THE REAL DEAL-BREAKER


This “class” ended last week with a four-hour question from the back of the auditorium—is a Christian worldview consistent with the rough and tumble workaday world that we live in? Another way of putting it: is following Jesus a pie-in-the-sky proposition?

Perhaps I’m on a fool’s errand, but let’s try to squish a college course on worldview into a zip file of 700 words …

What’s at stake? Marriages, partnerships, careers, friendships, and families—even countries—fall apart due to opposing worldviews. The divorce hearing calls it incompatibility or the inability to communicate; friends and associates say he couldn’t be trusted; and the shareholder report labels it as a problem of differing objectives and values. These are simply manifestations of opposing worldviews.

To find the primary objection to my Christian worldview, I went to an atheist website: In general, a nonreligious worldview is absent supernatural interpretations, whereas a religious worldview permits or often embraces such conceptions.

So, the acceptance or disbelief in the existence of God is the deal-breaker. The Christian (as opposed to “religious”) worldview presupposes God exists; that he created us according to his plan and purpose; and that we are accountable with consequences beyond this life.

My acquaintance states the other side this way: “There isn’t anything else. This life is it. When you’re done; you’re done.” I like him but I can never join him in any type of personal commitment.

Somewhere in between, agnostics would claim the knowledge of a supernatural being is unknown or unknowable.

That atheist website goes on thusly: 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists (no right or wrong); 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent” (Provine, 1998).

This means human life can be demoted to the level of animals. Darwinwrote that “… a man who has no assured and ever-present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life … only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.” In other words, if your partner takes the position of “whatever works” or “other people don’t matter” or “if they’re in the way, get rid of them” or “I need to leave–permanently,” your committed relationship is just a mirage.

Big deal, Sam, all you’ve done is blather about the problem. The question remains: how can I make a Christian worldview work in a world of fuzzy ethics; if it feels good do it; if I think it’s right, it is right; and man is the measure of all things?

We have to make it work by the imposition of two things into our lives—truth and honesty. God’s truth and submission to that truth. That truth is Jesus, who came to show us what God is like. Honesty means I cannot bind myself to another person of a different worldview. The Bible has a lot to say about all of this. Take a look.

But this is all background. I’ve gotten into hot water more than once because—at the beginning of a potential relationship—I simply hadn’t considered the other person’s worldview. My shoot-from-the-hip style headed me toward commitments that would have separated me from who I was and what I really believed.

If you and I believe in God-ordained ultimate purpose in life, we have to expose potential alliances to the plumb line of God’s truth and then honestly ask if there are any deal-breakers in the mix.

If you have given careful thought to whom you’re partnering with, and you claim to be a follower of Christ, some hard choices may await you. You may be unfriended, discriminated against, called names, or worse. But Jesus never promised you a rose garden, did he? He did say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Years ago, I tried to have it both ways—one foot in the “whatever works” world and the other as a Sunday Christian. That’s harder than Jesus’ yoke, believe me.

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About samuelehall

A follower of Jesus, husband, father of 3 adult children, writer and learner.
This entry was posted in Finding me ... and you and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to THE REAL DEAL-BREAKER

  1. Lloyd says:

    Sam –
    Very good discussion on world views. I agree that truly their are only two world views, one says, “God exists” and the other says He doesn’t. Where I have gone astray in my assumptions is that agreeing on God’s existence does not by any means agreement on major issues. For example, God-fearing persons disagree about capital punishment, social obligations, the role of government and the morality of war.
    I don’t know how you separate the world view discussion from politics or religion – in fact, I have often said that if a politician only has a “private religion” that doesn’t impact his/her decision making, then what is the value of holding to such views? (Dinner conversation?!)
    When making decisions about life partners or business partners, i would assume that having congruent values (which should be a result of those views) is a predictor of success.

    • Lloyd says:

      “there” not “their”

      • samuelehall says:

        Yes, Lloyd, I’m glad you ‘fessed up. I didn’t want to embarrass you by bringing it up.
        A NOTE TO ALL OF YOU WHO ARE AFRAID TO COMMENT ‘CAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO EMBARRASS YOURSELVES: Know this–I, as the administrator of this blog, read over every comment before I allow it to be posted. If I see something that makes you look foolish, I’ll change it or personally email you for clarification before I approve it …
        Because, after all, we’re friends. You will have proven your friendship by the simple act of having taken the time to comment. I value that. I want to keep that trust. We look out for each other.
        BTW, if you like one of my posts, I’d be humbly indebted to you if you’d simply click “Like.” It helps my showing with book editors who will check this blog when they receive my manuscript for consideration. Thank you.

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Lloyd, for your thoughts. Well put. I don’t think we’re in disagreement.
      What your comments reveal is that my posting perhaps did not emphasize the need for congruent worldviews as it pertains to individual relationships/commitments. We can have the same basic worldview but still disagree on capital punishment or the role of government. Some, I believe, would say that as we explore the bedrock of our individual worldviews, that we would perceive a split if we had different views on capital punishment.
      But we have to ask if that difference would likely impact the way we lead our families or make business decisions.

