What Is a Belief System?

By Will Barlow

About Will Barlow:

  • Interested in faith/science discourse since childhood
  • Bachelor’s degree in Physics/Mathematics
  • Master’s degree in Secondary Education (STEM focus)
  • Published God & Science book in late 2016
  • Future head pastor of Compass Christian Church

Goals for this class:

  • Learn about different ways to interpret Genesis 1
  • Learn about current views in physics, biochemistry, and geology
  • Think more about miracles, and how we define a miracle
  • Think about multiple ways to reconcile the Bible and science
  • Be prepared to tell those outside the faith that multiple options exist

Why present multiple options?

1 Peter 3:15   but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

When are multiple options better than one?

Churches of Christ motto:

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

Scenario One:

A current agnostic who thinks that all Christians are Youth-Earth creationists. This person believes in evolution. If all you know is Young- Earth creationism, and you don’t know that some Christians believe in evolution, how can you overcome that objection?

Scenario Two:

A former Christian who grew up in a church but doesn’t remember much about how to reconcile science and faith. This person has a vague feeling about how seriously we should take the text and is suspicious of “non-literal” interpretations. If you take a non-literal view of Genesis 1 and don’t know about the other options, how can you effectively help this person?

What is a belief system?

  • According to Collins Dictionary, a belief system is “the set of beliefs that people have about what is right and wrong and what is true and false.”
  • According to Oxford Dictionary, a worldview is “a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.”

Examples of Popular Belief Systems

  • Scientific Atheism
  • NOMA — science and religion simply don’t mix
  • Theism mixed with distrust of science
  • “God of the gaps”

What if there is a better way?

Truth Seeking

From my perspective, truth-seeking is a never-ending process.

  • To be a truth-seeker, we must constantly challenge our beliefs, which means we also may be challenging our filters (our belief system, our worldview).
  • How do we decide what the best worldview is? How do we decide what the best belief system is?

My Bias

  • I believe that God has revealed himself in several ways
    • Through the Bible
    • Through the lives of men and women throughout time
    • Through nature
  • “Two books” philosophy - Bible and nature

Has God revealed himself through nature?

Romans 1:20   For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Psalms 19:1-2   The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Scripture vs. Science


  • Eternal truth
  • Wisdom
  • Historical account of Hebrew people, Jesus, and early Christians
  • How to have a relationship with God, Christ, and others


  • Pursuit of understanding of the world around us
  • Knowledge
  • Process-driven
  • How to understand the mechanics of the world and universe around us

Famous Christian Scientists:

  • Galileo
  • Kepler
  • Pascal
  • Newton (Arian!)
  • Maxwell
  • Mendel
  • Lemaitre
  • Heisenberg von Braun
  • Katherine Johnson
  • Polkinghorne

What is our assumption about the Bible?

“The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
— Galileo

LHIM Weekly Bible Teachings
LHIM Weekly Bible Teachings
What Is a Belief System?

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