10-27-19 Huddle- Centered 2
Week 1 Recap
Leader Read: Last week we kicked off our CENTERED SERIES, which is all about establishing a Christ-Centered Worldview. Remember…our working definition of a worldview is, “what you believe about the most important and meaningful questions of life.” Today we are going to examine the question, “Where did it all come from?” We will be using the following grid for all of the questions we address over the following weeks.
- Claims—What are the claims each worldview makes in answering the question
- Reasons—What are the reasons they make such a claim
- Implications—What are the implications in other areas of life if the claim is true…think “IF”……, Then…..
- Actions—What actions should it inspire? How should we live in response?
Easy Intro Question
- Are you a mountain or a beach person…or a Midwest humidity person? Why?
Leader Read: Accountability Time—Last week we challenged everyone to spend some time in quiet reflection in preparation for this week. Is anyone willing to share from his or her experience? It doesn’t have to be overly spiritual or enlightening…you can even say, “I wanted to do it but never found the time.”
Just so I don’t catch you off guard next week, just know that moving forward, we will recap our practices each week at the beginning of group.
Watch Short Film
- What struck you from the film? Did you find any piece particularly compelling or moving? Did it raise any questions in your mind?
- The film used some words that we don’t often use in description of our every-day experience…words like astonishing, wonder, majesty and mystery. When was the last time you have been hit with “wonder”? Where were you? What were you doing?
- Do you think that a sense of wonder speaks to something spiritual in us? Why or why not? Why do we experience it?
Where Did it All Come From?
- What are some of the most common answers you hear to that question? (Beyond simply the Christian answer)
Leader Read: Today, what we want to do is take some of those answers and explore not just the claims, but the reasons, implications, and actions as well.
Materialism/Naturalism Worldview– Generally speaking, materialism and naturalism are just fancy words for the belief that holds that all that exists is matter…stuff like molecules, chemicals, atoms, electrons, etc. Nothing exists beyond the natural world…no soul, no spirit, no wonder…just matter. This could also generally be described as the atheistic view.
- In light of this…how do you think a philosophical materialist would answer the question, “where did it all come from?”
Leader Note– They would argue that everything came from matter and arises naturally…. naturally unguided evolution. Somehow, the first matter formed out of nothing and evolved into what we have today.
(In case people ask about evolution…the Christian Worldview allow space for the idea of guided evolution. So the problematic word is not evolution, it is unguided evolution.)
Pantheism or New Age Worldview– While you may not be familiar with the word PANTHEISM, I’m sure you have come across some form of this worldview. Generally speaking, Pantheism holds that the whole universe is eternal and divine. Not that God created the whole universe…but that the whole universe is God.
- How do you think someone with a pantheistic worldview would answer the question, where did it all come from?
Leader Note– This one is a little tricky. Although it seems to make sense to suggest the answer as God (of some kind), ultimately the answer is that it CAME from nowhere…it is eternal and has always been here.
Christian Worldview– There is a large number of texts in the Bible that illustrate the Christian Worldview’s answer to the question, “where did it all come from?” However, over this series, we really want to get Colossians 1:15-20 down into our soul because it is believed to be one of the earliest and most complete statements of Jesus. So…even though we looked at it last week…let’s read it together again, keeping in mind the question “where did it all come from?”
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
- How does this text answer the question, “where did it all come from?”
Leader Read: While there is a variety of views within the Christian worldview on the “how” God created (i.e. 7 literal days, guided evolutionary, intelligent design, day-age theory), the Christian worldview believes that the universe was created by a loving, transcendent (beyond space/time) and personal God.
- Using this description of the Christian worldview, can you name two points of difference or disagreement between the Christian Worldview and the Pantheistic or New Age Worldview?
Leader Note: 1—“the universe is created.” Pantheism holds that the universe is eternal. 2—“personal God.” Pantheism holds that the divine or God is an impersonal creator.
- What about materialism or naturalism? Where does the Christian Worldview differ?
Leader Note: The materialist or naturalist would not agree that the world had any kind of creator, personal or otherwise.
Leader Read: While many of us don’t come across people in our daily lives that openly claim they are Pantheist, a Naturalist, or a philosophical Materialists, I hope that you can at least see how some of the ideas these worldviews hold sneak into the lives of the people and culture around us. Ideas like an impersonal and unknowable God, the only thing that we really know is the material, etc. Until we are actively seeking to live a consistent worldview, we all are generally a melting pot of inconsistent worldview mixtures.
Leader Read: For this series, we are using the image of a scale for reasons. The idea behind using the scale is to illustrate that we ALL live in the tension of both belief and unbelief, faith and doubt. There are many solid reasons to believe in God, but we don’t deny that there are things, both intellectually and experientially, that we struggle with.
- We all have doubts. When you think of the doubt side of the scale, do these come from more intellectual reasons or experiential reasons? Things you think or things you experience? Share if you are comfortable.
Leader Note: While group members may naturally speak out of their own knowledge and experience to address other member’s doubts…as a leader, don’t feel the pressure…or even try…to do answer everyone’s doubt. Remind everyone that an important part of the spiritual journey is not trying to prematurely resolve doubts but to live in the tension of both doubt and faith. This tension—lived out in community—can lead to spiritual growth and transformation.
SMALLER GROUP ACTIVITY—Moving to the faith side of the scale, break down into smaller groups and see if you can come up with 3-5 reasons why it’s reasonable to believe that God (or some higher being) created the universe. These reasons can be experiential, intellectual, historical, etc. If you need help you can search the internet for help…although I have no idea what you will find!
