World View and Philosophy

We all have a world view. A world view is the way each of us sees and understands the world, especially regarding issues such as politics, philosophy, and religion. A simple definition can be: how a person perceives the world. Another definition says: a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity’s relation to it.
But on what do we base this world view?

Most of us have been taught that life has value and there is right and wrong, good and evil in the world. Many of us have grown up in the church. Others have never set foot inside one. But how does our life experience help shape our world view?
As we journey through this life we all experience good things and bad things. Sometimes our own wrong choices lead to bad consequences. Sometimes the choices of others affect our life negatively or positively. We learn along the way that not everything we heard is true, but many things were true, at least for us.
My world view has a few foundations upon which I develop a set of core values and principles for my own life and how I see the world.
Philosophies are continually debated with no concrete answers. In western philosophy there is an emphasis on the pillars of philosophy to develop our world view. That approach has some merit, but there are always certain assumptions that are made that can bring each of us to a different philosophical perspective.

Western philosophy has at its core several basic premises:
We must establish reason and logic as our means of thinking and understand that life itself is the value that defines all other values.
Philosophy in world views seeks to answer three questions:

1. Metaphysics – what kind of world is it?
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of existence, being and the world. Arguably, metaphysics is the foundation of philosophy: Aristotle calls it “first philosophy” (or sometimes just “wisdom”), and says it is the subject that deals with “first causes and the principles of things”.
It asks questions like: “What is the nature of reality?”, “How does the world exist, and what is its origin or source of creation?”, “Does the world exist outside the mind?”, “How can the incorporeal mind affect the physical body?”, “If things exist, what is their objective nature?”, “Is there a God (or many gods, or no god at all)?”

Are we making decisions based on reality or what we want reality to be? What is our view of the world? Is it getting better or worse? What assumptions are we making? We need to virtually analyze why we believe what we believe.
When we allow ourselves to be blinded by our own senses we are open to believing anything as long as the person saying it sounds authoritative. Because we believe we can’t trust our own judgment we need to trust someone else’s.
(Thinking critically for ourselves and seeking truth can be an arduous process. However, I would rather search out truth and do research than allow someone else to think for me).

2. Epistemology – how do I know?
Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion. IN other words – “how to I know what I know?” Epistemology can tell you specifics on how to do things. It can tell you if your conclusions are logical and the way you came about the knowledge is accurate. It helps us to understand how we arrive at conclusions.

From Wikipedia: The word epistemology is derived from the ancient Greek epistēmē meaning “knowledge” and the suffix -logy, meaning “logical discourse” (derived from the Greek word logos meaning “discourse”). J.F. Ferrier coined epistemology on the model of ‘ontology’, to designate that branch of philosophy which aims to discover the meaning of knowledge, and called it the ‘true beginning’ of philosophy
Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.
The key is to acquire small chunks of knowledge and then apply them in different ways. Input, process, output. Teach, solve problems, or build something. Retrieving information from memory is the process of learning. When you use information in a new setting, that’s when you start understanding it.

3. Ethics – what should I do?
Ethics are the generalities of right and wrong, good and evil.
o They are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity
synonyms: moral code, morals, morality, values, rights and wrongs, principles, ideals, standards (of behavior), value system, virtues, dictates of conscience
o the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.

Ethics is really the application of metaphysics and epistemology. What is good for man’s soul? What causes life and what causes death? Ethics also assumes action. What must man to live, survive, and flourish? Every living things acts to survive. What we believe is good for our soul is revealed in our actions. Values motivate us to act. Values are the meaning of life, the purpose of everything we do, the thing that motivates us and moves us forward. We must think and learn how to do things that give us the results to match our values. What are those values?

Can you see that on the surface philosophy appears to be reasonable and logical? But there are basic assumptions that each of us make even as we search out the answers to all the philosophical questions.

As I stated in the beginning of this post, core values and beliefs system are really the basis for all other questions and views. In the next post I will talk more about how I see the world and how logic and reason are not always the answer to our questions.

Does God exist?

