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Is it possible to have a solid worldview based on statements like; in my view, my opinion, my feelings, and experiences tell me… What is the basis of a coherent worldview?
In constructing a worldview, how much does your opinion count? How much is your opinion worth? Compared to mine? Your neighbors? A scientist? A philosopher? A religionist? The foundation is everything.
The Explanation, unabashedly, claims to help you build your worldview. Why do we make that promise? After all, it’s a rather presumptuous proposal. Especially, why would our worldview be any better than yours?
Here are seven questions from a book, The Universe Next Door, by James Sire. The answers form the foundation of any worldview. Test yourself.
- What is prime reality? The really real?
- What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?
- What is a human being?
- What happens to a person at death?
- Why is it possible to know anything at all?
- How do we know what is right and wrong?
- What is the meaning of human history?
Not easy, right?! Let me ask you the question, can you answer any one of these based on your opinion, your feelings, or your experiences? If so, how do you know you’re right and those with different opinions, wrong?
Why are we broaching this subject? This blog post will be one of the first chapters in a new book entitled something like Answer the Big Questions in Life, Practical Bible Wisdom. That might be the sub-title, I don’t know yet. This book will cover some controversial social subjects like slavery which I wrote on last week and gender relations which I will introduce next week. Justice, family, mind… There is much conflict on such issues, with seemingly everyone having their opinion and view.
That’s the problem, your view has no more, nor no less value than my view, or that of the next, or the next person. Depending on the viewpoint of the person telling the story, it is said, put ten people in the room and you’ll have eleven opinions. Talk about confusion. Let’s illustrate why we have so many points of view. This could be referred to as personalview. This is someone with little education, or reading knowledge. It could be a highly educated individual who considers their discipline as the base of all knowledge. Or someone who has thrown reason to the wind and is in personal pursuit of answers. This is the most focused view, not to say, shuttered, blindfolded, like a horse with blinders on view.
We all fit into this category to one degree or another. Here is a list of hundreds of issues subject to controversy. Take a look and see where your personalview stands. Here’s a shortlist.
The number of issues is baffling. Consider this, since Gutenberg’s printing press in 1440 estimates put the number of books published at about 130,000,000. The classification systems must take into account the myriad subjects, the points from which author worldviews depart. Look at the variety of topics in the Dewey Decimal Library system and the BISAC book categories. Personalviews are plethoric.
Four bases of worldview
In Audit of Humankind I wrote a section of How Humans Reason. The process is broken down into four main areas:
- Observation including opinions, feelings, experiences, what some would call instinct.
- Philosophy, scholarly answers to the big questions in life (like the 7 above).
- Science, dealing with the measurable.
- Religion focused on the spiritual, non-measurable.
Depending on our mind environment, in other words, the instruction both from others (parents, community, Church, school teachers, coaches, mentors…). Coupled with personal study (reading, meditation, travel, personal experiences…), we develop our worldview. This is the influence of nurture.
Our personal worldview, and I daresay each one is different, is based on the fact that no two humans are in total agreement about everything. But they do emerge from our four cornerstone foundation.
All our personal knowledge and ideas fit into one, or maybe overlaps into a plurality of those four categories.
Departure point of Reasoning
When you’re in a conversation with someone, or reading a book, do you consider the departure point of your interlocutor? Usually, you can pick it up in the first few minutes. For a book, in the preface or first chapter. It’s going to be from one of those four principal areas, and more likely from a more downstream point of view. In other words, from more detailed branches or twigs. This is important because it means everything prior to that, the bigger and parallel branches are simply omitted.
This is the problem with paleontology… we construct a genealogy tracing human history through prehistoric creatures. Then we dig up something new and have to reconstruct the whole chart. Who knows what chart exists today and what it will look like tomorrow.
