Suggested Resources on World View

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  • John Oakes, PhD
  • APLA Jan, 2010
  • Christian and Other World Views

Suggested Resources on World View

  • Copan, Paul. That’s Just Your Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2001.
  • Oakes, John. “Apologetics and the Christian Worldview”
  • Copan, Paul. True for You, But Not for Me. Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998.
  • Pearcey, Nancy J. Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity. Study Guide ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2004.
  • Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog. 4th ed. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity Press, 2004.
  • Why Should Anyone Believe Anything At All? Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity Press, 1994.
  • Jesus Christ: “I came to testify to the truth.”
  • Pontius Pilate: “What is truth?”

The Problem as I See It

  • The Secularization of Culture
  • The Loss of Morality
  • The Loss of God
  • The Loss of the Intellectual High Ground at the University to Non-Believers.

The Culprits: The Leading Philosophies of Our Day

  • Naturalism/Scientism/Materialism
  • Postmodernism: The Loss of Truth
  • Delos B. McKown:
  • “Christianity is scientifically unsupported and probably insupportable, philosophically suspect at best and disreputable at worst, and historically fraudulent.”

World View

  • The perspective one uses to process and interpret information received about the world.
  • James W. Sire “A world view is a set of presuppositions (ie. assumptions) which we hold about the basic makeup of our world.”
  • James W. Sire, TheUniverse Next Door

What Makes for a “Good” World View

  • 1. It is “true”
  • 2. It successfully answers the important questions humans ask
  • 3. Those who ascribe to it are better human beings for having taken this as their world view.

Questions That Need an Answer

  • 1. What is the prime reality? (What is the nature of God?)
  • 2. What am I?
  • 3. What happens to a person at death?
  • 4. Why is it possible for us to know anything at all?
  • 5. How do we know what is right and wrong?
  • 6. What is my purpose in life?
  • 7. What is the nature of my relationship, with the “prime reality?”


  • The belief that the only reliable or valid instrument to deciding the truth or even the value of any proposition is the scientific method.
  • No basis for ethics or morality, no supernatural, no God, no truth (except that found by science), no consciousness, no “I.” Justice is a figment of our imagination.


  • “We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of material relations among material entities." In a word, the public needs to accept materialism, which means that they must put God in the trash can of history where such myths belong.”
  • Richard Lewontin
  • Retrospective essay on Carl Sagan in the January 9, 1997 New York Review of Books,

Richard Dawkins

  • In the universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt and other people are going to get lucky: and you won’t find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.

Postmodernism: The Loss of Truth

  • Truth, if such a thing exists, is the property of culture. There is no absolute truth. All truth is relative. It is created by societies. There is no ultimate moral authority or moral absolute.
  • Roger Bacon (1214-1292)
  • Bacon’s advice:
  • To study Natural Philosophy, use; “External experience, aided by instruments, and made precise by mathematics.”
  • Christianity invents science
  • A (ridiculously) Brief Intellectual History of The West:
  • LaPlace (1749-1827)
  • About God:
  • “I have no need of that hypothesis”
  • Charles Darwin
  • “It is mere rubbish to think at this point of the origin of life. One might as well think of the origin of matter.”

The 20th Century

  • Science appears triumphant
  • Scientism proposed. Beyond Morality. Eugenics.
  • Quantum Mechanics. Is determinism reality?
  • WWI WWII Hiroshima Modernity loses its luster. Humans are not getting better and better.
  • Scientific Materialism cannot answer our deepest questions. Scientism is hubris.
  • Enter, Postmodernism!

Scientific Materialism

  • Only that which can be observed and measured through the technique of Scientific Method is real, and everything else is unreal. 

