Explaining All Reality: Theism or Atheism?


We all know people who can’t seem to pack enough clothing on vacation or who over-prepare for even the shortest of trips! You either are a pack rat or you probably live with one. I am a pack rat, which means I pack more than I ever need.

This month we have been on a truth journey. And if our goal is to find the truth we have to pack for the trip. By that I mean, to make sense of reality, we have to pack significant aspects of it into our worldview.

Professor Nancy Pearcey claims an indicator of a faulty worldview is that “inevitably something will stick out of the box. A box that defies a part of creation will always be too limited to explain the whole. (Nancy Pearcey, Finding Truth)”

Our belief system is flawed if it disregards certain aspects of reality or denies them entirely. So to find the truth we ought to consider the whole of reality; if something doesn’t fit, then your suit case (or world view) is not big enough to pack the things you need to make the journey.

In this case, we should consider abandoning belief systems that leave out much needed explanations of the real world.

The story of C.S. Lewis is a useful example. Lewis (who most know from The Chronicles of Narnia) was an intellectual atheist for many years.

As an atheist and a materialist, Lewis could not fit the supernatural into his worldview. He could not fit in anything unless it was made of the physical, material world. Therefore, his notion of ethics, morality, beauty, and the like were not quite as real as the physical world, if they were real at all.

Lewis described this view as realism.

But this dilemma was bothersome to Lewis, especially after some criticism from his friend Owen Barfield. Lewis said, “We had been, in the technical sense of the term “realists”; that is, we accepted as rock-bottom reality the universe revealed by the senses. But at the same time we continued to make for certain phenomena of consciousness all the claims that really went into a theistic or idealistic view...Barfield convinced me that it was inconsistent. (C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy)”

Lewis realized that materialism only explains one aspect of reality; the material world. Yet, we live as if there is another world beyond ourselves; one that consists of immaterial realities like justice, love, morality, etc.

The conclusion that realism was inconsistent, came because Lewis was not intent on holding onto his idea when presented with a new understanding.

He was just open to truth as a whole. He was willing to search for a belief system which took into account all aspects of reality.

Upon recognizing that his worldview was inconsistent, he abandoned his “realism.”

Theism takes into account not only the natural world but the supernatural as well. There are plenty of theistic scientists, physicists, biologists, etc. who study natural phenomena. There is a case to be made that scientific discovery points us back to our creator, God.

Thus we theists can fit the physical world into our worldview.

But we can also fit the immaterial world into our worldview, while strict materialists cannot.

The question now becomes do immaterial things (like morality) exist in the first place?

Ask yourself, what would the world look like if we lived as if morality is just a social construct? Why do we live as if there is something more to humanity than the material world?

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