How can you know the things you believe are, in fact, correct?
If you are a Christian, you may believe some things which are distinctly different from what other people choose to believe. For example, I am a Christian and so my way of looking at the world is radically different from an atheist’s worldview. Richard Dawkins and I have virtually nothing in common in our worldviews.
Of course, the same is true from the other perspective. Atheists differ from Jews, Muslims and Hindus in their worldview. In the light of all of these differences, how can you know you believe the correct thing?
Well, certain knowledge may not be entirely possible but some worldviews should be eliminated as being untrue.
Atheism is one of them.
One of the tests of a worldview or even a general statement is its explanatory power. What this means is we can test a statement or a story by how well it explains the facts we see. Let me illustrate this in my own family.
We have three boys now. Two of them are old enough to play and get really, really active. Just the day before yesterday they were playing together upstairs. My wife and I, sitting on our couch downstairs, could hear all sorts of loud bumps, knocks and noises. So my wife shouted and asked them what must be one of the word’s most common questions mothers ask:
“Boys, what are you doing?”
What was their answer? Being boys, you may already know it:
Here is the test for truth using a statement’s explanatory power. Their statement (rephrased a bit) “Mother, we are not doing anything,” does not adequately explain the facts we are observing in the form of loud bumps, knocks and noises. Clearly, they must be doing something. As it turns out, they were making tent houses using every blanket and piece of furniture they could relocate to fulfill their grand design.
We would prefer them to have been doing nothing I think.
Now, let me come back to the title of this post. Last night I watched an episode of Lie To Me, which is one of my favorite programs. In this episode a man is dying and is avoiding facing the truth about one of his friends. Dr. Lightman asks him a very simple question:
“Do you want to just go quietly without knowing the truth or would you rather die with your eyes wide open?”
I don’t want you to die today! But I do want you to live with your eyes wide open. Too many people refuse to even ask hard questions. They shut their eyes as hard as they can in order to avoid the work of thinking.
What prompted this thought was an article I read this morning on creation.com about the world’s population. This article asks a very simple question in its title:
The basic idea here is that if the atheistic account of the origins of man through Darwinian natural selection is true then there is a big problem. As an explanation, naturalistic evolution does not explain all of the facts. Consider this quote:
Evolutionists claim that mankind evolved from apes about a million years ago. If the population had grown at just 0.01% per year since then (doubling only every 7,000 years), there could be 1043 people today—that’s a number with 43 zeros after it. This number is so big that not even the Texans have a word for it!
Do you see how explanatory power is a test for truth? The position of evolutionists is such that their “explanation” simply brings up more and more questions. Just for reference, the population growth rate you read above (0.01%) is 170 TIMES LOWER than the population growth rate of the world right now.
Are Christians really the ones who need to be excused for hiding behind blind faith? I think not.
Perhaps another quote will make the case even stronger:
Evolutionists also claim there was a ‘Stone Age’ of about 100,000 years when between one million and 10 million people lived on Earth. Fossil evidence shows that people buried their dead, often with artifacts—cremation was not practiced until relatively recent times (in evolutionary thinking). If there were just one million people alive during that time, with an average generation time of 25 years, they should have buried 4 billion bodies, and many artifacts. If there were 10 million people, it would mean 40 billion bodies buried in the earth. If the evolutionary timescale were correct, then we would expect the skeletons of the buried bodies to be largely still present after 100,000 years, because many ordinary bones claimed to be much older have been found. However, even if the bodies had disintegrated, lots of artifacts should still be found.
There it is again: an explanation, a story, which simply raises more questions than it provides answers for.
How should Christians live in the world?
Yesterday’s post was about humility and so we should certainly not begin crowing about how stupid some of these alternative explanations look. Neither should we cower in a corner somewhere as if Christianity and the Bible are fragile things which will be blown away by the first blast of hot air from some atheistic talking head’s mouth.
Consider this verse from the Bible:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. -2 Timothy 1:7
We do not need to be timid as if God calls us all to be lambs to the slaughter. Instead, we should be full of power – the ability and drive to get stuff done. We should be pursuing love all of the time for the good of all people and the glory of God. We can be self-controlled and so not given to running from the fight when it comes to us nor starting battles with no potential value.
Today, do not live with your eyes wide shut. Open them and ask questions. God will not be hurt!
Richard Dawkins might be though…