Scientific Materialism

  • Scientific Materialism accepts only one reality: the physical universe, composed as it is of matter and energy.  Everything that is not physical, measurable, or deducible from scientific observations, is considered unreal. Life is explained in purely mechanical terms, and phenomena such as Mind and Consciousness are considered nothing but epiphenomena - curious by-products, of certain complex physical processes (such as brain metabolism)

Scientific Materialism

  • There is no God,
  • No angels
  • No Devil
  • No good
  • No evil
  • No survival of physical death,
  • No non-physical realities, and
  • No ultimate meaning or purpose to life
  • No Heaven
  • No afterlife

A Response to Naturalism/Materialism/Scientism

  • It is a faith/religious belief based on circular reasoning.
  • It cannot answer the questions human beings care about.
  • It is patently and demonstrably false.
  • As a world view it is does not tend to make its followers “better.” If fact it is downright dangerous.

Circular Reasoning

  • Unprovable assumptions of science.
  • The universe is ordered and essentially unchanging.
  • The universe is observable and understandable.
  • The universe is governed by mathematically precise
  • laws.
  • None of these assumptions can be proved by experiment. In
  • a sense, science is not scientific.

A recent BBC broadcast forum:

  • Questioner: How do you know that physical reality is all there is: that there is no God?
  • Response of a vehement materialist (after much prodding): I simply believe it to be true.
  • Questioner: Well, now we at least have it out on the table!
  • In other words, the strongest argument I have that physical reality is “all there is” is that I believe physical reality is “all there is.”

Questions Science Can Answer

  • When?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • How many?
  • By what means?

Questions Science Cannot Answer: (That Christianity Does Answer)

    • Why am I here?
    • Is that the right thing to do?
    • How valuable am I?
    • Does God exist? Does God act (theism)?
    • Will that God respond if I pray?
    • Do supernatural events (miracles) happen?

Materialism is Patently False

  • If Materialism/Naturalism is right then;
  • “I” do not exist. Consciousness is just random moving around of chemicals.
  • No soul, no spirit, no non-physical reality.
  • Belief in God is just a “meme” the unfortunate accidental result of brain evolution.
  • Life has no value. Human beings have no value. What is value?
  • Love is chemicals moving around (vs. God is love)

If the Materialist is right, then…

  • Religious thought is absolute nonsense. Prayer is chemical moving around in your brain.
  • Art, Literature, Music have no intrinsic value.
  • Justice is a meaningless word.
  • Human rights have no basis.
  • Etc….

Scientism is Patently False Because….

  • The universe was created.
  • Life was created.
  • The Anthropic Principle. The universe is ridiculously well fine-tuned for us to exist.
  • No one in their right mind can deny the existence of right and wrong
  • The Bible is inspired by God.

Naturalism does not tend to make its believers better people. Dangerous?

  • If the naturalist is right then:
  • Good and evil are meaningless ideas.
  • Our purpose, if it exists at all, is to pass on our DNA.
  • Any kind of sexual behavior is as right as any other. Stealing is probably good.
  • There is nothing inherently evil about genocide.
  • Racism, slavery etc can be defended.

If the Materialist is Right Then…

  • Violence and greed are acceptable behavior.
  • Justice is a meaningless construct.
  • The words “ought and should” are meaningless.
  • There is no such thing as sin or wrong behavior.
  • Consider the only societies in human history controlled by atheists. USSR, Communist China, Khmer Rouge….
  • Is this where human beings want to head?

If the Materialist is Right Then…

  • Violence selfishness greed are acceptable behavior.
  • Justice is a meaningless construct.
  • The words “ought and should” are meaningless.
  • There is no such thing as sin or wrong behavior.
  • Consider the only societies in human history controlled by atheists. French Revolution, USSR, Communist China, Khmer Rouge, North Korea….
  • Is this where human beings want to head?
  • No wonder intellectuals (over)reacted
  • With the result being postmodernism!
  • Now, let us discuss postmodernism.

Postmodernism/Cultural Relativism

  • Positive Contributions
    • Importance of groups and relationships between groups.
    • Gives honor to culture, beauty, wonder, imagination.
    • More accurate description of history (including the history of science).
    • The Western mindset is not the only valid one.
  • Problems
    • Very confusing.
    • No world view is preferred.
    • The idea of truth, for all practical purposes, disappears.

