounds very abstract and metaphorical to me; it doesn’t shed a lot of light on the reality of what Christians mean when they talk about the Trinity. But that’s me, others may disagree.
Thank you and Happy New Year 🙂
Hi Steven. Kruger’s description is a bit poetic, which is what I like about it. 🙂 But it may make it harder to understand when written this way. When I think of Trinity, I think first and foremost of relationship: other-centered love, communion, and intimacy. That’s the relationship with God we’ve been brought into in Christ. God can only be love because He can express it within Himself apart from His creation. And since there was never a time when God was alone, there will never be a time when we’re alone.
Unfortunately, the Latin West has had a relatively anemic understanding of the Trinity since the Enlightenment. If you’re interesting in a brilliant, scholarly work, I believe the best is by T.F. Torrance titled, “The Trinitarian Faith: The Evangelical Theology of the Ancient Catholic Church.” Torrance was a Western theologian who brilliantly synthesized the Trinitarian thought of the Patristic fathers (and Eastern churches) that was pretty much lost in Western thought with modern Evangelicalism.
Thanks for your comments and Happy New Year to you, too!
Thanks for your reply and for the book recommendation, sounds interesting, will take a look 🙂
Peace and blessings, Steven
When we talk about ‘world views’ mel, and ask which one is more appealing as to being ‘correct,’ this appears there may be room for compromise as if one is better than the other. There is a better way, and I candidly say, ‘provable.’
But it is not ‘correct’ because it is better, it is ‘correct’ because it is true. Dawkins appeal is not to truth, but to the vanity of the intellect apart from absolute authority, of which God owns all rights. The atheist mind no doubt latches onto Sagan’s bihyuns and bihyuns and bihyuns of unprovable years and data, and is a convenient way to cloak claims of ignorance.
But proof? Hello? How bout ‘many infallible proofs’ as the good book asserts. The witness of arithmetic (that exact science), the witness of nature, the witness of the stars, logic, facts, and of course scripture, all point to the utter reliability of God’s word, for the God of nature who created man, is just as able to raise a man from death’s clutches, whereby the ‘many infallible truths’ can be easily relied upon.
But Genesis 1.1 comes out of the gate, answering concerns that men already know, but spend lifetimes to abrade. God’s word is good, no argument.
Thanks ColorStorm. I wasn’t looking to prove one or the other with my question, but asking which one sounds more appealing. But you make some good points about the witness of nature, the universe, mathematics, etc. When Genesis 1:31 says that when God saw all that He had made, and it was very good, that pretty much defines His worldview. It’s not meaningless and hopeless. it’s all very good! 🙂 .
which one sounds more appealing?
What is ‘appealing’ is in no way an indicator of truth. You seem to be playing here is a game of “My lie’s the best.” But of course, if we’re simply talking about the two perspectives you’ve presented here, then the theistic one (presently) better placates Existential Death Anxiety, which drives virtually every human behaviour. It’s a sweet lie, which is precisely why that meme was ‘selected.’
Of course, there are many other perspectives.
Honest question: Would you be happy with Panpsychism being true? Would that placate your Existential Death Anxiety?
I won’t link to it, but there’s a good article from last week titled “Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true”
…but it’s also most probably true
Thank you for your answer. Again, not discussing the many other perspectives here, nor which one is actually true. They could both be blatantly false. The point is, which one is a more appealing perspective.
But I am curious. Why do you only mention that the Kruger perspective placates “Death Anxiety?” Certainly, I would think it would also affect our outlook on life, knowing that we are loved and not alone in the world. For instance, while I agree with your point, I personally don’t even think of this worldview placating any death anxiety in me. That would not be why I choose it, although it is a secondary benefit.
I was speaking generally. Personally, I’m perfectly comfortable.
I personally don’t even think of this worldview placating any death anxiety in me
I’m sure that’s what you tell yourself.
So, I asked a question…. Panpsychism? Would you be happy with Panpsychism being true? Is it appealing to you?
Of course, that’s what I tell myself, just you tell yourself there is no God and tell yourself there’s nothing to fear beyond your life. But I also heartily believe it. My Christian worldview is based on my experiential life in Christ, not the fear of death and hell.