In a previous post I said we would begin to answer some questions. The fact is I am not going to answer a lot of questions for you, but I will provide information to get you started on a journey of thinking why you think the way you do and whether those thoughts are grounded in hearsay or a study of the facts, resources of information, and validity of those resources. Many times when we try to search out a subject we find a lot of opinions. But what substantiates those opinions? Some digging into the depts of a topic, rather than just a surface acceptance, is now required to find truth!

There are many scientific studies trying to prove God does not exist. There are also many scientific studies that prove He does exist. So, let’s look at a few studies on both sides. Many of what we call scientific studies are simply theories based on personal beliefs. Please take that into consideration when reading these articles.

Forbes Article

Uplift Connect

Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

My goal is not to convince you one way of the other. I just want you to search out information and come to your own conclusion based on all the information you can gather. In the case of the existence of God there is one perspective I want to share with you, not to steer you in a certain direction, but to bring an element you will necessarily not find in any research.

My own personal journey into Christianity has been one of believing in God, walking away, not caring and then finding hope when I had none. But that did not end the journey. There were still years of much disconnect and wandering. That all changed one day when I heard His voice and felt His love. My searching continued, and I found that His love for me was unfailing and His thoughts toward me were good! That was just the beginning of a life long journey into a relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!

How Did we Get Here

Starting where I left off last week, we were looking at who God is. Does He even exist? And if He does exist, what does that mean for our world and me personally? If He doesn’t exist how does that change things?

These are important questions that each of us need to ask. Where do we find evidence for or against the existence of God? What about the big bang theory that says that there was just a big explosion and everything was created out of nothing? In simple terms The Big Bang is a scientific theory about how the universe started, and then made the stars and galaxies we see today. The universe began as a very hot, small, and dense superforce (the mix of the four fundamental forces), with no stars, atoms, form, or structure (called a “singularity”).
Or how about evolution that says we evolved from apes? Darwinism is a theory of biological evolution developed by the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and others, stating that all species of organisms arise and develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce.

And then there is the Bible, which tells us God created the heavens and the earth.

So how do we determine which view is correct? Can we think critically about this issue? Is there scientific evidence for any or all of these views?

I know. I know. I keep asking questions, but rarely answer any of them. That is about to change. See you next week.

Core Beliefs and Choices

There are lots of thoughts streaming through my mind today.  I said I would answer some of my own questions, but I believe I need to establish where I am coming from, so you can decide whether you want to continue reading this journey or move on to another platform.

Everyone has core beliefs. I believe that everyone is given life by God.  He is our creator.  Everyone has a seed of God within them, which can readily be seen when we are able to see how each person is wired.  There is good and evil in this world.  Sin was released upon the earth the day Adam and Eve ate fruit from the tree of good and evil.  They believed a lie that was introduced to them and their eyes were opened. Where they had previously only seen and experienced good, they were now able to see and experience evil as well.

One of my core beliefs is that God is good.   I know that statement alone can open a whole world of questions and arguments.  My journey to that belief was not a short one, nor was it filled with goodness and joy.  Rather, it was filled with doubt, unbelief, hardship, and confusion. However, when I searched and searched for truth and how to arrive at the truth, the goodness and kindness of God were overwhelming!

I also believe everyone is created in the image of God.  Genesis 1:27 says:

 So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

So according to the Bible, God created and continues to create.  He actually spoke the world into existence.  (Gen 1:1-3).  But why should we believe the Bible?  Is it just another book?

I am not here to force my beliefs on you, nor am I here to covert you.  I just want to present a perspective that has shaped my life and given me much joy!

We all have choices. We make thousands of choices every day. Even those things we do that are repetitious, like brushing our teeth, is a choice.  We can notice that quickly when we get out of our routine.

Choice was given to us when we were created.  God is not a monster who demands anything from us.  He is a Father who cares for us and wants us to be part of His family.

If you have an earthly father who was distant or even out of the picture, one who abused you, whether verbally or physically, a father who didn’t seem to care about you as an individual and rejected you at every turn; it may be difficult to see God as a father. But in our search for truth we may just discover who God really is.