Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes

Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes

by Nancy Pearcey


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780781413084
Publisher: David C Cook
Publication date: 03/01/2015
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 311,982
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Nancy Pearcey is author of the 2005 ECPA Gold Medallion Award winner Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity and the 2000 ECPA Gold Medallion Award winner (coauthored by Harold Fickett and Chuck Colson) How Now Shall We Live? Formerly an agnostic, Pearcey studied under Francis Schaeffer at L’Abri. She earned an MA from Covenant Theological Seminary and pursued further graduate work in History of Philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. Heralded as “America’s pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual” (The Economist), Pearcey is professor and scholar in residence at Houston Baptist University. She is a fellow of the Discovery Institute and editor-at-large of The Pearcey Report. As founding editor of BreakPoint, she also coauthored a monthly column with Chuck Colson in Christianity Today. Pearcey has contributed to several books and published more than a hundred articles. She has spoken in the US Capitol and the White House; at universities such as Princeton, Stanford, and Dartmouth; to actors in Hollywood and artists in New York City; on NPR and C-SPAN. Her earlier books include The Soul of Science and Saving Leonardo.

What People are Saying About This

Kelly Monroe Kullberg

“Pearcey has done it again … shows how biblical truth is both more convincing than competing worldviews, and also more appealing.”
            —Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Founder, The Veritas Forum

John Erickson

“Secular worldviews have become the intellectual fast-food of our day—nice taste, no nourishment … This book ought to be in the survival kit of every student heading off to college.”
            — John R. Erickson, Author, Hank the Cowdog

J. P. Moreland

“A great book … Nancy Pearcey has been to the church what Francis Schaeffer was to the believers of his day: a cultural intellectual who provides careful, thoughtful, and well-researched critiques … I highly recommend this delightful book.”
            — J.P. Moreland, Professor of Philosophy, Biola University

Ravi Zacharias

"Pearcey invites readers to 'TEST EVERYTHING' ... She illustrates how competing systems of thought borrow from Christianity even while rejecting it.... An IMMENSELY PRACTICAL and INSIGHTFUL resource."

J. Warner Wallace

“Describes my life as an atheist perfectly … If I’d read this book as a young man, I think I would have been challenged to re-examine my views much earlier.”
            — J. Warner Wallace, Author, Cold-Case Christianity

David Naugle

“Wonderfully insightful … helps readers avoid becoming ‘intoxicated’ with idols and false ideas.”
            — David K. Naugle, Author, Worldview: The History of a Concept

Gregory Koukl

“Chock full of gems … Pearcey has the unique ability of getting to the heart of things.”
            — Gregory Koukl, President, Stand to Reason

Phil Robertson

“Dismantles humanism, atheism, reductionism, and every other ism … Pearcey’s arguments combined with the Gospel of Jesus leave all other worldviews outside of Christianity without a leg to stand on.”
            — Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty

Doug TenNapel

“We live in a culture beset by the twin dragons of modernism and postmodernism. Nancy Pearcey draws a sword and cuts their heads off … Totally readable.”
            —Doug TenNapel, Creator, Earthworm Jim

Paul Copan

"Deftly exposes the inconsistencies and the failures of a host of modern idols.”
            —Paul Copan, Professor of Philosophy, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Sean McDowell

“Fantastic! … Sharp critique of secular culture and a helpful guide for correcting it.”
            — Sean McDowell, Author, Speaker

Lee Strobel

“Nancy Pearcey at her best—totally profound, persuasive, and yet practical.  Read it with your highlighter handy!”
            — Lee Strobel, New York Times bestselling Author

