Principle #2: Identify the Idol’s Reductionism
- Define reductionism. In what way is reductionism like trying to stuff the entire universe into a box? Give an example.
Reductionism is the view that higher, more complex things can be identified with and explained in terms of lower, simpler things. For example, a pain is said to be nothing but the firing of certain neurons. Reductionism is like trying to stuff the entire universe into a box in that the box is reduced to a size too small to fit all of reality. Whatever is explained away by the reductionism will not fit in the box. For example, on materialism, any non-physical realities will not fit, such as logic, morality, rationality, spiritual entities, etc.
- How does reductionism affect one’s view of human nature? In your answer, explain this principle: “Every concept of humanity is created in the image of some god.” Use materialism as an example.
Given that every concept of humanity is created in the image of some god, and every god of non-biblical worldviews is lesser than the God who is, human nature will be less than what it is. For example, on materialism, human beings are nothing but highly evolved bipedal primates. We are animated aggregates of molecules in motion, or what Kevin Lewis calls “stardust in a cosmic blender. Morality is nothing but social conventions, and we have no greater claim to the planet or its resources than any other species. Human rights are whatever the greater culture decides they are. If the culture decides that Africans are not equal to Europeans and can be owned as property, then that is what is “right.” If 1930’s German culture decides Jews are not human and can be killed at will, then that is “right.” If 20th/21st Century America decides that the unborn is not worthy of human rights, then that is our “choice.”