Postmodernism: Cultural Relativism

  • Reality is a social construction.
  • Truth: It is true for you, but it is not true for me.
  • Meaning, if it exists, lies in a community of believers.
  • No rational way to discover which is the best world view.

Theories of Truth

  • Correspondence Theory of Truth: A statement is true if reality corresponds to that which is predicted by the statement.
  • Relativism (postmodernism): A claim is made true for those who accept it by that very act (of accepting it).
  • Truth is either discovered or created.
  • Truth is either absolute or relative.

If The Postmodernists are Right Then…

  • Reality is a social construction.
  • “It is true for you, but it is not true for me.”
  • Truth is found in an accepted narrative.
  • No universal trans-cultural standard of truth or value.
  • No authorial prerogative. The truth of a text is determined by the culture reading the text.
  • There is no such thing as the book of Romans.
    • Methodist Romans, Lutheran Romans, Buddhist Romans, Atheist Romans.

Can You Accept This???

  • Consciousness is social, not individual. Self is a construction (mother, British, grad student…)
  • All truth is relative. All truth is cultural.
  • Individual has no authority to determine what is true.

Problems With Postmodernism

  • Self-refuting.
    • If nothing is true, then postmodernism is not true.
    • Its authors insist on authorial privilege.
  • I do not care what they say, some things are just true.
  • Either God is real or he is not. Even if I cannot prove it one way or another.
  • If you culture told you it was safe to jump off a cliff, would you jump?

Scientism is Bogus, But Science is Not

  • The naturally convincing explanation of the success of science is that it is gaining a tightening grasp of an actual reality. The goal of scientific endeavor is to gain an understanding of the structure of the physical world. The conclusions are always tentative, but they are dictated by the way things actually are.

What is Wrong With Postmodernism?

  • It does not agree with reality—with the world as it is. Our understanding of truth may be relative, but truth is not.
  • It can be dangerous.
    • Which is better, the Nazi culture or Christianity? On what basis?
    • Sin is a cultural creation. Why prefer one moral system to another?
    • Why listen to reformers like Jesus Christ or Siddhartha Buddha? By definition, our culture is always right!

The Christian World View

  • 1. The physical world is: (Genesis 1)
  • a. real b. created and c. essentially good.
  • 2. There exists a parallel unseen spiritual reality which is not limited to or defined by the physical reality.
  • 3. The creator of both the physical and spiritual realm is the God who is revealed and who reveals himself in the Bible.
  • 4. Human beings have both a physical and a spiritual nature, but the spiritual nature is more essential as it is eternal.
  • 5. Although the physical world is good, evil does exist. Such evil is the result of freedom of will given to created beings and their subsequent decision to use that freedom to “sin” (defined as transgressing the will of God).
  • 6. There is a definite right and wrong for human behavior which is determined by God.

The Christian World View Is True

  • The Universe is Real
  • The creation is good.
  • Evil exists.
  • Despite what Naturalists say, there is a spiritual reality. For example, “I” exist. Consciousness is not simply an epiphenomenon.
  • Science and the Christian world view do not contradict.

Christian World View Answers the Big Questions

  • How did I get here?
  • Why am I here?
  • Where am I going?
  • Why are human beings able to comprehend the universe?
  • Why is there pain and suffering and evil in the world?

Christianity Offers Solutions to the Big Problems of Human Beings

  • The Problem of Sin (the substitutionary death of Jesus)
    • Romans 7:24,25
  • The Problem of Suffering (compassion)
    • Matthew 9:35-36
  • The Problem of Death
    • 1 Corinthians 15:54-56

The Christian World View Has Given Us:

  • Science
  • Abolition of Slavery (Wilberforce)
  • Civil Rights
  • Women’s Rights
  • Christian groups do a majority of all benevolent work in the world (James 1:27, Micah 6:8)

World Views

  • Naturalism (already discussed)
  • Postmodernism: No World View (already discussed)
  • Deism
  • Pantheism
  • Animism/Polytheism
  • Dualism
  • Biblical Theism (already discussed)

The Naturalist’s Response:

  • What about the evil done in the name of Christianity?
  • What about the Crusades and the Inquisition?
  • Response: So you DO believe in evil?
  • At least we have a standard which tells us that these things are to be condemned. Christianity gives us a basis to know that these things should not be done by Christians or anyone else for that matter.


