≡ Menu

When Does a Christian Worldview Begin?

Becky Miller has recently been posting on one of her favorite subjects — Christian worldview. In her first post, entitled Revisiting Worldview, I left a comment, which was later challenged. The issue in contention was whether or not “Most of the Western world shares a biblical worldview” (my quote). Several commentators disputed that assertion, citing the presence of many competing religions / worldviews. As Ken Rolph wrote:

The choice is not between a Christian worldview and godlessness. In our current situation it may be between Christianity and Buddhism/Hinduism. The social threat may be from Islam, but the intellectual threat is from Asia.

While multiple worldviews obviously exist in the West, often in tension, the presence of Buddhist/Hindu thought does not negate the fact that “Most of the Western world shares a biblical worldview.” I don’t think this is disputable. I mean, the entire foundations of logic, law and government were informed by a Judeo-Christian worldview. As Wikipedia puts it:

This [Judeo-Christian] tradition is considered, along with classical Greco-Roman civilization, a fundamental basis for Western legal codes and morality.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the Judeo-Christian worldview is explicitly espoused by everyone, but that Westerners have, at the least, rudimentary biblical concepts rattling around in their brainpan.

Anyway, the discussion reminded me, as it usually does, about how nebulous the worldview issue can be — specifically the Christian worldview issue.

Perhaps it’s me, but when defining  a Christian worldview, people seem to divide along conservative / liberal lines — the conservative religious tend to define a Christian worldview more narrowly than their more liberal counterparts.

By way of experiment, answer this: WHEN DOES A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW BEGIN?

Many would say that a Christian worldview begins when one accepts Christ. The problem is, believing in Christ is a process… both before and after. In order to really believe in Jesus, one must embrace several other rudimentary biblical concepts. For instance, the belief in a Supreme Being and a conviction of sin are precursors to Christian conversion. It is impossible for one to really repent of their sins if they don’t feel they are a sinner and are accountable to a Higher Power. But while conviction of sin and belief in a god are precursors to salvation, they are neither evidence nor guarantee of salvation. Nevertheless, they are still parts of a “Christian worldview” conversion process.

So does a Christian worldview begin when one believes there is a god, or believes the God of the Bible is the only true God? Does a Christian worldview begin when one feels the need for a savior, or believes Jesus is that Savior? You can’t have the latter without the former.

Or, on the opposite side of the scale, think of it this way: Must one believe in the Trinity to be saved?

It’s a sticky question, isn’t it? The apostolic preaching in the Book of Acts is remarkably uncluttered when it comes to “hard theology” like the Trinity. For instance, the apostle Paul said to the Philippian jailer:

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” (Acts 16:31 NIV)

That’s it. Nothing about a hypostatic union, sola fide, or potential synergism. Just “Believe in Jesus.”  So while belief in the Trinity is uniquely Christian, it does not appear to be necessary to salvation. Now, if one were to reject the Trinity after an apparent conversion, that could throw a monkey wrench into the process. But if salvation does not require a belief in the Trinity, how can a Christian worldview demand it?

The point is, a Christian worldview is a continuum, both positive and negative. Rudimentary biblical concepts precede and prepare the way for complete conversion. Oftentimes, those biblical concepts are shared, in raw form, by competing religions. The fact that Buddhism teaches we should love our fellow man as ourselves does not make the principle any less biblical. In fact, it may indicate an overlap between existing worldviews. These realities are what makes the Christian worldview issue so thorny.

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on Reddit
{ 25 comments… add one }
  • XDPaul July 9, 2009, 8:14 PM

    "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved."

    The same Lord Jesus who said "I and the Father are one," who said that you could only know God exclusively through His Son, that the same Son would send His Spirit after his ascension?

    Since the Trinity is logically implicit in a belief in Lord Jesus, then I'd say it is impossible to be saved without a belief in the Trinity. You may have an imperfect or even wrong understanding of the Trinity and still be saved, but in effect, one cannot be saved without the existence of the Trinity.

    Hair, thou art split!

