Reasons to Believe

Worldview Living Rooms, Part 2 (of 2)

In the first installment of this series I described what I call a “conceptual worldview living room.” I am drawing an analogy from my own physical living room in my home. Just as a physical living room is populated by furniture (tables, chairs, TVs, etc.), so a conceptual worldview living room is filled with nonempirical, abstract entities. These realities would likely include the laws of logic, mathematical principles, universals, reflections, inferences, propositions, ethical ideals, etc. The conceptual living room represents an attempt to visualize the many diverse and critically important abstract realities that a person encounters in the world and in life.

The purpose of this worldview thought experiment is to ask how these abstract areas can best be accounted for. For example, Albert Einstein, though he didn’t believe in a personal God, nevertheless believed that the universe corresponded amazingly to a rational-mathematical order. But why order rather than chaos? Why such logical and mathematical elegance? And why is it that human beings can, to an extraordinary degree, comprehend this intelligibility that appears to be built into the nature of the cosmos?

In part one I asked whether the worldview living room best comports with either atheism or theism. That is, can the critical abstract areas of life be sufficiently explained through purely natural processes alone without a need to appeal to God (atheistic naturalism)? Or, does an appeal (inference to the best explanation) to the theistic God of the Bible better explain these invisible entities?

It seems clear to this writer that the conceptual world of ideas best comports with a worldview that can account for mind, consciousness, and abstract, intangible entities. The theistic worldview, and Christian theism in particular, asserts that the finite minds of human beings are derived from the infinite mind of God. Thus the greater and ultimate mind causes the lesser and limited minds. In this case, the cause is magnitudes or exponentially greater than the effect, which is in accord with the scientific principle of causality.

However, when it comes to the atheistic naturalistic worldview, finite human minds somehow come from a nonrational, nonpersonal and, therefore, a nonmindful mechanism (evolution). According to this worldview, the effect is magnitudes or exponentially greater than the cause. This idea is, however, the opposite of the scientific principle of causality.

The conceptual living rooms we have described seem to intuitively comport with a mindful, rather than a mindless, source and ground. The conceptual furniture in a theistic worldview living room is an expected and normal feature (mind to mind, God to man). On the other hand, the conceptual furniture (logic, math, science, ethics, etc.) in an atheistic worldview seems painfully coincidental, out of place, and ultimately unexplained (mind from nonmind).

I hope you’ll spend more time reflecting upon your conceptual worldview living room. This analogy may help more people to see the importance of evaluating worldviews along the lines of coherence and explanatory power and scope. A viable worldview must account for both the world a person can see and, maybe more so, the world that cannot be seen.

For more on testing worldview options, see my book, A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test.

Part 1 | Part 2

Subjects: Naturalism, Worldviews

Kenneth R. Samples

I believe deeply that “all truth is God’s truth.” As an RTB scholar I have a great passion to help people understand and see the truth and relevance of Christianity’s truth-claims. Read more about Kenneth Samples.