What’s Your Worldview?

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Dr. James N. Anderson speaks about his recent book What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions, published by Crossway. The book takes the reader through important theological and philosophical questions in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style, leading to a label and description of the reader’s own worldview. Dr. Anderson explains the setup of the book and a number of ways it might be used, and also discusses the idea of a worldview and what important elements constitute one.

Dr. Anderson is associate professor of theology and philosophy at the Charlotte campus of Reformed Theological Seminary. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Edinburgh, writing about paradox in Christian theology. That study became his book, Paradox in Christian Theology: An Analysis of Its Presence, Nature, and Epistemic Statuswhich was the subject of a previous episode of Christ the Center.

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11 Responses to “What’s Your Worldview?”

  1. Brighton Anglican says:

    Worldview… Worldview, wherefore art thou Worldview… the bane of the church, the Gnostic smuggled into the thought patterns of Christians…. Hegelianism and Dualism through a different stripe…

    If we could slay this dragon, we could get some where. Alas…

    If only we realized this, we would keep our children in our churches in the realization that we are visceral beings whose capacity to think is within cosmological parameters and less in terms of ideas corresponding to actions. Ideas do NOT necessarily have consequences nor ultimately lead forth to a dynamism of spirit that cools into static spirit of phenomenal form.

    But, alas, you will not see it

  2. Stever M says:

    Brighton

    It certainly takes you a great many of words to say nothing.

    • Brighton Anglican says:

      Steverrrrr,

      If you could only understand, you would see not a word is wasted.

      Then again, it may be wasted on you…

      • Steve M says:

        I certainly hope that we can realize whatever it is we need to realize in order to “keep our children in our churches in the realization that we are visceral beings whose capacity to think is within cosmological parameters and less in terms of ideas corresponding to actions.” The world would certainly be a better place if we could pull that off.

        Brilliant insight and quite succinctly stated.

        Yes, it is wasted on me.

    • Tiribulus says:

      I believe I may know this man under another name Steve LOL!

  3. MikeD says:

    Thanks for the podcast. Interesting. I thought it odd that another Van Tilian’s website was not mentioned that has been around for years and does, in principle, exactly what Smith’s book is attempting to. See http://www.proofthatgodexists.org for Sye Ten Bruggencate’s website.

    But on to more important things. There were a few times that the guest and speakers seemed out of line with what I thought Van Til’s apologetic would call for. For example, Smith seems to intimate that Christianity is a species of the genus theism. Another inconsistency with Van Til, IMO, is that Dr. Smith said that Christianity makes the best sense out a set of given worldviews. But then this would imply that these other world views make some sense rather than reducing to complete absurdity in that they can’t prove anything without Christian presuppositions. Any thoughts?

    • Camden Bucey says:

      Mike,

      I wasn’t aware of the website you mention. I’ll take a look at it.

      On the other matters, for clarification, are you referring to Dr. Anderson? If so, I did ask him a question about generic theism, which he answered toward the middle of the episode. He also said that he thought his book was an exercise in demonstrating the impossibility of the contrary.

      • MikeD says:

        Camden,

        Good grief… A terrible blunder. My apologies to you and Dr. Anderson. I did hear him say that he thought it was an exercise in the impossibility of the contrary but for the most part it sounded like the unlikelihood of the contrary. E.g. “Christianity makes the best sense” rather than “it makes the only sense” of certain data. No biggie… Just curious. I’d like to know what you think of the site if you get a shot.

  4. Jim Lee says:

    Thank you for this show with Dr. Anderson! I hope to see more books out by him in the future related to Van Tillian apologetics!

  5. pba says:

    Reading through this book, I have two general criticisms.

    First, I don’t know what the audience of this book is. The material is incredibly oversimplified, to the point that I would not recommend it to anyone who could read more advanced material. I suppose it would be suitable for a high school audience (one of the RF hosts mentioned potentially using it in youth group class), but if the audience is interested in the topic, why not introduce them to material used in intro to philosophy courses and the like?

    Second, and related the the first worry, this book seems to me to continue the trend of “worldview” literature as poor scholarship. I won’t detail any complaints I have about What’s Your Worldview to keep this short, but one complaint about worldview literature not mentioned in the brief discussion in he show concerning problems people find in the literature is that it has a history of shoddy scholarship, often under guises like getting the “big picture” or being introductory. Francis Schaeffer’s work is a prime example of this, ignoring niceties of actually engaging opposing “worldviews” in any serious way in exchange for broad generalizations about how all roads that aren’t dead ends lead to Christianity (see Molly Worthen’s Apostles of Reason for a recent, historical analysis). Examples of worldview literature which do not vastly oversimplify and muster enough scholarly content to pass peer review by anyone besides fully like-minded believers can be found, but a remaining general problem with worldview literature is in the fact that its proponents almost never contributes to actual academic, peer reviewed debates in any relevant literature. For instance, worldview thinkers often make grand claims about how God is the only foundation of logic, and there are simply no serious alternatives to this position. You find this in introductory works, lacking argument and detail, yet browse any literature in the philosophy of logic or metalogic, and you won’t find any such proposals being worked out in conversation with the massive literature on this topic.

    Worldview literature—presuppositionalist literature included—seems thrive on arguing as if non-Christians—philosophical naturalists for instance—have not thought about basic philosophical issues, or have not developed massive esoteric literatures on these topics. Ironically, James Anderson is one such exception, with a rare academic article (well, that might be assuming a lot about Philosophia Christi) on such a topic (“The Lord of Non-Contradiction”). In line with worldview literature, though, this paper essentially has to gloss over just about every major debate in current analytic metaphysics (and methodology of metaphysics—e.g., conceivability as a guide to possibility, which the authors describe as a “widely held” intuition about methodology—except by, well, most naturalists, who make up a significantly proportion of analytic philosophers). Just like in Schaeffer’s work, where the history of philosophy gets swept under the rug in favor of a history which supports Schaeffer’s narrative, debates in analytic metaphysics get swept into the footnotes (or ignored) by Anderson—whatever it takes, that is, for the desired conclusion to come out right. I guess it is an exception which proves the rule, whatever that means!

    So I guess I’m unimpressed with this choose your own adventure book.

    • I really wish I hadn’t sen this now.

      PBA, is there somewhere someone might read read more of your thought?

      Though judging by what you’ve said here, I have a serious hunch that the answers will have you rolling your eyes some more. A systematic Christian worldview,at least the one I defend, is built squarely upon biblical epistemology for which, with respect, none of what you mention here makes any difference. Yes, I fully understand what I just said.

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I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. (Romans 16:17-18)

 

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