Finding Truth: Secular Leaps of Faith
by Amy Hall
This week, we’re discussing the chapter “Secular Leaps of Faith” in Nancy Pearcey’s Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, which covers the third of five principles for evaluating worldviews: “Test the idol: Does it contradict what we know about the world?” (see links to the previous posts below).
First, a quick summary of the topic today:
We have worked through two principles in worldview analysis. First we identify its idol. Second we identify its reductionism. Now we will ask whether idol-centered worldviews fit the real world. (p. 147)
Just as scientists test a theory by taking it into the lab and mixing chemicals in a test tube to see if the results confirm the theory, so we test a worldview by taking it into the laboratory of ordinary life. Can it be lived out consistently in the real world, without doing violence to human nature? Does life function the way the worldview says it should? Does it fit reality? Does it match what we know about the world? (p. 143)
Pearcey points out that anytime you base your understanding of ultimate reality on a created thing (such as matter)—something that’s below God—you will ultimately be forced into a fragmented view of reality, recognizing part of the universe and human experience as real, and viewing other parts as an illusion. For example, materialists who think of human beings as “computers made of meat” have no rational explanation for consciousness, love, etc., yet they aren’t able to live as if these things don’t exist. Instead, they continue to act as if these things do exist, even though they have no reason within their own worldview to believe in them.
Pearcey characterizes this move to act as if certain things exist—things they’re intellectually convinced do not exist—as a “secular leap of faith.” Ironically, this amounts to the very thing many atheists wrongly accuse Christians of doing…
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