  • Mike Duran July 10, 2009, 2:22 AM

    XD, "the Trinity may be logically implicit in a belief in Lord Jesus" to those who have studied Christian theology, but is it demanded for babes in Christ? The writer of Hebrews chides his readers saying, "…by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" (Heb. 5:12). The term "elementary truths" clearly implies more complex truths (solid food), which believers should be taught and assimilate as they grow. I think the Trinity fits this category. In the same way an infant does not fully "understand" his parents, new Christians should not be expected to fully "understand" their Father. Really, will we ever? The Doctrine of the Trinity is one of the most complex of all Christian doctrines. Is it right that we frame it as necessary to salvation?

    Furthermore, requiring someone to assent to the Trinity before conversion may unintentionally shift salvation away from experience to intellect, from heart to head. This isn't to say the seeker should not use her head, but that too much doctrine can needlessly encumber a presentation of the Gospel and complicate the simple extension of God's lavish grace.

    Thanks for your comments!

  • RJB July 10, 2009, 5:18 PM

    As a Calvinist (Lets save that discussion for another day) the issue is easily resolved for me. If God elected you, then you are saved by Grace through faith in the True Jesus, even if you don’t yet understand who that Jesus is. If later you reject the truth about who Jesus is, as he revealed himself in scripture (like his triune nature), then that is just evidence you never truly had faith in Jesus, but were attempting to follow him by (and for) some other means.

    I also would throw this out. Do you have to be a Christian to have a Christian world view? My father is not a Christian (agnostic at best) but I think he believes that the best society, is one where Biblical moral truths are upheld, even if he doesn’t believe in the author of those truths.

  • XDPaul July 10, 2009, 6:36 PM

    I'm not talking about the Trinity as a doctrinal or intellectual concept that must be grasped. I'm talking about believing in Jesus. Believing in Jesus means believing the real Jesus and his words. That is not a complex process.

    If Jesus said it, it represents who He is, what He stands for and how we, his followers, will engage him.

    The point is that the Trinity is a basic, fundamental quality of God, like His humility, His Grace, His Justice, etc. I have no better grasp of God's justice than I do of His Godhead, but that doesn't mean that something as fundamental as the Trinity should be considered a complex, later "add-on" to a Christian's belief (I would consider the "solid foods" to be more in line with what Paul describes: .

    • Mike Duran July 11, 2009, 1:47 AM

      "Believing in Jesus means believing the real Jesus and his words. That is not a complex process."

      Hmm. How exactly do we know that a pre-believer / new believer actually believes "the real Jesus"? Is it accomplished in one session? Three sessions? Do we not invite them to "accept Jesus" until certain subject matters are covered (like the Trinity)? Is there some theological litmus test that seekers must clear before opening the door of their heart to Christ? All I'm saying, XD, is that you and I have the luxury of being on the "far side" of salvation; we've spent time in the Bible, in church, in theological discussion, and have had room to grow. It would be wrong for us to not remember the infantile faith, the tiny seeds way back when, that were sown, watered, and have taken root in our lives. My contention is that even in those pre-salvation days, a Christian worldview was taking shape in our hearts. Blessings!

  • R. L. Miller July 12, 2009, 8:08 PM

    Mike, I like the idea that Christian worldview (or any worldview, for that matter) is on a continuum. As I see it, some things are essential for a person to be a Christian, but because of those essentials, Christians believe lots of other things that people of other faiths and people of no faith may also believe.

    I believe the western world was oriented around a Christian worldview which prevailed until fairly recently. Europe and England left the camp of Christian worldview first, but the US isn't far behind. I don't know about Canada or Australia, but from what Ken says, I'm guessing the latter left some time ago.

    When I said, "left the camp," of course there are many who still adhere to a Christian worldview, but the institutions are no longer so geared.

    You mentioned laws. True, at the root of American law, you'll find Judeo-Christian influence, but the reality today is this: the US judicial system is no longer about truth but about winning (which lawyer can do a better job and so convince a jury).

    Ethics, morality, and certainly religion have been stripped from our education system.

    Churches now include scientology.

    The political arena is more about power and money than the good of the people.

