Why it Is So Hard to Talk Across Worldview Barriers

Why it Is So Hard to Talk Across Worldview Barriers

2 Corinthians 4:4 says: The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

This is literally true. As Christians we easily accept this concept because it reflects the reality we know about how Satan works. That being said, it is quite likely that we rarely see how this is actually expressed in real life.

Recently, I put a new video up on my ministry website called: The Disaster that is Naturalism. You can view it at http://www.marketfaith.org/2013/03/the-disaster-that-is-naturalism. The video was basically a short explanation of how the naturalistic worldview has become increasingly prominent in America to the point that it is pushing Christian values to the side. I went on to share that this naturalistic drift is responsible for much of the moral rot we see in modern culture.

Occasionally, a nonbeliever will see one of my videos and begin corresponding with me. In this particular case the person saw it on YouTube, so the correspondence took place using YouTube’s system. In my opinion, this feature is a fantastic thing because it allows conversations to take place which might not otherwise happen. This allows me to share a witness with people I might not otherwise be able to interact with. That being said, the YouTube system does have its limitations. Every response is limited to 500 characters. Thus, the replies must be very short. This can cause problems when the topic gets deep. Still, it is a great opportunity.

What you will read below is a conversation I had with MaskedManchild. He is an Atheist who saw the video and just had to try and bash me. What you will see is the literal fulfillment of the Scripture passage quoted at the beginning. What this expresses is the difficulty people have conceiving of beliefs which do not fit their worldview. This is why it is so important for Christians to learn this topic and master the tools for sharing Christ across worldview barriers.

As you read, I want you to notice one thing in particular. Notice how MaskedManchild seems incapable of understanding the various topics we were discussing from a Christian worldview perspective. It is not simply that he disagreed with my beliefs, he literally didn’t understand how to conceive of them. This is the blindness which “the god of this age” has caused in unbelievers.

Masked Manchild   March 5, 2013
There were religious cultures far more sexual than ours, there’s even mention of them in the Bible.

Christians aren’t being persecuted in America, they’re just receiving less special privileges. I also don’t know what gun laws have to do with naturalism when Christians also support them.

Dishonesty in politics has existed since politics.

And an increase in violence from when? You seem to be either making things up or just mentioning things you don’t like and blaming naturalism.

Freddy   March 5, 2013
You don’t seem to understand what Naturalism is. The points you are making do not in any way refute anything I said (if that is what you were trying to do).

Masked Manchild   March 5, 2013
I understand what naturalism is, I also understand that many of the things you’re blaming on the rise of naturalism were more rampant in past religious societies.

I think the effects you’re claiming not being real kind of refutes what you’re saying.

Freddy   March 5, 2013
I think you are missing the point. My point is that Naturalism naturally leads to the things I described while Christian Theism leads to a different kind of morality. Since Naturalism is an increasingly dominant influence in America, it is easy to see that the changes in the culture are due to its influence. If you don’t agree, what do you attribute it to?

Masked Manchild    March 5, 2013
“Naturalism naturally leads to the things I described while Christian Theism leads to a different kind of morality.”

Yes, I get what you’re saying. I’m saying that history itself doesn’t show this to be true.

Has culture changed? Sure, it continually changes regardless of the common religious viewpoint. But the things you see as negative changes were more rampant in less naturalistic cultures.

Freddy    March 5, 2013
You continue to miss the point. Of course there are other worldview beliefs which also lend themselves to immoral behavior. My point is that the impetus for that drift in American culture is Naturalism, not some other belief foundation. Do you think the drift away from traditional Christian morality in America is due to some other set of beliefs?

Masked Manchild    March 5, 2013
From the beginning of our country, politicians have been dishonest, there’s even written evidence of mudslinging from our founding father. South America is steeped in Catholicism, yet more sexually open than us.

America has been changing since it’s been created, even Christianity itself has changed. This isn’t due to any one set of beliefs, nor is there any evidence to show that. Correlation does not prove causation, especially when the correlation isn’t universal.

Freddy    March 5, 2013
You keep making statements but none seem to relate to my point. No one disputes that there is bad in America. The point is, the culture is becoming more immoral and the cause is a change in the worldview foundation in the culture.

I am not sure what you even mean that Christianity has changed. The message of the faith has never changed.

