Dr. James N. Anderson has written what is probably one of my favourite introductory-level apologetics books. What’s Your Worldview: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions is a novel and creative approach to Christian apologetics to the layperson. The premise is simple but profound—what would happen if you combined a ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ book with an introductory apologetics book? Well, this book is what you would get—and it’s brilliant!
Dr. Anderson is the Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte and is a gifted writer and Christian Philosopher/Theologian. He writes and keeps a blog called Analogical Thoughts.
Christian apologetics is simply the study of how to give a logical and consistent defence of the faith—a reasoned response to critical questions and challenges. The word apologetics comes from a Greek word meaning “a reasoned response” and is taken from 1 Peter 3:15-16 which is popularly used as the biblical mandate toward Christian apologetics. What’s Your Worldview starts off with a brief introduction which explains the basic premise of the book and also defines what is a worldview. Anderson states that
“A worldview is an all-encompassing perspective on everything that exists and matters to us.”[pg.12]
Most people are not aware they have a worldview since we’re usually not consciously aware of it and its significance. However, worldviews frame and determine much of how we interact with and understand our world—they are the lenses through which we view the world. Therefore,
“worldviews play a central and defining role in our lives. They shape what we believe and what we’re willing to believe, how we interpret our experiences, how we behave in response to those experiences, and how we relate to others.”[pg.13]
The book starts off moving from questions to determine our foundational beliefs, progressing to increasingly more detailed questions that narrow down which worldview the reader holds. Each page contains a brief background and clarification of the concept in question, then a yes or no question at the bottom of the page with instructions on which page to go to depending on your response.
Through these sequences of questions, Anderson guides you step-by-step to understand your own underlying beliefs (which you may not have ever consciously contemplated) to figuring out what your held worldview is. Once the reader has reached the end of the trail at their worldview, Anderson provides a brief apologetic explaining the logical implications of that worldview and the problems it may pose. The reader then can choose to backtrack and choose a different path to continue reading on or put the book down. However, Anderson’s clarity, wit and winsome writing are compelling to entice even the critical reader to want to continue on.
Anderson tackles topics such as relative versus objective truth, the ‘God’ question, epistemology (how we know what we know), the nature of God, Divine revelation and salvation in the first part of his book. The second part starts to respond to the various broad categories of worldviews which the reader would have ended up at depending on their responses. These include Atheist, Theist, Quasi-Theist, Finite Theist, and Non-Christian Theist worldviews. The third part of the book addresses specific worldviews such as (but not limited to) Atheistic Dualism, Deism, Islam, Monism, Judaism, Nihilism, Pantheism, Pelagianism, Relativism, Unitarianism and of course, Christianity.
Anderson’s book challenges readers to identify their own worldviews, and in so doing, helps them come to logical conclusions and implications of their held beliefs in an innovative way. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in apologetics, or even to those with absolutely no idea what it is! It is easy to read, at only 103 pages (including the Appendix) and would be a great resource to read and give away to a friend or family member who is searching or trying to understand the big questions of life. This could also be a great evangelism tool to use in conjunction with Gospel conversations you’d want to have with people to whom you’re reaching out. I really hope that this book gains popularity! Go get a copy or two or ten!