I was reading Jane Goodall’s life experience, and what she has done is truly remarkable. As a child, she dreamed of Africa and animals. She saved money until she could go to Tanganyika (now Tanzania), and she realized that’s where she wanted to be. She needed a way and money to follow her dream of befriending and working with chimpanzees. A friend suggested she contact the Kenyan paleontologist and archaeologist Louis Leakey, who hired her for a particular reason. He believed a study of great apes could provide indications of the behaviour of early hominids.
Over the many years and countless experiences, she found similarities between humans and chimpanzees in the areas of emotion, intelligence, and social relationships. She was the first person to witness apes shaping stick tools to poke into termite mounds and extract them for a gastronomic meal. Apes have a sense of reasoning and inventiveness. This observation was in line with the established ancestry link between apes and the human species.
Goodall also noted dissimilarities. The violence of dominant female apes in killing the offspring of their rivals, even stooping to cannibalism. Along with regular forays to kill and eat smaller monkeys.
I cannot say to what extent Goodall’s research fortified the scientific stance humans descend from apes, through hominids. But it certainly comforted and reinforced their beliefs. On the other hand, no one can explain their violence or the total absence of other tools beyond those for eating. Science has picked the facts it wants and swept under the rug those experiences it can’t explain.
Inventory of the Universe
The first book in The Explanation series is Inventory of the Universe. A journey from the vastness of outer space to the minuteness of the quark. From the physics of elementary particles to the psychology of the human mind. A portrayal of our known universal environment.
A 4* review of the book said this. “This is like an updated and longer, “View from a height” by Isaac Asimov. An overview of the world and science from physics to biology…” I have to admit, it’s nice to be compared to Isaac Asimov. His book covered 17 essays dealing with biology / chemistry / physics. However, the reviewer missed the essential, or I wasn’t clear enough in the book.
Here’s the point I emphasized on numerous occasions:
Human life: “To speak in terms such as function and to refer to sheer numbers is inadequate to describe the processes that are performing like a battalion of flying trapeze artists in total sync.
In our bodies, in human life, in flora, in fauna, and, indeed, in the universe. The full gamut that I’m doing my best to help us understand.”
Human body: “Hundreds, thousands, and millions of timely processes are taking place night and day. This is the ultimate in chronobiology: the notion of very complex biological procedures and the clock being in the right place at just the right split second. It’s so much more than simply mixing a few chemical elements together. Timing, the instantaneous coordination of umpteen intricate systems, is a decisive ingredient we cannot omit.”
Epilogue: “All the processes of each aspect of our environment fit together. For examples, see the nitrogen cycle, the water cycle, and butterflies, wasps, and bees pollinating flowers and plants.
These processes impact, intermingle, and create an interface so that other processes can express themselves. We live in a fully integrated, interdependent environment with no missing or redundant parts.”
Later, in Origin of the Universe, I coined the phrase coherent completeness to express the concept of a worldview taking into consideration every single aspect of our Universe. One that explains the controversies and the violence of apes.
Another major scientific field where there’s no consensus and lots of question marks is regarding the nature of consciousness. I exchanged with a friend who has done extensive studies in this area. I asked, “Is consciousness part of the brain, or external from the brain?” Here are the key points of what she wrote.
- Brain is facilitator of communication with consciousness,
- Whatever that is,
- Consciousness doesn’t reside in the body
- It gives us the ability to receive awareness
- This contradicts the fact, consciousness outlives your body.
- Near death and channeling experiences corroborate the existence of something conscious beyond the physical body.
Here’s my reply, “You put it very well also when you said, ‘there are so many opinions and it depends on the authors.’ Which brings us to another question I asked…
Why are there so many opinions?!
That short question ”Why so many opinions?” and her response, ‘Yes why?” got me thinking about how to answer that and the answer revolves around worldview.
A worldview is taking into consideration EVERY aspect of life and death, etc. In my books I sum up the millions of pieces with: Space, Atmosphere, Water, Earth, Flora, Fauna, Humans, Body, Brain, Mind. In other words, everything in the known Universe. A full worldview should be able to explain ALL those elements and details in ONE coherent, complete picture! And that is the goal of The Explanation series of books.
