Veritas Forum: Tuesday January 20 & Wednesday 21 –
Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews
Keynote Speaker – Mary Poplin
Professor in the School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University
A native of Texas, Mary Poplin earned her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Texas. She began her career teaching elementary school and special education, later becoming a professor at Claremont Graduate University in California where she was director of the Teacher Education Program, 1985-1995 and Dean of the School of Educational Studies, 2000-04. Between those positions Poplin worked with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. She has hosted a Summit on Accountability and Social Justice which sought to define the major principles inherent in accountability systems in the U.S. that have been found to be effective in closing the achievement gap between rich and poor and between racial and ethnic groups. She is the author of “Voices from the Inside: A Report on Schooling from Inside the Classroom” (1992). More recently, Poplin has begun to work on the application of the intellectual, social, and psychological principles of the Judeo-Christian worldview as they apply to higher education, particularly among culturally and linguistically diverse peoples and the poor. Poplin has published two books with Veritas through InterVarsity Press: Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (2013) and Finding Calcutta: What Mother Teresa Taught Me About Meaningful Work and Service (2008).
What is the nature of reality? At the root of our society’s deepest political and cultural divisions are the conflicting principles of four global worldviews. While each of us holds to some version of one of these worldviews, we are often unconscious of their differences as well as their underlying assumptions. Mary Poplin argues that the ultimate test of a worldview, philosophy or ideology is whether it corresponds with reality. Since different perspectives conflict with each other, how do we make sense of the differences? And if a worldview system accurately reflects reality, what implications does that have for our thinking and living?
In this wide-ranging and perceptive study, Poplin examines four major worldviews: naturalism, humanism, pantheism and Judeo-Christian theism. She explores the fundamental assumptions of each, pressing for limitations. Ultimately she puts each perspective to the test, asking, what if this worldview is true? If reality is secular, that means something for how we orient our lives. But if reality is not best explained by secular perspectives, that would mean something quite different.
Consider for yourself what is the fundamental substance of reality.