Kenneth R. Samples is the resident philosopher and theologian at Reasons To Believe, a Christian think-tank primarily devoted to science apologetics. Ever since I attended a Reasons To Believe conference in 2000, I have been fascinated with the approach Ken Samples has taken for testing worldviews for truth. The wait is finally over and A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test is now published. One of the long-term goals of Reasons To Believe has been to provide a comprehensive, testable Christian creation model, and A World of Difference adds a philosophical piece to that testable creation model.
Samples' book is organized into three main sections. The first, short section describes the components that make up a worldview, including theology (view of God), metaphysics (view of reality such as the universe), epistemology (theory of knowledge), axiology (moral values), humanity (human nature), and history (the recorded events of human existence). Included in this section are a suggested means of comparing and testing worldviews for truth. In order to be valid, a worldview must be:
- Logically consistent
- Balanced (not too simple or complex)
- Provide explanatory power and scope
- Correspond to well-established facts
- Be verifiable (truth claims can be verified or falsified)
- Be applicable to real life
- Fill existential needs
- Provide a cumulative and comprehensive approach
- Compete in the marketplace of ideas
The first section ends with a short introduction into logic, logical arguments and critical thinking.
The second section (and longest of the three) examines the Christian worldview in depth. Scripture is cited in detail to formulate a comprehensive, biblically-accurate Christian worldview.
The final section of A World of Difference examines five popular worldviews:
- Naturalism (a completely secular worldview)
- Postmodernism (a skeptical worldview)
- Pantheistic monism (Eastern mystical worldview)
- Islam (a radical monotheistic worldview)
- Christianity (Christian theistic worldview)
Each worldview is examined for its strengths and weaknesses using the nine tests developed in section one. For me, these five chapters were the most interesting in the book, and gives insight into ways of witnessing to individuals who hold those worldviews.
A World of Difference is a great resource to help Christians examine the truth claims of the world's popular worldviews. Samples' book has a list of questions at the end of each chapter that can be used in Bible study groups as a take-off point for discussions. Such a study is highly recommended for all Christians, since the evaluation of worldviews tends to be an area that is neglected by most churches.
- Putting on the Glasses of Truth by Kenneth Richard Samples
- Is Christianity True? Evidence for the Truth of the Christian Religion
- Book Review: 7 Truths that Changed the World: Discovering Christianity's Most Dangerous Ideas by Kenneth Samples
We are what we think.
- 08/25/2015 11:06 AM
Think Again: Christianity’s Relationship to Reason
Are Christians well known for their careful thinking, or does faith do damage to reason? While skeptics sometimes question whether historic Christianity comports with a vigorous logical outlook on life and the world, the truth of the matter is that … Continue reading
- 08/18/2015 01:39 PM
Think Again: Logic vs. Passion
Do you know that it’s possible to engage in a vigorous argument without your face turning red, your jugular vein popping out, or raising your voice? Lots of people think of arguments solely in terms of verbal fights, but there … Continue reading
- 08/11/2015 02:10 AM
Think Again: Logic’s Golden Question
What’s the point? That is the essential question to ask when critically examining arguments. In logic, the point is always what the argument’s conclusion indicates. Thus, the conclusion is also called the central point of the argument. It is what … Continue reading
- 08/04/2015 12:22 PM
Apologetics Strategies: How to Talk to the Experts, Part 2
In part one of this series, we imagined a scenario where you find yourself on an airplane conversing with a quantum physicist. You want to dialogue about science-faith questions, but the discussion could go several different ways—or even shut down … Continue reading
- 07/28/2015 02:46 AM
Apologetics Strategies: How to Talk to the Experts, Part 1
Imagine you’re on an airplane and in the course of casual introductions, you discover the gentleman sitting next to you is a quantum physicist. You share some thoughts about the compatibility between the record of nature and the words of … Continue reading
- 07/21/2015 02:48 AM
Think Again: Keep Your Arguments Clear!
Jewish scholar and radio talk show host Dennis Prager often says, “Clarity is more important than agreement.” And when it comes to reasoning, clarity carries its own persuasive power. Clutter and excessive complexity in an argument frequently stand in the … Continue reading
- 07/14/2015 11:01 AM
Think Again: What Is a Genuine Education?
Learning to think for oneself is one of the most important intellectual duties in life. Truth needs to be pursued and apprehended by each individual person. And one of the great benefits of being made in the image of God … Continue reading
- 07/07/2015 06:42 PM
Think Again: Questioning Conspiracy Theories
Are professional sports on the up and up? Do the “better” teams win by genuinely defeating the “lesser” teams? With the NBA playoffs having just finished, it’s a good time to mention one of the conspiracy theories that was making … Continue reading
- 06/30/2015 03:18 PM
Eyes Wide Open: Thinking about Worldview in Movies, Part 2
Christian families are constantly interacting with all sorts of entertainment: books, music, video games, television, and movies. In part 1 of this series, we discussed worldview analysis as a foundational principle of evaluating the media we consume. Now we will … Continue reading
- 06/23/2015 10:53 AM
Eyes Wide Open: Thinking about Worldview in Movies, Part 1
When I was in seminary, I had a side job as a movie reviewer for a major Christian periodical. For two years I spent nearly every Friday night sitting in arthouse theaters watching a lot of really bad films. Then, … Continue reading
Last Modified September 25, 2008