In their new book, Hidden Worldviews: Eight Cultural Stories That Shape Our Lives
, Steve Wilkens and Mark Sanford examine cultural scripts that work against the gospel work in the Church.
Our theme today: scientific naturalism.
The motto: “Only matter matters.”
We are back to the world of RJS: Where do you draw the line with the empirical and the natural for explanations? Is there God? Is there Spirit? Are we more than our chemicals and matter?
Another worldview script shaping culture and church is the one that claims that only what is scientifically demonstrable is true knowledge, and all things important can be reduced to the natural. The supernatural is hereby excluded. All we have are the perceived laws of nature — eternal, unchanging, and somewhat deterministic. But also this makes the world reasonable. Naturalism is salvific as it guides humans into the good life.
Naturalism helps us with seeing the value of science and of reason; it helps us see the unity of matter and the world and it is fundamental to resolving questions and problems.
But…. scientific naturalism is a quasi-religion. Thus, the problems:
1. Diminishes the value of humans. (That we are Eikons.)
2. Devalues the importance of morals. Can “matter” be moral?
3. It can undercut rationality because it makes all things chance or accident.
4. Cannot define progress or explain purpose (which was John Walton’s major point).