Trying to Maintain a Christian Worldview

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.    1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

As Christians, we have an explanation for the way the world is. We understand that God made the world good, and we understand how and why things went wrong. And we know that God has worked and is working to redeem and renew all of creation. But it sure can be hard to keep that in mind in everyday life. I think it’s because there is little overt support for such a worldview and seemingly constant reinforcement for alternative views.

Each morning I start the day with two cups of coffee and two newspapers, the contents of which are a compelling testimony to the fallenness of man. Yet, when events are explained, that’s never the explanation and God is never the solution. Instead I read that our problems arise from “bad circumstances,” or “misunderstandings” or some other humanly correctable situation, and that our answers can be found in “education,” better legislation or some other action on our part.

I also enjoy reading a wide variety of non-fiction books. “Non-fiction” means the book is filled with facts, facts about our world. Now certainly, God is in charge of the facts. Indeed it is God who is the source of truth and enables us to know it. So that any all truth we discover is, of necessity, compatible with our Christian worldview. But you won’t find that integration in very many non-fiction bestsellers.

An example is The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth In Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan Haidt, which I read recently. It’s a nice book about the science of happiness and it contains many interesting psychological and emotional truths. But when it comes to integrating these with the spiritual world, the author is incapable. As Haidt addresses the problem of evil and suffering, he writes:

“The third approach, taken by Christianity, …ultimately reconciles the goodness and power of God with the existence of Satan. This argument is so complicated that I can’t understand it. Nor, apparently, can many Christians…”

(The very next subchapter is titled “The Myth of Pure Evil.”)

I guess this lack of insight shouldn’t be surprising, because we know that most people are not able to understand spiritual things. (1 Cor 2:14)  Given that, it follows that most of the books we read will have been written by those who consider God “foolishness.” Same with newspapers, magazines, television shows and movies. Have you noticed that movie and television characters facing death, torture or other extreme situations never (or almost never) pray for divine intervention? In real life, even atheists pray in times of danger and distress.

Christians need to be engaged with society. Personally, I want to keep reading newspapers and books, and to keep watching blockbuster movies, but I also want to remain a faithful disciple of Jesus. So I have become more selective in what I read and watch, and I am filtering it all through what I know to be true of the world. So far so good, but vigilance is in order.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.    1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV