One of my favorite literary characters of all time is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective of 221B Baker Street, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and my favorite adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories is the British Broadcasting Corporation’s “Sherlock.” This small screen redesign of the classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries certainly delivers on fulfilling it’s slogan by making Mr. Holmes into “a new sleuth for the 21st century.”
There’s an old joke, that still surfaces from time-to-time, regarding Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend Dr. John H. Watson. The yarn takes place on a camping trip, that the legendary duo have decided to enjoy. In the middle of the night, the ever alert Mr. Holmes nudges Dr. Watson awake, and says, “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Dr. Watson, though a bit lethargic, answers him, “I see millions of stars, my dear Holmes.”
“And what do you infer from these stars?” says Sherlock. “Well,” Dr. Watson begins to answer. But sensing that his friend is in one of his philosophical moods, he decides to think a moment before answering. “A number of things,” Dr. Watson retorts as he lights his cigarette. “Astronomically, Holmes, I observe that there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars and planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three in the a.m. Meteorologically, I expect that the weather will be fine and clear. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful and man, His creation, small and insignificant. What about you, my dear Holmes? What is it that you infer?” Without a moments pause, Sherlock snaps back in a very agitated tone, “Watson, you fool — someone has stolen our tent!”
Often the answers to life’s many questions are setting there in plain sight, yet those who delve deep into the philosophical will somehow manage to miss them, and cause others to do the same. I like to say it this way:
Philosophers are the only people I know of that can sit on a haystack full of needles, and still manage to not get the point in the end.
Humanity’s infatuation with ideology, our romance with rationality, our intimacy with intelligence can be summed up in the word philosophy. “Philosophy” is a word deriving from two Greek words. Philos, is a Greek word meaning “beloved,” or “loving,” and Sophos is Greek for “knowledge,” or “wisdom.” So literally, philosophy means “beloved knowledge,” or “the love of wisdom.” As mankind has long enjoyed a deep tenderness towards discerning thoughts, and has worshiped a variety of worldviews, we will be addressing a few of the philosophies that have (and still do) preoccupied our minds.
There are three main worldviews influencing the various philosophies in existence today. These three worldviews are:
– Theism — one deity, who made all things out of nothing.
– Pantheism — the divine is everything, and everything is the divine.
– Atheism — no deity exists, the universe simply occurred on its own.
“Theism” is made up of two main ideologies: Biblical Theism, and Monadic Monotheism. If you have a worldview that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, as explained in the Holy Bible, then you posses a belief system that is considered “Biblical Theism,” or Trinitarianism (one deity, but three separate personifications — God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit). This Christ-centered, theistic ideology is the philosophical foundation of the Christian faith.
It is the understanding that Yahweh and Jesus are the same God; that the Old Testament writings teach and prepare both the Hebrews of yesteryear and the reader of today for the coming Messiah, revealed in the New Testament writings. It is the awareness of the teachings that proclaim the deity of Jesus, His life as a man, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His resurrection and ascension into Heaven, as well as His return and millennial rule on earth. All of these pronouncements, plus the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believer, are essential in conveying the truths of redemption that this godly worldview seeks to convey.
“Monadic Monotheism” teaches of a singular, divine being (a.k.a.: a monad). This is the theistic belief system held mostly by Jews and Muslims. This singular, divine being is wholly separated from humanity, leaving them under the mandate that says mankind must obey the divine statutes and live a righteous life. In short, the divine is both just and vengeful; separated from humanity because this deity is perfect, and only piety and righteousness can present mankind with the chance to beg for divine forgiveness.
Occasionally a theist will also relate a philosophy that denigrates the value of mankind’s physical existence, and they’ll teach either that the spiritual side of humanity takes precedence over the physical side, or possibly the opposite. This ideology is called Dualism. Though generally associated with “Pantheism,” this Greek rooted philosophy generally depicts the physical world in a negative light and encourages mankind to neglect their physical needs for the gain of spiritual enlightenment.
“Pantheism” is made up of three main ideologies: Eastern Mysticism, Spiritism, and Occultism. If your worldview states that the ultimate expression of reality consists of a “universal divine spirit,” and that there is no singular, deity for humanity to relate to, or to reveal himself to, then you posses a pantheistic belief system that is considered “Eastern Mysticism.” Philosophically speaking, this worldview does not separate the secular and the divine, and teaches that all of reality is composed of, and reduced to, a single substance/”energy.”
“Spiritism” teaches that this world is inhabited by a variety of spirits. These spirits take on many characteristics too, as some are seen as angry, mean, comical, or kind. This pantheistic worldview, now known as Animism, states that humanity must appease evil spirits and attract good ones through rituals, liturgies, idols, or ceremonies. Voodoo is an example of a religion that is based on just such a belief system.
