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Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in the World of Ideas Kindle Edition
This world is a battlefield in the arena of ideas. The prize is the heart and mind of humankind. In this book, Ronald Nash outlines the Christian way of looking at God, self, and the world. He holds that worldview up against the tests of reason, logic, and experience, particularly discussing the problems of evil and the alleged "nonsense" of the historic Christian doctrines and of Jesus' incarnation and resurrection. He finds the Christian worldview sound and urges Christians to equip themselves intellectually to defend the faith on that battlefield. He particularly hits the attractions to our generation of naturalism and the New Age movement, pointing out their weaknesses and pitfalls as well as those of older worldviews. "Christian theism," he writes, "is a system that commends itself to the whole person"; but he stresses that a great difference exists between "belief that" and "belief in."
From the Back Cover
About the Author
Ronald H. Nash (PhD, Syracuse University) was professor of philosophy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He was author of numerous books, including The Concept of God and Faith and Reason.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B003TFE5NG
- Publisher : Zondervan Academic (June 23, 2010)
- Publication date : June 23, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 658 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 177 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0310577713
- Best Sellers Rank: #979,805 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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Nash begins his treatment by defining for the reader exactly what a worldview is, saying, “in its simplest terms, a worldview is a set of beliefs about the most important issues in life” and an important aspect of any worldview is that all of the beliefs espoused by it “must cohere in some way and form a system” (p. 16). He argues for the validity of allowing presuppositions in the development of a worldview and then provides examples of some of the most important questions a worldview must answer if it is to be taken seriously. Next, Nash provides an overview of the Christian worldview and the answers it provides for the aforementioned questions. Confusingly, he explains the Christian worldview before he enters a discussion of how to think about, consider, and choose a worldview using the three tests of reason, experience, and practice. The next three chapters deal first with understanding more intimately the test of reason, and then the applying of that test to the Christian worldview. In the application portion, Nash addresses both the deductive and inductive theodical arguments, showing how they pose no threat to the rationality of Christian theism. He then provides critiques of both Naturalism and the New Age Movement, showing how these two competing worldviews do not provide sufficient or satisfactory results when put to the three tests of reason, experience, and practice. In conclusion, Nash seeks to bolster the Christian worldview by defending the doctrines of the resurrection and the incarnation, before closing by offering the reader some practical advice on how to think through everything presented in the book.
Nash’s stated purpose is to provide the reader with the basic tools needed to interact with others in the world of ideas, “the most important of which is the ability to think in terms of worldviews” (p. 15). In this respect, I believe the author succeeds, but it’s important that the potential reader understand his stated purpose, and not assume a purpose based on what the title of the book may imply. Just by reading the subtitle, choosing Christianity in a world of ideas, one might think that the majority of the book would be devoted to comparing Christianity to “the world of ideas”, however, only Naturalism and the New Age Movement are critiqued. The majority of the work, as the author says, is intended to define, shape, and inform the readers understanding of what a worldview is and how to let that understanding act as a foundation for how one thinks about the world. To that end, the author succeeds, but that also leads me to a point of critique. It seems to me that the author tried to write two different books here, or at least he would have been better off doing so. The first half is devoted to describing the concept of worldviews and how to build an epistemological framework upon them. Given that the author is providing a popular treatment of this subject and not an academic one, I believe this material alone is sufficient to fulfill the authors stated purpose. The problem comes in the second half of the book which is somewhat of an apologetic defense of Christianity over and against Naturalism and the New Age Movement, along with a defense of the incarnation and the resurrection. There are two problems I see with this portion of the book: 1) it appears to be too far removed from the author’s stated purpose of merely providing a general understanding of worldviews, and 2) I do not believe it is a thorough enough treatment in order to provide the reader with the assurance that Christianity is the prevailing worldview amongst a world of ideas—there are only two competing worldviews discussed and only two essential doctrines defended. This is why I feel the author may have been better off separating the two halves of this book, or at least should have considered developing this work into a more exhaustive treatment. The first half of the book would work great as a primer on worldviews and could stand on its own. But the second half is insufficient if taken by itself and it also feels disjointed (or maybe incomplete) following the first half.
That being said, the material itself is great. Although a small bit of effort will need to be put forth by readers who are unacquainted with the topic, Nash deals with philosophical ideas and arguments in a way that is easy to follow and understand if that effort is applied. However, given the problems noted, I would probably hesitate to recommend this book as an introduction to these issues. Nash’s work is certainly worth reading, but in my opinion, it doesn’t provide an adequate foundation for a beginner to start with.
I purchased this book so that I could intelligently explain the concept of a world-view. I am teaching teenagers so I did not need the book to be complicated. I wanted to explain the concept in the simplest of terms. And I think that (throughout most of the book) Nash did explain the concept very well. I enjoyed the book and underlined some great quotes. I am sure that in the future I will continue to use this book as a resource. It is little dated, published in 1992. I would love to see an updated edition. Seeing how Nash is no longer with us but with the Lord, an updated edition would be impossible. In that regard, if any readers of this blog knows of a recent and valuable work about world-views, I would love to hear some recommendations.
I enjoyed the first few chapters where Nash definitively explained what a worldview is. He explained the role of presuppositions and the five major elements of a worldview. Nash wrote about choosing a worldview and contrasted the Christian and naturalist worldview. Which I think was great, he really simplified this through a visual illustration. One I will continue to use as I explain God’s creative work and intelligent design. He contrasted Christianity with the new age worldview. I just skimmed through this section. I am not certain, but I am assuming that the new age movement has lost its thrust in the world of ideas. Very rarely do I ever hear about the new age movement. As I said, I wish that the book was updated. I would love to hear what Nash thinks about modern atheists, and the multicultural-religion (worldview) shift in America.
Nash contributed a section on reason, which I also dredged through. It may appeal to others, but it was a little academic for me (most books are). Sometimes I have to read a book twice to comprehend the context. Many of the books reviewed on this blog I have had to read twice. Hopefully those of you who read my book reviews are encouraged by my efforts. He also dedicated one chapter to the problem of evil, a very succinct proposition, hardly exhausted. After looking through the chapter once more, I realize that I only underlined two small sections. Which means that there was nothing new to his argument, but remember the book is twenty-five years old. Nash hashes out some arguments for the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus. Overall I liked the book, my biggest complaint is that the book is outdated.
There are more than one way of approaching the concept of a world view as well as explaining an organizing its content. For example, Nash speaks of five aspects while Colson ( How Now Shall We Live? ) speaks of three. Nash speaks of three world-view-tests while Colson speaks of one. In the end the result is the same, but Nashes way makes it very easy to understand what a world view is all about. Then he leaves it to you to apply it in real life.
The book is a great supplement to Nashes lectures in christian apologetics, which can be found on iTunes U.