  • Animism: Anima = spirit. A religious system which includes the belief that spirits inhabit inanimate objects and phenomena
  • Polytheism: Poly = many. A belief that the universe is governed by many gods. (Hinduism, Shinto)
  • Pantheism: Pan = all. A belief that a spirit fills the universe. God is the universe, and we are part of God. (Hinduism, Epicureanism)
  • Dualism: A belief that the universe is governed by nearly equally matched forces of good and evil. (Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism)
  • Deism: A monotheistic view which sees God as distant and not involved in human affairs. (Stoicism)
  • One Point of View:
  • “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” -Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 7:13-14)
  • I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus of Nazareth (John 14:6)
  • God
  • Islam
  • Buddhism
  • Mysticism
  • Ba’hai
  • Another Point of View: Different Paths to the Same Goal?

The Bible and Other World Views

  • If Genesis 1:1 is true, then animism, polytheism, pantheism, dualism, naturalism, deism, postmodernism and every other ism is false.
  • Conflicting world views cannot be accommodated with one another. Biblical theism is incompatable with all these other world views.

The Bible and Other World Views (cont.)

  • Acts 17:16-34 Paul shares the gospel by arguing for the Christian World View.
    • v. 22-23 Paul finds common ground.
    • v. 24-28 Paul argues for the superiority and the truth of the Christian world view as opposed to Epicureanism/pantheism and Stoicism/deism
    • v. 28 Paul quotes from Aretas a Stoic philosopher. “ For we are his offspring.”
    • v. 29-31 Having laid the groundwork, Paul points them to Jesus.
    • v. 32-34 Some, but not all were converted.

World View and Other Religions


  • The principle religion of India.
  • Approximately 900,000,000 adherents.
  • Began as animism/polytheism
  • Evolved into polytheism/pantheism
  • Syncretistic. Hinduism is not really a single religion.
  • Ganesh: a Hindu deity
  • God of wisdom and intellect

Principle gods of Hinduism

  • Brahma Chief god of the pantheon.
  • Shiva God of destruction. Worshipped
  • as a male phalus.
  • Vishnu Preserver and protector.
  • Krishna The eighth emanation of Vishna.
  • Rama Seventh incarnation of Vishna. Hero of the Ramayana.
  • Devi Chief female deity. The power (shakti) that animates the cosmos.
  • Lakshmi Female consort of Vishnu. Godess of prosperity.
  • Lakshmi
  • Krishna, Incarnation of deity

Scriptures of Hinduism

  • Vedas Poems. Ritualistic, priestly. 1500-1000 BC. Especially the Rig Veda. Include the Brahmanas.
  • Upanishads Highly philosophical essays about brahman, atman, transmigration of atman, karma and so forth. 800-600 BC.
  • Epics (Ramayana, Mahabarata, Bhagavad Gita) Mythic adventures of Rama, Krishna and others.
  • Puranas Largely local legends, myths, many local deities. AD 400-1000. This is the “scripture” of most local Hindus.
  • Tantras Religious discussions/teachings.

Hindu Cosmology

  • Time is cyclic—like a snake that bites its own tail.
  • Remember, the world is not real.
  • Hindu apologetics?

Hindu World View

  • Maya. The physical world is an illusion. The physical world is evil. Suffering is an illusion.
  • Brahman. Universal soul. Pantheism.
  • Atman (soul). When we die, atman is swallowed up in Brahman
  • The goal: Escape cycle of karma and reincarnation
  • Nirvana; oneness with the universal soul which is within yourself.
  • The Hindu world view has man looking inward, not outward.

Is The Hindu World View a Good One?

