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Running Head: CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1

Christian Worldview Paper 1 Phillip Fentress Mobley Liberty University COUN 503 D17 201240

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1

Abstract Indeed, knowledge and truth can be found in a number of ways. From an analytical perspective, we are taught that in order to find the knowledge we seek, we must logically apply theoretical questions to obtain a working hypothesis for said answers. It is our beliefs that bias our judgments; however, our biases can be contained if we pursue the process of discovery, through the use of the scientific method. In the Christian community, many believe that science and religion are not compatible; this composition will endeavor to show this is a misconception. Can the intellectual fabric of science and religion be interwoven into a Christian worldview? As we will attempt to show, most natural scientist and religious scholars see Christianity in a very different light. Some scientists believe that Christianity is a religion of fantasy and myth conceptualized by man to facilitate his need to belong to something greater than himself. While theologians believe that their quest for knowledge and truth should be taken as seriously as those in the natural sciences. How can these two beliefs marry into an unadulterated truth and knowledge symbiosis where science supports religion and religion is not overshadowed by science?

Keywords: Christians, Christian worldview, science and religion, scientific method, theology, knowledge and truth.

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1 Christian Worldview 1 Scientific Method The purpose of science is to prove or disprove theories and hypotheses presented as

factual. In order to do this, scientist must seek truth empirically with logical data to support their findings. As defined; the scientific method is a process by which mathematical and experimental techniques are employed in the natural sciences. Many empirical sciences, especially the social sciences, use mathematical tools borrowed from PROBABILITY THEORY and STATISTICS, together with such outgrowths of these as DECISION THEORY, GAME THEORY, utility theory, and
OPERATIONS RESEARCH

(Scientific Method, 2012, http://bit.ly/ZgsXXg). This is the scientific

process of seeking knowledge and truth. There are other ways of seeking knowledge and truth that go beyond the scientific method. The Steps Used In the Scientific Method The scientific method involves following these steps; purpose, research, hypothesis, experiment, analysis and conclusion. A researcher must define the purpose for their research, i.e. variable studies done to test hypotheses presented. Research in a particular subject area is needed in order to present supporting data. Developing a hypothesis is necessary to support factual data when studying single variables. According to Jackson (2012) a hypothesis is a prediction regarding the outcome of a study involving the potential relationship between at least two variables (p. 9). Only through empirical testing can an experiment be conceived for the purpose of generating data to support a null or alternative hypothesis. Once these initial steps are taken, an analysis of the data collected is needed to support empirical findings. A researcher is now able to publically report his/her findings to the academic community and research consumers.

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1 Using the Scientific Method to Seek Knowledge and Truth As Jackson (2012) states, empiricism is the practice of relying on observation to draw conclusions (p. 11). A healthy form of skepticism is welcomed in the scientific arena.

Skepticism queries the validity, authenticity, or truth of something ostensible to be factual. Case in point, a project was formulated by a Liberty University statistics professor questioning whether or not Jesus is the Son of God. Hypothesis testing was done to determine if the null hypothesis is true. Probability was used to determine if the hypothesis and the claim would be accepted; the more likely the results, the more readily the acceptance of the hypothesis. Fulfillment/hypothesis testing where =0.01 was done. By applying the eight Old Testament prophesies on the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, it was determined that if all eight prophesies were fulfilled, then, the only recourse is to reject the hypothesis that Jesus is not the Messiah. This means that the evidence points to Jesus as being the true and living Son of God. This was a phenomenal use of the scientific method supporting the evidence of knowledge and truth in the age old conundrum that Jesus is actually who He claimed to be. Seeking Knowledge and Truth in Ways Beyond the Scientific Method There are other ways of seeking knowledge and truth beyond the scientific method. Some of these sources of knowledge and truth may not be reliable or accurate, for example: knowledge via superstition is knowledge based on subjective feelings and a view of random events as nonrandom or magical (Jackson, 2012). As noted by Jackson (2012) knowledge via intuition aka gut feeling is another way of gaining knowledge of something without being concisely aware of its source (p. 7). By accepting knowledge via intuition, the problem of reliability becomes evident. For instance, it is believed that if birds vanish from or leave an area, there is an impending earthquake coming. This is an example of illusory correlation the

