The Christian Worldview is the Best Explanation
Detectives Utilize Abductive Reasoning
Detectives have a interesting job. We have to enter the crime scene and assess the evidence in front of us: is this a natural death or a homicide? If it’s a homicide, which suspect best explains the evidence at the scene? While there may be a number of potential suspects that account for some or most of the evidence we see, one suspect will usually emerge as the "best" in that he or she most completely (and most reasonably) explains the evidence. This suspect simply makes the most sense of what we are seeing. As good detectives, we then "infer", from the fact that this suspect provides the best explanation (given the evidence) that the suspect is, in fact, the true killer. This process of "inferring to the best explanation" is sometimes called "abduction". As a detective myself, I understand the importance of examining a number of potential solutions (suspects) and carefully assessing which of these solutions best explains the evidence. When I utilize the process of abduction, I end up with an explanation that is simple and coherent and adequately explains the evidence in question. Is it "possible" that I might have the wrong suspect? Sure, especially if I grant that anything and everything is possible. But is it "reasonable" to believe that someone else committed this crime when my final suspect accounts for all the evidence at the crime scene? No. And that’s the beauty of utilizing abduction in this manner. I arrive at a place of "evidential sufficiency" and I’m able to make sense of what I am seeing.
Detectives aren’t the only people who employ abductive reasoning to make sense of their environment. All of us want to make sense of our world. As a result, each of us holds a view of the world (something we refer to as "worldview") that attempts to explain the situation we find ourselves in. That’s fair; all of us observe the world around us and begin to think about potential explanations for what we are seeing. We then find ourselves offering the most reasonable explanation that would, if true, explain the evidence we have in front of us. We are inferring to the best explanation; employing the process of abduction.
The longer we live, the more we recognize life’s "big questions". These questions beg to be answered and have motivated theologians, philosophers and scientists to explore and investigate their world. Every one of us develops a particular worldview in order to explain the reality of our lives and answer life’s most important questions. Along the way we make a decision between two potential realities: a world in which only natural forces are at work (an atheistic worldview known as Philosophical Naturalism) or a world in which supernatural forces are at work in addition to natural forces (as represented by Theistic Worldviews). Given these two possibilities, can abductive reasoning help us to decide which best explains the reality in which we live?
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