Why it Is So Hard to Witness Across Worldview Barriers

Why it Is So Hard to Witness Across Worldview Barriers

Since posting the dialogue with Jay the Atheist, I have had quite a bit of feedback from people who have shared stories about their own Atheist friends. The situations were all different, but there was one thread that kept popping up – the difficulty of making the Atheist friend understand their Christian faith.

When it comes to sharing our faith across worldview boundaries, this will always be a common theme. We tend to think that when we talk to people who come from different worldviews, sharing our beliefs is simply a matter of saying what we believe. It is not! The problem we run into, and the thing that is so difficult to grasp, is that different worldviews are, genuinely, different ways of understanding reality. So, when you start talking to an Atheist about God, you are literally talking to someone who believes God is the same as the tooth fairy. They do not believe he is real. Simply talking to them from your own perspective, with your assumption that God does exist, will seem, to them, like you live in a fantasy world. Of course, their belief will seem the same to you.

This problem does not exist only with people, like Atheists, who are operating from a Naturalistic worldview foundation. You will run into the exact same problem when you interact with Animists, non-Christian Theists and believers in a Far Eastern Thought worldview systems, as well.

In order to demonstrate this difficulty, I am sharing, below, another conversation. As it turns out, this one is also with an Atheist. This dialogue came about as the result of a video I posted on the MarketFaith Ministries website (and on YouTube) called “The Atheist Religion.” You can view it, if you like, at http://www.marketfaith.org/2012/12/the-atheist-religion. As you read this, it will become very clear that krayzewolf (the person’s username) simply cannot see beyond his/her own worldview presuppositions. It is not because he/she is not intelligent. Rather, it is because worldview barriers don’t allow a person to see beyond their own presuppositions. Because this conversation took place on YouTube, each of the conversation segments are very short.

As you read, you will soon notice that I have to repeat my points over and over in new ways in order to try and help krayzewolf understand that Atheism is a belief system. He/she truly thinks it is not. The original video made my point about the religious nature of Atheist beliefs, and krayzewolf’s reply to me was to try and refute it.

December 9, 2012
Really now? If atheism is a religion, then off is a tv channel, bald is a hair color, and not collecting stamps is a hobby.

We don’t believe your story, that is all.

Since when does NOT believing in myths mean your religious?

krayzewolf

December 9, 2012
Are you not aware that Atheism is a positive belief that God does not exist – which cannot be demonstrated empirically and must be believed by faith? You need to inform yourself a little better. I accept your apology.

Freddy

December 9, 2012
No. Atheism requires zero faith. All it is, is no belief in gods/deities, or the supernatural. Simple. It is the one who believes in “insert religion here” to provide evidence for it, as if you assert that “x religion” is true or “insert peticular god here” is real, it is you who makes such claims that needs to prove it. Not the other way around. As, if I said I have a pet dragon, wouldn’t it be up to me to prove my dragon exists, or up to you to prove it does not?

krayzewolf

December 9, 2012
You are absolutely wrong. How do you know God doesn’t exist? What proof do you have? Simply saying God doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. It is something you believe based on faith in Naturalism.

Freddy

December 10, 2012
No, you’re not understanding me. >_< What I am saying is that atheists, do not believe in not only your god, but also reject all other proposed gods/deities/religions/cults as well. It takes as much faith to not believe in your god as it takes to not believe in unicorns.

Try to put yourself on our side. Someone tells you about their god Odin. You smile and say no thanks you don’t believe he exists. Then they tell you “Simply saying Odin doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so.”

How do you reply?

krayzewolf

December 10, 2012
I understand completely what you are saying. It is you who doesn’t seem to understand the nature of faith.

Atheism is an expression of Naturalism which assumes there is no such thing as a supernatural reality. By definition, supernatural means beyond the natural. That does not mean “non-existent.” God is a person that humans can know in a personal relationship because we are also persons. How do you empirically explain self-consciousness and free will? They are spiritual characteristics.

Freddy

December 10, 2012
Uh. No. Atheism is the rejection of all religions and supernatural.

Which assumes nothing.

That means show us testable evidence that your god is real, and then there won’t be any atheists. Simple as that. Until there is any evidence, we reject your claim. That’s it. With that said, being atheist doesn’t mean one believes that there couldn’t be any higher than us beings elsewhere in the universe, but not for nothing, there’s a lot more evidence to support UFO’s than any “God”. Just saying.

krayzewolf

December 10, 2012
I’m not sure how your definition is different than what I said. You assume that all which exists is natural. As such, you demand natural verification for anything you will accept. But what if there is a supernatural reality which humans can access by a spiritual part we possess? How do you know that is not true? You don’t! You believe your belief by faith.

Where did matter and energy come from?

How did life originate?

How did consciousness originate?

There are no natural answers.

Freddy

December 10, 2012
“You believe your belief by faith.”

