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World Views

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

by Scott Hanson

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14

The complexity of world-views and religious beliefs are such, that it can lead one to believe they are inadequately equipped to defend the Christian faith.

This is an effort to classify all religions/beliefs into eight, basic categories. The arguments presented, countering each, are starting-points, and are not intended to be exhaustive.

Everyone believes in something, even if they have not fully examined or defined what it is that they believe. When contending for the faith, these categories can help identify which viewpoint(s) the other person holds.

God expects us to be able to provide ‘a reason for the hope that lies within’ (1Peter 3:15), while allowing our words to be ‘with grace’ and ‘seasoned with salt’, that we may know how to ‘answer every man’ (Colossians 4:6).

We’re not placed in the path of unbelievers to win intellectual arguments. We’re called to proclaim the gospel. The hearing of God’s word is what reveals truth to someone. God tells us His word will not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

  1. – Denial of Christ

  2. + Adding to Christ

  3. * Pantheism/Polytheism

  4. 0 Atheism

  5. i Individualism

  6. . Deism

  7. & Universalism

  8. $ Works

0 – Atheists (zero) – “There is no God…” • Everyone has a conscience (the internal witness) and creation (the external witness) to lead them to truth. Psalm 19, Romans 1:18-20 • The concept of ‘eternity’ is set within man’s heart, nullifying the idea that death is simply ‘ceasing to exist’. Ecclesiastes 3:11, Job 14:10 • The fool has said in his heart, “there is no God”. Psalm 14 / 53 (Romans 3:10), Proverbs 24:12

i – Individualism (self) – “There might be a God, but…” • Living a self-absorbed life is foolish. You came into the world with nothing. You will leave with nothing. Job 1:21-22, 1Ti:6:7, Job 14:10 • Self-examination should bring one to realize their fallen, sinful nature. Psalm 53 (Romans 3:10) • You cannot possess anything forever. Possessions wear out, appetites can never be fully satisfied, and every breath taken is a gift. Even your soul is God’s creation. Luke 12:20, Ezekiel 18:4, Job 14:10 • Judgment falls on everyone… in this present life, and in eternity. Jeremiah 17:9-10, Ecclesiastes 8:6-11, Psalm 73, Ezekiel 32:18-32, Isaiah 5:14, Hebrews 9:27, Hebrews 10:31, Hebrews 12:29, 2Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 10:28 (Luke 12:4-5)

. – Deists (period) – “God released His hand, after creation, leaving everything to chance…” Biblical prophecy is proof that God can and does declare what will happen before it happens. No other ‘religion’ or ‘sacred writing’ can make that claim. A few, brief examples… • The 70-year captivity of the Jews in Babylon ◦ Going to Babylon… Isaiah 39:6, Habakkuk 1- 2, Jeremiah 20:4, Jeremiah 21:10, Jeremiah 22:25 ◦ Remaining for 70 years… Jeremiah 25:12, Jeremiah 29:10 ◦ Returning again… (and Daniel’s vision of the future, to the end of the age) Daniel 9:2, Daniel 9:24-27, Ezra 1,6,7, Nehemiah 2, Isaiah 46,47, Isaiah 48:20, Revelation 2-3 ◦ Predicting who will decree the return of the Jews, to rebuild Jerusalem, even before it was destroyed Isaiah 44:26, Isaiah 45, Daniel 5 • The fate of Nineveh ◦ Warning to repent (book of Jonah) ◦ Final judgment, in precise detail (book of Nahum) • The fate of Tyre Ezekiel 26, Zechariah 9:3-4, Isaiah 23, Amos 1:9-10 • Foreseeing the coming empires of Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome Daniel 2-7-8-11-12

& – Universalism (all) – “All religions are equal. God is all-loving, and without judgment. No one will go to hell…” Judgment will fall on everyone… Hebrews 9:27, Hebrews 10:31, Hebrews 12:29, 2Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 10:28 (Luke 12:4-5), Jeremiah 17:9-10, Revelation 20:13, Matthew 3:12, Matthew 13:43, Matthew 13:50, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 24:51, Matthew 25:30, Luke 13:28, Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 12, Deuteronomy 32:35, Proverbs 23:7, Matthew 12:34, Matthew 25:31-41

