– engaging mind & culture

Worldview Basics (Part 2- Theism, Naturalism, Monism)

In the previous post (Part 1 in this worldview basics series), I stated the obvious- that people answer the fundamental questions of life in various ways and that our answers to the foundational questions help us determine our worldview. A worldview, though most people don’t realize they have one, is the conceptual structure of our presuppositions and ideas and is significant because it guides our thoughts, actions, and motives. Our worldview helps us define “the good life” in our search for meaning and hope. It indicates what is important for us- what we would ultimately give our life for. Interestingly, whatever we would give our life for is likely what we would define (in part) as the highest good. In this series of posts, my desire is to briefly introduce the concept of worldviews in hopes of showing their significance to life- so that when life is upset by death, tragedy, loss of work, divorce, or other painful experiences, we can maintain stability, hope, and peace. Ultimately, as we move quickly and briefly through wordlview basics, I want to demonstrate the veracity of the Christian worldview and thus, the truthfullness of it core message, the gospel. In Part 1, I briefly introduced the three main worldview categories: theism, naturalism, and monism. In this post, I would like to break down these views a bit further. I hope you are encouraged and intrigued in your search for Truth and Goodness! Click to watch video and read more…

Theism, Naturalism, and Monism

Although there is a bit more to it, the distinction between theism, naturalism, and monism comes down to their different answers to the age old philosophical problem of the One and the Many. Theism says there is unity and diversity, i.e the many particulars in the universe (people, places, things, atoms, etc.) that move, have an essential Unity; Naturalism says there is only diversity, i.e reality is random matter in motion and there is no unifying “One”; and Monism says there is only unity, i.e. all reality is one and multiplicity is an illusion. This is clearly a simplification but is helpful to have in mind when thinking about further differences.

Theism– Theism has three basic forms: Deism, Polytheism, and Monotheism. Deism is the view that god may have created the world, but no longer has anything to do with it. Polytheism is the view that there are many gods. E.g. Roman and Greek gods, Mormonism, Hinduism. Monotheism is the view that there is only One God. E.g. Islam, Judaism, Christianity.

Naturalism– Naturalism is a general category for many subviews that ultimately believe the material “natural” world is all that is real. According to these views, there is no “super”natural, God, or gods. E.g. Atheism, Secular Humanism, Marx, Lenin, Mao, Sarte, Nietzche, Darwin, Foucalt, Derrida, Rorty, etc.

Monism/Transcendentalism/Pantheism– Monism is the view that all that exists is part of the “One”- the all inclusive reality that does not allow for distinctions and particulars. There are many different types of Monistic views all of which tend to deny logic. E.g. some forms of Hinduism, Cosmic Humanism, New Age religions, Eastern religions, etc.

Below is a helpful chart produced by Summit Ministries:

  Biblical Christianity Islam Secular Humanism Marxism Leninism Cosmic Humanist  
Source Bible Qur’an, Hadith, Sunnah Humanist Manifesto
Marx, Engels,  Mao MacLaine, Spangler, Chopra, Walsch
Theology Theism (Trinitarian) Theism (Unitarian) Atheism Atheism Pantheism
Philosophy Supernaturalism (Faith and Reason) Supernaturalism (Faith and Reason) Naturalism Dialectical Materialsim Non-Naturalism
Ethics Moral Absolutes Moral Absolutes Moral Relativism Proletariat Morality Moral Relativism (Karma)
Biology Creationism Creationism Neo-Darwinian Evolution Punctuated Evolution Cosmic Evolution
Psychology Mind/Body Dualism (Fallen) Mind/Body Dualism (Un-fallen) Monism (Self-Actualization) Monism (Behaviorism) Higher Consciousness
Sociology Traditional Family, Church, State Polygamy, Mosque, Islamic State Non-traditional Family, Church, State Classless Society Non-traditional Family, Church, State
Law Divine/Natural Law Shari’ah Law Positive Law Proletariat Law Self-Law
Politics Justice, Freedom, Order Islamic Theocracy (Global Islam) Liberalism(Secular World Government) Statism (Communist World Government) Self-Government (New World Order)
Economics Stewardship of Property Stewardship of Property Interventionism Communism Universal Enlightened Production  
History Creation, Fall, Redemption Historical Determinism (Jihad) Historical Evolution Historical Materialism Evolutionary Godhood

For my next post I hope to discuss the formation and selection of a worldview. Until then (in the words of the late and great J. Vernon McGee)- “May God richly bless you my beloved!”



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