Why do you think there is no correlation between the increased dominance of naturalistic belief and the slide of the culture? What do you think is the cause?

Masked Manchild    March 6, 2013
“The point is, the culture is becoming more immoral”

We went from owning people to the appearance of discrimination being the cause of shame. How is that more immoral.

“the cause is a change in the worldview foundation in the culture.”

Changes within particular worldviews, sure. That always happens as worldviews continually change. But your idea that the increase in naturalism causes an increase in immorality, you haven’t demonstrated that at all.

Freddy    March 6, 2013
First, are you claiming to be a Naturalist yourself? There is no way to respond to your statements without knowing what you are getting at.

Secondly, what do you mean, “changes within worldviews?” You are making statements without any reference points. There is literally nothing in your statement to respond to until you give some indication about your position. Simply disagreeing with my statements without some point of reference as to your beliefs has no meaning.

Masked Manchild    March 6, 2013
I would say that I am an Atheist and I wouldn’t consider using the supernatural as an explanation for anything until there’s any proof of the supernatural.

As for changes within worldviews, You probably already know the changes in Christianity from the early church to Catholicism to Protestantism. Even fundamentalism is relatively new while the Christians of the time of the founding fathers were moving away from Biblical literalism.

Freddy    March 6, 2013
Thank you for the explanation.

First, your approach to dealing with change within Christianity assumes there is no absolute standard. There is. What you are calling variations are deviations from authentic Christianity, not changes in Christianity. Your point is not valid in that respect.

Secondly, you require natural proof to explain the supernatural. By definition that can’t happen. You are making a faith assumption that it doesn’t exist which contradicts your own demands.

Masked Manchild    March 6, 2013
No, the first point is still valid in the context of the consequences of naturalism. Those “deviations” as you called it are inevitable whenever an idea has been passed around. If they can happen within Christianity, then surely they can happen in culture.

Secondly, yes I require evidence. I don’t assume the lack of evidence means it doesn’t exist, but without the lack of evidence, there’s no reason to factor it into explanations to questions.

Freddy    March 6, 2013
First, you miss the difference between absolute and relative considerations. The Christian faith is based on unchanging absolutes. Where deviations occur, they are not authentic Christian faith. The Bible is the plumb line, not the various expressions of Christianity.

Secondly, you are requiring a certain kind of evidence – empirical. Other evidence you refuse to even consider. But you can’t even validate your own naturalistic presuppositions empirically. You are making a religious argument.

Masked Manchild   March 6, 2013
Regardless of whether or not you think the deviations are not authentic Christianity, they’re examples of the continuous change of culture, regardless of naturalism.

Empirical evidence is just evidence that comes from observation, evidence, or observation. What other type of evidence would one ask for or would be of help to convince someone of something?

Freddy   March 7, 2013
You don’t seem to be able to distinguish between form and content when it comes to the Christian faith. Your illustration is false.

What other kinds of evidence?
1. The historical record
2. Logic
3. Human experience
You use all of these to justify your Naturalism, but deny them to a Theist.

Truthfully, you don’t base your Atheism on empirical evidence. There is no empirical proof God does not exist (or that the material universe, life or consciousness could have happened by natural means).

Masked Manchild   March 7, 2013
I think you’re just not getting my illustration. But about your other forms of evidence:

I’ve actually looked into logical and historical evidences theists bring up, which is why I know they don’t really hold up under scrutiny.

Human experience, as I assume you’re using it, is subjective to the person having it, so not objective. We know the human mind is faulty, and that is why we rely on evidence that can be verified.

Also, you don’t ask for proof to NOT believe in something.

Freddy    March 7, 2013
I absolutely get your illustration. It doesn’t hold up. Apples and oranges.

Now you have my interest. You think the logical and historical evidence is missing. So:
1) What historical evidence do you have that indicates the resurrection of Christ didn’t happen?
2) What logical evidence do you have to negate the existence of God?

Personal experience is subjective. Human experience is much broader.

OK then, lets use your semantics: Give me your proof that the natural world is all that exists.

Masked Manchild    March 7, 2013
Why would you ask for evidence that something DIDN’T happen? A person NOT coming back from the dead after three days is the null hypothesis, and that’s without all the medical data stating why that would be impossible. You don’t prove the null hypothesis, you prove the alternative.

For example, if I say cough medicine causes cancer, it’s up to me to prove so, not for others to prove me wrong.