So, I asked a question…. Panpsychism? Would you be happy with Panpsychism being true? Is it appealing to you?
As I said to you here, and in the post, I am not exploring all possible worldviews here, John. Just which of these two sounds more appealing. Panpsychism is not one of the two being discussed. We can discuss the virtues of other worldviews another time.
Is it really that hard for you to say whether something (which is PROBABLY TRUE) is appealing to you or not?
“Panpsychism is crazy, but it’s also most probably true”
I don’t recall any objective article, anywhere, ever saying something like “Christianity is crazy, but it’s also most probably true”.
No such article exists, not outside the closed walls of apologists who’re only trying to convince themselves.
So, why are you avoiding assessing something that is PROBABLY TRUE?
Are you not interested in the truth?
It’s not that your question is not an honest one, or that I’m not interested in the truth, it’s just not what this post is about.
So, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. My next post will be about worldviews in general, fair enough?
not what this post is about.
Goodness, I’ve honestly lost count of how many times you’ve played this card just to protect your pantomime, all the while pretending you’re actually examining the facts.
But OK, you have chosen the sweet lie over what is more than likely the truth.
Have fun with the lie. If it placates your death anxiety, then there is a personal benefit, which is something, I guess.
Just an observation. Mel here has been more than generous with your sideshow, and has told you he would devote a separate post, but still you persist. Really?
As to your definition of ‘truth,’ there is no truth apart from absolute truth, in which your so called educated guesses regarding God fall like a child’s house of cards.
But no real surprise as to accusing someone of lying here, ……….after all, you did say Christ Himself was a liar for citing Moses as a historical lie.
You could at least apologize to the host here for the petulance, but nooooo, you will now cite me as tunalic.
John, this is precisely why we can’t take you seriously. You do THIS on EVERY post. You purposely ignore my request and ask YOUR question in order to DIVERT the post to your agenda. What are you afraid of? Why can’t you stay on subject?
Furthermore, I told you that I would open this subject up in my next post. The fact that this is not good enough for you reveals your dishonesty. So, believe whatever you want and make your baseless accusations. You obviously will anyway.
Again, I will open up the discussion on other worldviews on my next post.
Love this, Mel. I am clearly fond of the second worldview, and busy dancing with the Father every chance I get. What a sweet dance that is, too. 🙂
Your comment section made me think about the question, “what is truth?” Recently we had a sudden snowfall, hit a line of stalled cars on a hill, and spent a few hours on the side of the road waiting for it all to clear. Trapped with the family in the car. First thing out of the teen’s mouth is, “this is the coolest thing ever.” I mean who doesn’t want to just sit in the excitement of watching cars come around the corner and spin out all night, right? Hubby, always the cheerful one, is more like, “great, we’re all going to freeze, go crazy, and probably die.” My son is thinking, “we’re only 8 miles from home, I’m just hiking out of here.”
Not trying to brag here, but my truth was, “we have six blankets, a pecan pie, and a ton of music Let’s party.” This event is a blessing, a gift, a great joy if we just unpack it properly. And we did exactly that, amid some minor grumbling. Everyone’s perception of the truth was right on, it was accurate, it was truthful, but some truths are simply far better than others.
That’s good! Very true. We live in an area where you can get snowed in during winter storms. It’s not too often but it happens, and it’s a regular part of our season. No school, no work. Everything is cancelled. We call them “snow days.” They were my favorite days as a child! Even as an adult, it’s wonderful! It’s a gift, like a Sabbath rest. We can’t do anything but enjoy the scenery! We must rest from our normal routine and watch the beautiful Winter wonderland unfold, sipping on a nice warm drink by the fire. Yup, a lot of times the best things in life really are a matter of perspective. And we rarely, if ever, fondly look back at them as brute facts.
In one version of the article that John referenced, there is this question: Why should we take common sense to be a good guide to how things really are? For many in the Christian community, it is difficult to answer this question because they prefer to attribute all things to a supernatural being. Yet IMO, it is a question that deserves at least some thought.
