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Thoughts on “Worldview Thinking” (Part Two)

In the last section, I dealt with the origin of “worldview thinking” and discussed secular and modern man’s futility in constructing such a structure. In this section, I will focus on the statement that I made in the last blog. I asserted that I see dangers in the recent goals of many schools that seek to produce students who are “worldview thinkers”. I am fearful of the current usage of worldview thinking as the ultimate paradigm within which a school works.

In the past, Christians viewed the world in terms of a narrative, not a philosophical construct (yes, I would place worldview thinking in this category). Look at the way Scripture reveals the Holy Trinity – through narrative. Compare that with, let’s say, systematic theology or the terms that come up in worldview thinking: for examples, superlapsarianism or epistemology. Peter Leithart offers this challenge: look at the concordance of your Bible and then the index of systematic theology books. One uses concepts and terms that are full of life and humanness – one is more sterile and scientific.

Don’t get me wrong – as I stated in the last blog, attempting to unify the particulars of the world by way of a universal and philosophical whole is important. I see much value in working through the process of thinking through categories and systems. But the question is where do we ultimately derive our categories? From a modern philosophical push toward epistemology and ontology or from the life-giving categories and framework of the Biblical narrative – the cadence of sin, redemption and glory.

What does viewing the world in terms of systems look like in the life of a student? They will begin to use the vocabulary of philosophy and moralism. The worldview thinker is tempted to look at world through a system. Isaac Newton once described God as the Great Engineer. At first, that seems like a very Christian statement and Newton intended it to be. However, if God is the Great Engineer then the universe is an engine to be viewed in terms of mechanistic cause and effect. Is that how we want our students to view the universe? Is this how God views that universe and nature?

I’ve also seen the tendency in students to view others and their beliefs in terms of “worldviews”. The result is attempting to fit others in philosophical view of the world – to reduce others into a system to be refuted in order to fulfill a mandate. Life and people come at us for the most part in narrative – not propositions and syllogisms.

As Christians we don’t ultimately view truth as just a system of questions to be asked nor a system of belief. We view Truth as a Person – the person of Christ – the logos, the Word – the ultimate unifying principle. Persons are best revealed through narrative (mythos) not systematic propositions.

We fought the rational propositional battle of the twentieth century and lost. What we need is a recovery of Truth as mythological – an articulation of Truth as both narrative and story (mythical) and rational propositions (logical) met in the Person of Christ – the pattern of Scripture.

I would urge you to take these thoughts seriously in light of the foundational truths of your school and goals for your students. My goal would be that the students use the gospel narrative as a paradigm for making life decisions and viewing others – not solely in terms of a rational philosophy of life and the viewing of others in terms of a worldview position to be deconstructed. The former is more human and I believe more Christian.

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