    Pop art, music, literature is devoid of genuine Christian representation (whether that is the fault of the Christians or the culture is another discussion).

    And on it goes. I don't think it's inappropriate at all to say that we live in a post-Christian culture. There are some leavings, but those away from Christ view them with disdain or with angst, believing that it's just a matter of time before those too fall away. They might be right. Unless we experience a revival. A genuine revival, not the fearful clamoring after god we saw after 9/11.

    And by the way, I know this is hard for those with a more liberal view to grasp, but "conservative" does not equal "narrow minded." What you described, Mike, with the narrow view of what "Christian worldview" means does not at all describe all conservatives.

    You know me, Mike. I'm as conservative as the day is long. (I even use safe, conservative cliches. 😉 ) But I don't view Christian worldview as you state conservatives view it. Of course, there's the possibility that I'm a fish out of water, but then a lot of other fish from my church and among my friends are flopping on the ground alongside me. 😀

    Becky

    • Mike Duran July 13, 2009, 5:16 AM

      Becky, I don't / didn't mean to characterize a conservative Christian worldview as bad, but only that it is one way of constructing a Christian worldview. By simply stating there is something like a Christian worldview, we draw parameters. But where do we draw them? Some draw a Christian worldview at disavowal of premarital sex. Others draw it at disavowal of homosexual sex. In other words, the definition of "Christian worldview" is up for grabs and has to do more with individuals' personal preferences. (By the way, this discussion parallels the Christian fiction debate.)

      But I would take exception to your view that we are living in a complete "post-Christian" vacuum. Yes, relativism has taken root. But even people who, for instance, have jettisoned traditional family values, still believe in certain degrees of societal justice. In other words, all humans are worth something! As such, the very basis of civil rights legislation (something completely hijacked by liberals), is still grounded in a biblical worldview — that all men are created equal.

      That basic constitutional right — all men are created and equal (both in sin and in dignity) — is Christian worldview 101. So while we would agree in our post-Christian trend, I'd assert that a Christian worldview is far more entrenched than you give it credit for.

  • R. L. Miller July 13, 2009, 8:30 PM

    Mike, you're putting words in my mouth. I said I don't think it's inappropriate at all to say that we live in a post-Christian culture. There are some leavings, but those away from Christ view them with disdain or with angst, believing that it's just a matter of time before those too fall away. They might be right. But evidently what you heard was we are living in a complete "post-Christian" vacuum. Not what I said, not what I believe.

    Yes, we are in a post-Christian era, meaning that Christianity no longer drives our cultural institutions and in fact is at odds with most of them, as I pointed out in my previous comment. But that doesn't mean Christianity has been squeezed out of our culture altogether.

    As to your statement that I don't / didn't mean to characterize a conservative Christian worldview as bad, you missed my point. I am saying a conservative Christian doesn't necessarily have a narrow view of what constitutes a Christian worldview, as you stated. I'll agree that some conservative Christians believe only a Biblical worldview qualifies as a Christian worldview. But I'm not one of those. And here I stand (well, I'm actually sitting now – ;-), a Conservative Christian.

    My point, Mike, is I think some people stereotype conservative Christians. I resist that. That's all.

    Becky

    • Mike Duran July 13, 2009, 9:13 PM

      I'm not putting words into your mouth, Becky. I'm just helping you say what you really mean.

      Joking.

      Re: the post-Christian culture, your assessment is a lot more dour than mine. For instance, you said, "Pop art, music, literature is devoid of genuine Christian representation…" Not sure how you can say that when there's religious books in the bookstore, Narnia and The Passion of the Christ and Fireproof have made lotsa money, Rick Warren is one of the most influential ministers on the planet, and Christian artists in the U.S. are free to create whatever art they wish. I agree that Christianity has suffered from relativism and materialism. But the fact that there are more churches in the U.S. than any other nation, says a lot.

      Re: Conservative Christians having a "narrow" view. I'm not using narrow in a bad sense, just that more conservative religious beliefs tend to cause one to define cultural, moral, worldview parameters more conservatively. Conservative Christians tend to see in black and white. To me, the more liberal, the more grays. So can a conservative Christian have a broader worldview perspective. Sure. I just think it's less common and harder to maintain.