Thanks Nan. We can look at that in my next post.
“Again, I will open up the discussion on other worldviews on my next post.”
Might you include the one wherein I have the absolute right to expect you to answer any question I ask, no matter how off-topic, or how graciously answered, simply because you wrote your words to the internet (albeit with passwords and associated accounts and membership and commercial safeguards) and that the “free internet of all and for all” concept of “my worldview” now means I have the right to demand that you subjugate your words to mine?
I think you’ve completely, perhaps purposefully, misrepresented my original question. It really was quite simple, on-topic, and didn’t require Mel’s song and dance evasion. But his evasion is not new, far from it, it’s what he always does, hence my disdain for his (predictable) behaviour.
I’m still waiting, for example, for Mel to “open a discussion up” to him explaining what the predominant tendency of the contrivance is. That was ‘promised’ well over a year ago. Still nothing. It’s what he does. When someone tries to actually explore a subject he’s posted on, but which he sees threatening his clearly fragile worldview, he claims it’s “off topic.” Time after time after time after time. But of course, that doesn’t stop Mel from drifting all over the shop into unrelated subjects, if the mood grabs him. Sure, it’s his blog, he’s free to do what he pleases, but hypocrisy is hypocrisy whichever way you cut it.
Hi John – having had numerous “ever deceasing circle” comments threads of my own, it is like being in a car with five drivers all demanding to have the wheel. After a while it becomes futile and goes nowhere.
My suggestion (to you both) is for one of you to lift an agreed element of your comment and use that for a completely new post. Then begin the conversation under an expanded “comment (i.e. this new post).
Two things result: one is that you begin where the point of dispute is, and secondly you begin “clean” (rather than the “playground name calling” that tends to follow in a thread like this).
Sounds great, except for the fact that Mel never seems to follow-through with his promises. I gave just one example (what is the predominant tendency of the contrivance?), but there have been numerous occasions where he’s played this diversion game. Another example, he did a series of posts on the “designer,” but never wanted to discuss the “design.” He promised he would do that, too, one day… still waiting. Mel appears only willing (confident?) to open a discussion up to a superficial level where he doesn’t actually have to examine the nature of his beliefs. That appears to be a bridge too far.
Anyway, no real problem. I just thought that if the topic was the appeal of worldviews then Mel might at least quickly address a worldview which is “probably true.” I thought it interesting as it is something that does imply an ‘afterlife,’ but one that is radically different (but “probably true”) to the dictatorial Christian belief system.
Just read your “Greatest Religious Question” post. What a great question! I feel the desire to do a post linking to yours and see what happens!
I hope you get some answers
Some questions don’t have the answers I have found – it’s a good place to find. Love the questions though!
For fear of Mel whining that we’re not on topic, I’ve left a comment on your post.
Just seen it (the first new comment from anyone is always suspended – yours now released).
Here’s my thoughts, Paul. That’s exactly what I was trying to do by offering an expanded discussion about worldviews on my next post. Apparently, I’m still being evasive. Sorry, but JohnZ’s accusation rings rather hollow.
I don’t know how to be any clearer with the subject and intent of my post. The ONLY thing I wanted comment on here was which of the TWO worldviews one prefers and why. I was clear that there are other worldviews but that’s not the question. But, of course, I’m being evasive for not wanting to go down every other rabbit trail JohnZ wants to go down. And it’s totally baloney to say I can just give a quick answer to these unrelated questions because it’s been proven here that whenever I do it turns into another 50 comment thread! I don’t have that much time to waste talking about anything someone wants to bring up to promote their own agenda. If people can’t respect my guidelines they can refrain from commenting or go away. That’s what mature adults actually do. I think I’ve put up with enough playground taunts here.
If starting another post doesn’t satisfy JohnZ then it clearly shows that he’s being totally disingenuous by asking the unrelated question in the first place.
You have my respect for the time you spend. Big respect. I wrote a post. It was liberating! 🙂
Thanks Paul. Much appreciated. 😊 Will check out your post when I get a chance.
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“The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind, pitiless, indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music.”
