For the last few centuries, Western civilization has been built on a “materialist” worldview. Since I was born and raised in the United States, I have been immersed in this worldview.
A worldview is a subconscious process by which we interpret reality. Everyone has a worldview. We tend to adopt the worldview of the culture in which we are born and raised. By default, I interpret reality through materialist eyes. There are many aspects to worldview, and I’m drawing on the work of others. 1 When faced with circumstances that defy my default worldview, I experience cognitive dissonance. (The concept of worldview is addressed more in part 2).
This explains why, when our young daughter reacted to things we could not see, I wondered at her sanity. My worldview did not accept that ability and did not accept the reality of demonic entities.
Western Civilization has formed its educational and scientific thinking on a materialist worldview, whose “central assumption is that everything is essentially material or physical, even minds.” 2. The outgrowth of this worldview is a way of life that is devoted entirely to material interests, “a preoccupation with wealth, possessions, and luxury.” 3 Materialist philosophy “denies the existence of any spiritual realities or non-material goals.” 4
The materialist worldview has enjoyed great success over the last few centuries because the fruit of its results have been perceived as beneficial to humanity. On the one hand, for instance, materialist principles have yielded an abundance of food for hungry people. On the other, it has reduced the method of distributing that food to a mere material transaction between material entities with no real worth or value aside from money.
Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. in biology, argues that in the 21st Century, materialism has experience a “credibility crunch.” 5 If matter is the only reality, then what of the mind? What of consciousness? Is consciousness nothing but brain activity? Can matter have consciousness? Or is consciousness just an illusion? Materialists have no satisfactory answer.
While we understand what chemical processes happen, for instance, when red light hits the eye, how do we account for the experience of the person seeing red?
The explosion of research into quantum physics has blown up the materialist worldview.
The explosion of research into quantum physics has blown up the materialist worldview. For instance, if all that exists is matter and energy, scientists have a problem. Because matter and energy somehow cause gravitational effects (exactly how, no one knows), we have observed that there is not enough mass/energy in the universe to account for all the gravity. In fact, known matter and energy only make up about 4% of the universe. The nature of the remaining 96% is unknown: it’s called Dark Matter. It must be there, according to materialism, but it cannot be observed or tested. It’s assumed to be there by faith. 6
Quantum physics studies what happens to matter and energy at minute levels, because what happens is weird and defies the “laws” that matter and energy normally conform to.
Particles pop in and out of existence. Some particles, with literally no transfer, loss or gain of energy or mass, emit light from seemingly no where, and then absorb the light again. 7 Poof, into existence, and Poof, out of existence. From whence came the light? Or from whom? 8
Tiny particles can be split and sent in different directions. You can affect one of them, and the other is affected as well, although there’s no known mechanism that would connect those particles.
Think of this in a practical way: Have you ever known someone was watching you?
How? How can you know when someone is watching you? Somehow the act of that person watching affects the you. This works on pets as well. 9 And it works on tiny quantum particles. By observing a particle, its actions change. Weird.
Materialism fails as a worldview to account for reality.
Materialism cannot account for the unseen, untestable, and unknowable cause and effects. Materialism is not a worldview that accurately interprets reality.
In other words… there is more to reality than just the physical “seen” world.
There must be also an unseen cosmos – a cosmos that cannot be tested, organized, and categorized- that interacts with the seen cosmos – the physical world that can be tested, organized, and categorized. For fun, I’ll call this world Dark Matter… or the “spirit world.”
- For instance, Wimber, John and Springer, Kevin, “Power Evangelism”, Regal Publishing, 2009, pages 134-141. Putnam, Putty, “School of Kingdom Ministry Manual”, Coaching Saints Publication, 2013, pages 7-22. ↩
- Sheldrake Rupert, “Setting Science Free From Materialism”, 2013, http://www.sheldrake.org/Articles&Papers/articles/pdf/explore-Materialism.2013.pdf. Accessed 11/12/13 ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- Ibid. ↩
- You don’t have to look too far to read about the conundrum Dark Matter poses to materialists. But here’s a good, recent article, accessed 11/12/13 :http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21588829-physicists-are-learning-more-about-what-dark-matter-isnt-will-help-them-find ↩
- Fusco, Thomas P. “Behind the Cosmic Veil,” New Vision Press (2011), page 148. ↩
- Genesis 1:3, “And God said, Let there be light.” (ESV) 1 John 1:5, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (ESV) ↩
- http://www.sheldrake.org/About/guide/animals.html, accessed 11/12/2013. ↩
- See Thomas Nagel, “Mind and Cosmos: Why the materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Amost Certainly False” (2012). ↩