      There. Have I cleared things up?

  • R. L. Miller July 14, 2009, 6:19 PM

    Mike, Mike, Mike! I never said anything about "bad." I don't care if you think the narrow view is the very best one of all, or the worst. I'm saying it is not true that conservative Christians by definition have a narrow belief as to what constitutes a Christian worldview. That you say "Conservative Christians tend to see in black and white" proves my point—you are stereotyping, in essence, black-and-whiting those who identify themselves as conservative Christians (while you claim to take a more gray view of the world). And you apparently don't realize you're doing it.

    As to the post-Christian part of the discussion, I was inaccurate to say pop culture is "devoid" of Christian influence. But seriously … you named three movies (four if you count both Narnias) in the last, what, three years? And how many Christian TV programs? How many Christian musicians on the top of the charts? So, maybe pop culture is not "devoid" of Christian influence, but you can hardly say Christians are main players.

    Honestly, I'm surprised you don't see this.

    Fifty years ago, the Judeo-Christian worldview was the predominant mindset. Stores didn't open on Sunday because it was the Lord's day. TV programs showed families with one husband and one wife, and they said grace before their meals. Movies didn't show graphic sex or violence, and Elvis Presley put out an album of gospel music. Show me a comparable collection today.

    Now, I feel I need to remind you of our discussion Saturday. The kinds of things I listed in the previous paragraph are not things I believe make a person Christian. They are trappings, but ultimately that's what a worldview is—the outward working of deeply held beliefs.

    Since most in the western world no longer have deeply held beliefs consistent with Christianity, how can the trappings be influenced by Christianity? My contention is, what we see are primarily leavings—the remnant of the days when the Christian worldview did prevail in western culture.

    Becky

  • R. L. Miller July 14, 2009, 7:20 PM

    So I'm feeling sorry that I let exasperation show in my last comment. Wish I could edit out at least one "Mike" and eliminate the boldface type. I hope my initial tone doesn't distort what I was trying to say.

    Becky

  • Mike Duran July 15, 2009, 12:50 PM

    Becky, I think we do see these two things differently. I may be stereotyping conservative Christians, which I don't mind admitting. Stereotypes, while never definitive, are usually based in facts. And I think, historically, conservative Christians tend to have more conservative cultural / moral expectations. Besides, I admitted that a "conservative Christian [can] have a broader worldview perspective," so I'm not indicting everyone. But I do think you prove my point about defining a worldview more narrowly when you reference the nuclear family, Elvis' gospel album, Leave-It-To-Beaver era TV, as evidence of a time when "the Judeo-Christian worldview was the predominant mindset." In other words, you define a Christian worldview by more conservative criteria.

    Our second disagreement may be the best evidence of our "worldview divide." If you're interpreting the presence of a Christian worldview by explicit proclamations of the Gospel in pop culture, then you're right. We are post-Christian. But take into consideration this vast Christian community that reads Christian fiction, watches Christian films, views Christian TV, buys Christian music, wears Christian T-shirts, attends Christian churches, sports Christian bumper stickers, and argues that we should return to our Christian roots. In other words, we have formed our own sub-culture, withdrawn from the mainstream, and then curse the absence of Christianity from society. Duh.

    Becky, I'd suggest you have based your interpretation of a Christian worldview on fairly predictable criteria — criteria that potentially narrows your view of God's work on earth . Let me illustrate by posing a question: Is U2 a Christian band? Most conservative Christians would say "no." Why? Well, U2 isn't marketed as Christian music, they aren't preachy, they cuss, and they dress pretty worldly. There, that was easy. Nevertheless, the amount of U2 songs that reference Scripture is amazing. Not to mention Bono's public claims to be a Christ follower and his tremendous humanitarian efforts. See, maybe the question isn't that cut and dried. The point is, there are many, many Christian artists, athletes, musicians, directors, politicians, etc., who do not use their public platform to articulate their faith, which makes it difficult for conservative Christians who use those "explicit faith projections" as some kind of barometer.

