Monthly Archives: August 2012

What is a Worldview?

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I don’t think I was even familiar with the term until I was a juniorish in college. It sounds rather sophisticated, doesn’t it?

I think, in a way, it’s both incredibly easy to understand, and yet much more complicated than you think. Just looking at the word, you would correctly assume that it’s how someone views the world. But what does that mean? Obviously, it’s more than just “hey, look at that big blue circle.”

It’s a sort of philosophical web of ideas, that, once combined, make up your view of everything. Every idea that comes to mind or every circumstance that happen to you or you hear about, is filtered through your worldview. Reflecting on that makes me realize how complex it is, but yet, I never sat down and though “ok, today I’m going to start creating my worldview.” I just sort of already had one, just like everyone has one. Now, later in life, once you start learning things and studying certain aspects or ideas, your worldview can change, but you still have something to start with.

Ravi Zacharias often says that every worldview must address the following four issues: Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny. These things must be addressed because they are the four big questions everyone asks at some point. Things like “where did I come from?” , “what is the meaning of life?” , “Is there truth/right and wrong?” , “where am I going?” etc. There are entire branches of philosophy devoted to answering questions like that. These things must be addressed in relation to the correspondence and coherence theories of truth.

Those sound complicated, but they’re really not. Basically, do the answers that come from a certain worldview make sense of reality as it actually is? And do those answers cohere in such a way that the worldview is consistent within itself. Apply the law of noncontradiction to it. (My car can’t be in the parking lot and not in the parking lot at the same time.) There’s a lot of places you could go into when you start talking about worldview, but I would like to emphasize just one.

When you look at the word “worldview” you notice that grandness of it. This is how you view the entire world. It’s a holistic system. This means that your belief system has to be able to address everything. That doesn’t mean that you have the perfect answer to everything or are able to solve every dilemma in such a way that everyone is satisfied with it. What it does mean, is that your worldview is big enough, that answers can be found, if someone went looking for them.

Jesus spoke in worldview terms a lot in the Bible. For example, when He said that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” in John 14:6, he was answering a lot of those questions that I mentioned above.

I was thinking about how my Christian faith is a worldview, and if it’s big enough to address things that happen to me on a day to day basis. It’s really easy to pick on, say, the prosperity gospel people and say “yeah, well what happens to you when a horrible tragedy happens? your worldview falls apart!” but what about mine? Does my worldview explain why I’m tempted to sin in the same ways, even after Christ has freed me from the bondage of certain sins? Does my worldview have an answer for the man who just go laid off from his job and is coming to me for advice? Does my worldview know what to do when a friend has a miscarriage? How do I explain a world where sometimes, the bad people get good things and the good people get bad things? Does it tell me why there are so many denominations within Christianity?

I think the answer is yes. I think it’s a hard yes, and I mean that not to say it more emphatically, but rather to say that the questions are hard to deal with, even if I have answers for them. Because it’s one thing to logically be able to say the right answer (that’s easier for me), but it’s another to have those answers actually have an effect on my life. I think the tendency within Christianity is to limit our worldview so that we only emphasize one area (which ultimately means we’re over-emphasizing one aspect of God’s character) at the expense of others. We emphasize the aspect that’s easy or comforting to us, so that we don’t have to think about the hard stuff.

I know that’s what I do. I know there are some aspects of my life that my right answers haven’t connected to. That means that I’m living inconsistently with my worldview. The key there, is that I have a consistent, clear, and coherent worldview with which you can compare to.

I challenge you to take some time this week and take one issue, one hard question like some of the ones I listed above, and see if your worldview has an answer for it. Then take a look at your life, and see if that answer is being applied properly. Are you living like you have an answer to the problem? Or are you just letting things happen to you without putting in the hard work and figuring out what needs to be done, and then doing it.

Also, if you think about it, pray for me as I do the same thing. I know there are some areas that I need to put in the hard work, and it’s really easy for me to be lazy.

Fighting with you,

Jesse

Quick Thoughts on The Olympics

I’ve never been someone that’s terribly into much of anything you could call a sport. But I do enjoy watching the major events every now and again, particularly for the social aspect and the food. Basically, whichever respective sport’s championship happens to be around and whoever hosts a party.

The Olympics are upon us, and it’s quite a bit bigger than any national championship. It staggers the mind to think that the same events are being watched all around the world. I think it’s a great way for people to feel patriotic without actually doing anything other than cheer on their country’s specific athlete(s). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that either. But I think there are other reasons people watch the games (odd to refer to them as “games”) as well.

As I was thinking about them, the thing that struck me was the difference between, say, movies and the Olympics is the “real” factor. Not necessarily just the fact that these are real people vs. obviously, movies are fake stuff either. I think in our day, or at least in America, we have a very hard time telling stories in films that depict people as truly good or truly evil. Our good guys have to be tainted somehow, in an attempt to be more “human”, meanwhile our philosophers/sociologists/psychologists struggle to come to a definition of what being human really means. While our bad guys can’t be actually evil, but rather, guys you end up rooting for even if you don’t like them because they’re actually just victims of something, or they actually have good points so you love to hate them etc.