  • Is it true?
    • Hindu cosmology (cyclic time, earth on the back of four elephants on a turtle swimming in a bowl of milk) is patently false.
    • The physical world is real and it is good.
    • Evil is NOT an illusion
  • Does it answer the important questions?
    • It does better than postmodernism or naturalism!
  • Does accepting this world view make one a better person?
    • Debatable. Better than naturalism. Karma. Self-focus and dispassion are not helpful.
    • Suffering is not real.
    • Evil is not real.


  • Principle religion of Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma Sri Lanka and China?
  • 400,000,000 adherents.
  • A reaction against the rigid priestly system of Hinduism.
  • Pantheistic, or arguably non-theistic. A philosophy, a psychology.

Life of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)

  • Born into a wealthy family in north India about 550 BC.
  • Renounced his birthright. Sought nirvana/god through asceticism.
  • Decided on a middle path between asceticism and sensuality.
  • Created the eight-fold path to enlightenment (nirvana).

Important Terms to Understand Buddhism

  • Nirvana awakened state, lack of suffering.
  • Bodhi awakenment, enlightenment.
  • Bodhisattva an awakened being.
  • Dharma the Buddha’s teachings.
  • Sangha the Buddhist community of monks and nuns.
  • Maitreya the second coming of Buddha prophesied.

The Four Noble Truths of Siddhartha

  • Suffering is not getting what one wants.
  • The cause of suffering is desire which leads to rebirth.
  • The way to end suffering is to end desire.
  • The way to the end of desire and of suffering is the eight-fold path.

The eight-fold path to bodhi/dharma/nirvana/lack of suffering

  • Right viewpoint (the four noble truths).
  • Right values.
  • Right speech.
  • Right actions.
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right mindfulness
  • Right meditation

Schools/Sects of Buddhism

  • Mahayana (the greater vehicle) China, Korea, Japan. Ideal of the bodhisattva. Stresses the divine nature of the Buddha. Many mini-buddhas (bodhisattvas).
  • Theravada Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma. A more pure form of Buddhism?
  • Zen. An offshoot of Mahayana which emphasizes meditation to achieve nirvana.
  • Vajrayana Stresses tantric practices, rituals, initiations, mystical power. Tibet, Mongolia. Similar to Gnosticism.

Buddhist Scripture

  • The Tripitaka “three baskets” Three sets of the supposedly original sayings and teachings and philosophy of Buddha. These were oral only for about 400 years.
  • Disputes over the content of the Tripitaka led eventually to the Theravada, Mahayana and other sects.
  • Jatakas Mahayana stories of previous incarnations of Siddhartha Buddha. Buddhism is a striving through many lives to come to a bodhisattva state.
  • Buddhist Scripture

Practices of Buddhism

  • Many monks and nuns who live ascetic lives
  • “Lay” Buddhists follow the five precepts, which are, 1. do not kill 2. do not steal. 3. do not have sex. 4. do not lie and 5. do not get drunk
  • Meditation is a big part of many Buddhist traditions, involving the saying of a mantra. (Om Mani Padme Hum).
  • Buddhist Cosmology

The Buddhist World View

  • Is Buddhism pantheist or agnostic?
  • The physical world is an illusion and not good.
  • Suffering is an illusion.
  • Cyclic cosmology. Reincarnation.
  • The goal to lose oneself

Is the Buddhist World View a Good One?

  • Is it true?
    • The world is an illusion?
    • Cosmology appears to be refuted by science.
  • Does in answer the important questions?
    • Like Hinduism, superior to Naturalism, Postmodernism
    • Does not answer the question of God
  • Does it make one a better person?
    • Less self-focused than Hinduism
    • Suffering is not real.
    • Goal: dispassion, rather than compassion


  • Founder: Mahavira ~600-540 BC
  • Last of 24 gurus. Parshva 750 BC?
  • Location: India mostly.
  • About 5,000,000 practitioners
  • A reaction to worldly, priestly Hinduism

Jaina Theology

  • Very strong emphasis on asceticism
  • Siddhartha may have been a follower before finding a middle way.
  • We are souls trapped in a body. The goal: escape the body to reach nirvana through ascetic practices.
  • Reincarnation
  • Karma
  • Pantheistic
  • The Svastika
  • a symbol of
  • samsara
  • (rebirth)

Jaina Scriptures

  • The Purvas. Sayings of the 24 gurus all the original Purvas were lost.
  • Agama Sutras Sayings of Mahavira
  • Jaina Sects
  • Digambaras: Monks are nude, only males can reach enlightenment.
  • Shvetambaras: Wear white robes. Women can be ordained as nuns.