“Occultism” is the study of things that are hidden (paranormal), such as magic, alchemy, extrasensory perception (a.k.a.: ESP), astrology, spiritualism, and divination. Many religious belief systems are rooted in this pantheistic ideology. For example Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Theosophy, Wicca, Thelema, Satanism, and Neopaganism are all rooted in occultism. The sciences have mistakenly been connected to the occult, from time-to-time, as mankind has sought to understand the unknown, both within and without. Occultism, you see, attempts to understand a deeper spiritual reality, by way of superstitious and demonic rituals, that extend beyond human logic and academic science.
“Atheism” is basically the refusal to believe that there is a spiritual side to humanity. An atheist will not accept any deity, nor will they accept that mankind has an immortal soul. “Atheism” is made up of three main ideologies: Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Existentialism. The term “atheism” originated from the Greek word atheos, and literally means “without gods.” Most atheists believe that their worldview is an ideology of absolute truths, even more so than most theists, and therefore the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of the divine, but on the theist to provide solid evidence for the divine.
“Darwinism” is the study of the origin of life, and is committed to the atheistic ideology that states that all of life is the result of natural selection and random causes. This belief system is founded on the scientific theory of evolution. Mr. Charles Darwin, the founder of “Darwinism,” had observed in his worldwide travels that the animal kingdom, within species, adapted to various conditions that made them better equipped to survive and thrive in an ever changing environment. It’s based on this scientific evidence, known as micro-evolution, that Mr. Darwin theorized that, given enough time and the right environment, a transformation of one species into another could occur. This process of successive mutations within a species, that ends in the existence of a new species, is known to Scientists as macro-evolution. Unfortunately for Charles Darwin, and all of his colleagues since, there has never been an observed macro-evolution mutation. Paleontologists can’t even find a transitional or mutated species in the fossil records. The result is that Scientists who commit themselves to the study of evolution generally refuse to understand their scientific findings, wholly, and stay committed to their atheistic ideology of “Darwinism.”
“Secular Humanism” is the study of the humanities, with the focus being on the glorification of human accomplishment. This atheistic worldview is in stark contrast to that of “Classical Humanism” which gives glory to the divine when taking notice of human accomplishments. A secular humanist will give no credit to a deity, but will wallow in the idea that mankind can rise to, and capture, the moment with his/her own greatness. People with this atheistic ideology are very much in the present, and slaves to history. This philosophy reduces humanity to being nothing more than a glorified animal which seeks to fulfill its own selfish desires, and passions, at any cost.
“Existentialism” is simply all about living in the moment. People who adhere to this atheistic philosophy generally do not bother with questioning how or why something began, or ended, they will even oppose the reasons behind why something exists. They simply choose to embracing the fact that it is. Their three core beliefs are as follows:
– Individualism (me, myself, and I)
– “Carpe diem” (a Latin phrase for “seize the day”)
– Freedom to do whatever, whenever, and however (anarchy).
Oddly enough, you can occasionally find theists who follow and live by this worldview, but primarily it is the atheists that adhere to this belief system. Why? Because such an ideology cannot have a divine entity telling it that there is an absolute right and wrong. An existentialist must be free to live life passionately and without any kind of inward or outward constraint.
I realize that when it comes to a subject as vast and as deep as “philosophy” it is hard for most of us to stay focused and retain the information that is being presented. I know that I certainly struggle with knowing and understanding them all. Comprehension, though key, can be hard to attain for some, thus the reason I have tried to present this to you in small portions; only giving you the essential information for understanding the various belief systems directly connected to the three main worldviews (Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism). Just know that for every one of these ideologies mentioned there are multiple worldviews that intersect and continue from them.
For example, where “Theism” and “Pantheism” intersect Polytheism (the belief of more than one god) and Postmodern Spirituality (the belief that no one religion will connect you to the divine; just believe what you wish) appear. Where “Pantheism” and “Atheism” cross paths Monism (the belief that humanity can become one with the “universal divine force,” and escape the illusion of this physical life) prevails, and where “Atheism” and “Theism” blend Agnosticism (the belief that mankind cannot know anything with certainty, especially the divine) and Deism (the belief that logic and the examination of nature are significant in determining the existence of the divine, as well as the rejection of religious authority and knowledge) exist. Yet, even these philosophies are only a few of the many worldviews that dwell in the minds of humanity.
