Thursday, March 14, 2013

Christianity, Islam, and Secular Humanism - Worldviews Part 2

     Most of us think we know just about everything there is to know about the basics of Christianity (at least I did) but what about some of the other religions and worldviews? (If you missed Part 1, click here to find out what a worldview is) Do we really know where they stand on theology (the study of God), philosophy (the study of knowledge and reality), ethics (the study of right and wrong), and biology (the study of life)? In this article, I’ll lay out the basics of Christianity, Islam, and Secular Humanism.

   Of the different worldviews I studied in my worldview class, I had expected to know the most about Christianity–which was indeed the case, but I still learned quite a bit!  We learned that Christianity is really very different from most other worldviews.  Christians believe that there is only one God, but He exists as three different persons in the Trinity, and that He is a personal and loving God who is perfect, all-powerful, all-knowing, and much more.  The Christian argument for the existence of God is that since every design must have a designer, and every law has someone who instituted it, creation must have a Creator.  

     Christian philosophy teaches first and foremost that truth is absolute and comes from God.  The subsequent view of reality is that it consists of both the natural and the supernatural–the things that you can touch, see, hear, and smell, but also the things that you can’t.  Therefore, both our minds and our bodies are equally reliable.  In other words, we don’t rely only on science, or only on our own thoughts, but we combine both.  

     Their ethical code teaches that right and wrong are grounded in the character of God, which can be seen at work in the bible, and they are one of the few religions that believe in an absolute standard of morals.  They also believe that God gives everyone a conscience which shows His absolute moral code.  

     Finally, the Christian view of how life began is that God created each life form separately in the course of 6 days, though since then, they have likely experienced microevolution–meaning they have had small changes to help them adapt, but none have turned into a separate species altogether.

     Of all the other worldviews studied, I found Islam to be the most similar to Christianity.  Muslims agree with Christians about the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing God, but they believe that there is only one God (they view the trinity as being three Gods), and he is very impersonal.  Also similar to Christians in the area of philosophy, they believe that reality exists in both natural and supernatural, and that knowledge comes both from science and our thoughts, though more so on the second, as the basis for their philosophies came from the Greek philosophers.  Islamic morals are determined by God, but not his character.  He decides what is right and wrong, even though those same ethics don’t always apply to him.  Also, they believe that our actions redefine morality.  Their views on how life began are that the world was created by God in a period of 6-8 days, and all but a small faction disagrees with the theory of evolution.

Secular Humanism
     Before I started this class, I didn’t know very much about Secular Humanism, other than some of the very basic ideas.  This isn’t something you really learn much about unless you take a class like the one I’m in, so maybe this will help you understand their beliefs better if you didn’t already know anything about them.  Their beliefs on the existence of God are that he doesn’t exist but is simply a figment of our imagination–something we made up in order to try to explain the existence of the universe.  Instead, they believe that we (humans) are the ultimate source of knowledge and only we can solve our own problems, create our own futures, save the earth, etc.  Their philosophies claim that there is no supernatural, only the natural – the things we can feel, see, hear, taste, and smell.  Matter is all that exists, and it is always changing, evolving to make things even better than before.  They believe that truth is only found in what can be seen and is grounded in science.  

     The Secular Humanist view of right and wrong is that they are relative.  Nothing is really right or wrong, and each individual determines his or her ethical code by their experiences.  There is no God or other “higher power” other than ourselves on which to base our ethics.  Also, since there is no God to have created the universe, they believe that life came about through spontaneous generation–the evolutionary theory that life came about spontaneously from non-living matter by a natural, random process–and that it continues to change (evolve), getting better and better over time.  They also rely heavily on natural selection (nature selects favorable characteristics of an organism and eliminates the others), the struggle for existence (only the best-equipped organisms will survive), beneficial mutation (genetic mutation adds characteristics that will help an organism survive), adaption (slight changes in an organism that help it survive in a certain climate, area, etc.), and the fossil record (evidence found in fossils).

Check back to find out about Marxist-Leninism, Cosmic Humanism, and Postmodernism!

Comma Queen

“Understanding the Times: A Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Revised 2nd Edition)” by David A. Noebel


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