The Heart of Jainism: Asceticism

  • Five Mahavrata or rules of ascetic living
    • Ahimsa. Non-harming (fly-whisk, strain liquids, etc…)
    • Satya. Truthfulness
    • Asteya. Non-stealing
    • Celibacy
    • Non-attachment

Jaina Worldview

  • A very strange cosmology. The universe is an infinitely repeating pattern of cycles of time.
  • One of the gurus lived 70 trillion years and was 3000 ft. tall.
  • The earth is the center of the universe.
  • The universe has existed forever.
  • Pantheism.
  • Reincarnation/karma.
  • The physical world is evil.
  • Is this a “good” world view? (essentially same as Hindu)


  • Location: India, especially the Punjab. 25,000,000 adherents.
  • Founder: Nanak (1469-1539)
  • A compromise between Islam and Hinduism.
  • Avowedly monotheistic, but with many Hindu ideas.
  • Nanak, founder
  • of Jaina

Sikh Teaching and Theology

  • Reject polytheism but keep ideas of maya (illusion), samsara (reincarnation), karma
  • Reject priestly system. All are equal before the “True Name.”
  • Reject caste system.
  • Opposition to idolatry and to asceticism.
  • Sikhs do not try to escape the world, but to participate in it.
  • The Golden Temple
  • Amristar, India

Scriptures of Sikkhism

  • The Adi Granth Compiled by the fifth guru Arjun in 1604
  • The Ganth of the Tenth King: Written by the last of the ten great gurus of Sikhism Gobind Singh.
  • The Janamsakhis Legends. Obviously mythical accounts of the life of Nanak, including miracles. (Nanak never claimed to be a miracle worker).
  • Works salvation: “Sin and sorrow are destroyed by hearkening.”

Sikh Practices

  • The wearing of the male turban is very characteristic.
  • Baptism in sugar water holding a dagger.
  • Sikhs have been warriors. They have been very militaristic.
  • Sikhs are immersed in worldly affairs. Businessmen, merchants etc.
  • Think of Sikhs as the opposite of Jains.

Sikh World View

  • Monotheistic
  • Yet it maintains much of the Hindu World View
  • Maya. The world is an illusion
  • Karma, reincarnation.
  • Works salvation.
  • Is it a “good” world view?
    • True? Cyclic cosmology.
    • Much in common with Islam.


  • Founded by Confucius Kung Fu Tzu 551-478 BC.
  • Principle religion in China? Is it a religion?
  • Also influential in Korea and Viet Nam.
  • Not a religious leader—he accepted the religious superstition of his day as sufficient.
  • Agnostic—“Keep aloof from spiritual matters, but perform the ceremony correctly.”
  • Utilitarian, conservative philosophy. Each person should accept his position in society for righteousness and stability. Strong emphasis on proper government, training for holding government office.

Confucianism (cont.)

  • Practical rather than esoteric.
  • Ancestor worship stressed.
  • Later Confucian philosophy involved emphasis on ying and yang—the competing balance between good vs. evil, physical vs. spiritual, hate vs. love. (Dualism)
  • Confucianism competed with two other philosophies: Taoism and Moism. Confucianism, being more practical, generally won out.

