Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Your Worldview Dictates Your Evidential Interpretation


What does the following say?


The atheist comes along and says; "It clearly says 'God is nowhere'."

The Christian comes along and says; "It clearly says 'God is now here'."


The previous demonstration is to illustrate the influence of a worldview. Dr. Jason Lisle in his book, "Ultimate Proof of Creation - Resolving the Origins Debate", defines a worldview as "a network of our most basic beliefs about reality in light of which all observations are interpreted." Dr. Lisle points out that most people believe that in order to have validity, knowledge has to be acquired through evidence that is obtained through unbiased observation. He goes on, however, to point out that this "belief" is in of itself a worldview called "empiricism". We all have beliefs and it's our individual experiences that we collect in life that helps us form the worldview that we hold today. Worldviews, however, are responsible for the reason why both a Creationist and Evolutionist can both look at the same piece of evidence and come to vastly different conclusions. Our worldview is like a pair of glasses, it "filters" the way we view our surroundings and observations accordingly. Dr. Lisle points out that it is common for people to deny that they are interpreting evidence "in light of prior belief - a faith commitment of some kind" but also points out that in order for these same people to "observe" the evidence in an unbiased fashion that they first have to hold to the presupposition or prior belief that our senses are reliable.

We All Have Worldviews

In spite to how distasteful it may be to some to know we all have a worldview, never forget that we can't be divorced from our worldview. If someone, for example, is asking for you to suspend or give up your worldview, remember that they themselves are also holding on to a worldview of their own. A common worldview that I personally have witnessed is the belief that a truth must be believed in order to be "truth". A very common objection that people have concerning hell, for example, is that it doesn't exist because they don't believe in it as if the orient would no longer exist if I didn't believe in it's existence. For all I know, it doesn't exist. I've never been there and all of those old Kung-Fu movies I watched when I was a kid could have been staged the same as those fake Moon landing films. I am, however, puzzled as to how Chinese restaurants came about - for right now I'm chalking it up to a conspiracy theory.

Rescuing Devices

The method I just used as a means to deny the existence of the orient per my worldview is called a "rescuing device". Dr. Lisle roughly defines a rescuing device as a conjecture designed to protect a worldview from what appears to be contrary evidence. The reason that rescuing devices work is because someone can always use the unknown as a means to refute our arguments. If you, for example, try to assure me that there is not an organized conspiracy to convince the world that the orient exists when it really doesn't, the burden of proof falls on you to produce evidence to show that an organized effort doesn't exist. It is extremely difficult to "prove" that something doesn't exist the same as it is difficult to prove that the Spaghetti Monster doesn't live on the outskirts of our detectable universe.

Keep In Mind

Always keep in mind, however, that everyone has a worldview and that we can't be divorced from our worldview. Keep this in mind when you run into skeptics, debaters and atheists that want you to abandon scripture when you proclaim the glory of God to them when you minister the gospel or when you defend the faith with men that trade the truth for a lie when you offer up your apologia for the hope you have in Christ. While they may think that they are truly the only open minded one in your exchange, they too have a worldview that influences their interpretation of the evidence and they too are coming to the table with presuppositions for the arguments that they present. Scripture is not invalidated just because someone doesn't "believe" in the inerrancy of the Bible. When someone does, for example, want you to abandon scripture - remember in essence what they are doing is asking you to abandon your faith so that you can accept theirs. The Evolutionist or zealot for science, for example, has faith; it's just not the right kind of faith; it's faith in the "force" of nature or faith in the scientific method and or faith in scientific discoveries. The zealot of science is engaged in a religion also, instead of priests however, he looks to the scientist for guidance; instead of looking to the Bible for truth, he looks to the latest scientific discovery headlines in the news, etc.

Below is a YouTube play list for the "Ultimate Proof of Creation". The videos are broken down into six - 10 minute video segments.

Keep up the good fight!

Keep up the good fight and always have a reason for the hope you have in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Stay grounded in the truth and keep the sword of the word, the sword of truth in your hand at all times.

Praise the Lord God Almighty always!

Grace & Peace,

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