Everybody seeks peace of mind, and peace of mind is found in meaning. As rational beings, humans strive to make sense of their worlds and give meaning to their lives. This is done through worldview: the conceptual framework by which people make sense of reality. Worldviews are woven between one’s education and experience—the synthesis of theory and practice—and are continually being shaped by new evidence. No two worldviews are the same, and every individual possesses an individual worldview. Yet variety is not validity nor does every worldview “work.” Experience teaches the expediency of right beliefs and the consequence of wrong ones, and the constellation of beliefs that makeup a right worldview should melodically resonate like the notes of a beautiful song. And the difference between harmonious melody and cacophonous madness is as relevant for worldview as it is for music—and while worldviews vary between people—one thing that does not vary is the conviction that theirs is right, to the extent that some have killed over them. That said, considering the consequences that worldview bares on people’s lives, worldviews should be tested. Today, most universities disseminate knowledge through secular paradigms which are accepted as the most accurate conceptions of reality, purportedly based on fact. The secularization of academia resulted from a spiritual sterilization during the Enlightenment, where people began to question the predominant paradigm of the day—theism. Today, Darwinism has displaced theism among many in intelligentsia, dominating the arts and sciences—faculties which contribute to the study of communication. Darwinism finds friends on campus since it is said to be scientific and unbiased, unlike theism—Christian theism in particular—which many dismiss as divisive and superstitious (Epperson and Hall 161). Nevertheless, those who reject Christianity do so at their own expense. They must borrow Christian presuppositions to appraise their points, migrating from the impoverished axiology of their paradigms to the rational grounds of theism to structure their arguments. And at the core of these worldviews is materialism—a reductionist approach to reality which asserts there is nothing beyond the physical realm; the natural world is all there is. Kenneth Samples defines materialism as a
metaphysical view [that] considers everything in the universe to be matter (that is, composed of material objects). Everything can be reduced to or explained in terms of matter or is ultimately dependent upon it. Nonmaterial entities or substances—souls, spirits, and angels—simply do not exist. And, because the God of the Bible is an immaterial nonphysical being, materialists dismiss God as nonexistent and illusory (204).
And it is upon the foundation of materialism that Communication Science is allegedly constructed, a foundation—set on sand. Despite their commitment to materialism, disciplines like communication depend on Christian metaphysical, epistemological, and axiological presuppositions without which they cannot function.
The metaphysics of materialism invalidate its worldview claims, which in turn invalidates the claims of its ideological dependents. As metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that answers the big questions about ultimate reality, a worldview’s metaphysical assumptions shape its epistemological and axiological perspectives (Geisler 446). Unlike Christianity, which presupposes purpose through belief in a Creator—materialism presupposes meaninglessness through belief in “nothing”—rendering any further claim it makes, well—meaningless (John 1.3; Col. 1.16; Duffield and Van Cleave 52). “Nothing,” as recently popularized by materialist Lawrence Krauss, is, according to him, the most “rational” cause behind the cosmos. However, Krauss’s theory does not materialize well with the scientific community—even among fellow materialists—criticizing Krauss for evading the metaphysical questions that support his theory (Albert n.p.). This is also true of Stephen Hawking, who has meddled in a metaphysics outside his discipline’s paradigmatic domain, preaching about parallel universes without any evidential basis (Warman n.p.; Tallis n.p.). What is common to both Krauss and Hawking is their disingenuous attempt to evade the growing implications of modern science: that God exists. Unlike the late atheist turncoat Anthony Flew, who adjusted his worldview to accommodate the evidence, Hawking and Krauss are guilty of adjusting the evidence to accommodate their worldview. Such is the only recourse for people desperate to maintain their worldview, who choose tradition over truth. And it is no wonder, for materialism’s metaphysics are nihilistic—removing the grounds for any further discussion on epistemic or axiological outlooks.
Therefore, any worldview built on the stuff of materialism will ultimately collapse on its own premises, as its metaphysics necessitate nihilism: the antithesis of truth and objectivity. If the cosmos is just mindless matter, logic and reason lose their authority. Nothing is knowable. There are no absolutes. This intellectual impasse makes epistemological considerations—theories of knowledge—an impossible enterprise (Evans 40). When considering the implications of his theory, Darwin doubted his own cognition, lamenting that the product of mindless material could not be trusted (Ruse n.p.). This inconvenient truth is the kernel from which post-modernism is cognate, the morally nihilistic outworking of materialism that has spread across the arts into the sciences, evidenced by the absurdity of today’s pop-cosmogony of which Hawking and Krauss are celebrities. The Guardian comments,
They call it the multiverse. It’s a cosmos in which there are multiple universes. And by multiple, I mean an infinite number. These uncountable realms sit side by side in higher dimensions that our senses are incapable of perceiving directly. Yet increasingly astronomers and cosmologists seem to be invoking the multiverse to explain puzzling observations. The stakes are high. Each alternate universe carries its own different version of reality (Clark n.p.).