  2. Jerry says:

    Sam, for a more serious reply, I agree with you that two people would be a better team if they were “equally yoked.” We should all have basic criteria for choosing our mate, or we may have major problems living together later. World view is one of those fairly basic criteria. One’s world view may change, throwing a monkey wrench in the works, however. Love between the mates may be the glue that holds the two together in that case. Best wishes to you.

    Jerry

  3. Jerry says:

    If each partner/spouse is convinced that his/her world view is the “truth” and is determined to convert the misguided partner/spouse, there could be some interesting dinner conversation, don’t you think? On the other hand, if one partner is concerned about the stability of his/her world view or belief system, it might be easier to only deal with like-minded individuals. Then, the dinner conversation can be about football or other innocuous topics. There are some people who restrict family conversations to exclude religion and politics. That brings up the question: Would the couple of identical world views necessarily be of identical political views. If not, there could still be some interesting dinner conversations. Do we all want to be alike?

    Jerry

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Jerry, for bringing one of those questions that threatens to give me a nervous twitch. First, the easy part–no, we don’t all want to be alike. It’s the differences that attracted us to our girlfriend/spouse, in the first place. But let’s not confuse differences in worldview with personality differences. The latter should provide enough challenge and intrigue to spice up most dinner hours. You surely don’t want to confine your discussions to football and water polo, particularly if your team isn’t winning.
      For the sake of retaining friendships, we won’t say much about politics here. Religion–why not, as long as each side agrees to be respectful? And while we’re talking about religion, I believe we’ve accepted that that incorporates the supernatural. Agreed? Thus, one would expect an element of power (supernatural, remember?), or it might as well be a debate over the merits of Rotary vs. Kiwanis.
      When we talk about religion, well, it either works or it doesn’t? It has power. As a follower of Christ, my testimony to you and the world at large is that I have experienced life-changing power–in myself and in others. Some of the manifestations: healing of relationships and bodies (not always, but sometimes), inner peace, strength to overcome great adversity, turning an enemy into a friend, etc. If one religion has that kind of power and the other does not, the authentic will be clear.
      So we’re not talking about who has the better debating skills. Isaiah 44:6-19 relates the results of trusting the God of Heaven or trusting a make-believe god. One has power; the other does not.
      My, haven’t we gotten far afield?
      Thanks, Jerry, and I see you’ve got more to say …

  4. Douglas says:

    In addition to checking out the world view of a potential friend or spouse, it is important to find out the world view of the next person who asks you for your vote! If we send people to Washington–or a local transit board– to “represent” us, we should make sure they ACTUALLY DO!
    Otherwise, …..you get what you pay for….

    • samuelehall says:

      Yikes, worldview and politics!
      The worldview of a candidate on the local transit board would not be as important to me as it would be if I were sending you to Congress. I don’t care as much what you think about PETA or the ongoing demonstrations taking place now across the country–unless those views might impact your decisions on the transit board. Basically, I want someone on the transit board who’s competent and committed to those tasks.
      If, on the other hand, I think you’re going to use your transit board position as a launch pad for higher office, then your worldview is very important.
      Thanks, Doug, for sharing your viewpoint.

  5. Karen U. Edmonds says:

    Sam–had to read this and I have to agree. We are studying the Christian worldview on Sunday nights at my church. I go to a very small Baptist church (where I actually try to play the piano). Our pastor is Dr. Robert Stewart and is a professor at the N.O. Bapt. Seminary where he’s a philosopher, specializing in apologetics. He’s pretty well-know in that area and has written or co-written several books–all way over my head. He has us working on our own worldviews as Christians in a weekly discussion. It has been interesting. I have done a study on the same topic written by Colston, I think. Just thought it was good-timing to see that you are thinking along the same lines!

    • samuelehall says:

      Thanks, Karen. You are indeed blessed to have a seminary professor teaching you in the field of apologetics. Worldview is where our basic decisions come from … and, honestly, I’m just learning about the subject myself.

  6. Julia Pascoe Sumrall says:

    Truth and honesty says it all. I am glad I know there is a ‘reward’ at the end of this earthly life.
    Thanks Sam.

    • samuelehall says:

      Good to again have your voice with me, Julia Faye. Yes, truth it is, but with the din of competing voices, many are confused as to the source of truth. Was talking with a friend today who asked (and I paraphrase), “Yes, but what about the Buddhists, the Muslims …?” And that is not my friend’s issue; her issue is: What will you do with Jesus?

  7. Glen Kirkendall says:

    I appreciate the clarity that I find in you’re writing, Sam. Your thoughts are well written and deserve to be read by a wide audience. Thank You for sharing you’re thought. We are in accord.

    • samuelehall says:

      That’s heartening, Glen. I struggled to put this last posting together, probably more than any other. With the support of you and others, a wider audience will follow. But not for me. It’s for so many people whom I run across who are trying to sort out life’s tangles–but they don’t know what questions to ask.
      For those blogs that resonated with you, please “Like” them.
      Blessings, my friend. Sam

  8. Cynthia Washington says:

    Well-written and thoughtful. Cindy

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