Posts Tagged ‘Beliefs’

earthWhat is your worldview? Can you articulate it? Do you understand what the term means?

Here’s one definition: “The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world” ( That perspective may center around a philosophy, religious faith, self-constructed set of ethics or other criteria an individual deems most right and valuable in understanding and living life.

As I sit back and observe the differences between people, the frequent and openly hostile conflicts in the realms of politics and social issues, it comes down as I see it to a matter of conflicting worldviews and the resulting differences in values and actions consistent with those worldviews. How we see things around us and how we interpret what is happening in the world depends on our worldview. We then act (usually) in sync with our own worldview.

Naturally, worldviews can collide just as easily as some can live in relative harmony with others. I agree with the following from Michael Lind:

“A worldview is a more or less coherent understanding of the nature of reality, which permits its holders to interpret new information in light of their preconceptions. Clashes among worldviews cannot be ended by a simple appeal to facts. Even if rival sides agree on the facts, people may disagree on conclusions because of their different premises.”

As a Christian, I try to have a biblical worldview. Like anyone else, I’m sure I stray from my ideal at times. I don’t claim to have and know the biblical worldview. Mine is informed by my understanding of what the Scriptures teach and the firm belief in the absolute authority of those Scriptures as truth for all people for all time. The values that guide my life therefore are drawn from that worldview and the actions that result day in and day out should be consistent with that way of seeing and interpreting the world around me. (If you’re curious about whether you have a biblical worldview or not, you might be interested in this quiz on the topic.)

It is important for me to remember daily that it is unreasonable for me to expect others who do not share my worldview to believe or act in accordance with my worldview. They are living lives consistent with their worldview – not mine. Likewise, those with worldviews conflicting with mine do not have the right to expect me to adjust my beliefs and actions to accommodate their worldview. That is not to say that all worldviews are equally worthy of adoption. It is just an acknowledgement that we don’t all share the same one.

So rather than shout past one another in the midst of differences, rather than beat up others verbally, emotionally or in other ways to advance our own cause, perhaps we would do well to spend more time trying to understand one another’s worldviews that are at the core of why we believe and act as we do. That doesn’t mean we have to like or agree with anyone else’s beliefs or actions, but I think our world could benefit from more civil discourse that gets at understanding one another – maybe even learning to like or love one another in spite of differences – than continuing toxic exchanges that neither side hears nor understands because their worldviews just don’t filter life in the same way.

"Credo," origin of the word "creed," is Latin for "I believe"

“Credo,” Latin for “I believe,” origin of the word “creed”

I spent many hours the past few days writing down a summary of my core Christian beliefs.  Why?

  • To put it in writing to give to my sons this Christmas in a letter I periodically write to them;
  • As a good exercise in clarifying and articulating what I believe;
  • To take a public stand about that which is most important to me.

I know people who go through life bouncing from one belief to another like a pinball, never really committing to anything beyond what feels or sounds good at the moment, being more reactive than thoughtful and proactive.  I know some who try to appease everyone with the silly and illogical notion that all religious beliefs are equal and that “truth” is whatever any individual claims it to be for himself.  I know many who hold beliefs quite incompatible with Christianity, and some who claim no religious faith at all.

Many believe what they believe merely because it is the tradition in which they were raised (including countless self-identified Christians).  They may or may not have given it much thought.  For them, such belief may be no more than intellectual assent to certain teachings or cooperation with cultural and societal norms without any real personal conviction or stake in it.

A statement declaring my core beliefs – my creed – requires a lot more space than one of these short, daily, lesson learned posts, so I have posted the longer statement on the This, I Believe page of this blog.  I hope you will read it.  Agree or disagree, I invite you to add your comments to the page.  I welcome the dialog.

Beliefs change as we mature, as we experience life, and as we gain deeper understanding about matters that eluded us before.  Beliefs may not radically shift between incompatible positions, but they should at least be fine-tuned, deepening in understanding and conviction as time goes on.

If you haven’t taken the time in a while (or ever) to think through and write down your core beliefs, I encourage you to do so.

Leap year lesson #360 is Know what you believe.


It would seem self-evident to any thinking person that not everything everyone believes is true.  How could they be when people believe contradictory and incompatible things?  Whether it is a story about what happened in some event, or cherished, personal, spiritual beliefs at the core of one’s being, the fact that someone believes something does not make it true.  People can be wrong.

So it was with great disbelief today when I read what a grown man I know (at least physically grown) wrote: “All beliefs are true.”  Such nonsense is the wishful thinking of those probably afraid to believe in absolutes – maybe because of what such absolutes would demand of them.  It is easier to try to be politically correct, to avoid offending anyone, to create a false god in your own mind of some mishmash of whatever you want to believe that makes you feel good, than to confront the hard reality that there is truth and there is falsehood, and you’d jolly well better figure out which is which in this life and in preparation for the next.

Some simple scenarios… If there is a pair of brown shoes in front of me and one person says “those shoes are brown” while another person says “those shoes are black,” then the person who says they are black is wrong.  If one says they are black and one says they are red, then they are both wrong.  By the way, it’s OK to say the words “you’re wrong” when someone is wrong.  In fact, it’s the kind and helpful thing to do.  If someone is about to drive off a cliff because they think it’s the right way to their destination when it is not, would we let them go on their merry way because “hey, it’s what they believe – it must be right for them”?  I hope not.  They’re wrong and they need to know that.

At the other end of the significance scale, the same truth vs. falsehood reality applies to matters of eternal, spiritual significance.  Not all beliefs are equally valid or true.  They cannot be.  Don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

Leap year lesson #338 is All beliefs are not true.

I just finished reading Andrew Farley’s latest book Heaven is Now.  The title is a bit misleading, so the subtitle more accurately portrays the message: “Awakening Your Five Spiritual Senses to the Wonders of Grace.”  I’m a Farley fan, counting his first book The Naked Gospel among my top 10 of books having the greatest impact on me.  I look forward to reading his God Without Religion next.

What I appreciate about his books is that they inevitably challenge me to adjust (or abandon) some beliefs in favor of others more consistent with a better understanding of what the Bible teaches on the subject.  He is not afraid to take ideas that church-going people have heard for years and challenge them by laying out all the relevant scripture passages that address the topic.  For those who hold the Bible to be authoritative in all matters of faith and practice, that is the only way you will ultimately win a debate on a related topic.

Farley is easily misunderstood if all someone hears is a small snippet of his writing or preaching apart from the larger context.  Ironically, that is how many of the notions he challenges come to prominence in the first place – by hearing or knowing only snippets of what the Bible teaches on a matter.

Regardless of whether you have any interest in Farley’s books or such topics, the main points of this post are that I know I can count on learning something new when I read his works, that I will be challenged in some way I was not expecting when I started the book, but that I am far better off in the end because I have a more consistent, scriptural understanding that not only benefits me but enables me to better explain such things to others.

It is good for us to expose ourselves to things that challenge us and make us grow.  Some may not think reading a book by a Christian author and pastor is much of a stretch for a Christian, but I assure you it is, given the variety of “christian” interpretations of issues available today.

Leap year lesson #257 is Read something that challenges your beliefs.