Worldview Evaluation

I  believe that the best methodology for evaluating worldviews (A construct or mental paradigm for understanding the world one lives in) is one that includes hypothesis evaluation and verification. Such evaluation is built upon the laws of logic: the law of noncontradiction, the law of the excluded middle, the law of bivalence, and the law of identity. This method works by clearly presenting the worldview carefully, slowly, and piece by piece as the best hypothesis (one that has the ability to adequately explain what matters most) and testing it by an objective standard or criteria outside of itself. Before the evaluation can take place, the hypothesis should be carefully formulated taking care that one gets words, definitions, and phrases correct. The evaluation of Christianity should also pay close attention to the components and implications of the worldview and should identify potential rivals. Christianity and opposing worldviews should be tested by the same methodology. Douglas Groothuis in his book Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith lists eight criteria to judge a worldview: it explains what it ought to explain (ultimate questions & concerns), it has internal logical consistency (does not internally contradict itself), it has factual adequacy (no built upon falsehoods), it has existential viability (can be believed), it has to have intellectual and cultural fecundity (promotes thought and creativity), it shouldn’t have radical ad hoc readjustment (does not morph or change at a whim), and it, all things being equal, should have simpler explanations because they’re preferable to unnecessarily complex ones.

I think most people who reject the Christian worldview’s ability to satisfy the criteria would do so because of the worldview’s factual adequacy- that is, a worldview’s essential factual claims can be established in various empirical, scientific, and historical ways. I do believe this rejection is based upon a misconception or upon a misinterpretation of the facts. Some believe that Christianity is anti-science. I have come across people who have a hard time swallowing the pill of Christianity because they believe the religion is against things that seem to be scientifically verified. “I cannot become a follower of a religion that believes dinosaurs and man walked side-by-side down the road” and statements similar to them are common. To some extent, Christians have done a disservice in some areas. Mark Noll wrote in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind that “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind…American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been so for several years.” There does seem to be a varied proliferation of young earth creationism (Answers in Genesis is an example). Yet, I do not think Christianity is anti-science across the board. I doubt this for a few good reasons. The modern scientific revolution was started by Christian scientists (Galileo, Newton, Copernicus, etc.), Genesis need not be interpreted in a literal fashion, and Christianity as a whole does not reject the life or practice of the mind. Various apt Christian scientists and philosophers are working within their own fields advancing research and practice scientifically and philosophically. Nevertheless, if Christianity is presented in secular classes, it usually is a caricatured shell of the actual truth the religion asserts.

One other criterion could fail to satisfy if Christianity is looked at in certain regions and times during church history- cultural fecundity. Unfortunately, some pockets of Christianity have created subcultures that do not produce believers who engage in music, movies, or other avenues of culture ensuring a lack of cultural fecundity. The Fundamentalist movement would be a good example of such an entity. This can be seen when we look at Christian attempts to create specific Christian music that is bad musically, Christian art that is nothing more than bad advertising using others’ logos, and Christian movies that look like they were made on a budget of $2,000. Christianity does not create a subculture. It engages and changes culture as it is necessary. Some objectors could look at the lack of cultural fecundity that exists in some movements within Christendom and say the worldview is not valid. I’d point them to the great artists, musicians, and cinematographers of the past who adhered to the Christian faith. Or, Christian fideism would also be a prevention of cultural and intellectual fecundity. In the end, I do not think there is sufficient reason to posit the claim that Christianity fails to satisfy the eight abovementioned criteria.

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