...a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret and judge reality.In this context one can see that Christianity is not simply a set of theological beliefs but, rather, a conceptual system by which we view all of reality. One can also see that a conceptual system such as Methodological / Philosophical Naturalism (M/PN) is also a worldview… a competing worldview. Nash states,
Because so many elements of a worldview are philosophical in nature, Christians need to become more conscious of the importance of philosophy. Though philosophy and religion often use different language and often arrive at different conclusions, they deal with the same questions, which include questions about what exists (metaphysics), how humans should live (ethics), and how human beings know (epistemology). Philosophy matters. It matters because the Christian worldview has an intrinsic connection to philosophy and the world of ideas. It matters because philosophy is related in a critically important way to life, culture, and religion. And it matters because the systems opposing Christianity use philosophical methods and arguments.Nash lists five major elements of a worldview. They are: 1) Theology, 2) Metaphysics, 3) Epistemology, 4) Ethics, and 5) Anthropology:
Theology - A worldview will always include either a theology or an atheology. In fact, the most important element of any worldview is what it says or does not say about God. Metaphysics - A worldview also includes beliefs about ultimate reality, a subject often discussed under the label of metaphysics. Is there purpose in the universe? What is the ultimate nature of the universe? Is the universe a self-enclosed system in the sense that everything that happens is caused by other events within the system, or can a supernatural reality act causally within nature? Epistemology - A theory of knowledge. Is knowledge about the world possible? Can we trust our senses? Is truth relative, or must truth be the same for all rational beings? Is the scientific method the only method of knowledge? Is knowledge about God possible? How? Ethics - Most people are more aware of the ethical component of their worldview than of their metaphysical and epistemological beliefs. It is more than simply making moral judgments though. Ethics is more concerned with the question of why that action is wrong. Are there moral laws that govern human conduct? What are they? Are these moral laws the same for all human beings? Are moral laws discovered (in a way more or less similar to the way we discover that "seven times seven equals forty-nine"), or are they constructed by human beings (in a way more or less similar to what we call human mores)? Anthropology - the nature of human beings. Are human beings free, or are they merely pawns of deterministic forces? Are HUMAN BEINGS ONLY BODIES OR MATERIAL BEINGS? Does physical death end the existence of the human person?A test for any worldview is to see how well it addresses the concerns and questions posed by each of these elements. With regards to theology, Christianity posits that there is only one true God who has revealed himself to mankind in both a general and special manner. The special revelation (i.e., the Bible) indicates that God has generally revealed Himself in the natural world – the natural world which He created, and over which He is Sovereign. If this is true then, as J. Budziszewski says in What We Can’t Not Know, those who claim to not know of the existence of God are only fooling themselves. Yet even if the Christian can provide convincing evidence for the existence of God, probably the most difficult question for Christianity remains: Why is there evil in the world? M/PN posits that God does not exist or, at least, that we have no way of knowing whether God exists. Regardless, we end up living in a world in which the existence of God becomes a non-issue. An interesting point to consider here is that the M/PN worldview has no way of demonstrating, within the confines of its self-declared methodology, that God does not exist. One of the most difficult questions for the atheological system to address is: Why should we even recognize evil as evil? To be continued… ref: Faith & Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith, by Ron Nash.