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A (Not So) Brief Defense of Christianity
  • What is the Most Reasonable World View?

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A (Not So) Brief Defense of Christianity

Jimmy Williams


SECTION I: THEISM

I. What is the Most Reasonable World View?
  1. Metaphysical options

    We have stated that the most basic philosophical question is not that NOTHING is here, but rather SOMETHING IS HERE, and it demands explanation. I am a part of some kind of reality. I have consciousness. Something is happening and I am part of it. Where did it come from? Did everything come from nothing? Or has the material universe always been here and things just accidentally got started? Or is there something or someone that transcends the material universe and is responsible for bringing it into being, and us with it?

    All of these questions relate to the philosophical concept of metaphysics. Webster defines it thusly: "That division of philosophy which includes ontology, or the science of being, and cosmology, or the science of the fundamental causes and processes in things."

    When we seek to answer these basic questions, then, we are thinking "metaphysically," thinking about the origin and causes of the present reality. And we really have few options, or possible answers to consider:

    1. The idea that "something came from nothing." (Most reject this view, since the very idea defies rationality).

    2. The idea that matter is eternal and capable of producing the present reality through blind chance. This second view has spawned two basic world views: Materialism, or Naturalism, and Pantheism. Both hold to the idea that nothing exists beyond matter. Materialism is therefore atheistic by definition. Pantheism is similar with the exception that since God does not exist, nature becomes "God" in all its parts.

    3. The idea that Someone both transcends and did create the material universe of which we are a part (Theism). THERE ARE NO OTHER LOGICAL EXPLANATIONS. Christians of course, would embrace this third view, theism, as the most reasonable explanation for what we believe AND for what we find to be true in ourselves and in reality at large. These ideas will be developed more fully in the section on the arguments for the existence of God.

    In order to argue for the truth of Christianity, therefore, we must begin with the existence of God. Christianity is a theistic religion. That is, we believe that there is one God who created all things. This is not simply a statement of blind faith. There are sound and rational reasons for preferring this view above the others. We will begin to explore those, but first, let's briefly evaluate atheism and agnosticism.

  2. Atheism and Agnosticism

    1. Atheism

      Ever since the "Enlightenment" in the eighteenth century, philosophers have argued that ALL of reality is to be observed only in space and time. Any notion of a God who is transcendent, eternal, and not bound by natural laws has been largely rejected as "unscientific" or "unproveable." Since we cannot "prove" the existence or the non-existence of God, they reason, there is no real benefit or practical value in considering theism as a metaphysical option.

      An atheist is a person who makes the bold assertion, "There is no God." It is bold because it claims in an absolute manner what we have just said was not possible: i.e., the existence or non-existence of God cannot be proven. It is also bold because in order to make such an assertion, the atheist would have to be God himself. He would need to possess the qualities and capabilities to travel the entire universe and examine every nook and cranny of the material world before he would even begin to be qualified to come to such a dogmatic conclusion.

      The most brilliant, highly-educated, widely-traveled human on earth today, having maximized his/her brain cells at optimum learning levels for a lifetime could not possibly "know" 1/1000th of all that could be known; and knowledge is now doubling by the years rather than by decades or centuries! Is it possible that God could still exist outside this very limited, personal/knowledge experience of one highly intelligent human being? By faith, the atheist says, "No."

      Another curious thing about the atheist is that before he can identify himself as one, he must first acknowledge the very idea, or concept, or possibility of God so he can then deny His existence!

      David saw the fallacy of this long ago when he said, "Only the fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God.'" (Psalm 14:1).

      (Note: For those who desire additional, more formal material on the existence of God, see the Appendix at the end of this outline, where this subject is addressed in greater detail by such philosophers as Anthony Flew, Ludwig Feuerbach, and David Hume).

    2. Agnosticism

      By definition, agnosticism takes the position that "neither the existence nor the nature of God, nor the ultimate origin of the universe is known or knowable" (Webster). Here again are some bold statements. The agnostic says, "You can't know." What he really means is, "I can't know, you can't know, and nobody can know." Leith Samuel in his little book, Impossibility of Agnosticism, mentions three kinds of agnostics:

      1. Dogmatic. "I don't know, you don't know, and no one can know."

        Here is a person who already has his mind made up. He has the same problem as the atheist abovehe must know everything in order to say it dogmatically.

      2. Indifferent. "I don't know, and I don't care." God will never reveal Himself to someone who does not care to know.

      3. Dissatisfied. "I don't know, but I'd like to know." Here is a person who demonstrates an openness to truth and is willing to change his position if he has sufficient reason to do so. He is also demonstrating what should be true about agnosticism, that is, for one who is searching for truth, agnosticism should be temporary, a path on the way to a less skeptical view of life.

    3. Theism

      Those who have not found atheism and agnosticism philosophically, scientifically, or personally satisfying may, at some time in their lives consider the third alternative, that of theism. They may come to ask our next question:


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