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11.01.2015

The 5 principles of finding truth

This is an excerpt from Nancy Pearcey's book Finding Truth . It's from around page 255 or so (I have the ebook edition). It's an overview of the five principles of the book:

"A unique feature of a Romans 1 strategy is it can be applied universally to analyze and respond to any theory. Let’s remind ourselves of its key elements.

Principle #1 is to identify the idol. Every nonbiblical worldview starts with an idol, a God substitute. Romans 1 says that if humans do not worship the Creator, they will make a deity out of something in the created order. Like the blind men and the elephant, they fasten on some part of the created order and declare it to be the ultimate reality.

Principle #2 is to identify the reductionism. When one part of creation is deified, the other parts will be denigrated. Why? Because a part is always too small to explain the whole. Something will always stick out of the box. That “something”will be suppressed—devalued, dismissed, or denied. Otherwise it would count as evidence to falsify the worldview. Reductionism is always dehumanizing. It exchanges a high view of humanity made in the image of God for the image of something in the created order. And because the idol is something lower than the biblical God, its concept of humanity will also be lower. It will deny key attributes that make us distinctively human. And when reductionistic worldviews gain political power, the consequences are oppressive, coercive, and inhumane.

Principle #3 is to test the worldview against the facts of experience [test it's external consistency, -ct], the truths of general revelation. No matter how hard people try to suppress the evidence for God, the created order itself keeps challenging them. Both physical nature and human nature give evidence of the Creator. Therefore every idol-based worldview will fail to fit the evidence. It will contradict the knowable facts of general revelation. The more self-aware people are, the more clearly they will realize that they cannot live consistently on the basis of their own reductionistic worldviews. The truths of general revelation—the things they “can’t help believing”and living—create a gap between what they profess and what they practice. As a result, they live with a mental dualism, maintaining two sets of inconsistent beliefs.

Principle #4 is to show that every reductionistic worldview is self-defeating [test it's internal consistency, -ct]. It commits suicide. That’s because it reduces reason to something less than reason. Yet the only way a worldview can build its own case is by using reason. Thus it undercuts itself. It is self-refuting. Everyone who proposes a reductionist worldview must make a tacit exception for his own thinking—at least, at the moment he is stating his claims. But that, too, creates a logical inconsistency. It is an admission that there is one thing that the worldview does not cover—namely, the person who is proposing it. Either way, then, a reductionistic worldview fails.

Principle #5 is to make the case for a Christian worldview. By focusing on the points where competing worldviews fail, we can be assured that we are answering questions that are actually relevant. By identifying the points where non-Christians are free-loading, we can be confident that we are addressing areas where they sense a need for something more."


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