No, I beleive in facts. Honestly, for me life is way too short to base beliefs in anything that has no evidence. Seeing we have no evidence, for any deities, there is no reason to assume there is any truth to them. However through human history we have in fact made significant discoveries that destroys any need for deities, as we have found real answers for reality. We have yet to make any progress through supernatural dogmas, if anything it holds us back.

krayzewolf

December 10, 2012
So, you just skip the questions I asked as if skipping them makes them have natural answers? There is no science to demonstrate matter and energy have a natural origin. There is no science to demonstrate life could emerge from non-life. There is no science to demonstrate that consciousness came from non-consciousness. You are making a mockery out of your answers by even thinking that your beliefs are based on empirical science. Your naturalistic beliefs are pure faith.

Freddy

December 10, 2012
Sigh. Your questions were irrelevant to this topic and you know it, as we once thought the universe revolved around Earth. We once even thought the world was flat. It’s called discovery through testing, trial and error. Simply taking the route “God must’ve done it” has got us nothing but complacency and false knowledge based on pure fantasy. What we don’t know today will be discovered tomorrow through scientific method, not through having faith in gods.

krayzewolf

December 10, 2012
Very interesting reply. So, you think it is not relevant for me to point out that you are asserting beliefs about the structure of reality that are not empirically verifiable while you insist that I must empirically verify my beliefs? Does anyone else see the irony of this?

You claim that empirical science will discover the answers to my questions without having any basis for that claim except that you believe it to be true. That is called faith, my friend, not science.

Freddy

December 10, 2012
Yes. Highly irrelevant. Did we not start here with your video, with you proclaiming that atheism is not only a religion, but those who do not believe in gods/deities/religions, are then religious in return for not beliving?

To get back on topic, So if someone has never heard of your god, is finally told, and then they reject your claim because you can’t prove it. In your opinion, are they then religious that your god doesn’t exist? Do they require faith to reject your claim?

krayzewolf

December 10, 2012
You miss the point. You claim to “not believe” when, in fact, you do believe in something. Framing your argument in negative terms does not change the fact that you do believe in Naturalism. So, prove the presuppositions of Naturalism and you have a case. Until then your point is not valid.

You are still requiring that I prove God (a Theistic belief) based on naturalistic presuppositions. Doesn’t work that way.

In your example, even if they reject my God, they still have faith in something.

Freddy

December 13, 2012
facepalm

“You are still requiring that I prove God (a Theistic belief) based on naturalistic presuppositions. Doesn’t work that way.”

Yes. Yes it does. In the exact same way that if I claim to believe in fairies, and claim They are Real, then I am the one who must present the evidence. Not up to someone else to prove it wrong.

My point here on why I disagreed with this video is simple, Not believing in gods, is not a religion of not believing in gods.

krayzewolf

December 13, 2012
You still don’t seem to get it. Atheism is an expression of Naturalism which is a positive belief about the nature of reality. You are asserting a structure of reality which cannot be demonstrated to be true. Simply turning a positive position into a negative statement about what you “don’t” believe does not relieve you of the implications of what you “do” believe. Prove your naturalistic presuppositions and you have an argument. Until then, your faith in naturalistic beliefs is not convincing.

Freddy

At this point, krazewolf never replied again. It is my hope that he/she finally realized the dilemma – because Atheism truly is a faith position. In situations like this one, it is not unusual at all for people to drop out of the conversation when it hits them that their worldview paradigm is not what they thought it was. It is a truly life shaping, and potentially life changing, situation.

Why Worldview Understanding is Necessary
Without a grasp of worldview concepts, the discussion I had with krazewolf would be nothing more than one person’s personal opinion against another. But there is such a thing as truth and when we want to talk about that with people who come from other worldview backgrounds, it is absolutely necessary that we figure out a way to bridge the divide.

Krazewolf absolutely had no way of understanding my point about Atheism being a faith. He/she couldn’t see it. And until I was able to bridge that gap, there is no way that I could even begin to make a case for a need to put one’s faith in Christ. The first necessary matter for him/her was to at least acknowledge the possibility that God exists.

From my side, if I had not been able to recognize where krayzewolf’s disconnect was at a worldview level, I could not have even begun a witness that would make sense to him/her. As it was, though, I was in a position to understand and share it. This also put me in a position to share the possibility of a different faith that he/she simply couldn’t see. In the case of this conversation, I was not able to continue because it was an impersonal forum and he/she simply cut it off. If this had been someone I knew, however, my witness would have been able to continue on.

This is not to say that this relatively impersonal interaction was fruitless. We have no way of knowing how God will use it in the future. As we witness, we are not always in the position of being the harvester. Sometimes we are the one to break up the sod, or the sower, or the weed puller. Hopefully there will be others down the road who will also be able to share a witness to krayzewolf.

There is another place where this conversation may also have an impact. In addition to the direct interaction with krayzewolf, it is also my prayer that the conversation will have a positive influence on others who get to view it, either through this article or on our YouTube page.

Regardless, it is an understanding of worldview that put me in a position to help krazewolf see another faith possibility in a way that would actually make sense to him/her. It is my prayer that this will also be an inspiration to you as you look to promote your own spiritual growth and development.

© 2013 Freddy Davis