Is Christianity True? – Part 2: The Christian Worldview

Is Christianity True? – Part 2: The Christian Worldview June 24, 2017

The Four Basic Worldview Questions

A religion is fundamentally a system of religious beliefs.  What makes a collection of religious beliefs a “system” is that they are built up around a set of core beliefs called a “worldview”.  There are different ways of conceptualizing worldviews; I favor conceiving of worldviews as problem-solving schemas, on analogy with medical problem solving, involving four basic questions/concepts:

1. SYMPTOMS: What are the most important problems of human life? 

2. DIAGNOSIS: What is the root-cause problem that underlies the problems that are (allegedly) the most important problems of human life?

3. CURE: What is the best solution to what is (allegedly) the root-cause problem that underlies the problems that are (allegedly) the most important problems of human life?

4. TREATMENT PLAN:  What is the best way to implement what is (allegedly) the best solution to what is (allegedly) the root-cause problem that underlies the problems that are (allegedly) the most important problems of human life?

The Christian Worldview – Reader’s Digest Version

The shortest summary of Christianity is John 3:16 (New Revised Standard Version):

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

For very brief summaries of the Christian worldview, see Seven Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson (pages 5-7, and all of Chapter 4: “Christianity: God’s Salvation”, pages 41-51), and see God is Not One by Stephen Prothero (pages 70-73), as well as Religious Literacy by Stephen Prothero (see entries on “atonement” on page 160, and on “Christianity” on pages 168-169).

A widely distributed summary of the Christian worldview can be found in a Campus Crusade for Christ tract called “The Four Spiritual Laws“.

1. SYMPTOMS: What are the most important problems of human life? 

There are four different kinds of problems that constitute the most important problems of human life: (1) spiritual problems/evils, (2) physical problems/evils, (3) mental problems/evils, and (4) social problems/evils.

2. DIAGNOSIS: What is the root-cause problem that underlies the problems that are (allegedly) the most important problems of human life?

All of the most important problems/evils of human life are the result of one root-cause problem: SIN, especially human sinfulness.

3. CURE: What is the best solution to what is (allegedly) the root-cause problem that underlies the problems that are (allegedly) the most important problems of human life?

God sent his Son, Jesus, to become a human being and to die on the cross to atone for the sins of human beings, so that human beings could be saved from sin and from the various problems/evils caused by sin.

4. TREATMENT PLAN:  What is the best way to implement what is (allegedly) the best solution to what is (allegedly) the root-cause problem that underlies the problems that are (allegedly) the most important problems of human life?

If we repent of our sins, and believe that Jesus is the divine savior of mankind who died for our sins and who was raised from the dead by God, then God will forgive our sins and help us to become free from the power of sin, and to obtain eternal life in heaven (where we will be free from all of the most important problems/evils of human life).

The Christian Worldview – The Full Meal Deal

The above brief summary of the Christian worldview is a bit too brief for careful analysis and evaluation.  So, I have added a few more details, and have explicated each one of the above Christian answers to the basic worldview questions in terms of four beliefs or statements, so that the Christian worldview is presented in terms of sixteen different beliefs or statements (there are four answers, and each answer consists of four statements).  This provides a sufficient level of detail for analysis and evaluation of the Christian worldview.

Christian Answers to Worldview Questions 1 and 2 (click on image below for a clearer view of the chart):

Christian Answers to WQ1 and WQ2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that in the above chart I have begun the process of evaluating Christian answers to basic worldview questions.  For example, in relation to the physical, mental, and social problems/evils, I comment that “Clearly these are significant problems.”  But in relation to the claim that SIN is the root cause of these problems, I point out that those kinds of problems existed before humans sinned (because such problems existed for non-human animals long before there were any human beings).  This casts serious doubt on the Christian claim that sin is the root cause of those problems.

On the other hand, human alienation from God and the threat of divine eternal punishment are more plausibly viewed as being the result of sin, but the reality of these “spiritual” problems is much more dubious.  There can be alienation from God only if God actually exists, and it is not at all clear that God exists.  The same is true for divine eternal punishment.  Furthermore, divine eternal punishment seems to be an incoherent idea.  God, by definition, is a perfectly morally good person, but punishing a human for an eternity appears to be the behavior of an evil person, not the behavior of a perfectly morally good person.

So, the problems identified by the Christian worldview that are most plausibly viewed as being among the most important problems of human life are also the problems that are least plausibly viewed as being the result of SIN, and the problems that are most plausibly viewed as being the result of SIN are least plausibly viewed as being actual problems in need of a solution.

Christian Answers to Worldview Question 3 (click on image below for a clearer view of the chart):

Christian Answers to WQ3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Answers to Worldview Question 4 (click on image below for a clearer view of the chart):

Christian Answers to WQ4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notice that in the “Assumptions” column, the comment “Assumes God exists” occurs frequently.  In fact, this comment occurs for some of the claims under each of the four basic worldview questions.  That shows how important this assumption is to the Christian worldview.  If God does not exist, then the Christian worldview provides mistaken answers to each of the four basic worldview questions.  Other assumptions also occur frequently or  in answers to more than one of the basic worldview questions.  Determining the truth (or falsehood) of such assumptions is critical to a rational evaluation of the Christian worldview.

 

 

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