Monday 15 August 2005

Is there a “Christian worldview”?

It has become fashionable in recent years to speak of “the Christian worldview.” Some theologians claim to be able to articulate the contours of this worldview, while some apologists devote their energy to defending this worldview against other worldviews.

But is there such a thing as a “Christian worldview”? It seems to me that such a concept drastically undermines the very nature of faith. Faith ceases to be faith the moment it is identified with any particular worldview. The history of Christian theology shows that faith can in fact exist alongside and within a great diversity of worldviews; it can adapt its language and conceptuality to these worldviews; it can use these worldviews to express the gospel; but all the while it remains something wholly other, something radically distinct from all such worldviews.

Even if we did suppose for a moment that there is such a thing as a “Christian worldview,” how would we decide what kind of worldview this is? Is it the primitive worldview of ancient Israel? Or the apocalyptic worldview of the historical Jesus? Or the more Hellenistic worldviews of Paul and John? Or the Neoplatonic worldview of the fourth century? Or the Aristotelian worldview of the medieval church? What would be the criteria for choosing one of these worldviews over others?

More on this topic:
Karl Barth and the “Christian worldview”
Is there a “secular worldview”?
Jim West and worldviews
Alister McGrath and worldviews


Anonymous said...

Of course there is a Christian world view - and the basis for deciding what that world view is can only be the basis on which we know what truth is, vis. God's unambiguous revelation of truth to us.

Chris Tilling said...

Well, Anon told you!!

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