$ – Earned Salvation (merit) – “I’m (probably) a good (enough) person…“ We’re not justified by ‘works’… we can never be righteous enough, in and of ourselves. We are justified by faith in Jesus Christ, who, by substitution, paid our sin-penalty, and, by imputation, exchanges our unrighteousness for His righteousness. This is the core message of the gospel. 1Corinthians 15:3-4, Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Galatians 2:16, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38, Ephesians 3:8-10, Philippians 3:9, Colossians 1:14, Colossians 1:20-21, Romans 3:21-24, Romans 5:1, Romans 8:28-29

  1. – Denying the deity of Christ – “Jesus isn’t…” Jesus Christ is God the Son, and the Son of God (God manifest in the flesh) • Jesus is the ‘I AM’ John 1:1, Revelation 19:13, John 8:58, Exodus 3:14, John 18:5, John 14:9-10, John 10:27-30, 1Timothy 3:16, Colossians 2 • The voice talking in Isaiah 43-48, that declares to be God, also declares ‘The Father, and His Spirit, have sent “Me” Isaiah 43(43:25), Isaiah 44(44:6-7), Isaiah 45(45:12,23), Isaiah 48(48:16-17), Isaiah 53, Isaiah 61:1-2 (Luke 4:18), Matthew 28:19, Isaiah 42:1 (Luke 3:22, Matthew 17:5)

  2. + Adding to the finished work of Christ – “Jesus, and…” • Not by baptism 1Corinthians 1:17, Luke 23:42-43 • Not by works Galatians 2:16, 3:1-2, 3:11 • Not by philosophy, religious traditions, asceticism, or spiritual messengers Colossians 2 • Not only to the Jewish people. All can receive the gift of salvation, Jew and Gentile Romans 3:21-22 • Not by any other name under heaven. Acts 4:12 • God knows the ones who belong to Him John 10:27-30, Luke 13:24-27, Matthew 7:13-23, 2Timothy 2:19 • Mary is not a deity nor a Co-redemptrix. Luke 1:38, Luke 46-47 • Christ is our sabbath rest Hebrews 4:1-10 • Our good works are the result of our salvation, not the means of it Ephesians 3:8-10 • Dire warning to anyone that adds-to, or takes-away from the world of God Revelation 22:18

  3. *- Denying the one, true God (many) – “Mixtures of pantheism/polytheism…” There is ONE God – Isaiah 44:6-7 (chapters 40-66) Today, if you will hear His voice – Psalm 95 / Hebrews 3:7 ONE God, ONE mediator – 1Timothy 2:5, Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7, Deuteronomy 6:4-5 • Regarding polytheism – which ‘god’ is… ◦ Omniscient? ◦ Omnipotent? ◦ Omnipresent? Genesis 1:1, Psalm 19, Romans 1:18-20, Isaiah 44:6-7 • Regarding pantheism ◦ Conscience (internal witness) and creation (external witness) declare there is purpose and design to everything and the design has a designer. ◦ There is no such thing as reincarnation. The 2nd law of thermodynamics gives witness that everything wears out. Possessions fail, rocks erode, living things become extinct, and empires collapse. ◦ The day approaches when God will eventually dissolve this sin-cursed world, making all things new. It will be a new heaven and earth, void of sin, and will last for eternity. Psalm 102:25-26, Isaiah 34:4, Isaiah 51:6, 1Peter 3:11, Isaiah 50:9, Luke 12:33, Hebrews 1:11, Isaiah 66:17, Isaiah 66:22, Revelation 21:1

  4. A final thought about Buddhism: From my limited perspective, I had a difficult time comprehending how to argue against such a belief system. Eventually, I realized that Buddhism tries to draw upon two, conflicting beliefs, and hold them both as true. • They claim: “There is no ‘god’ …which is another way of keeping one foot grounded in atheism. • They claim: “There is no right or wrong, there is only the eternal essence of all” … which places their other foot into pantheism…. Which, in turn, stands in direct opposition to the internal witness (conscience) we are all born with.

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