Why so many opinions? Simply because of what you said, “it depends on the writer.” In other words, EACH person is answering from THEIR point of VIEW. And their point of view is a fractional point somewhere between Space and Mind. Science only considers the physical. Religion places the spiritual first and rejects some science. Each person is trying to establish a worldview departing from THEIR basic knowledge and know-how. They are expanding from one point in a million points. Another person will depart from a second point in the million points. A million people departing from a million different points. Impossible to assemble a coherent picture.
The only way to understand a point is withIN the millions of other points. You’ve got to understand how the million points assemble BEFORE you can say, this is the place ONE point occupies.
Put another way, people are assembling the overall puzzle from their expertise, which only represents ONE piece of the million pieces of the puzzle. Impossible. That’s why we have so many opinions and the resultant confusion.
You’ve got to first have the million pieces assembled BEFORE you can see how your piece fits in the WHOLE.
The question is. Where is the WHOLE Worldview? How do you find that worldview?
Well, can a human create such a worldview? I mean, if you look at all the pieces from Space to the Mind, the entire Universe, it seems organized and coherent. How did is get organized? Is it pure chance?
Is a human, or humanity responsible for its existence, organization?
If it’s not humanity, then who is it?
God and the Bible
Wow, yes, I’m making a gigantic jump from humanity to God. In The Explanation series, I take a few chapters from How Humans Reason at the end of Audit of Humankind and the beginning of Origin of the Universe to make that transition. Please visit those links. Here, I have to jump right in.
As much as people say they believe in God. God rarely enters any of the discussion concerning how the controversies involve Him. Or He enters from the religion base with minor consideration for the other three bases. Ideas are twisted and we have 100 million books of differing opinions about ape nature and violence, the human body, brain, human nature, consciousness, awareness, mind and the other million points.
And yet, IF God is the Creator, somewhere ALL these elements involve Him.
The confusion is because if you don’t involve God Who is the Creator, you can NOT sort out the pieces of the puzzle.
God is responsible for the worldview. Did He tell us about it… among other thing, about human nature, consciousness, awareness, mind, near-death and channeling experiences? Each is ONE point among the million points. Certain points, like the mind, are important points, but they are still just points IN the overall puzzle.
God tells us about these things. Where are ALL the points? In the Bible. And that’s where The Explanation has to go. To the Author of the million piece puzzle.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
It starts with God and moves on to practical Bible wisdom. It’s the knowledge of God’s word that gives understanding AND not worldview, but GODVIEW.
The Bible talks about human construction of their multiple differing worldviews.
9 Woe to him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What make you? or your work, He has no hands?
29:15 Woe to them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who sees us? and who knows us?
16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?
Read those verses closely. Isa. 45:9 says let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of earth. It’s describing human potsherds’ bickering debates in politics, government, science, philosophy and religion. Each person or author thinking they’re right, “be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh, (Ecclesiastes 12:12).” Isaiah says,” there works are in the dark, they’ve turned things upside down.” There’s no agreement.
Many talk about or omit God, but the bottom line is, they’ve removed all trace of God from the very foundation of Godview. In worldview, God is just another one of those million pieces, maybe a lttle more important than other pieces, but certainly not the foundation. That’s the meaning of He has no hands. We humans think we’re here and there was no Creator! We don’t think there’s a Godview.
If someone put a computer in front of you and said it happened by chance, you’d call for a psychiatrist and a straightjacket. You know a computer doesn’t just happen out of thin air. But you apply that principle to the existence of the Universe, humankind, the mind, and the millions of interconnected systems in the perfectly arranged picture that is our Universe. It just happened.
Come to your senses. In Isa. 29:16, we must realize 100% He, God, has understanding, He is the foundation. Worldview emanates from God. God, from His foundation, builds up and places the million pieces into their specific slots.
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