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1

perception of a relationship that does not exist (Jackson, 2012). If anything, this is an example of how nature can bring influence to bare on beliefs and judgments. The Influence of Human Nature on Seeking Knowledge and Truth As human beings, our beliefs bias our judgment. This is an unfortunate fallacy of being human. Coherence is the clarity of thought that binds knowledge to truth. Thagard (2007) points out that coherence is psychologistic in that it employs a model of how human minds make inferences based on coherence considerations (p. 29). Mans natural inclination is to abhor what he does not understand. Herein lays the proverbial clash of intellect. When seeking truth and knowledge, it is necessary to apply logic to questions being posed. At times, human nature supersedes logic in what way? What is it specifically about human nature that interferes? This is not clearly stated. It is those times that our motivations are questioned. For example, recalling the experiment of hypothesis testing using the probability that Jesus is the Messiah; while the evidence can be concluded through hypothesis testing that He indeed is the Son of God; it may also be possible to prove that He is not. It is in the realm of probability that if one is motivated to prove or disprove a hypothesis due to bias; then the data may be skewed to support that bias. In this particular instance, we must adhere to the laws of statistical probability. If those laws uphold logical dissection and analysis, then the findings cannot be disputed. Conclusion The Christian worldview presupposes that all knowledge and truth is God-given. According to Gauch (2009) natural science and natural theology alike rely on reasoning and facts available to all human beings with their endowments of reason and sense perception, that is, they both rely on empirical and public evidence (Gauch et al. 2002). Natural science seeks empirical evidence that bears on scientific hypotheses, whereas natural theology seeks empirical evidence

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1 that bears on worldview hypotheses (p. 681). Can a Christian worldview be accepted in the realm of natural science? Yes. It is a matter of intellectual balance and integration of belief systems. There is evidence all around us that point to a benevolent intelligence that formed the universe. The Christian worldview holds up under the scrutiny of natural science. There are Christian scientists that explore the world daily for scientific knowledge and truth. These scientists interweave their theistic beliefs into their daily work routines. Just because scientific

knowledge is sought empirically by Christian Science researchers, that in no way diminishes the credibility of their research. Science from a Christian perspective is even more fascinating because of the power of observation; which in some cases sheds new light on experiments. Imagine finding the cure for Cancer as a Christian Scientist; seeing Gods miraculous work being done right before your very eyes; knowing that you cannot take credit for Gods guidance, but being the instrument that He uses to bring forth miraculous results.

CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1

References Gauch Jr, Hugh G. (2009). Science, worldviews, and education. [Article]. Science & Education, 18(6/7), 667-695. doi: 10.1007/s11191-006-9059-1

Jackson, Sherri L. (2012). Research Methods and Statisitics: A Critical Thinking Approach (4 ed.). Belmont Wadsworth.

Thagard, Paul. (2007). Coherence, truth, and the development of scientific knowledge. [Article]. Philosophy of Science, 74(1), 28-47.

Webster, Noah; Merriam, Charles & George. (2012). Scientific Method Merriam-Webster Concise Encyclopedia.

Criterion Organization, Writing Quality, & APA Style Clear, logical flow to writing Sections are clearly divided Major points are stated clearly in each section Spelling & Grammar at graduate level Sentences are complete, clear, and concise Paragraphs contain appropriately varied sentence structures Paper in APA style (Title page, citation of references, etc.) Submitted on time Citations in text match the reference list

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CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW PAPER 1 Discussion of Steps in Scientific Method Discussion of steps involved in scientific inquiry was clear and comprehensive Engaged with materials presented in this course (students can incorporate materials from outside of this course as well) Discussion of use of Scientific Method in Seeking Knowledge and Truth Clarified how scientific method can be used as a way of seeking knowledge and truth Discussed from a biblical Christian worldview Discussed how A biblical Christian worldview and Scientific Method are compatible or not compatible and why Discussion of Other Ways of Seeking Knowledge and Truth Identified several ways of seeking knowledge and truth Each way was clearly explained Discussed how a biblical Christian worldview and different methods of knowing are compatible or not compatible and why Discussed from a biblical Christian worldview Discussion of Influence of Human Nature in Seeking Knowledge and Truth Clearly identified what aspects of human nature influence in seeking knowledge and truth Critically evaluated how human nature influence in seeking truth and knowledge in scientific method Critically evaluated how human nature influence in other ways of seeking knowledge and truth Discussed from a biblical Christian worldview TOTAL POINTS

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This section could have had more discussion or a few more examples.

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