Only Christianity, with its teaching of a personal Creator, provides an adequate metaphysical explanation of our irreducible experience of personhood. It alone accounts for the raw material of experience within a comprehensive worldview. In the modern world, with its large, impersonal institutions where people are treated as ciphers in the machine, the Christian message is good news indeed. Ultimate reality is not the machine; it is a personal Being who loves and relates to each individual in a personal manner.
― Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity
From the time that I could think rationally on the subject, I did not believe in God…
What made me consider God’s existence a real possibility? The Lord of the Rings. I was a young teenager when I first read the Tolkien tomes, and it immediately captivated me. The fantasy world of Middle-Earth oozes life and profundity. The cultures of the various peoples are organic, rooted in tradition while maintaining a fresh, living energy. Mountains and forests have personalities, and the relationship between people and earth is marked by stewardship and intimacy. Creation knowing creation. Tolkien describes these things with beautiful prose that reads like its half poetry and half medieval history. Everything seems “deep” in The Lord of the Rings. The combination of character archetypes and assertive “lifeness” in the novel touches on an element of fundamental humanity. Every Lord of the Rings fan knows exactly what I’m talking about.
In my narrow confines of scientism, I had no way of processing what made Tolkien’s masterpiece so profound. How could a made-up fantasy world reveal anything about the “truth”? But I knew it did, and this changed my way of thinking. Are good and evil merely social constructions, or are they real on a deeper level? Why am I relating to ridiculous things like talking trees and corrupted wraiths? Why was I so captivated by this story that made fighting evil against all odds so profound? Why did it instill in me a longing for an adventure of the arduous good? And how does the story make sacrifice so appealing? The Lord of the Rings showed me a world where things seemed more “real” than the world I lived in. Not in a literal way, obviously; in a metaphorical, beyond-the-surface way. The beautiful struggle and self-sacrificial glory permeating The Lord of the Rings struck a chord in my soul and filled me with longing that I couldn’t easily dismiss.
If reductionism is like trying to stuff all of reality into a box, we could say the problem is that the box is always too small. Idols deify some part of the created order. But no matter which part they choose, a part is always too limited to explain the whole. The universe is too complex and multi-dimensional to fit into a box composed of just one part. Invariably something will stick out. Something will not fit into its restricted conceptual categories.
We have been duped into accepting the very first lie of materialism, that is the hideous claim that there is no supernatural order to the universe. The materialists have imprisoned us in a world of mere matter, of physical facts divorced from and devoid of metaphysical truth. Well, I say that they are lying. I say that they are the ones who have come up with a false myth . . . and they have convinced us that it is true. They have made us believe that this is all there is: three dimensions, five senses, four walls . . . The four walls of materialism are the four walls of a prison. The materialists are our jailers . . . They have put us in a prison, a prison of four walls. They don’t want us to see what’s beyond those four walls. They don’t want us to discover what lies outside their narrow philosophy.
Often the person with spiritual convictions is seen as close-minded and others are seen as open-minded. What is fascinating to me is that at the center of the Christian faith is the assumption that this life isn’t all there is. That there is more to life than the material. That existence is not limited to what we can see, touch, measure, taste, hear, and observe. One of the central assertions of the Christian worldview is that there is “more” – Those who oppose this insist that this is all there is, that only what we can measure and observe and see with our eyes is real. There is nothing else. Which perspective is more “closed-minded?” Which perspective is more “open?”
― Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith
Christianity agrees with Hamlet when he said to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” Reductionistic worldviews insist that there are fewer things in heaven and earth. Living according to these worldviews is like living in a concrete bunker with no windows. Communicating a Christian worldview should be like inviting people to open the door and come out. Our message ought to express the joy of leading captives out of a small, cramped world into one that is expansive and liberating.