Every worldview should be tested by REAL (Reason, Experience, Authority, and Living). If you live by an unexamined belief system, you are living by blind faith. Evidence for your beliefs will not be necessary. This seems to be the plight of most Mormons. Truth is not tested; it is felt in the heart and discovered by prayer and positive feelings, supposedly from God. Any worldview that refuses to examine itself is not worthy of belief.
My suggestion is to memorize these four tests. You can examine any belief system including your own.
So what exactly do we need to test? What are some of the key issues that all belief systems have to answer?
Below is a list of topics. There are additional issues that could be included on this list but this is a starting place. Under each topic I’ve come up with a series of questions. Of course many more could be asked.
- God – Who and what is God? Does God exist? Is God personal or impersonal? Is there more than one God?
- Ultimate Reality – How does your worldview explain the existence of reality? How did the universe come about? Is the universe eternal or did it come into existence at some point in time? Does reality exist or is it an illusion?
- Origin of life – How did life begin? How did we get here? Does evolution adequately explain the origin of humanity? How do you explain the complexity of early life forms?
- Ethics – What is the basis for morality? Where do moral truths come from? Are they manmade or do they come from a transcendent moral law giver?
- Death – What happens when we die? Do we go out of existence? Is there life after death? If we do live after death, what does that look like?
- Problem of evil – Does evil exist? What is the source of evil? Why is there so much evil in the world?
- Meaning to Life – What is the meaning of life? Do we have a purpose and what is it? Are we just bags of chemicals that have no actual meaning? Do we create our own purpose?
- Knowledge – Where does knowledge come from? How do we know what we know?
Every belief system has to answer the above questions and many more. The next step is to test each answer by REAL.
- REASON: Does the answer violate reason or logic? Is the answer contradictory and/or self-defeating?
- EXPERIENCE: Does the answer match the way we perceive or experience the world?
- AUTHORITY: By what authority are you basing your answers?
- LIVE: Can you consistently live by your viewpoint?
Go to part 3 here
 The acrostic REAL is my work to make the tests more memorable. The content for the tests can be found in the book, Worldviews in Conflict by Ronald Nash.
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