There are many competing world views out there. It only makes sense to understand the variety of world views out there, and what they are, so you may properly prepare and defend your faith. In brief, I’ll explain the five world views most people in some way, shape or form identify with. Understanding their perspective will better assist you in preparing to explain the Word of God to them.
5 major world views:
Oxford English Dictionary defines naturalism as the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world. Also: the idea that moral concepts can be analysed in terms of concepts applicable to natural phenomena. Most atheists and agnostics fall into this category.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines pantheism as a metaphysical and religious position. Broadly defined it is the view that
- “God is everything and everything is God … the world is either identical with God or in some way a self-expression of his nature” (Owen 1971: 74). Similarly, it is the view that
- everything that exists constitutes a “unity” and this all-inclusive unity is in some sense divine (MacIntyre 1967: 34). A slightly more specific definition is given by Owen (1971: 65) who says
- “‘Pantheism’ … signifies the belief that every existing entity is, only one Being; and that all other forms of reality are either modes (or appearances) of it or identical with it.” Even with these definitions there is dispute as to just how pantheism is to be understood and who is and is not a pantheist. Aside from Spinoza, other possible pantheists include some of the Presocratics; Plato; Lao Tzu; Plotinus; Schelling; Hegel; Bruno, Eriugena and Tillich. Possible pantheists among literary figures include Emerson, Walt Whitman, D.H. Lawrence, and Robinson Jeffers. Beethoven (Crabbe 1982) and Martha Graham (Kisselgoff 1987) have also been thought to be pantheistic in some of their work — if not pantheists.
So basically, pantheists are those who believe mother earth is God.
Merriam-Webster defines theism as a belief in the existence of a god or gods; specifically belief in the existence of one God viewed as the creative source of the human race and the world who transcends yet is immanent in the world. The typical religions that fall into this world view are Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Polytheism is a conjunction of two Greek words:
- Poly meaning many
- theos meaning God
Taken together, polytheism is the belief of many gods in the world. Many spiritualists see this as a belief in many spirits controlling or at the least, influencing the material world. Roman and Greek mythology is an example of polytheism.
Merriam-Webster’s definition is of, relating to, or being a theory that involves a radical reappraisal of modern assumptions about culture, identity, history, or language. It is a belief brought to light in the end of the 19th century and 20th century that objective truth and reality is based upon the culture and external influences of the individual. They believe everyone’s truth is there own, and no truth is truly true except as it relates to that person at that time, place and setting.
I would wager that most college professors would fall into this latter category of postmodernism.
So, what view is yours?