Item description for World of Difference, A: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test by Kenneth Richard Samples...
Overview Samples use nine distinct worldview tests to educate readers on how the Christian perspective of the world is uniquely reasonable, verifiable, and liveable.
Publishers Description Recent Barna research indicates that less than one in ten evangelical Christians hold a biblical worldview. A World of Difference seeks to change this disturbing fact by educating readers on how the Christian perspective is uniquely reasonable, verifiable, and liveable. Author Kenneth Richard Samples faced a profound test of his own belief system during a personal life-and-death crisis. In A World of Difference, he uses nine distinct tests to compare the Christian worldview with current religious and philosophical competitors, including Islam, postmodernism, naturalism, and pantheistic monism. Samples tackles tough issues through this in-depth study of Christianity's history, creed, and philosophical basis. An excellent resource for readers who want their view of life and the world to make sense.
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Studio: Baker Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.96 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 0801068223 ISBN13 9780801068225
Availability 0 units.
More About Kenneth Richard Samples
Kenneth Richard Samples is vice president of philosophical and theological apologetics with Reasons To Believe, the premier science-religion think tank. A Christian apologetics professor at Biola University, Samples also answers tough faith questions in his book Without at Doubt. He lives in Southern California with his wife, Joan, and their three children.
Reviews - What do customers think about World of Difference, A: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test?
Reason to Believe Dec 24, 2009
In reading the other reviews posted here, I scarcely feel worthy to add much of additional value, yet still I am compelled to comment. After living 32 years as an atheist/agnostic, I can say that this is one of the best-written single works (for average student like myself) on these matters that I have yet seen.
Samples starts out with a fairly thorough examination and explanation of reason, logic, wisdom and philosophy, leaving little room for confusion of anyone willing to do the work of honest thinking. In fact, a person would have to work at being unclear or confused as he lays out reliable methods for grasping truth and reality. In my experience, this is what we see so many people doing in the post-modern relativistic age of information abundance in which we find ourselves. People seem work hard to avoid, and/or obfuscate truth for two main reasons. First, the work of understanding the truth is even more challenging and mentally strenuous than the mental gymnastics and emotional appeals to which we see so many resort. So in essence it is simply easier to be lazy. Second, and more profoundly, the consequences of accepting the truth mean that individuals would have to recognize a need that for many is uncomfortable. Easier (again) from an emotional to attack and disparage truth claims with vague and devious rhetoric than to deal with them in a rational and uncomplicated fashion. Easier still (or at least seemingly so, especially in the short term) to go on living without accountability to the truth that God has made plain for man to know from the beginning.
This book helps to cut through the intellectual clutter, yet in a detailed and organized fashion support sound arguments for knowing truth. Great book for young adults heading off to university to help them understand the world of tenured professors with their elite "understanding" and teaching of selective, anti-God worldviews. An excellent and fundamental resource for anyone searching for a clear, well informed understanding of competing worldviews. I will be recommending this book to many, of whom those who pay attention will also be grateful. Well done, and thank you Mr. Samples.
An illogical framework with incorrect assertions. Sep 25, 2009
The book purports to evaluate Worldviews and attempts at building a set of tests but they turn out rather dismally illogical & inconsistent tests that breakdown on a closer look. Let us begin with the evaluatory framework that the author tries to put together:
2. Balance Test: Is the worldview properly balanced between simplicity and complexity?
I wonder how this criterion can be a correct metric to evaluate the veracity of a theory. One, it is plainly subjective - what is simple for you is utterly complex for me (inter personal difference). What was utterly complex for you in your 5th grade is quite simple to you now (temporal difference). What is simple for a Chinese is complex for Spanish (spatial/geographical difference)
Second, this criterion is laden with hidden dangers of driving us to solutions that are simplistic.
Third, who defines what is 'properly balanced' ? Again subjectivity.
3. Explanatory Power and Scope Test: How well does a worldview explain the facts of reality ("power"), and how wide is the range of its explanation ("scope")?
We, as the experimenters, should be able to discern what Reality is. How do we check what we perceive is Real? An eg., My friend claims a lump of uranium as Matter. I claim it as Energy. What is Reality?
4. Correspondence Test: Does a particular worldview correspond with well-established, empirical facts, and with a person's experiences in the world?
What is the criterion by which a fact becomes 'well-established'? How do we determine this? What is 'a person's experience'? Why do we take 'person's experience' as a cornerstone by which a theory should be tested? Each person's experience could differ, based on their understanding level - their perception could differ as a result.
A classic example: Before Newton's time, it was thought that velocity is proportional to weight because heavier objects would fall to earth quicker than lighter ones. eg, a cannon ball falls much quicker than a feather. Or for example the idea that world is flat. Or that sun moves around the earth. These would have been a "well established, empirical fact, coinciding with a person experience of the world" for somebody living in 15th Century - we now know how wrong they are.
5. Verification Test: Can the central truth-claims of the worldview be verified or falsified?
The methods of verification could involve learning something that is foreign/ hitherto unknown to us. The question here is, is Mr.Samples ready to put in the necessary effort & spiritual practice to verify the Truth-claims? And we might have to be willing to learn afresh - not unlike, if one wishes to test the Theory of Relativity, he first needs to learn the procedures of a Physics Lab - without which he cannot proceed further. Otherwise he would be left out lamenting that the theory is wrong because he can't verify it!
6. Pragmatic Test: Does the worldview promote relevant, practical, and workable results?
Why do we need this? For example, Theoretical Mathematics has several absolute gems of theorems, brilliant logical truths - because they are not Applied Mathematics, doesn't render them false, does it?
