At a recent public meeting in Taumarunui I was asked to explain a phrase I used in my latest book, that “I blog from a Christian worldview”. Here is a more detailed explanation than I was able to give in a one sentence answer at the time – for the curious.
In order to understand a Christian worldview we need to understand the two concepts of a “worldview” and that of a “Christian faith”.
A worldview is the paradigm through which we view the world around us. This is largely influenced by our formative years – early childhood experiences (good and bad), our upbringing (caregivers’ actions, attitudes and teaching) – but also by major life experiences – religious, near-death or intensely moving experiences (insecurities, ego, abuse, personal relationship issues, parenthood, bereavement, financial successes or failure and so on).
Put crudely, if we had a good childhood we tend to have a positive worldview and visa versa. If we were abused as a child, we can err in our worldview by lack of trust for example. Likewise if we are a silver-spooner, we may view the world as ours for the taking, and err in our worldview which may be influenced by arrogance. My blogging of Sir David Hay‘s immoral and bullying conduct is an example of this. We see the world around us as ‘ours for the taking’, bully others and resent people pointing out our misconduct as a result.
We all have a worldview, but it is rare for us to recognise this, for until we are given a reason to consider it (such as with cross-cultural experiences, or working in say, the sphere I operate), we generally have no need to consider alternative worldviews. It is even harder for most to be able to state with clarity what our worldview is, for it is only when challenged that we can even know what they are, let alone elucidate our values objectively. ‘Normal’ for us can be totally different to others’ normality but to identify our ‘normal’ requires the sort of objectivity that requires thought, humility and usually life experience, best spelled T-I-M-E!
The second component to this “Christian worldview” thing is the adjective that describes and labels the worldview – Christian.
Simply put a Christian is someone who follows the teaching of Christ. In an imperfect world though, this can mean different things in different contexts and in different ways. The claim to BELIEVE what Jesus says can differ from the claim to FOLLOW what Jesus says. The bible explains that even the Accuser believes the words of Christ – he obviously doesn’t OBEY, nor follow Christ’s teaching. Then some people genuinely think that they are or do follow but that highlights the ongoing confusion as to what Jesus actually said . . . then to add to this is the myriad interpretations of what the Master meant even if it is agree what He actually actually said! It’s a hornet’s nest of confusion for sure.
Fortunately there is only one primary divide within Christendom being the Catholic/Protestant divide. Most of the big-picture principles are agree, except for the fundamental difference based on the correct interpretation of one scripture (where Catholicism claims legitimacy of authority from their claims to have succession from Simon Peter, Cephas, the Rock [literally] and Protestant’s view that the Master’s words were spoken to ‘contrast’ [and weren’t literal]).
The basics of the Christian faith are pretty simple when all boiled down.
- God created, good. He created because He was good and what He created was originally good (lit: in His nature or image);
- Sh*t happened. Technically called “The Fall”, somehow or other mankind screwed up through letting pride rule instead of faith;
- We’re all in the poo. Thanks to our ancestors’ foolishness, arrogance, rebellion and whatever else, we now live in a less than perfect world.
- God gave us the solution, His Son, Jesus . . . who did the needful and gives us a restored relationship with the Father.
There’s a little bit more to this of course – we’ve got the Helper (the Spirit of God, technically called the Holy Spirit) in which we can see and understand reality from His perspective, thus giving us Wisdom. We apparently have happy times ahead waltzing around singing “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” and other such stuff forever as a
sentence reward for doing things right on planet earth. There’s a huge global conspiracy with the [supposedly] defeated Devil fighting all the Saints for their souls. If you don’t go to church and give, give, give ad infinitum you’re going to end up in the hot place getting roasted forever along with a red dude with his pitchfork. [Some sarcasm and jest here!]
In terms of social commentary, human conduct and conspiracy analysis, the Christian worldview takes the above Christian principles as the basis from which we can view the world. I have found this to correlate to reality far better than any other worldview – secular, Pagan, Buddhist, Islaamic and New Age all have aspects of concern to me that seem to knock one off kilter from the reality that I know going back the few decades I’ve lived and asked questions.
The core understanding that there is an absolute – that there is a right and wrong (even if we personally may not know what it may be at any one time) is a basic of the Christian worldview. Relativism, where the truth is defined by circumstances just doesn’t stack up logically. It, like we do as individuals, most certainly exists. If God is good and if He wants us to know Him, then it is His job to find a way through the barrier of human pride to do this. He has. He does. It is our job to humble ourselves and to respond intelligently and honestly if we desire His blessing.
That the truth is a person, the person of Christ, (and thus requires a relationship) and is not just an abstract, was a huge revelation to me in my early adulthood. Central to this understanding is that Jesus is perfectly alive and well thank you very much – risen from the grave and living in my/our hearts and all that other ‘religious’ kind of stuff.
Simple, if not easy.
What one finds when we dig into the world and its various ways and are honest, is that the core tenets of the Christian faith are sound; that the world does fit the Christian paradigm without forcing it. There is ample physical and other evidence of a creation event at some time way back; that there has been turmoil that equates to cataclysmic events involving a global flood a few thousand years ago; that there are a million more verified facts that give the bible credibility beyond the human and that you’ve got to be deaf, blind and stupid not to see that there is a factor in all anti-social, self-destructive and ungodly conduct that can be identified as pride. The solution of humility when consciously acted upon does indeed bring the incomprehensible blessings spoken of by Christ. The picture of mankind going its own ways as opposed to faith in the Creator’s words is exemplified time after time with any honest look at historical events.
The way I see it, no amount of either natural skepticism/negativity or unrealistic wishful thinking seems to be able to change the validity Christian worldview properly understood.
The significance of this ‘Christian’ paradigm is that when researching for commentary, analysis or advice, a quick check to compare a situation back to scriptural guidance reveals much and keeps me (as commentator) on the straight and narrow. If I’m talking up someone whom I like for example or or talking down a conman or a politician – as long as I view the situation from the Christian worldview, then I’ve found that I’ll be pretty close to reality. It doesn’t mean that I’m perfect nor that I’ll always get it right but that’s my goal anyway.
Perhaps it is yours too?