The Christian Worldview

I keep having to remind myself that a Christian Worldview isn’t something we find in the Bible.

You can kind of extract it from the pages if you try hard enough, but it’s not there in so many words. It’s one of those things we made up and then didn’t think too much about why we made it up.

It makes sense, because different people look at different things in different ways, and if we’re going to be followers of Christ then we should probably get our Christovision goggles on, right?

I suppose. It’s kind of elementary that if you’re a Christian you experience the world in Christian terms.

But that’s a whole lot different from what a lot of people mean when the say “Christian Worldview”. It means lots of different things to different people. All the way from the idea that non-Christians are unable to interact fully with the fundamental reality of the world, to voting for conservative politicians and holding the line on gay marriage.

The Christian Worldview has become a kind of shorthand. We take it for granted. It insists upon itself. So much so that we don’t even take time to think about its validity as an idea or about any negative effects believing in it might have.

I’ve thought about it for a while today. I’m not sure what I think about this whole worldview thing yet. But I can see where it goes wrong. I can see some ways in which an unquestioning belief in a Christian Worldview can have a set of deleterious effects.

Let me start off by saying that I used to be a big fan of presuppositional apologetics. I feel like this was self-serving of me, giving myself a pat on the back for being able to fully comprehend the fabric of reality. (I know, as a Calvinist I shouldn’t have felt that way, but I did.) It’s a seductive philosophy. It allows for the worst sort of us/them dynamic, where “they” are so benighted that they can’t even think rationally! But “we”… ah, “we” have been redeemed, not only from sin and death, but also from bad logic.

The presuppositionalist thing ended when I realised that it begged just about every question that could be begged. And it wasn’t really a convincing apologetic, or even really an apologetic at all. And it removed any chance for meaningful dialogue. But that’s another thing for another time.

This Christian Worldview thing get us really mixed up, I think, because we conflate “thinking like a Christian” with the biblical idea of being in but not of the world.

So we get all these ideas about what it means to be in and not of. We bundle them together and call them a Christian Worldview, and march forward as Christian soldiers to fight the good fight. This means that we’re supposed to look at the world a certain way, and that certain way just so happens to align with a political interest — but we seem, culturally, to be blind to that.

It seems like our Christian Worldview doesn’t function like we think. It’s not a pair of X-Ray spectacles. It doesn’t reveal to us the true fabric of reality. Instead, it just blinds us to a different set of things.

If our morality has been co-opted and misdirected to serve the interests of the world (after all, what can be more worldly than politics?), and if we get to that morality by way of our Christian Worldview, perhaps we need to stop and think a bit. Maybe the Christian Worldview is another of those ways that we worship in vain, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.

Perhaps our Christian Worldview is nothing more than a tradition. The sort of tradition where God commanded “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy”, but we say “trickle down economics”. Or where God has said “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation”, but we say nothing when our megachurch leaders build mansions. Or where God commands “Turn away from evil and do good. Seek peace and pursue it”, but we seek preemptive strikes and build a war machine.

Or whatever. Maybe for you it’s something else. For me it is. For me it’s an inability to do business with science I don’t like, or uncomfortable facts I don’t want to have to think about. My Christian Worldview keeps me from looking critically at certain parts of my own Christian life.

I’m not sure what to replace it with. If anything. We all live our lives at the intersection of history, the Spirit, the church, scripture, and so many other things. Maybe the answer isn’t as easy as “Christian Worldview”.