Leader Note: If people are looking for more concrete and thorough examples of evidence for creation, point them to Bret’s message and the podcast. For the sake of time, we only have time to dive into one.
Leader Say: We have said that Pantheists believe in an eternal universe and that naturalists and philosophical materialists don’t believe in a creator at all. But what does the evidence say? Are there any arguments that speak to any of these claims directly or are Christians just going off of blind faith here.
We are going to check out a short YouTube video that helps put some weight behind these claims. It’s going to introduce one of the arguments for the existence of God…the Cosmological Argument.
Leader Note: If link doesn’t work, search “Reasonable Faith The Kalam Cosmological Argument”
- Did anything stand out to you from the video?
- A logical syllogism states two premises. If both are found to be true in relation to one another, the conclusion is valid. Do you agree with the 2 premises found in the Kalam Cosmological argument? Why or why not?
- Premise 1—Whatever begins to exist has a cause of its beginning.
- Premise 2—The universe began to exist.
- Conclusion—Therefore, the universe has a cause of its beginning.
- How does this argument weaken the possibility of some of the claims of Pantheism and Naturalism?
Leader Note: Pantheism holds that the universe is eternal and materialists and naturalists hold that the universe exists without cause.
Leader Read: The world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said, “almost everyone now believes that the universe, and time itself, had a beginning…at the Big Bang.”
A lot of people argue that science and religion are viciously at odds with each other. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The very start of scientific inquiry came from scientists who thought the world was understandable BECAUSE God created it. The Big Bang is one example from many where science supports the claims of the Christian Worldview. Science and faith are not at odds with each other. God is the creator and exists as truth, therefore, all truth scientific or otherwise falls under the realm of God’s wisdom.
Leader Read: When we ask a question like, where did it all come from, we not only answer that question but actually gain insight into other major questions as well. That is because the answer to this question does not exist in a vacuum…the implications spill over into other areas of life as well. For instance…
J.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings Guy) said, “If you do not believe in a personal God, the question, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ is unaskable and unanswerable?”
- What does Tolkien mean by this? How can he make this claim? And…what does this have to do with Pantheism?
Leader Note: Tolkien is suggesting (rightly) that one of the implications of an impersonal God is that we cannot know the purpose of creation, life, etc. Pantheism believes that the universe is an impersonal God/force. Which means, for pantheism, any meaning in the universe is unknowable.
- In similar fashion, if everything came from an unguided and natural process…matter, atoms, molecules, and chemicals all smashing together…what does that mean for the question of purpose? Meaning? Hope? Life after death?
Leader Note– If all that exists is stuff, then humans are nothing but an accident at best and a mistake at worst. Humans don’t have any created meaning, purpose, or hope. Even more, things like wonder and awe are not real…you are not having a real experience…what you think is awe, wonder, beauty, or even love is only chemicals swirling around in your head, giving you the illusion of wonder.
- What are some of the implications if the answer to the question of where did it come from is…an artist-like, powerful, and personal creator created us?
Leader Read: What if the Christ-Hymn is an accurate picture of reality?? Surely that should affect the way we live.
- How does the Christian Worldview’s answer that everything was created by a personal, loving God, affect the way we live and experience the world?
- How can it or does it change the way we view the world around us?
- How does it affect the way we move and act in the world?
Leader Read: We can choose to get sucked into the cultural story that we hear everyday, a story that suggests that the world is simply a giant cosmic accident…that there is ultimately no purpose or meaning other than the meaning we create, and that the awe and wonder you feel from time to time is simply an illusion produced by chemicals rushing around in your brain…
OR…we can choose to live our lives under the headline of a better story, one that says that a loving, personal and artistic God CHOSE to create this world, which includes choosing to create you. That all of life contains a bit of wonder and awe. That this world is not a cosmic accident but a beautiful artist creation filled with discovered meaning, purpose, and value.
What we believe about the question of Origin…the question of “where did it all come from,” matters because it determines the lens that you will view life through, which will influence the way you think, act, and feel about your experience of the world.
This week there are two options for our practice. Feel free to do both if you are an over achiever.
Option 1– Look for wonder. We all get so stuck in our daily routine that at times it is hard for us to see beyond the mundane. This week, be on the lookout for wonder. Take a photo of something that sparks a sense of wonder or awe. This could be something big or small—maybe it is even seeing something mundane in a new way. Be prepared to share next week.
Option 2– Ask a question. This week, ask someone (or a few people) this week’s question, “Where do you think it all came from?” or next week’s question, “Who are we?” “How are we different than animals?”
Option Activity—Worldview in Film/TV (If Extra Time)
Break into groups of 4. Thinking of what we learned about the Pantheistic Worldview and Naturalism/Materialism, Can you name any TV/Movies that illustrate/promote this worldview?
Leader Note– Materialism/Naturalism= There are probably endless options of this but a couple easy answers are “Big Bang Theory,” “Cosmos” and “Young Sheldon,”
Pantheism= There are probably a ton of movies that do…some include Star War’s concept of the Force, The Lion King’s concept of the “The Circle of Life,” Pocahontas, Brother Bear, etc.
If your group enjoyed the Cosmological Argument Video, point them to a resource called “Reasonable Faith.” If you search “Animated Videos Reasonable Faith” in YouTube, you will find a series of videos related to evidence of God’s existence similar to the Cosmological Argument. For those that want to go even deeper, Reasonable Faith also has a website with countless articles surrounding a variety of apologetic topics as well as debates, podcasts, and interviews.