Over the summer I spent most of my time studying philosophical theology. You may ask, “What does it mean to study philosophical theology?” Well, it’s really just a fancy way of saying that I spent my summer indoors trying to figure out if God exists, what His nature is, and how it is that I can know such things. Until very recently I thought that my summertime studies were solely for personal advancement, but the past few weeks have made it clear that I shouldn’t keep what I have learned to myself.
Returning to NCU this fall has renewed my awareness of the peculiar social context in which our school finds itself. We are a Christian university of about 600 students, adjacent to a secular university of nearly 25,000 students, surrounded by a population of 157,000, of whom 24% are completely irreligious. NCU is smack-dab in the middle of the Un-Churched Belt – a region of the Western United States where the levels of religiosity are at a national low. Awkward.
We are presently living in a city that largely subscribes to the Atheistic worldview of naturalism. Naturalism, specifically ontological naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that claims nothing exists outside of the matter, energy, and laws that comprise and shape the material universe. That means no God, no soul, or anything else supernatural. Those who subscribe to such a worldview sometimes think that Christians are delusional, irrational, and ignorant. It is because we find ourselves in this context that we need to take seriously the words of 1 Peter 3:15. As Christians, we must be ready to give a rational account for why we believe what we do. What we learn at church and even what we learn at NCU may not be enough to provide a defense for our faith. That is why I am setting out to write a series of posts that explain the philosophical shortcomings of naturalism.
Starting later this month, I will post an article related to this subject every other week. These posts will be longer and more complex than my other posts on the Beacon Bolt, but I think anyone interested in the big questions about God will find them very useful. Being Christian among non-Christians is very difficult, but if we have an educated understanding of our worldview and the worldview of those around us, we can make a solid case for the rationality of our hope in Christ.