- Series: Reasons to Believe
- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books (September 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801068223
- ISBN-13: 978-0801068225
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test (Reasons to Believe) Paperback – September 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Learn How Historic Christianity Is Superior to Other Truth-Claims
At a time when Christian belief is constantly challenged, understanding different worldviews can help Christians think and live faithfully. Kenneth Samples's own life-and-death crisis encourages believers to develop a worldview perspective based on truth, critical thinking, and logic. In A World of Difference, he addresses the historic Christian worldview and evaluates four modern-day competitors--Islam, naturalism, postmodernism, and pantheistic monism. The use of nine distinct and challenging tests shows how all worldviews should be assessed.
With compelling insight into Scripture, history, science, and theology, A World of Difference will challenge and strengthen your beliefs.
"Christians can no longer afford to be ignorant of how to think and see the world in light of their worldview and alternative worldviews. A World of Difference is the right book at the right time."--J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, Biola University; author, Kingdom Triangle
"One of my biggest concerns for Christians struggling to make their way through the intellectual challenges of our age is that they often don't have the basic categories to think biblically about their own faith. Ken Samples's A World of Difference will give them those categories."--Kim Riddlebarger, co-host, The White Horse Inn; author, A Case for Amillennialism and The Man of Sin
Kenneth Richard Samples is senior research scholar with a focus on theological and philosophical apologetics at Reasons To Believe, which provides research and teaching on the harmony of God's revelation in the words of the Bible and the facts of nature. An adjunct instructor of apologetics at Biola University, Samples also tackles tough faith questions in his book Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions.
About the Author
Kenneth Richard Samples is vice president of philosophical and theological apologetics with Reasons To Believe, the premier science religion think tank. A Christian apologetics professor at Biola University, Samples also answers tough faith questions in his book Without at Doubt. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
The "Putting Christian Truth Claims to the Worldview Test" is an apt subtitle. Samples submits Christianity to the same test he applies to Naturalism, Islam, Pantheistic Monism, and Postmodernism. In the early chapters he goes into a useful, detailed discussion about what a worldview really is in language accessible to the lay reader yet interesting to the expert. The background explanation of the nature of worldview and the nature of the Christian worldview deepen the understanding of the test claims later in the book. The chapter order simultaneously creates a larger argument favoring a Christian worldview while presenting an engagingly wide range of topics throughout the book with clarity and thematic coherence.
One of the things Samples does is attempt to set his book apart from the many other books on worldviews. In this he succeeds remarkably. One distinctive feature of "A World of Difference" is a chapter devoted entirely to explaining logical and informal fallacies. It is like getting a miniature lesson in critical thinking applicable to any topic whatsoever. Samples' vast experience as a college professor of critical thinking shows through in his careful selection of fallacies, and anyone who spends the time to learn what he teaches in a remarkably short span would find much to apply in many other domains. Armed with an understanding of these fallacies the reader becomes a far more effective student of the relative strengths of the arguments posed by various worldviews. I do not know of any other worldview book that so successfully trains the mind of the reader not only to look for logical defects, but to know what the defects are and WHY they are defects.
My favorite chapter was his marvelously concise treatise on Postmodernism. Not only does he clearly explicate the elements of Postmodernist philosophy, he provides a remarkably interesting explanation of how it arose, why it arose, and its effects on culture. For those who "know there's something wrong with Postmodernism" but don't know how to explain it, Samples' chapter on Postmodernism is a perfect primer, easy to read and easy to remember.
Although the book is easy to read and accessible to a lay audience, it is not a book for the intellectually lazy. Samples subject matter demands attention and his writing style makes it interesting. I found the first half of the book somewhat looser reading than the end, which seemed to pick up steam in the final third. Perhaps because the last chapters were more tightly focused on comparison than the earlier chapters, the style seemed to change and become more concise at the end, something I enjoyed.
I also enjoyed the short chapter format. I found it easy to read the book a few chapters at a time and think about them between readings. Unlike books with laboriously long chapters, you can conveniently take on one or two chapters at a time in "A World of Difference" without worrying that you're leaving an important thought halfway. For others like me who are constantly busy, the short chapter format is a mercy.
Easy to read, intellectually challenging, and full of many delights I did not have the time to mention here, "A World of Difference" makes good its promise to put Christian truth claims to the worldview test. It is unique among worldview books in many ways, effective in conveying deep concepts in clear language, and even contains a concurrent real-life story of Samples' near-death reflection on his own mortality and challenges to his own faith.
I strongly recommend buying this book, consuming its contents like a fine meal, and getting others to do the same. With "A World of Difference," you will be intellectually prepared to know and advance the Christian worldview with a confidence and understanding you would not have without it.
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, and compete in the marketplace of ideas. The first section ends with a short introduction into logic and logical arguments.
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), and 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 give 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.