Dueling Worldviews  

Posted by Joe Rawls

Derek Olsen of Haligweorc has written a very cogent, very helpful post on the relationship between various worldviews, especially the worldviews underpinning traditional Christianity on the one hand and science (or secular rationalism or whatever your favorite buzzword might be) on the other. I've selected some bits that really spoke to me; do read the whole thing if you get a chance.

Specifically speaking as an American pragmatist, I go with the worldview that works. when I'm in "installing computer components" mode, I'm all Newtonian physics. when I'm in "playing cards" mode, I'm all about quantum physics and probability mechanics....when I wonder about my salvation, I go pre-scientific all the way.

How does this make me neither schizophrenic nor intellectually inconsistent? Because I'm not hegemonic about any of my worldviews. I think that they are all models that serve to describe certain aspects of reality from certain perspectives....I don't think that any of these worldviews offer all the answers to any apprehension of reality and that gives me the freedom to switch between them when I need to.

....In living between worldviews I have found a certain amount of power in a scientific worldview, the kind of power that confirms its truth....But the same is also true of the religious, pre-scientific worldview; I have experienced the power of the resurrection in my life, of the communion of the saints, and God as creator in ways that verify their truth. While the scientific worldview has power in its realm, it cannot touch the spiritual side of my life in the way that the creedal truths do....

As a result when in the field of personal belief I experience a conflict between the creedal worldview and the scientific worldview, I go with the creeds....One of the reasons I allow the creeds to trump science is because of hope. I hope that there is more to life and existence than empirical materialism. Faith in the creeds allows a belief in the mundus plenior, a world where reality cannot be bounded only by what can be weighed and measured. There are wonders in the world that our science does not explain....

In short, I'm proposing an active cognitive dissonance. Not an unthinking one that does not recognize the conflict between worldviews, but one that both notes it and appreciates that all of our worldviews are reductionistic models of a reality that we can never completely quantify or wrap our heads around. Call it a creative contradiction.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at Wednesday, September 03, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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