Freddy   March 7, 2013
Well, the historical record says the resurrection did happen. So, what evidence do you have that it didn’t? You say it is impossible, but that is only if your naturalistic presuppositions are true. So, what evidence do you have that your naturalistic faith is true? You are simply not willing to entertain the possibility that God actually, objectively exists. Since he exists beyond nature, the evidence has to be other than empirical. How do you know your belief is true? You don’t!

Masked Manchild    March 7, 2013
If by historical record you mean the Gospels, those aren’t history. They were written by anonymous authors after Christianity was spreading and even contradict each other.

It’s not really naturalistic presuppositions that say coming back from the death three days later is impossible, that’s just simple medical knowledge.

I’m pretty sure you’re not willing to entertain that the tooth fairy exists, but you would require evidence to do so. It’s not a belief, but skepticism of a belief.

Freddy   March 7, 2013
Oh, and who are you to declare that the gospels are not history? Your assertion that they are anonymous cannot be backed up and that they contradict each other only shows you don’t understand hermeneutics.

Simple medical knowledge? No! If God doesn’t exist, then you have a case. But he does and is capable of operating based on principles which go beyond the natural. I’m still waiting for your evidence that there is no supernatural.

There is evidence of God. There is not of the tooth fairy.

Masked Manchild   March 8, 2013
“Your assertion that they are anonymous cannot be backed up”

It can when we have earlier copies without mention of an author’s name. The contradictions aren’t a matter of interpretation but blatantly different narratives.

If resurrection depends on God, then it’s up to you to give evidence for God, which you say exists but in some kind of way that can’t be verified or in anyway useful for convincing someone who doesn’t already believe in it.

Pretty much on par with the tooth fairy.

Freddy    March 8, 2013
You are playing word games regarding the authorship of the gospels. How much scholarly research have you actually done on this topic?

And again, your assertions of contradictions is absurd. What do you actually know about biblical hermeneutics?

I have already given evidence and you have rejected it out of hand because you only accept certain kinds of evidence. I will allow you to do that if you first empirically prove the presuppositions of Naturalism. Until then, your arguments are invalid.

Masked Manchild   March 8, 2013
The writers of the four Gospels don’t name themselves and authorship was attributed later. That isn’t a word game.

If you can state how interpretation can undo contradictions in the Gospels, as well as known history, then I’d be happy to hear it.

You haven’t given evidence but claimed there was historical and logical evidence.

Again, my position is that I don’t use the supernatural as an explanation until the supernatural can be proven. That’s not a presupposition but use of Occam’s razor.

Freddy   March 8, 2013
While the author’s names are not attached to the gospels, there is VERY early attribution by credible sources.

What you are calling contradictions are simply different accounts which can be reconciled.

There is no empirical proof for Naturalism. Naturalism asserts:
1. Matter is eternal
2. Life emerged from non-life
3. The variety of life on earth occurred naturally
4. Consciousness emerged from non-consciousness.
You do not have a natural explanation for any of these. You hold them by faith.

Masked Manchild   March 8, 2013
Right, so accounts with no names attached until later (and not taken seriously by most scholars) isn’t anonymous and blatantly differences are not contradictions, got it.

1. Not unless you equate matter with energy and even then it’s more complicated.
2. That’s just one type of chemistry becoming another.
3. Evolution
4. Ditto depending on what you mean by consciousness.

And for the questions we don’t have answers for, I simply say I don’t know and wait for information. No faith needed.

Freddy   March 8, 2013
This has to be one of the most shallow responses you have given yet. The fact names are not attached does not prove your point. I would be very interested to know who your scholars are.

No, different perspectives do not equal contradictions.

1. Matter and/or energy. What is the origin?
2. Where is your science?
3. The biological mechanism for evolution is unknown (doesn’t exist).
4. Ditto.

What a cop-out answer. Absolutely faith is needed to believe something so strongly that you don’t know.

Masked Manchild   March 9, 2013
1. Because of the nature of space-time, we can’t say there was an origin yet.
2. The science that life is chemistry?
3. Mutations, genetic drift, symbiosis,
4. There’s actually a lot of information on how the workings of the human mind evolved.

And here’s the comment I have the most problem with, even more than you’re arguing what the definition of is is; Saying you don’t now something is not a cop-out, and there’s absolutely nothing to believe in when you say you don’t know the answer.

