Each one of us interacts with the world around us. It is through this process of stimuli that we form a big picture, a general outlook, or a grand perspective on life and the world. This is commonly referred to as having a worldview1. Philosopher Ronald Nash defines a worldview as “a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe, and by which we interpret and judge reality.”2
This process spurs the shaping of our beliefs and knowledge. As you are well aware, people all over the world hold to a multitude of different beliefs. However, just because someone believes that something is true does not make it so. “A belief is simply a mental state in which we hold that a thing is so. Knowing entails believing. You cannot know something without believing it at the same time. Knowledge is a subset of belief. Belief simply means that you hold that a thing is true. Everybody has them. Anybody who knows anything has beliefs, and we have a whole lot more beliefs than what we know. Nothing is wrong with that. It’s part of our mental activity. It’s part of what our minds do, and belief tells you nothing about religion, per say. Belief doesn’t tell you anything about faith. Belief doesn’t help you to understand leaps of faith. Or anything like that. It has nothing to do with it.”3
Anyone who attempts an in-depth and meaningful conversation with someone who believes and holds to a relativistic worldview will scrape painfully across that fact. “If truth is not objective, real, and knowable, then the Christian faith is not only false but fraudulent.”4
So what is truth? Can it be known, reasonably? In our common quest for truth, we must evaluate a held position in light of its alternatives. It is crucial that the person making the objection realizes that it is not simply a case of Christianity being on trial, and then if they have a problem with it, they can simply reject it and the quest is over. We have to see whether alternative worldviews are more reasonable or more problematic. As in other areas, we need to look for the explanation that makes the best sense of the data with the fewest difficulties.5
One method of exploring the alternatives is by applying logic to see if it stands up to its own criteria of validity. Take, for example, the statement “truth is relative” which is making an absolute truth claim. As a result, it is self-defeating because it fails under its own criterion and thus it is not relative. The same can be said for the statement, “You can’t know Truth.” If someone says that to you, your response should be, “Is that true?”
Christianity has been under attack for thousands of years. Under siege by people a whole lot smarter than me, and it is still standing. There will always be elements within Christianity where I fall short in my understanding. However, the adroitness of the Word will always prosper the Glory of God. Christianity is a faith founded in logic, knowledge, and evidence – not blind faith.
“…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” – 1 Peter 3:15
Keith Parker (March 2017)
1. The word “worldview” is derived from the German term Weltanschauung. For a thorough historical and philosophical analysis of the term Weltanschauung (worldview), see David K. Naugle, Worldview: The History of a Concept (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002).
2. Ronald H. Nash, Faith & Reason: Searching for a Rational Faith (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), 24.
3. Greg Koukl, Stand to Reason: “Are Beliefs Reality?” (podcast: February 17, 2017), http://www.str.org
4. Norman L. Geisler & Paul K. Hoffman, Why I Am A Christian, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001), 30.
5. Paraphrased from http://www.bethinking.org/is-christianity-true/moral-objections-to-christianity