My family and I congregate most often in our living room. My wife and I and our three children have many conversations in that particular room. We even eat some of our meals there, especially when we watch movies together. Unfortunately, the carpet in that room reflects the fact that it receives the most traffic in the house.
For me, some of the furniture in the room is essential, especially our big screen television and my favorite reclining chair, perfect for watching World War II documentaries and Los Angeles Lakers basketball games. (It’s always more fun to watch when they win, which doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to, though 14 championships in 60 seasons isn’t too shabby.) I also appreciate the couch: an ideal spot for naps on Sunday afternoons after busy mornings of teaching and preaching at church. Large lamps provide bright light that makes the living room an ideal place to read late in the evening.
With this example of a well-used family space in mind, would you try a mental experiment with me?
Using analogical reasoning, instead of a literal, physical living room, think of a “conceptual” worldview living room. A worldview consists of a cluster of beliefs that a person holds about the big questions of life (such as God, the cosmos, knowledge, morality, etc.). This abstract living space represents the place where a person lives in terms of beliefs and ideas (in other words, it represents the conceptual life of the mind).
So now that you have conceived of this mental living room, a place where conceptual entities reign supreme, ask yourself a necessary question: What sort of furniture, so to speak, is needed to fill this conceptual worldview living room?
May I suggest that this conceptual living space is a very busy place? Some of the furniture would undoubtedly include such realities as the laws of logic, mathematical principles, universals, reflections, inferences, propositions, ethical ideals, etc. Just as a physical living room is often occupied with the various activities of family life, a nonempirical worldview living room also echoes with vigorous intellectual action.
Since you’ve come this far in engaging in my unusual worldview thought experiment, I want you to give consideration to one last critical question. Does your conceptual worldview living room, with all of its nonphysical, intangible entities, best comport with atheism or theism? Put another way, does it best fit with the view that there is a mind behind the universe or that there is not a mind behind the universe?
In a recent article, renowned physicist and science writer Paul Davies conveyed that when scientists explore the universe they inevitably uncover “elegant mathematical order” and “tidy mathematical relationships.” Davies, though skeptical about religion, goes on to state: “The idea that the laws [of physics] exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are.”
In the second installment of this series I will explain why I think the world of ideas and logical order that scientists encounter best comports with the Christian theistic worldview. However, until next time, keep reflecting upon your own worldview living room.
For more on testing worldview options, see my book, A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test.
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