Thursday, 11 January 2018

Some ideas believed in the West

This is a general, big-picture hand-out I created for a non-Western audience. But Westerners will find it helpful too.
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Why is it important to understand how Western people think, if we do not live in the West? The fact is that the world-view of the West does not stay in the West. It spreads. It spreads through the media (the Internet, television). It spreads through educational institutions, and textbooks. So, we need to be aware. There are two mistakes to avoid. One is to reject everything, and say “it’s Western!”, as if “West = Wrong”. The other is to accept everything, and say “it’s Western!” as if “West = Correct”. As with everything else, we should test it by the Word of God. God is truth!

Idea A Christian will want to say...
The material world follows scientific laws God runs his world in an orderly way. We describe this, calling different things “laws”, but this does not prevent God from doing something different (sometimes called “a miracle”) if he wishes. The word “law” should not stop us from asking “how” and “why” questions. No “law” can create, or maintain, itself.
The universe is like a big machine. God is not needed. God holds all things in existence. He is present everywhere. Without him, there could not be a universe, or anything.
Science can solve all of our problems
It cannot, because science can only deal with the physical or material parts of problems (not with moral problems, or spiritual problems).
We can choose how we want the world to be, and use science to achieve our choices God’s creation has both a) limits which he has placed on it which we cannot pass beyond (you will never be a cat) and b) his approved ways of living, beyond which we are in rebellion against him, which carries serious and eternal consequences
Religion is only about private opinions. Religion is just about what you believe in your head God is concerned about everything. Since we belong to God, his Word affects all parts of life, everywhere. Christ is the king of the whole universe, and everybody’s final judge.
I should only believe things that science has demonstrated Science has no access beyond the material realm, and is extremely limited in what it can say about many important things in the material realm (for example, one-off events in history), or about their meaning or significance.
Science is opposed to religion If God created all things, then studying his physical world (creation) cannot be something that is opposed to worshiping God.
If two religions disagree, then there is no way to choose between them... and it does not matter. Religion is just about being loving to other people, so all religions really say the same thing. The Bible describes God’s plan for history. It begins with the start of history, and goes through to the end. There is only one world, and the things in the Bible – like the resurrection of Christ – reveal the world’s one true story and destination. True religion must begin with the true God and his plans for his world, not false gods invented by humans, and not with ignoring the true God’s plan.

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