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Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DanWynne More than 1 year ago
Nancy Pearcey is the director of the Christian Worldview Center at Houston Baptist University. She is the author or coauthor of six other books, including Total Truth, Saving Leonardo, and How Now Shall We Live (with Chuck Colson.) Many Christian philosophers and apologists have written effective critiques of worldviews that compete with Christianity in the marketplace of ideas. In that sense there is nothing new in Pearcey’s book. The beauty of Finding Truth is in how Pearcey offers a systematic way to evaluate these worldviews in a way that exposes their weaknesses, and shows Christianity to be a viable alternative. Working from the text of chapters 1 and 2 of Paul’s letter to the Romans, Pearcey outlines a five-step process for evaluating worldviews that compete with Christianity. She notes that every worldview has an ultimate concern, or something that has the status of divinity, hence the first step is to identify what this is for the worldview. What stands in for the God the worldview denies? Every God-substitute turns out to be something within the created order, and therefore smaller than the God who is. Pearcey shows how all competing worldviews entail some form of reductionism. She then helps the reader identify it. If you think of a worldview as a box, only Christianity has one big enough to contain reality. All others are too small, and therefore they must deny, dismiss, or ignore aspects of reality that do not fit in the box. Having noted the aspects of reality that must be denied, the third step is to compare the view with how one experiences the world. How well does the worldview make sense of the world as we find it? In the next step, we examine the worldview to see if it passes its own test. Ultimately, worldviews contrary to Christianity are self-refuting.  For example, materialism denies the existence of free will. However, some form of free will is necessary for rationality to be possible. If rationality is not possible, the materialist cannot affirm or defend materialism. In the final step, the case is made for the Christian worldview, noting how the competing worldview is already borrowing from Christianity while denying it at the same time. Pearcey closes by arguing for an integrated faith that applies critical thinking, rather than shuns it. Finding Truth is a must read for parents of high school students contemplating college, college students, youth pastors, and anyone else who wants to think carefully about faith and be able to share their faith more effectively.
chris-ho More than 1 year ago
It appears that atheism and secularism is on the rise today. At times it even appears that atheism is the rising ‘religion’. So is atheism without fault? Nancy Pearcey doesn’t think so and this book is about what she thinks are flaws the atheism worldview has. Pearcey starts with a story. A story of how the typical christian youth who grows up in a Christian environment finds himself giving up his faith at an evangelical college. Pearcey then tells her story of how she, an atheist became a christian. Pearcey wants to share with the readers some of the thoughts she had as someone who was searching for the truth. Herein are the 5 principles that Pearcey will elaborate in more detail in the chapters ahead. Pearcey first starts by identifying the most fundamental problem of atheism. And that is the problem of idolatry. Pearcey shows how even the atheist who cries out against the idea of God, makes a god in their own image and likeness. Pearcey shows the readers how the bible has already clearly shown us this in Romans 1. Having identified the idol of atheism, Pearcey then teaches readers the implications of just beliefs. More importantly, Pearcey lets readers know that a deviation away from God’s idea of humanity or this world inadvertently brings about harmful and destructive behaviours. For example, if we believe that human is simply a product of evolution, then when we declare we love somebody, it can be nothing more than dopamine flooding our caudate nucleus. It may feel significant to us, but it is really nothing more than a bunch of neurotransmitters flooding our neuroreceptors. Any deviation from God leaves us with a beliefs that makes us less than we actually are. The next principles Pearcey introduces is whether such beliefs contradicts anything we know about the world. This can be clearly seen when atheists say things like mortality or conscience is not objectively real, but the world will be much better if we live as if it was objectively real. In essence, no one can live our their belief to the fullest. This is also linked to the fourth principle, which looks at whether a belief is self-contradictory or not. This is most clearly seen in relativism, where everything is relative, but the statement itself. Lastly, since no belief can be self-standing, there will always be things they will need to “borrow” from the christian faith. This sums up the 5 flaws of atheism. This book is most useful for high-school or college level youths. This will really them to think through about their faith and also about what atheism really is about. This will help them think critically about atheism and help them see their faith in a new light. Pearcey bring the burden of proof onto the atheist and ask them to show christians how their belief is able to stand up on it’s own and at the same time shows how the christian faith is able to meet all of the test. Recommended reading for almost all christians, since we have often raised of the rise of the nones. Rating: 4.25 / 5 Disclaimer: I was given this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