If this were true, how is it that people have the capacity to love? Or, to have moral and ethical boundaries? Some might say that those are guidelines established by man itself. Yet, where would these guidelines come from if all was nothing but blind, pitiless, indifference?
That’s very true, Patrick. This worldview does not answer a LOT of things. Which is why people aren’t picking it here! 🙂
And it’s rather ironic that Dawkins says there’s no evil. Then, why is he and his ilk calling religion evil? That’s not possible according to his own worldview. It just is what it is. And what do we call all the atrocities that have happened on the earth. Talk about delusional!
Exactly, Patrick. Dawkins is just creating his own faith-based (secular) religion because science cannot prove that there’s nothing but “blind, pitiless, indifference.” At best, it’s his opinion which, to me, isn’t very appealing at all.
Quite honestly, I’ve never read any books by Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, or any of the other “well-known” atheists. Nevertheless I find it interesting than when publishing quotes, Christians always seem to pick out the ones that are most derogatory to “the faith.”
Case in point: Based on the quote included in this post, Dawkins is speaking about the universe (not Christianity) when he writes “blind, pitiless, indifference.” Yet these are the words that Christians jump on … even though he also says the universe (as he sees it) has “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good.” The latter does not indicates judgment. Just personal observation.
On the other hand, the quote by the Christian author includes glowing (and often gushing) descriptions of the “Triune God.” Most definitely a statement of belief/faith.
Further, in response to Patrick, “love” and “moral boundaries” are inborn. They are not regulated by some supernatural entity OR the universe. They, along with anger and ill treatment of others, are simply part of human nature … and are frequently exhibited in both believers and non-believers.
And I can turn your point on its head. This is exactly what atheists do all the time! They cherry-pick the worst aspects of Christianity, both in doctrine and church history, ignoring the good and parading the worst on their sites and write books about describing our faith in the most derogatory manner possible. A bit hypocritical here.
And I was actually trying to be fair. This is an exact quote from Dawkins’s book. And I did say there are other worldviews. I was comparing his very popular anti-theist worldview with a theologian’s statement that I agree with. The point is, both views require faith. Dawkins believes by faith that there’s nothing more than “blind, pitiless, indifference” to the cosmos. Kruger is stating by faith that there’s much more to it than matter and space and time; it’s because of the other-centered, self-giving love of a creator. Indeed, this is a theological statement, but neither worldview can be proven scientifically, both require faith to believe.
Whether you’ve read Dawkins or not, he is one of the “fathers” of the so-called “New Atheism.” And this IS a worldview. Furthermore, Dawkins cannot prove that this is so. It’s only his highly educated opinion. But he cleverly smuggles in his worldview all the time, trading on his credentials and making it sound like science.
And just how do you know this, Nan? Is this not a faith statement? Science certainly can’t prove it! And the fact that both believers and non-believers exhibit love and morality doesn’t not change the argument. The Bible expressly says all can exhibit love and know right from wrong. Of course, your opinion would refute Dawkins’s view because he apparently doesn’t believe in good and evil.
Wow … a scolding. I really didn’t think I would get that from you, Mel. I try not to be accusatory (as others are) nor do I “criticize” your POV. I just try to offer thoughts from “the other side” for consideration and discussion. I don’t doubt it was an accurate quote … it just comes across as a particularly slanted one to emphasize your perspective.
Atheists are NOT all the same so to make a generalized statement as you did in your first paragraph is not only unfair, but shows your bias. Whether one believes in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or your god should make no difference on how you, as a believer and particularly as a pastor, treats that person. After all, as is stated in the quote by Kruger: The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight.
I would prefer to keep our online relationship on a mutual respect basis. I hope you agree.
Sorry if I came across that way. I wasn’t really trying to scold you, Nan. It was only meant as push back on what you said. I know you’re not trying to be accusatory but you said “Christians always seem to….” That is a sweeping generalization that deserves push-back. I pointed out that what followed was a hypocritical statement because that’s exactly what (many) atheists do ad nauseum. That’s why I don’t bother going on most atheist’s sites.