The author also correlates (the perceived lack of) technological advancements of India to its religion, Hinduism. A classic case of selective amnesia & incoherent logic linking unrelated things. When the Christian Europe was wallowing in the Dark Ages for 15 centuries till the Renaissance, the Orient was way ahead in its civilization. So much that India was the calling beacon for the explorers of the west, including Columbus & Marco Polo & the European nations. How convenient it is for Mr.Samples to forget that it was a Christian Colonial power that ruled India for over two centuries? We know how the Christian Worldview treated Galileo, Copernicus and is now treating Charles Darwin.
9. Competitive Competence Test: Can the worldview successfully compete in the marketplace of ideas?
Truth stands alone, in its own right - it doesn't require approvals, does it? The worldview that universe is not geocentric couldn't compete in the marketplace of the 15th Century.
The author provides scant arguments in rebutting the counter world views. He hurriedly pokes an underhand jab at them with incorrect objections and then sweeps the matter under the table without evaluating his own objections- I can at least state this for the 'Pantheistic Monism' that he presents (inaccurately) in the book.
The whole exercise looks like all that the author is trying to do is to gain the laudatory backslaps from the rest of the evangelist gang at the cost of reasoning & logic. This book is reminiscent of a kindergarten kid claiming 'my daddy strongest'. Why? 'Because he is MY daddy'!!! (Quote "A's greatest theological deficiency,however,lies in its rejection of Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Lord God and Savior")
This sums up the hollow line of argument the author adapts.
Excellent study resource for Christianity Sep 3, 2009
Kenneth Samples is a theological research scholar who is associated with the same Reasons to Believe (RTB) team as Hugh Ross and Fazale ("Fuz") Rana. A World of Difference covers a lot of ground in supporting a Christian worldview with logic, history, an objective critique of competing worldviews, and careful explanation of some of the challenging aspects of the Christian faith. A very accessible study, the style is mainly instructive with a heavy emphasis on scripture. For someone familiar with apologetics, the first half or so of the book might seem a little pedestrian, but the chapters on naturalism and postmodernism in particular are as thorough and credible as anything I have read on these subjects. "(1) Naturalism is very limited in its ability to explain or account for reality ... (2) It miserably fails to provide people with an enduring meaning and purpose in life ... (3) it cannot provide a sufficient and meaningful basis for rationality ..." This would be an excellent book for someone new to the Christian faith or who has encountered contemptuous arguments against the Christian faith. Written in an instructive style, I don't think it would be the apologetic to move the needle for an outright skeptic, but it is full of wisdom and very absorbing.
Great Book on Christian Apologetics Aug 30, 2009
The author of this book does a fantastic job of leading the reader through the reasons of good arguments for defense of the reasonableness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I recommend it highly to any who are learning apologetics, or for those who are working to sharpen their tools to lead others with a different worldview to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ
A great comparison of Christianity to other religions and philosophies Jan 28, 2009
Kenneth Samples is a research scholar of theological and philosophical apologetics for the science apologetics organization Reasons to Believe. Earlier he worked at the Christian Research Institute and cohosted the popular radio program The Bible Answer Man. He also teaches related subjects in various Christian colleges in California. A previous book of his, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions, complements this newest book.
In this book Samples compares and contrasts the major philosophical or religious systems found in the world today. These include naturalism, postmodernism, pantheistic monism (the prominent Eastern philosophy), and Islam. He compares these systems to that of historic Christianity. Rather than taking on details of differences, Samples analyzes the major ideas of each system. The worldview of each system leads to vital differences in understanding, practice, and ethics.
A large portion of the book is an explanation of the Christian system and worldview. He concentrates primarily on those truths that Christians of all denominations hold in common (in a similar manner to C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity). This discussion is facilitated by his analysis of the Apostles' Creed. However, when certain important teachings arise, such as those dealing with the way of salvation, the providence of God, and the authority of the Bible, Samples openly approaches those topics from his own Protestant, Reformed perspective. He is always fair and charitable when discussing topics in which various Christian denominations differ. This is one reason his book is very helpful for all readers, even those who may disagree with his position.
In order to test the various worldviews and seek out the best one, Samples employs what he calls worldview tests. He lists and discusses nine of these tests: coherence (logically consistent), balance (balanced between simplicity and complexity), explanatory power and scope, correspondence (agrees with well-attested facts and experience), verification (verifiable and/or falsifiable), pragmatic (practical, workable), existential (internally satisfying), cumulative (has multiple, converging lines of evidence), competitive competence (competes well with other views). Samples concludes that all the various worldviews do well in some of these tests, but all of them, with the exception of Christianity, fail in others. The Christian worldview is the only major view analyzed that passes all these tests. Samples concludes that Christianity is superior to its competing worldviews, and should be adopted by anyone who thinks through these issues.
An interesting feature of the book is the brief introduction at the beginning of each chapter. Samples himself recently suffered a nearly fatal disease of the brain, and most people thought he probably would die. As it worked out, he recovered fully, for which he gives credit to God. Samples provides here a glimpse of his thoughts and feelings during those trying days, as he discovered personally that his worldview was not simply a mental exercise, but provided him with the encouragement, strength, and comfort he needed.
The book contains a helpful worldview comparative chart in the appendix, study questions at the end of each chapter, extensive endnotes and documentation, and a useful bibliography. I believe it is very useful for Christians, to increase their understanding of the basic, foundational beliefs and implications of their religion. Likewise, it builds confidence and understanding in speaking with those from other philosophical or religious backgrounds. Sometimes "the grass seems greener on the other side." For us Christians it's a blessing to realize that logical, profound thinking reveals that the greenest grass is right here.