So what does this all mean? What do we do with the information presented here? First, we must give a conscious effort toward knowing why it is only “Biblical Theism” that will give peace of mind to mankind (Philippians 4:7). Second, we must take note of what it is that makes God’s worldview the only ideology worth dedicating our lives to (Proverbs 8). Just as Dr. Watson was too busy waxing wise to notice the obvious fact that his, and Mr. Holmes’, tent had been stolen, so too do philosophers miss the truth of God because they are too deep in love with the pursuit of wisdom to actually receive the wisdom they are so obsessed with finding. (Proverbs 14:6, 17:24, 24:7; 1 Corinthians 1:20).
In our next post we will delve further into why the wisdom of God prevails over the philosophies of humanity, and help you understand how you can rest peacefully knowing that God’s wisdom is truth you can put your trust in.
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Darwinnism is not a world view. It is a strange name given to people that accept a certain (and very large) set of facts lead to the reasonable conclusion of evolution by natural selection.
Atheism is not made up of absolute truths, it is merely the absence of one particular belief. It is also not a world view, but a symptom of a broader world view. More importantly, atheism makes no claims and thus cannot have a burden of proof.
Existentialism could also be summed up as a celebration of the fact that we exist (which is not something we were entitled to)
Secular humanism is not a rejection of God’s divinity, instead it is a celebration of all that humanity can be. Look at all we have accomplished: healthcare, internet, global travel, exploration of other planets, secular morality (and laws).
Thank you for commenting, and though we disagree on some things, I wish to also thank you for responding in a calm and tactful manner. So many who exists in this new world of “cyber-space” do so in a very unkind and savage manner, so I really do appreciate the tone in your comment.
First let me start my response by defining the term “worldview.” Merriam-Webster’s definition states that a “worldview” is the way someone thinks about the world. As evolution is the scientific study of the origin of man based on the worldview of Charles Darwin, then “Darwinism” is certainly an ideology; especially since most of Mr. Darwin’s theories were already very much apart of his mental framework long before he ever began his journey around the world to obtain his scientific evidence. Also, as I stated in the above article, modern evolutionists are more committed to the theory and ideology behind Mr. Darwin’s hypothesis, rather than their actual data. Were the opposite true then their lack of proof, along with scientific evidences of a Creator (which I will address in an upcoming article), would have removed evolution from academia a long time ago.
I agree that “Atheism” is not made up of absolute truths, however the attitude behind their worldview is presumed to be founded on a virtual absolute (there is nothing divine in the universe, and I dare you to prove the opposite), and as this is an ideology strongly believed and perpetuated it also qualifies “Atheism” as one of the many existing worldviews. (BTW, I like how you summarized “Existentialism.” I think that captures what I was trying to explain very well.)
Lastly, “Secular Humanism” certainly rejects crediting the divine, unlike “Classical Humanism.” By saying, “Look at all we (humanity) have accomplished: healthcare, internet, global travel, exploration of other planets, secular morality (and laws)” etc., we direct the accolades due our Creator for giving us the ability to accomplish such things and laud the praise and attention onto ourselves; making humanity equal to, or better than, the divine.
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Feel free to visit us again.
I think we’re going to disagree a lot. But, does “Darwinism” differ in any way from an acceptance and understand of the theory of evolution by natural selection? Because the theory of evolution by natural selection has plenty of evidence in support of it, and it isn’t encompassing enough to be considered a world view (i.e. it tells us nothing of the origins of the universe, the planet or of life; it tell us nothing of God or an afterlife; it tells us nothing about how we should go about understanding things). If Darwinism is the same as acceptance of the theory of evolution by natural selection, then you are mistaken about your categorisation of it as a world view. If they are different, then I apologise; I misunderstood.
I don’t doubt that a considerable number of atheists do believe there to be no God (I try to avoid words like “Divine” or “spiritual” or “supernatural” because I don’t understand them), but that’s not inherent to atheism. My atheism is simply built around the fact that I’m not going to accept a claim until I find sufficient evidence (and to that end I look forward to your future post on the issue). But I cannot claim to know that there is no God.
I don’t think we disagree enough for me to bother with the discrepancies between how I see secular humanism and how you see it. Again, I don’t understand the word “divine”. Although, I do take issue with the implied arrogance where you say they are “making humanity equal to, or better than, the divine”.
Even if the divine God does not exist, the level “Divine” does. And secular humanists are not assuming they are all powerful and all knowing. It is merely a celebration of what we can do by ourselves.