I don’t think the Olympics is an example of good guys vs. bad guys, but there are very clear cut winners and losers. All of the athletes competing are incredibly talented, so it’s just entertaining to watch from the standpoint of spectacle, but I think there’s something refreshing about looking at something and going “yep, that guy got 1st and that guy got last” without having any sort of strange need to change the 1st place guy into something or the last place guy into something to “bring em down to our level” for some unknown reason.

As a culture, we’re pretty against God and absolute truth, so naturally, we have to be against true definitions of good and evil. Take the Christopher Nolan Batman films. I rather enjoy them, but it’s obviously an attempt at casting a darker look on Batman. You look at previous Batman films and they were more lighthearted, and it was a lot easier to say “ok, this guy’s good and that guy’s evil.” Whereas with the new ones, everyone has to be not quite on one side or the other. Perhaps the change came when, thinking particularly of the Batman movies, it was popular to sort of make everyone a good guy (Mr. Freeze turns into a good guy and such). However, you look at the 3 new batman movies and you have the love interests of Bruce Wayne being either busy and shortsighted or hiding true identities or teaching Bruce some of the hard truths of life etc. You have even the butler turning into a character that Bruce is against, at least temporarily. All the good guys have to be bad at least on some level and in some cases. Every one of them, without exception to my knowledge. I think that’s because we have this allergy toward absolute right and wrong or good and evil. Francis Schaeffer said that ideas start with the philosophers, but eventually they go down the ladder and enter popular culture through the arts, and it seems he was right. We’re uncomfortable with someone like Superman who, at least in the comics, is actually someone truly good. (I’ll bet the new Superman movie will have him not such.)

I could probably go on about that for quite awhile but all that to say that we need more clear cut categories. I think it’s just good for us to look at something and say “he’s a good guy” and “he’s a bad guy” without having to qualify what we mean and without having all these gray areas. Which is why the Olympics is such a great thing to watch. We already know they’re amazing athletes, so we can say they’re all incredible. But it’s just nice to see very clear cut winners and losers. There’s probably a good bit in there to tell to the self-esteem culture too, but that’s another blog.

In a Genesis 3 world, it’s helpful to keep our categories straight, because it helps us to think clearly about a good number of issues. It’s not popular, but nobody said it would be; in fact Jesus said it would be just the opposite. That said, enjoy the Olympics. Root for your team and try to take some of that objectivity you’ve used and bring it back into the rest of life. It’s refreshing.

Fight the Blindness!

A friend of mine was talking about reading through 1st Peter and how that book really shook him up. So I decided to read through it as well, and I just kept on going to 2nd Peter. It’s in 2nd Peter that I found some things that really hit me. In particular, I want to talk about 2nd Peter 1:5-9.

In verses 3-4, Peter talks about what God has done for us. He talks about how God has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness. How did He do this? Through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence. By His own power and for His own glory did He call us, so that we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. That’s pretty powerful stuff. So, in light of that, this is what Peter tells us to do.

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (v.5-9)

Now the word “supplement” does not mean that you add something to your salvation, nor is this list in a strict chronological order necessarily. In terms of basic structure, what is being said is this:

Because of ____

Do ____

If you aren’t increasing in that, you are blind.

That’s a very straightforward and practical way to look at things. Another important thing to notice is that this is a passage directed toward believers. It is fairly easy to look at that list and say, “ok, well, if someone doesn’t show those things, then clearly they aren’t saved.” but that’s not what the passage says. It doesn’t say they aren’t saved, it says that they are blind. They have forgotten that they were cleansed by Christ of their former sins. Besides, all that stuff in verses 3 and 4 are the reason we are to be striving for this stuff in the first place.

Here’s a wake up call for you; if you are not increasing in those things, you are blind. Is there a particular sin(s) you are struggling with? You probably are starting to go blind. Because this applies in a couple ways, one is that if you aren’t increasing in the qualities that are listed, then you are going blind. However, after it states that the person is blind, it says that they have forgotten that they were cleansed of their former sins. If you are cleansed of your former sins, that means you are no longer a slave to them, so you no longer have to do them or obey them. I know it’s tough to stop certain sins, especially if you have a long history of doing it, believe me, I know how hard it is. But you have to realize that if Christ sets you free, you are free indeed.

However, if you are still continuing in your sin and are not increasing in all those qualities, DANGER! YOU ARE BLIND! I think it is certainly possible to be blind and yet be saved, but I have to wonder what sort of assurance you would have in that state. We are to hope in Christ alone for our salvation, but if we do not see spiritual growth and evidences of God’s grace in our lives, it seems to me that our sin is sapping our assurance.

Another helpful list is found in Galatians 5. Here, Paul lists the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:19-24 (Emphasis added)

Pretty sobering isn’t it. This is why we need to fight against blindness. Again, we do not earn or work for or add anything to our salvation. Christ accomplished the salvation of His people perfectly. Because He did all that, and sent the Spirit to live in us, we are to fight for our assurance. Fight to crucify the desires of the flesh. Fight to follow Christ.

As a fun side note, here’s the song where the title of this blog came from. Old Christian metal band.

SDG