Summary: A look at the three main branches of worldviews, pantheism, atheism and theism to see which makes sense.



2. The Isms


Imagine I put two items in front of you: a Jar full of jelly beans, and an IPod. Then, I ask a question:

- Is choosing your worldview, more like guessing the actual number of Jelly Beans in a jar, or more like picking your favorite song from a IPod playlist?

If you’re like most Americans you’d say, it’s like picking your favorite song. If you were here last week, you’d say, no it HAS to be more like guessing the number of Jelly Beans in a Jar. Why? Because truth is ABSOLUTE.

So now we’re ready to evaluate large, worldview options,

which is a way of examining the number of jellybeans they each say is in the jar, to see which gets it right.

Now, you might think, “Man, Rick! You mean, to be intellectually honest I have to test EVERY worldview that’s out there?” I understand there are a million worldviews to consider, Marxism, Materialism, Mormonism, Mary Baker Eddyism!… I get it, it’s overwhelming.

(SLIDE) But that’s why AC3 is here! We will simplify the process! Because if you look at your choices, you see that ALL worldviews fit inside 3 big CATEGORIES. What you’re going to see is that worldviews can be nicely grouped by their common answers to all these key questions:

- What is the nature of God?

- What is the nature of Reality?

- What is the nature of People?

- What is the nature of Morality?

So let’s start with the biggest question of all. What is God like? Because this is where the overarching name for each categories comes from (SLIDE).


- THEISM, and


(SLIDE) EXAMPLES: show how broad. new age, deism

So what do these groups say about God (SLIDE)?

- ATHEISM – literally means, without God belief. It’s the idea that God is a nothing. God is merely a human idea that corresponds to nothing in reality.

- PANTHEISM – literally this means, Everything God, or ALL God. For Pantheists, there is nothing that is NOT God. Cancer, Trees, Starlight, Granite, Blood, Ideas, Numbers, Everything. The universe is God and God is the universe.

- THEISM – believe in a Personal God who made the universe, but who exists separately from the universe. So:

o Nothing is God

o Everything is God AND


(SLIDE) The question of REALITY, flows out of the question of God. What is ultimately REAL?:

- ATHEISM SAYS, ultimate reality is physical. Only Atoms exist. Molecules in Motion, is all that is or was or ever will be.

- PANTHEISM SAYS, ultimate everything is actually One thing, so distinctions in the physical universe are merely an illusion.

- THEISM SAYS, ultimate reality is spiritual, but the created universe is also real. So now reality is both spiritual and physical.

(SLIDE) The next question has to do with humans. What are People?

- ATHEISM says that people are biochemical machines. We are accidental byproducts of the natural laws acting on matter.

- PANTHEISM says that people are God! People are part of the cosmic “ALL” – though we are ignorant of our inherent divinity.

- THEISM says, people are Angel/Apes. That is, we are physical animals, with a spiritual component, a soul that is non-physical and outlives the body.

(SLIDE) The last question has to do morality. Where do right & wrong come from?

- ATHEISM says that Morality is a biological survival mechanism developed over time by chance, with no objective basis.

- PANTHEISM says that since ultimate reality is beyond distinctions, it is also beyond good and evil. The closer you get to the Real, the less you talk about right and wrong, which are ultimately illusions.

- THEISM says, morality is the standard of good and evil, defined ultimately by the character of an all good God. God is the basis of objective moral law.

Now, as you stare down these three big ISMS, don’t be intimidated AC3, because you are basically looking at the only three ways to look at the world! And here you can see graphically that the contrasts on big ideas are so stark, that, if we hold to the law of non-contradiction, we can say if one is probable the others are improbable.

For example:

- If it’s probable that God exists, Atheism, by definition is false

- If it’s likely that God is PERSONAL, then Pantheism, by definition is false.


So with the time that remains, let’s put these worldviews to the test. Now some of you think this is ridiculous. You say, “Rick, even if I grant there is a set number of jelly beans in the jar, what are the chances of getting it right? It’s all guess work.” Two things to say to that:

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