What is a "worldview"?
That word is being bandied around these days in just about any journal or book that tries to make sense of what is happening in the world around us. I challenge you to find a recently published Christian book without the term. It is being used as polemic, as an apologetic, and when they just don't know what to do about people they don't understand - that is their "worldview." But do any of these people really know what they are describing?
It is hard to argue against the observation that some people do things differently than other people, and maybe there are reasonable statements that possibly describe what is going on. Try out this exercise, curious reader: write your own definition of "worldview." Do it on a sheet of paper before reading on. Ask a friend to write their own definition without looking at yours or looking at someone else's definition.
If I had to guess, your definition probably included something that happened mentally. The process probably looked something like this: you know through observation that people behave differently. Your definition tried to say that people who think alike behave in similar fashion. Most definitions fit this pattern. But can we really do that?
Is it possible to describe the mental constructs that are associated with behaviors of groups? We do not know what is going on in the mind of a single individual, much less an entire community. For example, try to acurately tell me the process that happens in your head when you make a decision. Pretty tough, huh? Now try to describe what was going on in your mind when you did something that you knew you probably shouldn't. Now try to tell me the mental picture, or lense, or construct, that was the determining factor for the people that showed up for church last Sunday, just the ones in your church. Every single one of them, for that reason? I don't show up at church every Sunday for the exact same reason, and there are times when I am not really sure why I am doing what I am doing at any particular moment.
Look at Wikipedia at the definition and then the following discussion to see how different people try to categorize how we think. This is important because there are conflicts in this world, on many different levels. When a group or individual categorizes another group as fitting into a certain "worldview" that negatively impacts their own, expect a power struggle.
A great example of this is the upcoming event when SoulForce visits Abilene Christian University. The following is a quote from the President of ACU about the event:
"A religious activist organization called SoulForce will send 30 to 35 young adults on a seven-week bus tour this spring to confront selected religious or military colleges and universities about their perspectives on homosexuality. The bus tour, called Equality Ride, will visit institutions where, according to SoulForce, “bans on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender enrollment force students into closets of fear and self-hate.” The group plans to visit 19 institutions and one national higher education event. Thirteen of the 19 schools are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, including Abilene Christian University. The Equality Ride has chosen to stop at ACU March 27 as the group travels through Texas. Prior to the Abilene stop, the group will be at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Okla. From Abilene, they are going to Texas A&M University in College Station. ACU will be the seventh school visited on the bus tour. The Web site for this group states their intentions: “Through dialogue with administrators and discussions with students, the young activists of the Equality Ride will make clear the harmful effects of the false notion that homosexuality is a ‘sickness and a sin,’ and ‘a threat to the nation and the military.’ ” "
Two institutions have categorized "worldviews" and will have a resultant clash. The clash is not necessarily one of physical force, but concerns the power to dictate behavior.
If you cannot judge what is going on in a group's mentality, or someone else's head, but only observe behavior, how would this affect your participation in this event? If we can only make judgments based on behavior, how can you affect change in other people when we think it is merited? In ourselves?
Through second-hand sources, I heard that President Royce Money announced the SoulForce's visit in ACU's chapel. When he said that we could have the group arrested, some in the student body cheered. I find that behavior appalling (despite whatever was going on in their heads). He then went on to say, "but we will greet them with love and respect." Fortunately, there was some cheering for that as well.
I look forward to your comments...
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
What is a "worldview"?
Add Post To: | del.icio.us| Stumbleupon| Reddit|