    I think that starts to illustrate our differences. I believe God is at work in the world. But His work doesn't always fit into our little box. How big — or small — we choose to make that box is the parameters of our worldview.

    * And by the way, if you sign up with Intense Debate (free) I think you can edit your comments. So the next time you explode, you won't need to come back and apologize. Peace…

  • R. L. Miller July 15, 2009, 8:54 PM

    Mike, I wish we could have had this discussion in person.

    I continue to say, We're not that different in how we view the topic of worldview, but apparently because I'm a conservative Christian you think this is impossible.

    Well, I guess our conclusions are pretty different too, though not for the reasons I think you're giving.

    I definitely believe God is at work in the world. I don't think that necessarily means the western world is maintaining Christian roots (law, religion, education, literature, art, centered on Biblical teaching), trappings (externals like "family values" or legalistic practices), or genuine faith (people believing in Christ and living according to their beliefs). I believe the western world is steaming toward godlessness.

    I view the world through what I understand the Bible to say. So what does that mean about groups like U2? Well, I haven't heard them—don't listen to much pop music—but I've assumed they were Christian because I understood they claimed to be Christian.

    I suppose I believe people are who they say they are unless they give evidence to the contrary. I know, for example, Mormons would like to be counted as Christians, but there's evidence to the contrary (the Book of Mormon) and I discount their claims.

    There are a good number of groups and individuals who claim the name of Christ but aren't Christians. What do I do with them? Again, viewing these through the lens of the Bible, I say, some are false teachers and some have been deluded by false teachers. Where do they fit in with a Christian worldview? They are evidence of the erosion of a Christian worldview in our western culture. Those who contradict the Christian message, like the health-and-wealthers and those who fall on the floor and laugh, may share some of the values Christians hold. And God can use them as He sees fit, but that doesn't mean they are contributing to a Christian culture.

    However, I'm not in a position to name names–this person is deluded, that one is a baby Christian; this one is tent-making, that one is doing what Lot did. I don't know who's who because I'm not God.

    Here's my view of the world. Third world countries may now be seeing more changed lives by the power of Christ than is America. People are coming to Christ, suffering for Him, dying for Him, but it's not happening here.

    Here we quibble whether it's OK to use a cuss word in a work of fiction and any number of other things that do not matter.

    Do I have conservative moral expectations? For myself, of course. That's why in this discussion I call myself a conservative Christian. Do I think the rest of the culture is not Christian because it does not share my MORAL values? Absolutely not. What makes a person Christian is what he or she does with Jesus Christ.

    How a culture is influenced by its people would seem to define the culture. Is western culture influenced by Christians?

    I say, not any more or at least not very much.

    Your pointing out that professing Christians have pulled away from the culture at large is actually evidence of what I am saying, though I think there were godly motives for the inception of things like Christian education and Christian publishing.

    What are you seeing, Mike, that makes you think western culture continues to be Christian? I know you've said things like our belief in equal rights and such, but those are evidence of the Christian influence of those who set the laws in motion. What about western culture today declares a belief in God, let alone in Christ?

    Look, not at the moral values issues, which I'm pretty sure you think I'm doing. Look at our government, at our schools of theology, at our art, at our literature, at our educational systems, at our music and dance, at our heroes, at our public debate. What percentage even touches on the God of the Bible? If we were a Christian culture, more than half would.

    Becky

  • R. L. Miller July 15, 2009, 11:34 PM

    Mike, I've been bothered by this discussion since I posted, and I think I've figured out why. You said I may be stereotyping conservative Christians, which I don't mind admitting. Stereotypes, while never definitive, are usually based in facts. I don't understand, then, how you can claim a broad worldview while roping off this little corner for conservative Christians.

    Are liberal Christians the only ones who can think outside the scope of their own individual morals? Or is it actually the reverse? It's a mystery to me how you can lock conservative Christians into what you believe to be true because of our morals, but then claim conservative Christians have a narrow worldview.