Exactly! Just like yours was a generalized statement. I agree. But will you recognize your own bias when it’s pointed out to you? Christians are NOT all the same either. I’m pretty sure you agree with that, even though some others who come here apparently don’t. So, when we’re constantly painted with the same poisonous brush, THAT is totally unfair to me. And this happens all the time. Christians are not all whack-job extreme Fundamentalists, or even all good Fundamentalists, nor does any sane believer condone the evil things done in the name of religion. We hate it as much as you do. So, yes, fairness should run both ways.
And, again, this is not meant as an attack on you, Nan. I DO think you’re more gracious than most (if not all) the other atheists who come on my site. And that’s why your blog is about the only atheist blog I bother to read and comment on. It’s just that when we talk about bias, we need to see that it clearly runs deep on both sides. In fact, it’s ironically often identical to me.
And, yes, I heartily agree. I would like our relationship on a mutual respect basis. But please don’t take it personal if I push back on some of your comments. I don’t when you do the same to me. Of course, blogs are certainly a poor form of relational communication, so I guess we will spend a lot of time explaining ourselves either way. 🙂
… blogs are certainly a poor form of relational communication Agree!
Also agree my statement was too inclusive. Shall try to modify similar remarks in the future.
BTW, not an atheist, per se. Did you read my book where I explain my “spiritual” perspective? If not, notice my comment to Ark today (9:07 am) on my “What if …” post where I provide a brief description of where I stand.
Here’s to more and better communication through 2018!
I did read your book a while back, Nan. Very well written. 🙂 I do seem to remember that you believe in some sort of “Universal Presence.”
Are you familiar with non-dualistic realism? I think Bernardo Kastrup has some interesting things to say about that. This philosophy may fit your worldview. An example of his views (in contrast to materialism and panpsychism) can be found on this video. His views are not far from what I believe, and certainly compatible with what I believe, although I could call that universal presence “God,” of course. 🙂
We can discuss other worldviews in my next post. I thought I would mention Kastrup here.
Richard Dawkins also said:
“The philosophical question of determinism is a very difficult question. It’s not one I discuss in this book, indeed in any other book that I’ve ever talked about. Now an extreme determinist, as the questioner says, might say that everything we do, everything we think, everything that we write has been determined from the beginning of time in which case the very idea of taking credit for anything doesn’t seem to make any sense. Now I don’t actually know what I actually think about that, I haven’t taken up a position about that, it’s not part of my remit to talk about the philosophical issue of determinism….”
There’s more to the quote, I can link if you want but this is enough to give a sense of Dawkins’ philosophical depth. It’s soooooooo typical of atheists! “I’ve not taken an official position on this so let’s talk about something else….” This is probably where JZ learned to ask about contrivances and panpsychism.
Dawkins has made millions writing about determinism! (I guess it’s not uncommon for atheists to write books that they don’t believe are true. Isn’t that right, Nan?)
Dawkins was asked if he can acknowledge the inconsistency in his deterministic views and he responded with, “But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable. But it has nothing to do with my views on religion it is an entirely separate issue.”
We have to live with the inconsistency because life under pure deterministic principles would be intolerable. Dawkins himself can’t stand the consequences of his atheistic worldview. But that has nothing to do with religion….
So, basically, Dawkins is mad at religion and trades on his credentials as a scientist to just make stuff up as he goes. And makes millions doing it, btw. Got it. Don’t worry that the worldview he does project is indeed intolerable. We just won’t think about that! While he may be a brilliant biologist, I wouldn’t know, he’s definitely a terrible philosopher or even any kind of authority on religion. His opinion on religion is a bit like a Hollywood celebrity’s opinion about politics. Who should really care what Dawkins thinks about religion?
A very insightful point! I think you’re on to something there. I’ve also seen this pattern of behavior with other combative anti-theists.
Most of the heathen I’ve encountered do not like being challenged. They will put up with disagreement for a short while but eventually they block me from the discussion. They always say it’s because I’m “trolling” or being “rude” but that’s not true. It’s because they can’t stand having the inconsistency of their worldview exposed. I understand that. I don’t like being wrong either. My hope is that I’ll always be open-minded enough to admit when somebody has a better idea than I do.
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