In prior writings, I established the fact worldviews cannot all be true at the same time and in the same way. If a worldview can be wrong, how do you test it to see if it is true? I am going to utilize four tests that will reveal the truth of any worldview. These tests come from the book, “Worldviews in Conflict,” by Ronald H. Nash. I believe it is important to hold a belief system that can pass these tests.
- Reason – Are there contradictions in the worldview? Do their teachings violate logic and rationality? Some worldviews fall apart because they self-destruct. An example is skepticism. This system of belief says nothing can be known; truth is impossible. The skeptic is quite certain he knows that no one can know anything. If it is true, no one can know anything, then how can he know anything? It is like saying “I cannot speak a word of English.” Skepticism is self-defeating and cannot be true. Worldviews must pass the test of reason and not violate the laws of logic.
- Authority – What is the authority of his or her information? Why should anyone trust that authority? What evidence do you have to support your authority? Evidence from authority can be in the form of historical writings and archeology.
- Experience – Does what we see and experience in the world match the beliefs of the worldview? The view must fit with the world as we know it. Here are some examples to consider:
- Some worldviews teach pain and death are an illusion. This belief goes against what we experience and see in the world daily.
- A worldview must explain our immaterial thought life. A belief system has to show how moral consciousness or immaterial thoughts are possible. An atheist will have a difficult time trying to explain moral consciousness or immaterial thoughts. The reason is they don’t believe in the existence of the immaterial; they believe only in the material. Our first person experience of our thought life betrays the atheist worldview.
- Living –Can a person live by his or her beliefs? Some believe all babies are born neutral and usually turn out bad because of poor parenting. If you have ever been a parent or a grandparent you know this is not true. No one has to teach a child to be selfish. It seems to part of his or her nature. Christianity predicts kids are going to be monsters and the Bible gives us guidelines on how to lovingly discipline them. Good parents realize kids need structure and consistent discipline.
Each worldview needs to pass the tests of authority, reason, experience, and living. If you can keep these four tests in the back of your mind, you can examine any belief system. So what exactly do we need to test? What are some of the key issues that all belief systems have to deal with? I will address these questions in part 6.