Freddy   March 9, 2013
I don’t think you get the nature of your own reply. Saying you don’t know something is not a cop-out. Saying you believe something without evidence and saying it is not faith is the cop-out. And that is exactly what you have done.

1. A faith statement with no science to back it up.
2. Ditto.
3. Speculation without any experimental science to prove it causes macro evolution.
4. Speculation without any experimental science.

We are getting too deep for 500 character responses. I will message you.

(At this point I sent him a private message offering to move the conversation to e-mail so we could give more detailed responses. He never did respond to that and we continued in the YouTube conversation.)

Masked Manchild   March 9, 2013
“Saying you believe something without evidence and saying it is not faith is the cop-out”

Love to see where I said that.

1. There’s no science to back up the nature of space-time? I can send you some.
2. No, that’s pretty much a scientific known.
3. Actually there is evidence for macro evolution and a wealth of fulfilled predictions.
4. Again, you’re wrong about this and I can direct you for more information.

Freddy   March 9, 2013
“And for the questions we don’t have answers for, I simply say I don’t know and wait for information. No faith needed.”

So, you don’t know but believe it anyway? And that is not faith?

1. You said, “we can’t say there was an origin yet.” – “can’t say … yet” means no science to show it.
2. So, make me some life.
3. Why has no-one been able to evolve something in the lab?
4. Having info about the working of the mind and going from non-consciousness to consciousness are two different things.

Masked Manchild   March 9, 2013
“So, you don’t know but believe it anyway? And that is not faith?”

What am I believing if I say I don’t know?

1. No science to show what? I’m saying that because of what we can show, we can’t make assumptions about time past a certain point.
2. I don’t need to make you life to show you life is chemistry.
3. The emergence of new species has been observed in the lab and in the wild, and we have genetic evidence of common descent.
4. Define consciousness.

Freddy   March 9, 2013
So, are you saying you don’t believe in Naturalism? You are certainly arguing for it.

1. So, did energy/matter spontaneously appear from zilch or is it eternal? Neither has any science to support it.
2. What? Prove life is chemistry.
3. No experimental science demonstrates evolution from less to more complex life. Common descent can only be concluded if Naturalism is true.
4. Awareness of one’s surroundings (as opposed to not having that awareness). Or in humans, the ability to notice the self.

Masked Manchild   March 9, 2013
I gave my stance before, I’m really unconcerned with what box it fits in.

1. There’s actually different hypotheses that can be backed up by science, we just don’t know which one is what actually happened.
2. You, your body is a series of chemical reactions, even your brain.
3. Common descent is concluded by tracking the inherited markers of past viral infections. it’s better than a DNA test.
4. Yes, there is info on the development of both, the latter not limited to humans.

Freddy   March 10, 2013
You get all over me for my faith when EVERYTHING you are asserting is by faith. You have no empirical science to prove anything you are saying. Why should your religion trump mine?

1. Your very approach is only true if Naturalism is true. A faith assumption.
2. You assume that is ALL there is. A faith statement.
3. The conclusion is only true if the presuppositions are true. You believe your approach by faith.
4. You ASSUME a natural evolutionary progression – by faith with no empirical proof.

Masked Manchild   March 10, 2013
What have I said that was based on faith?

1. No, the approach looks at the evidence available while being open to change if more evidence presents itself. The opposite of faith.
2. If you can prove there’s more then no(t) only would I accept it, you would become famous overnight.
3. What presuppositions, we have genetic evidence.
4. Again, evolution has been proven true by multiple types of evidence, and even fields of science, all saying the same thing. No faith needed for decades.

Freddy   March 10, 2013
You still don’t get it? Everything you have said is based on faith. Let’s try again.

1. How do you know ANY of them happened? You assume a natural cause, but you have no empirical proof of it.
2. You have already rejected my evidence because it is not empirical. Yet, you yourself have no empirical proof to demonstrate life is chemistry. It is your belief.
3. Your “evidence” can lead to a different conclusion with different presuppositions.
4. Simply not true. Where is the empirical verification?

Masked Manchild   March 10, 2013
1. I don’t claim to (k)now any of them happened and already said the nature of space-time makes it difficult to know.
2. I didn’t go into detail because I assume you know most of it. Do you want me to list specific chemical reactions happening inside you?
3. Not really, especially not with multiple fields confirming it.
4. The verification is in the many scientific papers on the subjects, some of which are available online that I can direct you to.