    I think this is a thorn for me because I think so highly of you. You always make me think, and I appreciate how you challenge the easy answer. I think it's your creative mind that allows you to see beyond what most of us are considering. But in this area, the logic seems kind of cut and dried. How can you claim to take a broad view and justify stereotyping those different from you? It's not broadminded to say, Conservative Christians are narrow. That's as narrow as some moralist saying, People who cuss aren't saved. Both are narrow.

    It's not OK to pigeonhole people by their externals–not for a legalist, not for a liberal.

    Becky

    • Mike Duran July 16, 2009, 12:50 PM

      You're assuming stereotypes are wrong. I don't. Yes, they can be appiled wrongly. But most stereotypes are rooted in realities. (See: Stuff White People Like.) Besides, ain't I also stereotyping liberal Christians by suggesting they have a "broader" worldview perspective? Stereotypes are simply generalizations. Generalization are useful for argumentation because they do represent a swath of a demographic, but are never the definitive word.

      Once again, Becky, you are interpreting my use of the word "narrow" in a negative way. I repeat, in these comments I AM NOT USING THE WORD "NARROW" TO DENOTE NEGATIVITY. If a Christian worldview exists on a scale, as I suggest, then saying someone's view is narrow simply means it excludes elements others include. For instance, I think simple monotheism is part of a Christian worldview. Others draw the line at belief in Jesus. Those who exclude monotheism as part of a Christian worldview have a "narrower" worldview than others.

  • Mike Duran July 16, 2009, 2:10 AM

    Gee, at this rate, Becky, we're in the running for "The Longest Comments Between Two Commentors" Award! Let me see if I can state some things in bullet form to try to clarify, simplify, and ratchet this down.

    • I am a conservative Christian. I am not a liberal Christian.
    • I believe conservative Christians tend to develop a stricter, more narrow, morally / theologically-driven worldview
    • In this conversation, we're confusing a Christian worldview w/ both "hard theology" and "Christian living" (i.e., people w/ a Christian worldview should believe certain things and live a certain way)
    • People can possess a Christian worldview, in parts, and not know it.
    • False religions can, in parts, adhere to a Christian worldview
    • There's a difference between America living like a Christian nation and having a Christian worldview

    If a Christian worldview exists on a scale, the just being a monotheist would be

  • Mike Duran July 16, 2009, 2:13 AM

    Gee, at this rate, Becky, we're in the running for "The Longest Comments Between Two Commentors" Award! Let me see if I can state some things in bullet form to try to clarify, simplify, and ratchet this down.

    • I am a conservative Christian. I am not a liberal Christian.
    • I believe conservative Christians tend to develop a stricter, more narrow, morally / theologically-driven worldview
    • In this conversation, we're confusing a Christian worldview w/ both "hard theology" and "Christian living" (i.e., people w/ a Christian worldview should believe certain things and live a certain way)
    • People can possess a Christian worldview, in parts, and not know it.
    • False religions can, in parts, adhere to a Christian worldview
    • There's a difference between America living like a Christian nation and having a Christian worldview

    Don't know if that helps

  • R. L. Miller July 16, 2009, 6:49 PM

    You're assuming stereotypes are wrong. I don't. I may think that—I'm have to mull it a bit. What I'm saying here is that stereotyping is not broadminded.

  • R. L. Miller July 16, 2009, 7:15 PM

    Mike, since you identify yourself as a conservative Christian, I assume you see yourself as an exception in your worldview? Why not one of many you have yet to meet? 😉

  • I believe conservative Christians tend to develop a stricter, more narrow, morally / theologically-driven worldview
  • Mike, I suggest this is nothing more than a reflection of your experience, though I admit, I am now uncertain what you're thinking. Is it narrow to believe in one God and Jesus as the only way to a relationship with Him? Yeah, it is. Do I think that anyone who differs on that point can't have a Christian worldview? Not at all.

    Belief in the redemptive work of Christ is the bottom of the iceberg. Above the surface, many may hold the same values that were formed because of the belief base, though they do not share the base.