Nancy Pearcy’s biographical sketch, woven into the pages of Finding Truth, chronicles her journey from agnostic, teenage skeptic to professor of apologetics at Houston Baptist University — but that is not the point of the book. Her goal is to make a case for critical thinking in the church. Offering her memoir as exemplar and Romans 1 as a training manual, she follows the Apostle Paul’s arguments and presents his diagnosis of the human condition: those who “do not see fit to acknowledge God” will adopt Creator substitutes, ending up with “two-story worldviews that are not defensible as logically consistent, coherent, or realistic.” Pointing to alarming statistics regarding teens who have fallen away from Christianity (32% say they left the church because of doubts and questions), Nancy makes a strong case for the inclusion of apologetics in the curriculum for high school and college age learners, and then stresses the importance of equipping the church (particularly parents) to be open to all the questions that arise in our post-Christian society. Her Five Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes referred to in the subtitle are a tool for organizing one’s thoughts in analyzing a worldview — either a religion or a philosophy. Following the trail of logic laid in Romans 1, Pearcey invites her readers to begin by identifying the “idol,” i.e., “What has this worldview put in the place of God?”(Principle #1). Then, because this idol is a “lesser god,” it follows that human life and all else will also be devalued (Principle #2). The resulting philosophy or religion with its reductionism will not fit the contours of our real world (Principle #3), and will ultimately contradict itself (Principle #4). Once revealed in this way, the leap of faith and the rationalizations required to sustain one’s belief in the false system are obvious: adherents must exempt themselves from the critique they apply to everyone else, and, furthermore, they must live “as if there actually were a God” or “as if a Christian epistemology is true” in order to make their worldview work. The chart below demonstrates the process by which Principles 1-4 unmask and test the idols of a philosophy, a religion, and a political theory. The idol The reductionism Cognitive dissonance Post-modernism (a philosophy) The forces of culture or community Humans are merely products of social forces If there is no universal/objective truth, who can believe post-modernists? Pantheism (a religion) The universe (The “One” or The “All”) Individual self has so little value, it should be dissolved into “The One.” Can they really regard their children and loved ones in this way? Nazi-ism (a political theory) Race Those who don’t fit into prescribed box are suppressed. Ultimately leads to tyranny and death Once the idol has been unmasked in this way, it can be replaced with Truth, and this is, perhaps, the most important section of Nancy’s approach to defending the faith. Making a case for Christianity (Principle #5) involves responding to the weak points of a reductionist worldview and offering Christ as a path to intellectual credibility. To shore up our confidence, Nancy Pearcey details examples in which foundational tenets of the Christian faith have been “borrowed” by secularists. The idea that life has an ultimate purpose, the existence of an objective moral standard, the idea that God speaks and that the heavens are open are all uniquely Christian claims that have been borrowed because adherents cannot live within “the cramped confines” of their secular worldview. I have come away from my reading of Finding Truth very grateful for Nancy Pearcey’s clear (but not simplistic) work in training her reader to think like an apologist. With Romans 1 conveniently in the appendix and a complete study guide in the back, this book is perfectly designed for classroom or small group use. Additionally, when I stumble upon a book that has 44 pages of footnotes and discover that there is so much “good stuff” back there that I stick a bookmark to keep me from missing anything, I think of it as “bonus material.” I don’t have the intellect or the rapier wit to produce the incisive retorts that I have long associated with well-known apologists, but it turns out that that’s o.k. “A gentle answer turns away wrath,” and it is a far better thing, following Nancy’s five steps, to find the deficiencies in an unbeliever’s worldview, and then — gently — to offer Christ. “Here, let this truth fill your vacuum. Let His love fill your heart. Let His purpose fill your life.” This book was provided by David C. Cook in exchange for my honest review.
Barry_Ickes More than 1 year ago
Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcey is a must read! It is a clarion call to a mindless church to come to grips with the ONLY worldview that rationally & logically answers the very valid questions of all men.
Joshua0 More than 1 year ago
I recently finished "Finding Truth," I can't think of a book that the church needs more today. I think this work should be recommended in the same breath as "Reason for God," or "Mere Christianity," with no stop for distinction in quality.
CameronCloud More than 1 year ago
It has been suggested that we are entering a golden age of Christian apologetics. One of the leading voices of this age is Nancy Pearcey. Pearcey is a popular speaker, writer, professor, and scholar-in-residence at Houston Baptist University.  Having recently enjoyed her book, Saving Leonardo, I had particularly high expectations for Finding Truth. It did not disappoint.  Drawing from Romans 1, Pearcey combines Scriptural principles and critical thinking to detail a clear strategy for contrasting Christianity with alternative world-views. She delineates five principles by which all philosophies may be evaluated:  Principle 1: Every non-biblical worldview has a God replacement. Identifying that idol is the first step to responding to it.  Principle 2: Deifying one portion of general revelation denigrates others and suppresses the unified, wholistic view of truth.  Principle 3: Every idol-based worldview will fail to fit the evidence of experience.  Principle 4: Every reductionistic worldview is self-defeating. Every reductionistic worldview makes exception for its own thinking and thus fails.  Principle 5: Where other views fail, the Christian worldview encompasses all of general revelation and satisfies the questions others leave unanswered.  Personal experience with the questions many young believers face invests Pearceys writing with an important empathy for those whose viewpoint does not accept Christianity. As she holds popular contemporary worldviews under the microscope of these principles, her irenic tone is more suited to winning a soul that merely winning an argument. The focus here is less on an angry defense, than on an appealing presentation of the wholeness and beauty of viewing the world as God intended.  This book presents persuasive arguments but goes a step further. By demonstrating these principles through comparative evaluation of the various worldviews, it provides a helpful tool for equipping Christians to respond to the questions and challenges their faith will face in the public arena.  While its clear, erudite style will make it especially suited to college students, one would be mistaken to assume this book is only for young adults. Whether believer or seeker, youth or adult, experienced apologist or questioning cynic, this book and its five principles are invaluable guides for those serious about Finding Truth.