Confucian Scriptures

    • I-Ching 1000 BC. Book of divination, magic.
    • Shu-Ching. History, ancient documents, speeches.
    • Shin-Ching 800-600 BC. Poetry used extensively by Confucius. Customs concerning courtship, marriage, war, agriculture, feasts, sacrifices, etc.
    • Li Chi. Book of ceremonial etiquite. 200 BC – 200 AD.
    • Ch’un Chiu. History of one Chinese province. Collected by Confucius?
    • Lun Yu. Written down 400 BC. The sayings of Confucius, especially on ethics and government
    • Analects of Confucius, etc…

Confucian World View

  • Dualism
  • In some ways world-view neutral, as it is more a collection of aphorisms and wise advice than a religion.
  • Is it a good world view?
  • Is it “true”? Does chi exist?
  • Individual not assigned much value

Taoism (Daoism)

  • Founded by Lao Tzu—a contemporary of Confucius.
  • Scripture: The Tao Te Ching. Tao = way Te = power Ching = teaching
  • Basic doctrine: Through non-involvement and withdrawal, we come to know god/deity. Emphasis on self-interest. “The religion of selfishness.”
  • Pantheistic. Experience God by contemplating nature.
  • Emphasis on mysticism and magic.
  • “He would not pluck so much as a hair out of his head for the benefit of his fellow man.”

Taoist World View

  • Pantheism
  • Self-focus, emphasis on mysticism and magic.


  • Founded by Baha-Ullah 1817-1892
  • The Bab 1819-1850 The John the Baptist of Baha’i
  • Begun in Iran, moved to Iraq, Lebanon. Very widely spread today.
  • About 7,000,000 adherents.
  • A reform movement within Islam?

History and Teaching

  • The Bab was martyred in 1850
  • in 1852 Baha-Ullah claims to have received a vision, while in prison, of a divine woman who declared him to be “The Beauty of God amongst you.” ie the next prophet.
  • Ba’hai is the culmination of all the world’s religions. Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, Baha’Ullah.
  • No priests, no ceremony.

Theology and Teaching

  • Monotheistic.
  • God is unknowable “The most Exalted, the Inaccessible.”
  • Baha-Ullah claimed to be
    • The second coming of Christ—that John 14:16 was about him.
    • The Maitreya—the second coming of Buddha.
    • The new incarnation of Krishna
    • The fulfillment of the “Day of God” in the Koran.
  • Strong emphasis on equality, education, peace.
  • Progressive Revelation. “Religious truth is not absolute but relative.”

Ba’hai Theology

  • Salvation through keeping the law as handed down by Baha-Ullah
  • Emphasis on good deeds, helping the poor, education
  • Jesus did not die for our sins, because he did not have to. We are imperfect, but not lost.
  • Scripture: The writings of Baha-Ullah. There are many!

New Age: A Very Confusing Religion

  • Is it:
  • Palm reading?
  • Channeling?
  • Seances?
  • Meditation?
  • Reincarnation?
  • Occultism?
  • Gurus?
  • Paganism?
  • Gnosticism?
  • Mother Goddess worship?
  • Yes… all the above.

So, What is New Age, Really?

  • You are God, I am God, the trees are God, we all are God!
  • New Age is Western pantheism
  • New Age is a syncretistic blend of Gnosticism, Hinduism, Spiritualism, Mysticism, Buddhism and Paganism.
  • New Age is Monism! God is everything I am God!!!
  • “Once we begin to see that we are all God, then I think the whole purpose of life is to re-own the God-likeness within us.”


ISLAM, 7th century AD

  • Confession
  • Almsgiving
  • Prayer
  • Fasting (Ramadan)
  • Pilgrimage (Hadj)

ISLAM, 7th century AD

  • Confession
  • Almsgiving
  • Prayer
  • Fasting (Ramadan)
  • Pilgrimage (Hadj)
  • Jihad

  • Claimed Gabriel spoke to him
  • when he was 40 (610 AD)
  • Turned from persuasion to warfare
  • Attacked caravans  attack cities/nations
  • Conversion at sword-point
  • Mohammed ordered assassination of those who mocked him in their poems.
  • • Massacred 700 Jews in Medina
  • Fifteen wives
  • Early Period in Mecca. Muhammad sees
  • himself as following tradition of Judaism.
  • Muslims pray toward Jerusalem.
  • • Early Medina period. Mohammad begins
  • to be politically powerful. The idea of Jihad
  • introduced.
  • • Later Medina and Meccan period.
  • Muhammad strongly opposed to Jews and
  • Christianity. Islam definitely a distinct
  • religion.

