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What is a Worldview?

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What is a Worldview? Living at the Crossroads Chapter 2 A Brief History of Worldview German word, weltanschauung Arose first in German philosophy Weltanschauung ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: What is a Worldview?


1
What is a Worldview?
  • Living at the Crossroads
  • Chapter 2

2
A Brief History of Worldview
  • German word, weltanschauung
  • Arose first in German philosophy
  • Weltanschauung coined by Kant (1724-1804)
  • Key word in German idealist and Romantic
    philosophy in 19th century
  • Used to denote a set of beliefs that underlie
    and shape all of human thought and action.
  • By 1840s it was a standard term in vocabulary of
    educated German
  • Expressed global outlook on the world.

3
Worldview in German Philosophy
  • In German Idealism and Romanticism, worldview
    expresses a set of beliefs that are foundational
    and formative for human thinking and life.

4
Underlying beliefs that are . . .
  • Comprehensive
  • Foundational
  • Cohesive

5
Appropriation of worldview in Evangelical church
  • Started being used in English in 1858 gradually
    became part of English vocabulary.
  • Introduced into evangelical world by Abraham
    Kuyper and James Orr end of 19th century
  • In 1917 B.B. Warfield said word was newly in
    fashion in North America.
  • Today widely used in evangelical circles
  • How did non-Christian term become so popular in
    Christian circles?

6
How did this happen?
  • Important lectures by Abraham Kuyper and James
    Orr
  • Orr, Kerr Lectures, Scotland, 1891
  • Kuyper, Stone Lectures, Princeton, 1898
  • Deep sense of need to protect the Christian faith
    from a hostile worldview
  • Made popular by a whole host of writers

7
Similarities between Kuyper and Orr
  • Christianity has an comprehensive and unified
    view of the world
  • Modern worldview is threatening gospel
  • Another comprehensive and unified view of the
    world
  • Fundamentally religious
  • Embodied in forms of social and cultural life
  • Antithetical to Christianity
  • Christianitys only defence against the power of
    modernism is to develop an equally comprehensive
    worldview.

8
  • If the battle is to be fought with honour and
    with a hope of victory, then principle must be
    arrayed against principle then it must be felt
    that in Modernism the vast energy of an
    all-embracing life system assails us, then
    also it must be understood
    that we have to take our stand in a life system
    of equally comprehensive and
    far-reaching power (Abraham Kuyper,
    Stone Lecture 1).


9
  • No one, I think, whose eyes are open to the
    signs of the times, can fail to perceive that if
    Christianity is to be effectually defended from
    the attacks made upon it, it is the comprehensive
    method that is rapidly becoming the more urgent.
    The opposition which Christianity has to
    encounter is no longer confined to special
    doctrines . . . but extends to the whole manner
    of conceiving the world. . . . It is no longer an
    opposition of detail, but of principle. The
    circumstance necessitates an equal extension of
    the line of defence. It is the Christian view of
    things in general which is attacked, and it
    is by an exposition and vindication of the
    Christian view of things as a whole that the
    attack can most successfully be met
    (James Orr, Kerr Lecture 1).

10
Difference between Kuyper and Orr
  • Orr concerned for defending Christian theology
  • Kuyper concerned for whole of cultural and public
    lifepolitics, art, scholarship, etc.

11
Term made popular by
  • Carl F. H. Henry
  • Francis Schaeffer
  • Al Wolters
  • Brian Walsh and Richard Middleton
  • James Sire
  • Colson and Pearcey
  • Arthur Holmes

12
Worldview functioned in two ways in
evangelicalism
  • Protect the integrity, comprehensiveness of
    Christian faith help Christians not to be men
    and women who were double-minded.
  • Provide tool to pursue Christian scholarship,
    politics, etc. in faithfulness to gospel

13
James Sires Revised Definition of Worldview
  • A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental
    orientation of the heart, that can be expressed
    as a story or in a set of presuppositions
    (assumptions which may be true, partially true or
    entirely false) which we hold (consciously or
    subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently)
    about the basic constitution of reality, and that
    provides the foundation on which we live and move
    and have our being.