  • In this conversation, we're confusing a Christian worldview w/ both "hard theology" and "Christian living" (i.e., people w/ a Christian worldview should believe certain things and live a certain way)
  • Well, I don't see it as a confusion, but maybe that's the problem we're having. I see philosophy and theology at the core of what everyone believes. These beliefs then play out in our values which lead to actions, though sometimes we say we hold a certain value, but our actions don't match.

  • There is, at least in my mind, a distinction between a Christian worldview and Western culture
  • This discussion started with your comment “Most of the Western world shares a biblical worldview.” Western world, but not Western culture?

    The other points you made, I agree with.

    Becky

  • Mike Duran July 17, 2009, 2:21 AM

    Again, to the bullet points…

    • Am I "an exception" to most conservative Christians? Don't think so. I believe in one God, that Jesus is the only way to Him, that the Scripture is inspired by God, etc., etc.
    • I may be an exception in how I see a Christian worldview. For instance, I believe that a Christian worldview can start with simple monotheism or a generic belief that we were created, not evolved. These views, I think, are more liberal.
    • You continue to interpret my usage of the word "narrow" to imply negativity. I'm not using it that way, Becky. It's meant to describe the boundaries one chooses to define a Christian worldview in. Some draw the line at belief in "a god," some at belief in "the Christian God." The latter is more narrow, the former more inclusive.
    • I use Western world and Western culture interchangeably
    • Most of the Western still has a biblical worldview. This is not to deny the encroachment of secularism or declining morality, but that most of the Western world still thinks in terms of objective evil, belief in God, human rights, the afterlife, etc. That definition may not suit those who define a Christian worldview more narrowly, but that's how I see it

    Okay, now we are officially winners of "The Longest Comments Between Two Commentors" Award!

  • Mike Duran July 17, 2009, 1:23 PM

    Again, to the bullet points…

    Am I "an exception" to most conservative Christians? Don't think so. I believe in one God, that Jesus is the only way to Him, that the Scripture is inspired by God, etc., etc.
    I may be an exception in how I see a Christian worldview. For instance, I believe that a Christian worldview can start with simple monotheism or a generic belief that we were created, not evolved. These views, I think, are more liberal.
    You continue to interpret my usage of the word "narrow" to imply negativity, to mean "narrow-minded". I'm not using it that way, Becky. It's meant to denote the boundaries one chooses to define a Christian worldview in. Some draw the line at belief in "a god," some at belief in "the Christian God." The latter is more exclusive (narrow), the former more inclusive (liberal).
    I use Western world and Western culture interchangeably
    Most of the Western world still has a biblical worldview. This is not to deny the encroachment of secularism or declining morality, but that most of the Western world still thinks in terms of good and evil, sin, belief in God, human rights, the afterlife, etc., ya know, concepts articulated by Scripture. That definition may not suit those who define a Christian worldview more narrowly, but that's how I see it.

    Okay, now we are officially winners of "The Longest Comments Between Two Commentors" Award!

  • Mike Duran July 16, 2009, 12:48 PM

    Gee, at this rate, Becky, we're in the running for "The Longest Comments Between Two Commentors" Award! Let me see if I can state some things in bullet form to try to clarify, simplify, and ratchet this down.

    I am a conservative Christian. I am not a liberal Christian.
    I believe conservative Christians tend to develop a stricter, more narrow, morally / theologically-driven worldview
    In this conversation, we're confusing a Christian worldview w/ both "hard theology" and "Christian living" (i.e., people w/ a Christian worldview should believe certain things and live a certain way)
    There is, at least in my mind, a distinction between a Christian worldview and Western culture
    I believe, people can possess a Christian worldview, in parts, and not know it or live like it.(see Romans 2: Those who don't know the Law, still do the Law)
    False religions can, in parts, adhere to a Christian worldview
    Non-christians can still possess a Christian worldview
    There's a difference between America living like a Christian nation and having a Christian worldview

    I realize some of those thoughts overlap, but I hope they help. After watching this unfold, I suspect that we DO have a fundamental difference in how we are defining a Christian worldview.