Qur’an and women

  • 
  • “Men have authority over women because Allah has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to support them. Good women are obedient… If they are rebellious, rebuke them, beat them, and send them to bed.”
  • -- 4:34

Qur’an and Jihad

  • “Wage war on them until the infidels are no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.”
  • 8:12 Cut off their finger tips, stab them in the neck.
  • 48:16,17 Atone for sin by killing in war.
  • 47:4-6 Martyrdom  Heaven.

Qur’an and punishment of enemies

  • “The punishment of those who wage war against God and his Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land.” (5:36)

Islamic Theology

  • Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam is monotheistic
  • But there are several differences in the theology of these religions.
  • In Islam God is more like the neo-Platonic idea of God—very distant and removed from man.

Islamic Theology

  • Islamic Theology
  • “Surely good deeds take away evil deeds” (11:114).
  • Kabira (big sins)—murder, adultery, drunkenness, disobeying parents, neglecting Ramadan or Friday prayers, gambling, dancing, shaving the beard, forgetting the Koran after reading it, usury… Forgiveness with repentance.
  • Saghira (little sins)—deceit, anger, lust. Forgiveness if greater sins are avoided and good deeds are performed.
  • Shirk—association (of other gods with Allah). No forgiveness.

Salvation by own effort

  • Salvation by own effort
  • (40:9, 39:61, 7:43)
  • Charity atones for sins
  • (2:271,277)
  • Earn grace.
  • Earn favor of Allah.
  • Earn salvation.
  • Earn paradise.
  • Islam: Salvation is earned through the efforts of those who were pre-selected by Allah to inhabit a very sensual paradise.
  • Christianity: Salvation is granted by the grace of a loving God to those who, through faith and repentance and baptism accept that love.
  • A Question: Who reaches out to whom?


  • Human approach Truth
  • God God
  • Mankind Mankind
  • Works Salvation: Man reaches out to God.
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Jaina
  • Sikkhism
  • Gnosticism
  • New Age
  • Buddhism?
  • Salvation by Grace: God reaches out to man.
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam: Salvation is earned through the efforts of those who were pre-selected by Allah to inhabit a very sensual paradise.
  • Christianity: Salvation is granted by the grace of a loving God to those who, through faith and repentance and baptism accept that love.
  • Islamic Worldview:
  • Obviously closer to the Christian world view than Eastern Religions, but…
  • God is very distant from mankind
  • In Islam, Allah determines everything, even who will choose to follow him.
  • Sura 2:142, 6:39 6:125
  • Inshallah God willing. It is God’s will that people suffer.

Is Islam a Good World View?

  • Is it true? Is Mohammed a prophet?
    • Fifteen wives
    • Massacre of 700 Jews
    • Doctrine of Abrogation
    • Science errors
  • Does it make its followers better?
    • Motivation to help others?
    • Are women respected?
    • Does emphasis on Jihad lead to loving non-Muslims?


  • The theologies of world religions are fundamentally and diametrically opposed to one another. Many paths to the same God is a ludicrous philosophy.
  • The world view of Christianity is radically different from any other religion. They cannot both be right!
  • The truth of the Bible is confirmed by
    • Clear evidence of inspiration (fulfilled prophecy, types and foreshadows, historical accuracy, scientific evidence, etc…)
    • Public miracles worked by Moses, Elijah and others, and especially by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:3,4).

So, What is Truth?

  • John 14:6 I AM the way the TRUTH and the life. no one comes to the Father, except by me.
  • Why are Postmodernism, Scientism, Animism, Polytheism, Pantheism, Dualism and every other ism wrong?
  • Genesis Chapter One
  • Because Jesus is truth.
  • Two Possibilities: Either Jesus is truth or he is not…..

How Do I Know Jesus is Truth?

  • Fulfilled prophecies of the Messiah.
  • John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
  • John 11:25 I am the resurrection and the life.
  • John 2:19 Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days. Jesus was resurrected from the dead.

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