This is a perfect picture—if not caricature—of science wedded with subjectivity (Lewis 167-68). It betrays post-modern thought couched in scientific terminology, the transposition of ideas from psychology to cosmology where there is a world for every worldview—for anyone who believes. Like an ideological trojan horse, post-modernism has skirted the safeguard of higher criticism and found acceptance in the sciences. Such subject-centered cosmogonies buttress the biblical weltanschauung, echoing the rebels’ feasting on the forbidden fruit of “the knowledge of good and evil” through constructing their own morality (Judges 17:6; Gen 3:1-24). That materialists must invoke the immaterial to deny the obvious shows the growing debility of their worldview, having to resort to a “god of the gaps” approach to sustain their beliefs. Ironically, these are the same tactics which materialists accuse Christians of turning to in the absence of good argument. Therefore, consequent to materialism’s metaphysical nihilism, there is no objective framework from which to construct its epistemology. Thus, if the study of knowledge is irreconcilable with materialism, so is the study of its values—its axiology.
At this point, it may seem futile to further the discussion on materialism as a viable worldview given that it breaks down before anything can even be built upon it. Nevertheless, it is necessary to test all the presuppositional axes of materialism to compare it fairly with Christian theism, and most importantly—to show that academic disciplines inadvertently base their epistemic and axiological outlooks on biblical presuppositions, on a rationally intelligible metaphysics. As it has already been established that since materialism cannot facilitate a functional epistemology, it cannot facilitate a meaningful axiology. Morals, values, and aesthetics have no objective basis and are at best relativistic (Samples 25). To be charitable, it can be conceded that these axiological facets function in a Darwinian context, where the ultimate ends of such values are driven by the desire to reproduce and survive. Nevertheless, that still requires an ontological explanation, which materialism fails to deliver. Once again, this egocentric survival scheme only reinforces the biblical worldview of a rebellious humanity and corrupted creation; how people are held captive through the fear of death and commit sin for the sake of survival (Tinder 177; Rom 8:20; Heb 2:14;). Aside from describing the nature of the fallen world, Christianity’s axiological taxonomy assigns infinite value to human beings as well as importance to animal life, which establishes humanity as stewards of God’s creation instead of contenders in a biological arms race (Gen 1:26-28). And from a purely utilitarian perspective, the Christian worldview promotes a positive approach to life, in contrast to materialism—which promotes the opposite.
That said, although much of academia—including Communication Science—swear by materialism as their philosophical cornerstone, they are pragmatically anchored to Christian presuppositions—even when denying them. Unlike materialism and the secular worldviews it engenders, Christian theism provides the metaphysical grounds upon which epistemic and axiological frameworks can be constructed. And while much more could be said about right and wrong worldviews, it suffices to say that such ideological outbreaks are wholly consistent with the biblical worldview, where in Godless societies people gorge on the knowledge of good and evil—and consequently—do whatever seems right in their own eyes.
Albert, David. “On the Origin of Everything.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Mar. 2012, www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/a-universe-from-nothing-by-lawrence-m-krauss.html.
Clark, Stuart. “Multiverse: have astronomers found evidence of parallel universes?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 17 May 2017, www.theguardian.com/science/ across-the-universe/2017/may/17/multiverse-have-astronomers-found-evidence-of-parallel-universes.
Duffield, Guy P., and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave. Foundations of Pentecostal Theology. Los Angeles, CA: L.I.F.E. Bible College, 1983. Print.
Epperson, William, and Mark Hall, eds. Encounters: Readings for Advanced Composition. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 2001.
Evans, C. Stephen. Pocket dictionary of apologetics & philosophy of religion 2002: Print.
Geisler, Norman L. “Metaphysics.” Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics 1999. Print. Baker Reference Library.
Grenz, Stanley, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.
Lewis, C.S. “The Poison of Subjectivism.” Epperson and Hall 163-168.
Lucas, E C. “Some Scientific Issues Related to the Understanding of Genesis 1–3.”
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Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.
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Riley, Michael P. “Review of Apologetics for the Twenty-First Century by Louis Markos.” Themelios 36.2 (2011): Print.
Ross, Hugh. More than a Theory: Revealing a Testable Model for Creation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2009. Print.
Ruse, Michael. “Darwin on My Mind.” Literary Review of Canada, reviewcanada.ca/magazine /2008/03/darwin-on-my-mind/.
Samples, Kenneth Richard. A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worl-dview Test. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007. Print.
Tallis, Raymond. “Philosophy isn't dead yet | Raymond Tallis.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 May 2013, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/27/physics-philosophy-quantum-relativity-einstein.
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Tinder, Glenn. “Can We Be Good without God?” Epperson and Hall 173-186.
Warman, Matt. “Stephen Hawking tells Google 'philosophy is dead'.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 17 May 2011, www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/8520033/Stephen-Hawking-tells-Google-philosophy-is-dead.html