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Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think,…

Rethinking Worldview: Learning to Think, Live, and Speak in This World

by J. Mark Bertrand

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I grew up in a Christian household that analyzed everything. We analyzed ideas in conversations at the dinner table, during chats in the car on the way to town, and in visits with friends in the living room. During these discussions, a belief would be held up to the light, so to speak, and turned over, examined, to see where (or if) it fit into our system, as if it were a puzzle piece that may or may not fit into a half-done jigsaw puzzle. If the discussions in the living room carried on after I was sent upstairs to bed, I’d listen in from the top of the stairs, following the reasoning as well as I could.

So although we never used the term worldview, since it was not commonly used in Christian circles then, I grew up with a basic concept of worldview thinking. When the Christian worldview bandwagon came along and I read a little about it, my first thought was “ho-hum.” I’d been examining other people’s worldviews and finding them wanting for years, and I wasn’t afraid to ask the sort of questions that showed the incoherence of their systems. Yet, while the exercise was helpful in firming up my own faith, I couldn’t point to one person who had come over to my worldview, even when answering my questions tied them up in knots as they tried to make a coherent system out of their incoherent one. And as I understood it from my surface level reading on the concept of worldview, the whole point was to show how my faith made more sense than their ideology in order to bring them over to my side. Well, it hadn’t proved to be a sure-fire weapon for me!

This leads me to one of the reasons I like Mark Bertrand’s Rethinking Worldview: he takes the concept of worldview thinking beyond the area of apologetics (where I believe it is helpful, but less so than some have made it out to be), into other areas of our lives as Christians. His conviction is that "any treatment of the intellectual dimensions of worldview that doesn’t lead into a discussion of how to profitably live and speak in this world is incomplete." In order to be valuable to us, worldview thinking “must help make us better believers and doers of the truth.”

This book, then, examines worldview thinking in order to take us into areas every Christian should want to go. We are lead as we read to consider a few things we may not have examined previously in the light of a biblical worldview, like sanctification and suffering and even our reading.

Toward the end of the book there is a section that looks at worldview thinking as it relates to Christian imagination and the art that flows from it. According to Bertrand, "We were made to worship God with the whole of our being, and part of that being is creative and imaginative."

But how do we worship God with our imagination? It’s clear that as an artist himself, this is an area Mark Bertrand has thought through carefully. This section will be of special interest to you if you enjoy creative work, either as an artist or as someone who values the creative work of others.

Style-wise, Rethinking Worldview is much like a chat over the dinner table. Mark Bertrand makes good use of his storytelling ability in raising his questions and making his points, so you shouldn’t be bored or struggle to understand as you are reading. If you are new to the idea of worldview thinking and you’re a little scared that it will all be too difficult for you to understand, this book is a good place to start. Or maybe you’re more like me: You think you’ve heard it all before and you’re a little jaded. I’d be willing to bet that you, too, will find a few things here to make you rethink what you thought you knew.
1 vote rebeccastark | Feb 1, 2008 |
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