Monday, September 24, 2007

What about Naturalism?

Naturalism is the term given to a major worldview category. One form of naturalism is atheistic materialism. Because of confusion in terminology, naturalism is sometimes misunderstood. A word with a "nature" prefix has a positive connotation. After all, most people love nature. Some people prefer "natural" foods and may even pay a higher price for foods in the organic produce department. Who could fault such honest, healthy preferences?

Scientific naturalism is another story. This is the view of many scientists that nature (the physical world) is all that exists, and NOTHING supernatural exists. The science community is committed to making discoveries about the operation of our natural world from a naturalistic perspective. Science has raised our living standards using discoveries about how natural laws operate, most certainly something for which to be thankful. We've cured diseases, enhanced crop production, and produced labor saving and entertainment devices using advanced technology. What could be wrong, therefore, with naturalism?

The problem centers in its practical denial of any supernatural cause or effect -- a virtual denial of the existence of God. We must distinguish between methodological and metaphysical naturalism. All scientists, Christian or not, operate with a naturalistic methodology. From a worldview perspective, the ramifications of either form of naturalism operating are wide ranging.