From the Author
James Sire: The Universe Next Door is a basic catalog of worldviews--that is, of the primary ways people have viewed reality. In part the book is a work of popular intellectual history. It begins with Christian theism, the worldview dominant in the seventeenth century and very much alive today, and shows how subsequent worldviews (deism, naturalism, nihilism, existentialism) developed from theism, and then how Eastern pantheism, New Age thought and postmodernism have emerged to further complicate the pluralistic character of our Western culture. The book is also a work to help individuals understand their own worldview and why they think it is true. The Universe Next Door is not itself an apologetic for the Christian faith, but it provides much of the material from which an apologetic can be constructed by those who think through its implications. A short answer to the question of why I wrote this book in the first place is in its epigraph: "For any of us to be fully conscious intellectually we should not only be able to detect the worldviews of others but be aware of our own--why it is ours and why in light of so many options we think it is true."
Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept asks, What exactly is a worldview? It takes the largely intellectual concept I first formulated in The Universe Next Door in 1976 and asks whether it is still adequate. As a result of this analysis, I offer a revised definition that preserves the importance of the intellect but identifies the essence of a worldview as a matter of the heart--the central control room of the human being--rather than solely as a matter of the mind. The final chapter suggests ways in which worldview analysis can benefit us and our culture.