I think I have discovered why you are seeing my description of “Darwinism” so differently, and I think it lies in where you are living verses where I am living. I forget how global the internet is, and therefore not all terms used here in America translate well in other places. Even if those places speak the same language. 🙂 I believe you are living in the UK, and as I tried to understand how to better explain “Darwinism” to you I discovered that this term in England is used to describe the scientific theory dealing with evolution by natural selection. Just as you’ve been stating. So I can understand how you would not see it as an ideology, because you are connecting the term directly to the science of evolution. In the States it’s not connected to the actual science, but encompasses an atheistic ideology that surrounds the study of macro-evolution. In other words there is an agenda at work. Again, I’ll go into more detail on this subject in Article VI.
As far as my use of the word “divine,” I’m simply trying to convey an essence of deity from a general term. Though I do believe, and proclaim, Jesus Christ to be God, I’m discussing a multitude of philosophies that have a variety of opinions regarding who or what is deity. So when discussing “Atheism” I’m keeping this spiritual term general, because the assumption is that it’s not just the biblical God that an atheist will not accept, but rather all gods. So to clarify, I’m connecting the word “divine” directly to any and all deities, at this point.
I know we disagree, and though the applied arrogance was intentional on the “Secular Humanist” statement, I want you to know that it wasn’t meant in a hateful manner. Again, I’m coming from the opposite view point from you. You don’t see giving 100% of the accolades toward human accomplishment as haughty, or pious, but from a biblical perspective it is. Though there is nothing wrong with giving and receiving praise for a job well done, we must always remember Who made that action possible, Who gave us the talent and ability, Who supplied the elements and materials that were used, etc. This is where, for now, we will have to agree-to-disagree, for as you do not believe in the biblical divine Creator you will not be able to totally grasp this ideology.
This is a deep study and I am enjoying writing it and also discussing it with you, and others. I hope you will continue reading with us.
I’d like to know your input on this question: If it is right to give accolades to God for our successes, can we not equally attribute blame to God for our failures?
Let me begin by asking the question: “Is humanity flawed or perfect?” It doesn’t take much for anyone to realize they are not perfect. Unless they are delusional, people can see the imperfections of mankind. After all, it’s blasted across the airwaves (radio, TV, or otherwise) day-in-and-day-out during any news broadcast or show. So maybe even the bigger question to ask yourself is this: “Is God perfect?” The majority of people would tend to say, “Yes, if there is a deity in existence I believe the divine would be perfect.” Those of us who do believe, know that He is indeed perfect (https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/article-5/). Not only because of our faith in His divine Word which tells us so, but because we have experienced His perfection in our lives. So having said that, my answer to your initial question is, “No.”
Perfection cannot be flawed, and neither can something flawed be made perfect, on its own merit. Perfection must step in and make the wrong right. Therefore, as I stated above in the “Secular Humanist” response, mankind cannot take full credit for having done something good, righteous, or perfect because he/she isn’t wholly good, righteous, or perfect. These grand acts must be shared with the One who gave us the ability to achieve something grander than ourselves. Likewise, our perfect Creator cannot be blamed for our imperfect acts, as His nature is not flawed, like ours now is.
And, yes, I intentionally indicated that we once were perfect. God made humanity in His image, and covered us in His glory (perfection). In the first few chapters of Genesis (as in other places in Scripture) we read that God’s intention was for us to choose to remain in His perfection, but once mankind chose selfish desires over God’s desires mankind removed themselves from divine perfection. Thus the reason for Christ and His perfect life, death, and resurrection. The Divine perfection of Heaven gave humanity a way to choose to be covered in God’s glory, once again.
Perfection cannot be flawed, but it can create flaws?
I’m sorry, but if you can’t take full credit for doing something righteous because you are not fully righteous, then neither can you be fully blamed from doing something Evil because you are not fully Evil.
“Perfection cannot be flawed”; “we once were perfect”.
I was concerned you would read my response that way. I apologize, and will try and explain again. “We once were perfect,” means that God created us to abide in His perfection according to His divine plan and purpose. God also created us with a will to choose to abide there or to choose to remove ourselves from there. Once mankind chose to disobey God, we removed ourselves from God’s perfection.
Perfection is apart of the nature of the Divine, our nature ceased to be apart of God’s nature when we rejected His plan and purpose for us. So, our nature became sinful/flawed. It’s more “cause and effect,” than anything else. Perfection existed in creation because God (the Creator) exists and is perfect. Remove yourself from God’s divine plan and purpose and you will, by mere default, become imperfect.
This was very informative and interesting. Great layout of differences between belief systems, dispelling thought that “they’re all the same.” Hardly.
Thank you; and you are right to say these philosophies are not all the same. There are so many that several will share similarities, but each has it’s own ideologies and must be understood carefully. ‘Preciate you stopping by.