Monday, April 15, 2013

Understanding Our Worldviews and Why They Are Difficult to Change

NASA Photo: Earthrise From the Moon

"I had believed a lie!"

"I had blindly promoted the 'company line' for so long."


"Why hadn’t I searched out the truth for myself?"

"Why had I closed my ears to the arguments I’d heard?"

These words were written by the former director of a Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic, Abby Johnson, after she witnessed an abortion of a 13 week old baby through an ultrasound device she was holding for the doctor.

Her full article "The Ultrasound That Changed My Life" is found here.

That was her moment when she realized that the way she saw life, or her worldview that she had been taught, was not true--but only upon examination of it for herself.

Abby's words ring true for anyone who has come to realize that what they have been taught is not true. Not everyone, however, responds as maturely when their worldview is challenged or shaken, and some never even consider that their worldview may be limited.

As individual maturity and independence increase in life, dependency and comforting security decrease in certain respects. Some, upon being challenged by additional facts, begin to blame messengers as a cloak for their own insecurities, lack of effort, or unbelief. Many simply never develop a strong enough desire to examine their own beliefs.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Understanding Your Worldview: Do We See? Can We Hear?

In The Transforming Vision, Walsh and Middleton state:

"Worldviews are best understood as we see them incarnated, fleshed out in actual ways of life. They are not systems of thought, like theologies or philosophies. Rather, worldviews are perceptual frameworks. They are ways of seeing. If we want to understand what people see, or how well people see, we need to watch how they walk. If they bump into certain objects or stumble over them, then we can assume that they are blind to them. Conversely, their eyes may not only see, but dwell on certain other objects."

Call to mind many of Jesus' statements to the disciples about the crowds not being able "to see" and being unable "to hear" (Matthew 13:11-17). Also, note that the religious rulers of Jesus' day asked Jesus if He thought they were "blind" (John 9:40). Because they were vested in their ideological worldview, and did not want to repent, this prevented the crowds and religious rulers from seeing what Jesus was saying and, consequently, it affected how they responded to Him--from some walking away (John 6), to some having Him scapegoated and executed at the hands of the state (Matt. 26--27). 

Are there parts of our worldview that we do not "see" and cannot "hear?" Do we only listen and and agree with those who agree with us and condemn all who disagree? Paul said this behavior is not wise:

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise" (2 Cor. 10:12).

Worldviews change. And it is imperative that we understand our own history as Americans, and especially as Christians, in order to compare our national and cultural worldview to the Biblical worldview of Jesus, Peter and Paul. Notice, for example, how one particular aspect of the American worldview changed within just a few years concerning the bombing of civilians in war:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Understanding Your Worldview: An Excerpt from Myths America Lives By

Richard Hughes writes,

"Contrary to colloquial usage, a myth is not a story that is patently untrue. A myth is a story that speaks of meaning and purpose, and for that reason it speaks truth to those who take it seriously. An American myth, therefore, is a story that conveys commonly shared convictions on the purposes and meaning of the nation."

"Our national myths, then, are the stories that explain why we love our country and why we have faith in the nation's purposes. Put another way, our national myths are the means by which we affirm the meaning of the United States."

"There are five myths. Each is rooted in a religious understanding of reality, and each has emerged in a particular period of American history. If we understand these myths, we will understand much about the historic periods that produced them. At the same time, all these myths flourish to varying degrees today, and often in combination with one another."

"Most of these myths hold great potential for good. Yet Americans have often absolutized these myths in ways that undermine the virtues that otherwise stood at their respective cores. This is the irony of American history. The ironic tendency of virtues to turn into vices when too complacently relied upon. Moreover, it is precisely when powerful people absolutize their virtues that the interest of the poor and marginalized are most at risk."