Let's talk Naturalism
Naturalism is yet another popular source of authority and lens through which people understand the world and universe. Understanding naturalism is vital to understanding certain views that exist today—particularly in the secular world.
What is naturalism? Naturalism is a term applied to a specific worldview and philosophy. Most simply stated, naturalism is the belief that all things exist by natural forces without involvement of an intelligent mind who planned and brought the universe into existence. For information about naturalism you can view the naturalism.org website. The website provides sufficent information to grasp the basics of the worldview. Using the website's information, a number of their points are worth mentioning to understand and appreciate the naturalist’s position.
1. Naturalism holds that their worldview is science-based and excludes any supernatural explanations for the existence of life and matter: “Naturalism...is a comprehensive, science-based worldview, premised on the idea that existence in all its dimensions and complexity is a single, natural realm, not split between the natural and the supernatural.”
2. Naturalism attempts to provide a full worldview system to understand life: “These pieces make the case that naturalism has the resources to be a full-fledged worldview which answers life's vital questions—personal, social and existential—without the need to resort to wishful thinking or the supernatural.”
3. Naturalism believes humans are the product of natural design and of temporary duration: “Naturalism, in essence, is simply the idea that human beings are completely included in the natural world: there’s nothing supernatural about us. Naturalism is based on science as the best, most reliable means for discovering what exists...The naturalist view of ourselves is of course very different from traditional religious or supernatural understandings, and it has profound implications. We don’t have souls that continue after death.”
4. Naturalism holds that environment primarily forms people: “Also, since we see that we aren’t the ultimate originators of ourselves or our behavior, we can’t take ultimate credit or blame for what we do...People don't create themselves, so responsibility for their character and behavior isn't ultimately theirs...naturalism is premised on taking science as our way of knowing about the world, not tradition, intuition, sacred texts or pronouncements.”
5. Naturalism ascribes to evolutionary thinking: “By acknowledging our origins in evolution, the naturalist perspective also enhances our feeling of kinship with the other species with which we share this planet, and our desire to sustain and nurture the planet itself. All sentient beings, including humanity, owe their existence to conditions that extend far beyond us in space and time.”
What is a naturalist? A naturalist is an individual who holds to a naturalistic worldview. The most basic point of this worldview is stated by a former atheist and geologist on an online blog, who writes, “A Naturalist is one who understands that all things happening around us can be explained by natural causes and effects. Through natural processes. Without any need of a God to explain or bring about the Cosmos, Earth, and events on Earth [sic]” (taken from https://www.christianforums.com/threads/what-is-gods-purpose-for-naturalism.7993069/).
A naturalist is, therefore, someone who believes that all things find their origin in the creative processes of the natural universe and credits the natural universe for the existence of all things. All other beliefs held by naturalists are predicated upon this single belief (premise) and this view dramatically shapes their understanding of all life: past, present, and future.
The big questions The starting point for every person to interpret the world around them is to first answer the question, “Where do I come from?” This is the most pressing and confronting of all questions. There is a second question: “Where does everyone and all things come from?” The answer to these questions is the foundational beginning for understanding all of life and forming a perspective and lens to answer life’s most pressing questions. If a person believes God created all things, that person’s perspective will lead into a certain direction. If a person chooses to believe that natural forces brought all things into existence, the path will lead into a completely different orbit and set of answers. The origin of all things is the most important question to be answered—and the answer to that question frames the perspective of every individual’s view about life.
Let’s get started Admittedly, these few points do not sufficiently explain naturalism as a philosophy. Our purpose here is not to speak academically about the philosophy of naturalism, nor is it our goal to debate naturalism and its beliefs. Our goals are to review naturalism as an alternative view to reality that is maintained and taught by those who oppose belief in a Creator who sustains the universe. We will therefore discuss six points about naturalism as a view of reality.
1. The need for an originator for all things
2. Naturalism’s big predicament
3. Naturalism’s view of life
4. What is actually behind naturalism?
5. How is naturalism spread?
6. How does the Bible respond to naturalism?
With that said, let’s get started on our first point: Is there a need for an originator?To next section Homepage