14
Three important shifts
  • Worldview is first religious, not rational
  • Worldview is first a story, not a system
  • Worldview is first embodied, then articulated

15
Criticisms of Christian appropriation of
worldview
  • Intellectualizes the gospel
  • Relativizes the gospel
  • Disconnected from Scripture and vulnerable to
    idolatrous spirits of the age
  • Leads to unhealthy activism
  • Leads to the neglect poor and marginalized

16
Definition of worldview
  • Worldview is an articulation of the basic
    beliefs embedded in a shared grand story that are
    rooted in a faith commitment and that give shape
    and direction to the whole of our individual and
    corporate lives.

17
Summary of elements of a worldview
  • Takes form of a grand story

18
Form of a Story
  • Narrative is a central category for
    understanding human life. (Walsh/Middleton)
  • A worldview is story-formed we could say that
    a worldview is a kind of condensation or
    shorthand . . . of a life- shaping story.
    (Fernhout)

19
What is the real story?
  • I can only answer the question What am I to
    do? if I can answer the prior question Of what
    story do I find myself a part? (MacIntyre)
  • The way we understand human life depends on
    what conception we have of the human story. What
    is the real story of which my life story is
    part? (Newbigin)

20
Summary of elements of a worldview
  • Takes form of a grand story
  • Fundamental beliefs embedded in grand story
  • Rooted in religious faith commitment

21
Christ or and Idol
  • Ones worldview, then, and indeed the worldview
    of a whole culture, is rooted in a faith stancea
    stance in relation to that which is taken to be
    ultimate, an ultimate concern. From a Christian
    perspective, this ultimacy will either be
    appropriately directed to the one who is
    Ultimateor to a pseudo-ultimacy, a pseudo-god,
    an idol. (Walsh)

22
Religious Nature of Human Beings
23
Summary of elements of a worldview
  • Takes form of a grand story
  • Fundamental beliefs embedded in grand story
  • Rooted in religious faith commitment
  • Shapes the whole of our communal lives

24
Communal nature of worldview
  • Shared by community

25
Culture Common way of life rooted in a shared
story
26
Communal nature of worldview
  • Shared by community
  • Issues in communal way of life
  • Shapes and unifies communal life
  • Socialized into this communal way of life

27
Socialization
  • If a cultures vision leads to certain
    child-rearing, educational, and economic
    practices, then those practices will themselves
    socialize the children to live in terms of that
    vision (Middleton/Walsh).

28
Communal nature of worldview
  • Shared by community
  • Issues in communal way of life
  • Shapes and unifies communal life
  • Socialized into this communal way of life
  • Often unconscious

29
Often Unconscious
  • Worldviews . . . are like the foundations of a
    house vital, but invisible. They are that
    through which, not at which, a society or an
    individual normally looks they form the grid
    according to which humans organize reality, not
    bits of reality that offer themselves for
    organization. They are not usually called up to
    consciousness or discussion unless they are
    challenged or flouted fairly explicitly . . .
    (NT
    Wright).

30
Summary of elements of a worldview
  • Takes form of a grand story
  • Fundamental beliefs embedded in grand story
  • Rooted in religious faith commitment
  • Shapes the whole our communal life
  • Shapes the whole of our lives

31
Shape the Whole of Our Lives
  • Storied visions OF and FOR life (Walsh)
  • Shape the way we
  • See the world
  • Interpret the world
  • Live in the world

32
Summary of elements of a worldview
  • Takes form of a grand story
  • Fundamental beliefs embedded in grand story
  • Rooted in religious faith commitment
  • Communal nature
  • Shapes the whole of our lives
  • All have worldview few articulate it

33
Scripture and Worldview
  • Scripture
  • Biblical theology (our narrative telling of the
    biblical story)
  • Christian worldview (setting out of the
    comprehensive framework of a Christians basic
    beliefs about things as embedded in the drama of
    Scripture in interaction with our cultures basic
    beliefs)
  • Systematic theology and Christian philosophy
    (which reflect on Christian beliefs at a more
    theoretical level)

34
Worldview Missional Imperative
  • Mediates between gospel and human life
  • By explicating basic categories of Biblical story
  • By clarifying their relationship
  • By defending the gospel against error
  • By providing a foundation for the churchs
    mission in public life
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