Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What Do You Do With a Worldview?

Making sure your worldview is in line with the scriptures is hard work. Is it really worth the effort?

Yes. Your worldview will affect how you live. A worldview can affect how you treat people. It can affect how you see yourself.

Let's examine what than can look like. Consider the nature of humanity. Let's try to apply this Christian view to our world.

One of the key points here is that when we apply our faith to our world, we have to set aside our prejudices and ideas and presuppositions that come from other places. It doesn’t matter if you tend to vote Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Green. If you are a Christian, you need to think about the things of this world, including politics, as a Christian first and act accordingly.

What does the nature of humanity tell us about human institutions?

Humans are made in the image of God, but the image is distorted. That means that we can do good things, but we can also do very bad things. Left on their own, people will generally do bad things. As the old saying goes, power corrupts; human institutions tend to become corrupt, and the more powerful they are, the faster that seems to happen.

What does that tell us about governments? That means that no human government is going to be all good. That doesn’t mean human governments are all bad, but you can’t assume they’re above reproach. Some people in our society tend to want to put a lot of faith in the government. Is that perhaps misguided?

What does that tell us about the Church? The Church, because it has people in it, is going to show signs of sin. But when we look at what the Bible says about God, we see that he is all-powerful, and he always preserves a remnant for himself. Even if the Church became almost totally corrupt, there would still be a godly remnant that our Lord could work with to renew his Church.

Now we need to take it a little closer to home. Let’s look at the fields in which we work. Some may be surprised at the notion that Christian theology might affect how you think about your field. But if our God created everything, it only makes sense that He might have something to offer about every part of it.

One of the best examples of this comes from the history of science. Modern science is what it is only because of the Christian worldview. The basis of modern science is the scientific method. Essentially the scientific method is 1) observe, 2) make a generalization (a hypothesis), 3) test your hypothesis, 4) make a prediction (a theory), 5) test your theory. This was a novel approach.

You may be thinking, but what about the ancient Greeks? Prior to Christianity, “science” consisted of observation and … observation. They didn’t try to predict natural laws because in their worldview, the gods were capricious and temperamental. If you tried to predict how things would go, they might just change the laws of nature. (Now math isn't science. The Pythagorean theorem or the concept of zero are different kinds of things from a theory of gravitation.)

But the Judeo-Christian picture is of an unchanging God of order and law who can be depended on to keep the natural laws the same. A biblical worldview made the notion of a scientific method possible.

Now consider the field of education. What might the fact that we’re specially created by God imply about the question of learning? What might the fact that we’re created in the image of God suggest about how students are dealt with? What might the Fall add to that question? What might the truth that God made males and females different add to questions that are discussed in educational circles? Everyone needs to work these kinds things out for themselves in their own fields.

I want to emphasize that we’ve barely scratched the surface on the nature of humanity, and we didn’t even touch any of the other big questions. What I’m proposing here is not easy – in fact, it will never be finished. We’ll always be struggling to know Christ more and to be more like Christ, so those will obviously be on-going chores. We’ll never run out of people to evangelize, so that chore will never be finished either. We said last week that studying to defend the faith must be continuous or you’ll forget. But this is something different. If you commit to doing this now and until you die, you will always be re-evaluating your worldview for correctness and completeness, and you will always be looking for better ways to apply the faith to this world. The other parts are never complete because we’ll never run out of work; this one will never be complete because we’ll always be learning. But don’t let that discourage you – it’s a worthwhile goal, and doing in imperfectly will still leave the world much better than not doing it.

So how does one make sure he has a Christian worldview? This is going to sound odd, but it is NOT reading the Bible. One, because you always read the Bible through your preconceived notions. You need to look at a properly biblical worldview as a whole and then see where you’re deficient. The other reason is because getting a properly biblical worldview out of the Bible requires synthesizing everything the Bible says about these subjects – that takes a long long time.

After you get a good handle on what the Christian faith says about the world in general, start looking at how to apply it to specific aspects of the world. One thing to do is read – there are books about applying our faith to just about every field; look up yours.

Also, talk to other believers. Don’t just think these things to yourself or you might find yourself wandering off into left field. Follow Lewis’ example and find some thoughtful Christian friends to discuss these things with. It’ll be much better than talking about the latest movies you’ve seen all the time anyway.

I’ve laid out a pretty ambitious picture, I know. Remember, we will represent Christ wherever we go; doing it well, though, is hard. It requires time, effort, preparation, thought, and persistence. This is not a destination; it’s a lifestyle. Is your Savior worth some holy sweat? Are your unsaved friends and family worth some holy sweat?

We can't make the world change. But we can show the world what it looks like when life is lived God’s way.