By Chris D’Souza,
“... for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. - Colossians 1: 16-17 (RSVCE)
My colleague returned from a successful stint abroad. Extremely pleased with himself, he pompously announced that he had minted money, sampled exotic cuisines and enjoyed liaisons with women of every nationality. He then smugly concluded that he had lived it up enough for a lifetime.
My colleague believes that life is short and he needs to enjoy as much pleasure as he possibly can. This view of life is not new to our age or generation. It is as old as civilization itself. Moreover, several hedonistic philosophers have endorsed this view of life. The rich man of the gospel had a similar goal “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Lk 12:19).
Just as each individual has a particular view of life, each culture too manifests its beliefs in visible ways.
Close your eyes for a moment and picture a river winding its way across the vista. You observe the surface foam and you hear the swishing of the water. Culture is analogous to the surface of the river. It is visible, affects and can be affected.
Below the surface
But deep below are strong currents -- unseen, but nevertheless surely determining the course of the river. These currents are akin to worldview, the deep level of culture; the structured set of assumptions and beliefs underlying how we perceive and respond to reality.
Our worldviews have been shaped from the time we were born. They are the lenses giving us our unique perception of reality. We even draw from them to form our self-image and understand our calling.
A major shakeup of our worldview would have taken place during our conversion experience, if we have such an experience. But it doesn’t end there. Are we incessantly opening our mind and heart to perceive and align to reality as God sees it?
Christianity is a worldview
According to Charles Colson, the Watergate felon turned evangelist, Christianity is more than a religion, it is a worldview meant to be lived out in the crucible of a fallen world, a way of perceiving all of reality through Christ (Col 1:16-17). The more we understand it, the better equipped we are to take on culture and influence it for Christ.
My colleague and the rich man of Lk 12:19 held a worldview that revolved around their own pleasures. What about you and I?
The wonder of it all
As a young boy, I remember watching Carl Sagan’s television series ‘Cosmos’ with rapt attention. He spoke on extra-terrestrial life with such authority that I was awe-struck. The man actually demonstrated creation of amino acids from basic chemicals!
This suave naturalist-astronomer-professor seemed to know it all. But clearly agnostic, he dismissed the idea of a theistic God with his famous quotation ‘"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.
A few years later, I came to a personal relationship with the God that Sagan denied. That has been evidence enough for me. I still appreciate the beauty and majesty of the universe, but with a perspective that only the Creator can give. Sagan died at 62, after his third marriage.
The tragedy ...
In the words of his last wife, Ann Druyan, “the tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl”.
Hers is a disconsolate testimony to the fact that all the knowledge of the stars wouldn’t profit a man, unless he acknowledged the One who spun the universe into existence.
Naturalism and its progeny -- such as moral relativism, pragmatism, utilitarianism and utopianism -- have steadily crept into our educational, social and corporate fabric. That their undercurrents assume agnostic and even atheistic worldviews doesn’t seem to ruffle many feathers. However, the more relativism creeps into our thinking, the more we will lose clarity of truth.
In line with God’s word
How do I ensure that my perspectives are in line with God’s word? Along with my spirit, the scriptural command is to nourish and transform my mind (Rom 12:2, NIV). I need to form my worldview both from the eyes of faith as well as the understanding God’s ordinances with my mind. Anselm termed it Fides Quaerens Intellectum or “Faith seeking understanding.”
This perspective will not only help me understand my own beliefs, but also put me in better standing when it comes to sharing my faith.
Prayer: Father, Thank you for giving me the mind and heart of Christ. Help me be conscious of how my perception of reality is developing. Let me always treasure your view of this world and align myself in it. Amen
* To reach Chris D’Souza, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.