Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Is Reality Secular?

Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (Veritas Books)Is Reality Secular?: Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews by Mary Poplin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book description: What is the nature of reality?

At the root of our society's deepest political and cultural divisions are the conflicting principles of four global worldviews. While each of us holds to some version of one of these worldviews, we are often unconscious of their differences as well as their underlying assumptions.

Mary Poplin argues that the ultimate test of a worldview, philosophy or ideology is whether it corresponds with reality. Since different perspectives conflict with each other, how do we make sense of the differences? And if a worldview system accurately reflects reality, what implications does that have for our thinking and living?

In this wide-ranging and perceptive study, Poplin examines four major worldviews: naturalism, humanism, pantheism and Judeo-Christian theism. She explores the fundamental assumptions of each, pressing for limitations. Ultimately she puts each perspective to the test, asking, what if this worldview is true?

If reality is secular, that means something for how we orient our lives. But if reality is not best explained by secular perspectives, that would mean something quite different. Consider for yourself what is the fundamental substance of reality.

My review: A fresh read best when the author is surveying and commenting on the various world views. The task of the author is to evaluate the different world views against "reality" to see which is the most consistent with "reality". The conclusion is that Christianity contains all the truth there is in other world views but goes beyond them to more comprehensive truth. The last section of the book explores the implications of Christianity being true. The book is essentially an apologetic for Christianity. But it takes a fresh approach and is engagingly written. If someone wants an intelligent introduction to the major themes of Christian thought preceded by a good survey of major world views (material naturalism, secular humanism, pantheism) then it's worth a read. I didn't agree with everything the author says (I rarely do!) but it's an interesting approach from someone who has lived on both sides of religion. An enjoyable and informative read that will, perhaps, be most appreciated by intelligent Christians.

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