Evolving Thoughts: Fun with Christians and worldviews

John Wilkins has a very worthwhile post entitled Fun with Christians and worldviews, over at Evolving Thoughts. He discusses a debate he had with a group of Christians that involved the “competing worldviews” meme. After pointing out that “bald is not a hair color” (i.e. atheism and agnosticism are not religious worldviews in competition with other religions), he writes:

The other error is more widespread. I was in effect accused of having a worldview that precluded the existence of God, and the audience was invited to compare that with my opponents, who had one that permitted God. But the simple fact is, I don’t have a worldview. In fact, neither do they. I don’t think worldviews exist. They are a gross oversimplification of what is actually going on inside people’s heads, and are mere abstractions. If one believes in God, one might still believe things that are inconsistent with a belief in God. Intellectual schemes are not whole cloth, and you can entertain incompatible ideas, and in fact I think you must, because nobody gets a simple set of coherent ideas handed to them at birth, free of all confounding beliefs.

Christians, who have an extensive body of traditional dogma which they like to reassure themselves is true and consistent, like to think also that everybody has something like this. Religions are “rationally reconstructed” as sets of dogma by the Christian tradition (e.g., when doing anthropology by missionary) when in fact there is no dogma at all, just stories, rituals, and ways of life. The idea that one has a worldview by necessity is one that is made by analogy with a false view of themselves…

Recommended Reading.

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Posted in Recommended Reading, Unapologetics. 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Evolving Thoughts: Fun with Christians and worldviews”

  1. Brad Says:

    It’s like trying to swordfight on the rooftops of two different buildings. From there all you can do is make fun of the opponent’s epistemological foundation. (Like naturalism.)

    I will criticize Wilkins for only taking a weak position of atheism. It’s not likely to do as much damage to the idea of faith. It’s much more penetrating to take a strong position against the historical, theistic gods for conflicting so much with the state of affairs that we find in reality. (You argued that here.)

    And to some extent, we do have “worldviews,” but they aren’t nearly as rigid as we’d like to think. (As Wilkins points out.) Atheists (or specifically deconverts) typically speak of the “Lens of Faith,” where you go around and understand the world in a very restricted way according to how you’re prescribed to understand the world. All knowledge must be made to conform with some set of religious dogma (even if that dogma is technically inconsistent or is an irrational derivation from a scripture).

  2. John S. Wilkins Says:

    I have no intention of doing any harm to faith, en soi. I choose my position based on what I think is right. Excuse me.

  3. Brad Says:

    I don’t mean to be insulting, but when you said “The local evangelical students society had me along last night to talk about ‘Is belief in the Christian God rational?’ I was on the negative [..]” I had the initial impression you were taking some kind of stand against faith at a talk.

    And I apologize for not saying that at your post, Wilkins; that was rude of me to criticize from afar.