  • Jason July 16, 2009, 10:53 PM

    *Sits back with a bag of popcorn, enjoying the back and forth*

    Oh shoot, I just interupted the flow. Don't mind me, nothing to add here (end of the work day….) Please, continue!

    ;-P

  • R. L. Miller July 18, 2009, 9:39 PM

    Hehehe–Jason, your presence makes this seem worthwhile. I was wondering why Mike and I just didn't email or have a phone conversation.

    Mike, you said: You continue to interpret my usage of the word "narrow" to imply negativity, to mean "narrow-minded". I keep saying, No, I'm not. Let's try this: Stereotyping is not viewing broadly. It is viewing some one thing narrowly, perhaps several things, depending on how much stereotyping a person does.

    To say the conservative religious tend to define a Christian worldview more narrowly than their more liberal counterparts you are espousing a worldview. To which I say: it is not true that conservative Christians by definition have a narrow belief as to what constitutes a Christian worldview.

    I guess the problem is, I can't prove it any more than you can prove the opposite. I've tried to offer myself and those I know as an example. And since you identified yourself as a conservative Christian, I offer you as an example too.

    The other problem is that apparently you can't believe I understand you are not making a value judgment between a narrow understanding of "Christian worldview" as opposed to a broad understanding.

    that most of the Western world still thinks in terms of good and evil, sin, belief in God, human rights, the afterlife, They don't! That's what Ken said over at my site, what I've been trying to say here. You keep thinking I'm talking about something else entirely. I keep saying, the philosophy of the day, the way that plays out, here in the US, but even much more so in Europe, and as Ken says, in Australia, you will not find these points to be commonly held.

    Unless you count "God" as that something inside you books like The Secret talk about. And sin? The vast majority of the western world, supported by the institutions and the cultural output, believes that Man is good, not sinful.

    Good and evil, yes, we do believe in good and evil, as does the rest of mankind. That moral imperative is imprinted on our hearts. Buddhists believe in good and evil, so if that's the standard, then all the eastern world is also Christian.

    The afterlife? Again, if you mean some sense that people don't cease to be—that they might be "up there" watching their son win his championship or whatever, or that they might get a reincarnated second chance, then a portion of the US still believes in an afterlife. I doubt if you'll find the same to be true in Europe, at least that's what I surmise from what I've heard from missionaries. Mary DeMuth would be a good one to give a perspective on this.

    My point is, I've said all along, we aren't in disagreement over the elements of worldview as you seem to think, but over our understanding of what the western world is doing with these elements.

    But now I find myself quoting myself, so that's the sign that we aren't making any new points, and the discussion has undoubtedly played out. Your blog, you get the last word. I'll look forward to reading it and will resist the temptation I know will come to put in a cent-worth of response. 😉

  • Mike Duran July 23, 2009, 12:56 AM

    I get the last word? Cool!

    No, we disagree on both these issues, Becky.

    Your lingering on stereotyping is irrelevant to this discussion. (I'm not sure if you think it undermines my perspective, but I've been tempted to ignore its address all along.) Being open-minded does not mean you cannot employ / affirm stereotypes. How could it? If a stereotype / generalization is grounded in truth, then it should be acknowledged, whether one is liberal, conservative, or indifferent. Really, are you suggesting that only "narrow-minded" people use generalizations? And isn't that stereotyping? C'mon.
    No, I think we can prove that conservative Christians generally tend to see things… conservatively. In fact, this next point proves it…
    We flat out disagree about the Western world's current philosophical underpinnings. While I've been clear to acknowledge the secular slide and Westerners' obvious detachment from a biblical way of life, I believe we are still intrinsically tethered to a Judeo-Christan worldview. Many secular ideals find their root in this worldview, whether it is logically congruent or acknowledged by its adherents or not. We may not act like "In God We Trust," but when 9/11 happens we don't look to Darwin for help.
    Bottom line: We interpret a Christian worldview differently.

    Really, Becky, remind me not to bring this issue up for a long time. Thanks for the lively discussion!

  • Leave a Comment

    Next post:

    Previous post: