How to Know Truth and Evaluate Competing Worldviews
- Wednesday, August 11, 2010
How to Test a Worldview - Postmodernism
Let's take a few examples. First, Postmodernism. Postmodernism is perhaps the most pervasive, fundamental worldview in our culture today. The essence of Postmodernism is the notion that everybody decides for himself what is true and what is right. You hear Postmodernism when you hear people say things like "That's true for you, but not for me," or "You have your truth; I have mine," or "That's just your personal belief."
The core truth claim of Postmodernism is that there is no overarching truth that applies to everybody. And this core truth claim, by the way, is the overarching truth that applies to everybody! Of course, in claiming that there is no overarching truth that applies to everybody, it is making an overarching truth claim that applies to everybody. This, of course, is a contradiction, causing Postmodernism to fail the Test of Logical Consistency. Thus, Postmodernism cannot fit reality as it actually is.
I find this utterly fascinating! The worldview that governs so much of our culture at a fundamental level could not possibly be true. And you do not have to go very deep to see it.
How to Test a Worldview - Naturalism
Another example is Naturalism. At its core, Naturalism says that matter and energy are all there is (thus, it is essentially Atheistic). You hear this worldview when you hear people say things like "Everything has to have a ‘scientific' explanation," which is often code for "Naturalistic explanation." So everything in life has to be explained in terms of the properties of matter and energy alone.
One of the problems with Naturalism is that it just doesn't fit our collective experience of life. Life presents itself to us as including things like relationships, commitment, love, hate, etc. But Naturalism does not have room for these things. Atoms cannot love; energy cannot hate. Naturalism paints a picture of reality that clashes with the world as we know it. So Naturalism fails the Test of Experiential Consistency and thus cannot fit reality.
It should be noted that the Naturalist has a high price to pay for the worldview he embraces. The Naturalist must say that the things that we all value in life—love, relationships, beauty, justice—are mere illusions. A consistent Naturalist will admit this.
But the Naturalist has a deeper problem. How can mere matter and energy have an illusion? Of course, it can't. At this point, we realize that Naturalism fails the Test of Logical Consistency as well, requiring illusions which Naturalism cannot allow.
How to Test a Worldview - Islam
What about Islam? Islam depends on the notion that the Bible has been fundamentally corrupted. Islam has to claim this because, while it affirms that the Bible as originally written is the Word of God, there are core contradictions between the Bible as we have it today and the teachings of Islam.
For example, the Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, and without this teaching Christianity falls apart. But Islam teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, and without this teaching Islam falls apart. Again, the Bible teaches that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, and without this teaching Christianity falls apart. But Islam teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross and rise from the dead, and without this teaching Islam falls apart. So there are clear contradictions between the core teachings of the Bible as we have it today and the core teachings of Islam. And the only way Islam can maintain that the Bible is the Word of God and avoid these kinds of contradictions is by claiming that the Bible as originally written came to be fundamentally corrupted at some point in time.
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