Freddy   March 10, 2013
1. You don’t KNOW the nature of space-time. You can only speculate based on your naturalistic presuppositions.
2. I know chemical reactions happen. That is very different than life = chemistry.
3. You are simply wrong here.
4. A scientific paper is not proof of anything. I want to see the actual empirical verification – which doesn’t exist.

Everything you are asserting can only be true if Naturalism is true. So, prove Naturalism and you have a case. Until then, all you have is your faith.

Masked Manchild   March 10, 2013
1. It’s not speculation, it’s what we can actually see from the studying the universe, what has been experienced by astronauts.
2. It’s not that they happen, but that life on the simplest level is an organic compound that can self replicate. Zygote to baby, just chemical reactions.
3. And if you can show why, I’d accept that.
4. What do you thin(k) they do with those empirical verifications? They document them and then open them to scrutiny to see if they need to start again. Opposite of faith.

Freddy   March 10, 2013
Let’s try again.

1. The original issue is: What is the origin of matter/energy? Naturalism assumes a natural answer. Science cannot show it.
2. Yes, but how did life originate? Abiogenesis is the only natural answer, but there is no science.
3. The common descent your propose is a conclusion from naturalistic presuppositions, not demonstrated from empirical science.
4. But there is no case of non-consciousness to consciousness being demonstrated by science. Thus, no papers showing this.

Masked Manchild   March 10, 2013
1. “Naturalism” doesn’t look for a supernatural answer because we don’t have an example of the supernatural.
2. It really isn’t an answer but a field of study.
3. You keep saying this, but there is “empirical science” that shows you wrong that you haven’t dealt with.
4. I’m pretty sure what you’re asking about is simply birth. But for how self awareness in us and other species evolved is something we also have information about.

Freddy   March 11, 2013
1. The “why” is not the point. Naturalism is a set of presuppositions. You believe them without evidence. There is an example, you just won’t acknowledge it.
2. What? Have you changed the subject?
3. Like what? You think there is more than there actually is.
4. No, I am talking about the very existence of consciousness. There is no science to show how it could possibly come into existence.

I offered to deal with this in a different format so we could talk more detail and you haven’t responded.

Masked Manchild   March 11, 2013
1. What presuppositions? I simply don’t use the supernatural as an explanation until the supernatural can be substantiated.
2. Abiogenesis is a general term for the emergence of life, not a single model or theory.
3. Endogenous retroviruses.
4. If you mean self-awareness, then there is. But a lot of the questions of consciousness are in defining it.

I think I’m about done with the conversation as you appear to just equate not using your presupposition as a presupposition in and of itself.

Freddy   March 11, 2013
1. You presuppose that the supernatural doesn’t exist and only accept empirical evidence – which you can’t even give for your own beliefs. Your assertion is hypocritical.
2. So what empirical proof of any kind do you have that life emerged from non-life?
3. That does not in any way prove anything. Still requires unsubstantiated presuppositions.
4. By naturalism, it didn’t exist then evolved into existence. Where is the science?

Your last statement doesn’t make any sense.

Freddy   March 11, 2013
I understand if you don’t want to continue the discussion. You have not been able to give any empirical proof that your naturalistic presuppositions are true (which is rather ironic since you require that I back up my theistic beliefs with empirical proof).

Obviously this format with its character limit makes it hard to fully discuss the topic. I have offered twice to expand it. I hope that at least you can come to the place where you understand the faith nature of your own beliefs.

Conclusion
When attempting to witness to someone across worldview barriers, we must establish a common worldview language before a gospel witness even becomes possible. That is what I was trying to do with MaskedManchild. He was not even willing to consider the possibility that God exists. Everything he believed was filtered through the belief that there is no God. And until he was willing to consider the possibility that God exists, no gospel presentation would even make sense to him. He would continue to simply say it is impossible that someone could rise from dead.

Unfortunately, in our conversation, he never did step beyond his lack of understanding. However, it is my prayer that, at the very least, he was shaken to consider another possibility. In our witnessing, sometimes we are the cultivator, sometimes the sower and, occasionally, we get to be the harvester. It is my prayer that someday a harvester will enter his life.

© 2013 Freddy Davis