Kenneth R. Samples is the resident philosopher and theologian at Reasons To Believe, a Christian think-tank primarily devoted to science apologetics. Ever since I attended a Reasons To Believe conference in 2000, I have been fascinated with the approach Ken Samples has taken for testing worldviews for truth. The wait is finally over and A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test is now published. One of the long-term goals of Reasons To Believe has been to provide a comprehensive, testable Christian creation model, and A World of Difference adds a philosophical piece to that testable creation model.
Samples' book is organized into three main sections. The first, short section describes the components that make up a worldview, including theology (view of God), metaphysics (view of reality such as the universe), epistemology (theory of knowledge), axiology (moral values), humanity (human nature), and history (the recorded events of human existence). Included in this section are a suggested means of comparing and testing worldviews for truth. In order to be valid, a worldview must be:
- Logically consistent
- Balanced (not too simple or complex)
- Provide explanatory power and scope
- Correspond to well-established facts
- Be verifiable (truth claims can be verified or falsified)
- Be applicable to real life
- Fill existential needs
- Provide a cumulative and comprehensive approach
- Compete in the marketplace of ideas
The first section ends with a short introduction into logic, logical arguments and critical thinking.
The second section (and longest of the three) examines the Christian worldview in depth. Scripture is cited in detail to formulate a comprehensive, biblically-accurate Christian worldview.
The final section of A World of Difference examines five popular worldviews:
- Naturalism (a completely secular worldview)
- Postmodernism (a skeptical worldview)
- Pantheistic monism (Eastern mystical worldview)
- Islam (a radical monotheistic worldview)
- Christianity (Christian theistic worldview)
Each worldview is examined for its strengths and weaknesses using the nine tests developed in section one. For me, these five chapters were the most interesting in the book, and gives insight into ways of witnessing to individuals who hold those worldviews.
A World of Difference is a great resource to help Christians examine the truth claims of the world's popular worldviews. Samples' book has a list of questions at the end of each chapter that can be used in Bible study groups as a take-off point for discussions. Such a study is highly recommended for all Christians, since the evaluation of worldviews tends to be an area that is neglected by most churches.
- Putting on the Glasses of Truth by Kenneth Richard Samples
- Is Christianity True? Evidence for the Truth of the Christian Religion
- Book Review: 7 Truths that Changed the World: Discovering Christianity's Most Dangerous Ideas by Kenneth Samples
We are what we think.
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Last Modified September 25, 2008