I teach a class at Colorado Christian University (Adult Graduate Studies Colorado Springs Branch) called Worldviews. In this class, we discuss the fact that everyone, EVERYONE, has a philosophical construct with which they view life. Everyone thinks something about the nature of humans. Even if they do not intentionally think about it they behave and react to humankind using a particular mindset. Whether they want to think about it not, when the push comes to shove, everyone believes something about what happens after someone dies. These thoughts, when compiled together, create one’s worldview.
One of the main issues is that many people’s worldview is logically incompatible with itself. For example, they will claim there is no God or that God is not really involved in this world, yet will also claim that humans can choose. This is logically incompatible. For if there is no God or if God just created things and set them in motion never to change anything, then we are all are in a deterministic world where our choices are either simply a reaction to the chemicals in our brain (which means it was not really a choice but just a natural reaction to some cause) or that we are all programmed by God in the beginning and have no choice in life. Therefore, God equals freedom; No God equals determinism.
The primary reason for this logic problem is that most do not start at the beginning place. The first question anyone must answer first is about what some call the Prime Reality. Put simply, the Prime Reality is the question of existence of God. This is based in two questions:
1. Is there or is there not a God?
2. If there is a God, what is that God like?
The answer to question one has obviously been debated for centuries. There are the classic arguments of whether or not there is a God (while I will not go into them here, click here for a nice article outlining the classic arguments for the existence of God). And, with the discover of DNA and other issues in life, there are even more which apologists use in their work (click here for a more modern approach and for even more arguments for the existence of God).
But these are just arguments. They are not proofs. If the existence of God could be proven and no one would need faith, which is essential in the God-human relationship (Hebrew 11:6). The point is, unlike the skeptics would have one believe, faith and blind-faith are two different things. The believer has an informed, educated faith in which he or she can confidently place their faith in the one they call God.
This belief of whether or not there is a God is the driving force throughout the rest of one’s worldview, which is why it is called the Prime Reality. In short, if there is no God even secularists agree that there is no purpose in life, humans are simply an accident, there is no real reason to history, and when we die, we cease to exist at any level.
However, if there is a God, then depending upon what that God is like, things may be different. In fact, that is why question two must be answered as well. If there is a God, what is that God like? Deism says that God created the world, set everything in motion, and then stepped back never to be intimately involved with it ever again. It is sometimes said by Deists that God is an absent landlord. Those holding to a New Age, or what some call Cosmic Humanist, worldview say that god is a force and not a personal being and that all humans are god (ala Shirley McClaine, et. al).
However, the unique thing about Christians is that not only do they believe that God exists but that He has shown humans a bit of who He is in the Bible. They believe that God is a person, not a force, not an idea, but a being who has intellect, emotions, a will, and who lives in a community (of sorts). They believe He is completely independent from His creation and is wholly different from anything in creation, which is summed up in the theological term Transcendent. And while He is transcendent, He comes into this reality and works and impacts individuals in a powerful way, the theological term here being immanent. They believe that God is a Trinity, that He is holy, righteous, loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present. And on and on.
The point is two fold. First, everyone cannot be right. Regardless of what the post-modern we live in tell us, everyone cannot be right all the time. It is not possible that there is a God and there is not a God at the same time. It is one or the other. It is not possible that, if there is a God, that he/it is a force and that he is a personal being. These are mutually exclusive.
The second point is a question: “What is your answer?” There is a limited number of combinations to this. Let’s go through them. Let’s say the answer to the question “Is there a God?” is “No, in reality there is not a God.” Then there are essentially three responses to this question. One, some do not realize there is not a God and live as though there is a God. Two, some are not sure if there is a God or not. Three, some have come to the conclusion there is not a God and live as good as they can while they have time here. In this case, it really does not matter which option you choose. In each of the three cases, they all will die and cease to exist. While the third person lived a life in line with reality, in the end they cease to exist.
Now let’s say the answer to the question “Is there a God?” is “Yes, in reality there is a God.” There are the same three responses to this question as there was before. One, some realize there is a God and live as though there is a God. Two, some are not sure if there is a God or not. Three, some have come to the conclusion there is not a God and live as good as they can while they have time here. The difference here is that there is a consequence of not acknowledging there is a God (Romans 1:20-22). If there is a God there is existence after death based on the decisions made while one earth, specifically, if one chose to follow after Christ or not (1 John 5:11-13)
In the end, everyone holds to a Prime Reality. This, in turn, will dictate the decisions one makes throughout life and how one sees other humans. The Prime Reality governs one ethics and source of knowledge. The Prime Reality even determines how one will cope with the death of a love one. Whether or not there is a God, and whether or not that God is like the God of Scripture impacts every person, every day, in every way.
The question is, how does it impact you?