This post is a short one, and a simple one. But it is an interesting phenomenon that seems to hold true with every different worldview.
Every worldview gives answers to these three questions:
(Except for agnosticism, since the word “agnostic” simply means “not knowing”)
- Creation: How did the world, and we, come into being?
- Fall: What is wrong with the world? How did that happen?
- Redemption: What would fix it?
Actually, there is a fourth question that is answered, but it is not answered by every worldview…rather, it is answered by almost every worldview. And that fourth question is…
- Destiny: What is going to happen? Where do we go from here?
(Destiny is not answered by every worldview because in order to go that direction, you must have either “prophesy” or “prediction”.)
So as a Protestant Christian, I believe this:
- Creation: God created the heavens and the earth.
- Fall: The first woman and man disobeyed God. They, their descendants, and the earth are now under a curse.
- Redemption: Jesus’s death and resurrection. His death paid the price for our sins. His resurrection means that a) He wasn’t lying, nor was He crazy, but rather He actually was endorsed by God, and b) that He is alive, therefore He can help us have power over sin (because dead people commonly aren’t very helpful).
- Destiny: The “second coming.” Jesus will come to establish His kingdom/rulership on earth. In short, the curse created by the fall will be lifted.
However, radical atheism (you know, the “Richard Dawkins” flavor) might approach it this way…
- Creation: The world wasn’t created…it came to being with no guidance. Life came to be because of evolution, while the cosmos came to be via the big bang.
- Fall: Religion. Dogmatic beliefs in spirituality and the afterlife have suppressed natural desires and have caused numerous divisions and death. They have also stunted intellectual growth and slowed/prevented intellectual progress.
- Redemption: One might say tolerance, while another more militant atheist might say eradication of religion. If these happened, everything would be better.
- Destiny: Either a hot death or a cold death. Everything in the universe would be the same temperature. Which might not be the most comfortable temperature for us.
Or let’s look at traditional Roman Catholicism…
- Creation: Same as Protestant Christianity
- Fall: Same as Protestant Christianity
- Redemption: Faith in Jesus’s death and resurrection, as well as participating in the sacraments. God’s grace is sufficient, however, the sacraments are the vehicle, a channel, the way the grace gets to the recipients.
- Destiny: Same as Protestant Christianity
Or let’s look at Mormonism, as I understand it (If I am wrong, I need a Mormon to send me a message and correct me! I don’t want to misrepresent anyone)…
- Creation: Concerning the cosmos…same as Protestant Christianity. Concerning us, Mormon’s believe that we were not created at birth, but since we are children of God, we are immortal, eternal beings, and have been there from the beginning.
- Fall: Wasn’t an accident. God wanted us all to choose Him by faith, and it’s hard to have faith if you’re standing right next to Him. So He planned a period of testing for each person where their memory would be wiped and they would live a mortal life on Earth. The test was this…will you choose good over evil, even if you don’t remember God?
- Redemption: Jesus’s atonement, plus ordinances. Ordinances required for salvation. Quite similar to Catholicism, actually.
- Destiny: The whole endgoal of this test is to be like God. Those who succeed will become like God. (There is a big misunderstanding between most Mormons and most Protestants here…when Protestants say “be like God,” they mean to emulate God’s character and values. When Mormons say “be like God,” they mean to become a god, with the character and values, but also the power, authority, omniscience, etc.)
Or let’s go out to left field and examine Scientology…
- Creation: We (who are all gods who tricked ourselves into thinking that we are mortal humans) created this universe. It continues to exist because the majority of us think it does.
- Fall: We “began to identify ourselves with our creation, rather than identifying ourselves as creators.” Or, as I once read, we got so bored of being all powerful that we played a game in which we pretended we weren’t all powerful. And then we stayed there.
- Redemption: Our redemption is found when we remove the “engrams” that we put there to make us forget that we were gods. Bored gods.
- Destiny: Unknown. I don’t think Scientology makes any predictions on where all of this is going, but I could be missing something.
One could begin (operative word right there) to analyze Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Islam, or traditional Judaism, or any other religion in this way.
We could go on for a while, but I believe that asking these three (or four) questions of any worldview is a good idea, because a) they provide a good starting point for evaluating the worldview and b) I don’t think it’s obtrusive…every worldview WANTS to answer these questions!
But since I have talked about religions/worldviews that are not my own, I think my next post (which gets us quite close to wrapping this up!) is even more important.
Whenever talking to a person who holds a different worldview ABOUT their worldview, we should be doing more asking and less telling.