Changing Your Worldview

Imagine with me a moment that you and I act as archaeologists five hundred years from now in the future after some global-apocalyptic crisis and in the midst of a new renaissance.  We know a lot about the global culture from the turn of the last millennium (the present time in which we really are living) because that culture left us staggering amounts of information, but during the return to the dark ages, so much was lost, and our archaeology proves vital in revamping society.

Now imagine we discover football – American football.  The data we collect plainly dictates that an oblong ball is used, and that the goal is for an eleven-man team to enjoin an opposing eleven-man team in an almost combat-like show of physical force to take the ball to its goal and earn points.  In fact we learn quite a lot about the sport, but as yet we have recovered no video footage to actually see it played.

At the same time other teams of archaeologists have discovered a baseball field.  Not as much is yet known about baseball, but the diamond infield, the outfield, and all the bases are fully recovered.  And like before, no video footage depicts the way the game is played.

Now imagine that some of our colleagues hypothesize and theorize that the football is used in a combat-like game where each base and the home plate achieve a first, second, and third down.  They haven’t figured out yet what the baseball bat is for, but it appears to have been a brutal game alright!  These colleagues obviously haven’t got it all worked out completely, but they sense that they are on the right track to understanding football, and they begin to publish articles and books on it presenting this conflated theory about how the game is played.

Assume for a moment that another team of colleagues unearths a newspaper article describing a football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears.  The archaeologists are clued in enough to realize that the names “Seahawks” and “Bears” are symbolic – that its not really birds and bears in a game, but the score at the outcome of the game depicted in the article is hugely despairing.  The Seahawks win the game 87 to 3.  The headline on the story says “Earth Shattering Game in Seattle”.  Some of our colleagues are puzzled that people from that time actually believed that the earth might shatter as a result of the game.

In the above scenario, you and I pretend to be colleagues with these imaginary archaeologists who theorize that the game of football is played on what actually is a baseball field and that people of our time actually feared the earth would shatter if we played this game.  You and I really know better, but in this pretend scenario, our opinion is just that, an opinion – a theory.  We cannot, based on the limited evidence we have, prove our opinion as fact and settle the matter for all to see.

A similar dynamic is at work today in our various approaches in general to the Bible.  Lots of God-fearing, Bible-loving, Jesus-serving people view life in God’s will with deeply flawed worldview.  Like playing football on a baseball diamond, it doesn’t really work, but there are limitations in the data and not everyone is clear even about that.  Plus there are different uses of language(s), cultural idioms, and mysteries about ancient context in which the Bible is written causing some of us to read an idea like “Earth Shattering Game” as literal and others as figurative.

Some of us believe the goal of life, biblically speaking, is to go to heaven when we die; others do not.  Some believe in a Rapture; others do not.  Some see this world burning up in a great Judgment fire in a coming apocalypse; others believe God is redeeming creation itself and that Jesus died as much for the dolphins as for you and me.

I do not intend to iron it all out in this single post for you, but I hope that by describing some of the challenges we face in this way, I can bring into focus better how carefully we need to handle them.  I in no way believe that everything the Bible has to say is just up for grabs, but many parts require us to change our worldview if we are going to understand them.

Changing your worldview is a challenging thing.  Worldviews are not something we typically think about.  It’s been said that worldview is not something you look at, but something you look through.  Like spectacles, you usually look through them at everything else, but once in a while it’s important to take them off and look at them as you clean them and/or make adjustments.

I cannot, in a single blog post, demystify it all or make you see the world the way I do.  But hopefully just inviting you to consider the implications will help us to find better understanding, and patience with one another as we struggle to find better understanding – AND maybe even to generate both motivation and a sense of direction for how to find it too.

 

3 comments

  1. Spy Vs Spy · August 28, 2018

    Stop trying to ‘just read the Bible.’ Discover how lenses such as culture, language and history affect how we read scripture in ‘Worldviews, the Bible and the Believer’ with N.T. Wright! Major discount now available. Available online.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pastor Randy · August 29, 2018

    Well said….I see so much in my own Spiritual Tribe people trying to interpret God’s Word through the worldview of our culture….thank you for your great imagination!

    Like

  3. Lily Pierce · August 29, 2018

    I love the analogy you painted; in any study of things from the past, we cannot have all the answers, hence different interpretations of scripture.

    Like

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