Each of us has a worldview. This is a “big word” to say that how we view life has been shaped by our experiences and genetic predispositions. Mainly, our worldview is shaped by our experiences (I will let others argue the nurture part of this nature vs. nurture argument).
Have you ever considered all the predispositions and presuppositions you might have because of your worldview? Your (ok, and my own) worldview are shaped by myriads of outside sources. When you think, your thoughts have gone through dozens of grids in order to have that “logical” thought pop into your mind.
If you do not believe me, just consider the sheer number of teachers you have had during your educational history. I would say I have easily had at least 2 dozen teachers. Then, how many different books have you read for those classes?
Now, how many tv shows, movies, and radio programs have joined your cerebral library? How many incidental conversations have you heard, or seminars and forums have you heard?
Now think about your religious background. How many times have you read the Bible? Have you even read any or all of it? How many Sunday School teachers and VBS teachers have you had? How many sermons have you heard?
I am pretty sure I have heard over 3 thousand sermons (for a quick baseline estimate, consider this: 50 sermons a year times 15 = 750, 3x13x4 = 156 [low estimate of chapels during college] 750 +156 = 906. Take into consideration that for 10 years I went to a church where it was 3 sermons a week, not one. Also, during the 4 years of school we had Founders Week and Missions Conference where 12-20 sermons where heard each conference. That makes 96-160 additional sermons. We are over 1000 without doing the math for 52x3x10. Yall get the point Oh yea, I have also been going to church for 23 years. The 15 years was just to give an example of ones that I would be considered old enough to hear and process information)
But, all this is to say, there are grids upon grids in our minds. We are not “unbiased” in our thinking. I am “biased” towards evengelical thinking. I can give my reasons, but you may just think it is because of my thousands of sermons. You might be biased towards Islam. I would point towards it being part of your life, but you might give different reasons.
Or, maybe you are agnostic. You may give your reasons, but I may give my response and say it is for other reasons than what is given.
The psychology of beliefs and “logic” is not as simple as people state. There are realities and perceived realities. But at the end of the day, does your worldview create a gridlock in your ability to listen to others.
Or are you inable to appropriately love others because of all the grids that your thoughts go through? Can you simply not converse with me on abortion because I am a male Republican, or is it for other reasons? Or can we not discuss environmental issues because I drive a Ford instead of using mass transit or walking (or driving a smart car)?
Well, and as long as we are discussing loving others, how often do we consider all that impedes us from loving and respecting others.
I can think of one simple (ok, vastly complex) inhibitor to love.
Now, I do not want to claim I can give a full discussion about this. Nor can I really point you to a lot of good books on the discussion of the effects of pornography (though I hear that there are many. Here is one I have heard referenced http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Intimacy-Pornography-Hijacks-ebook/dp/B002YX0GSM/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1).
Pornography causes us to view the different gender (and same gender!) through a self absorbed mindset. It causes us to view sexuality and relationships in a perverted manner. We create a grid of “attractive” or “hot” or “not” that colors our interactions with others. Is friendship possible without sexual aggravation or frustration? Can we keep our eyes on their eyes or is there a constant struggle of observation and comparison?
As noted above, I do have an “evangelical” grid, so you may be thinking that my view on pornography is just taken from that. You may think that if you want. But, know this. My definition of pornography is this: anything which is meant to incite lust or excitement. It doesn’t have to be nude figures or figures involved inside of a sexual act. It doesn’t have to be a description of a sexual encounter or someone’s body. Pornography is that which is meant to excite and invoke fantasy.
This is why it is so warped and wrong.
But, it is also pervasive. Just think of all the sexual images and descriptions that you have encountered over the last week. Oh, and by that I mean that which is encountered accidentally. Now, think of the pornographic images and descriptions you have intentionally encountered over the past week.
Ok, now stop. haha.
Sorry, about making you think about those things. I guess I should have said “make an account how many that could possibly be. But, I wanted to demonstrate how you and I have intentionally and unintentionally created grids (negative grids!) over the past week alone. These are grids which will hurt us in future relationships. Grids that have to be combatted and overthrown.
Now, let’s return to the idea which began the blog. We all have worldview. These worldviews are vast and complex grids which help us process life. But they can also impede our processing and logic in ways which we do not know. Let’s be humble and approach life in a more cautious and healthy manner. This might keep our grid from getting gridlocked.
I suggest 2 ways of doing this. Prayer and Bible study.
I know that this is “obviously shaped” by my worldview, but I am fine with this.
But let me share with you a secret. Prayer and Bible study are also shaped by our worldview. They can be impeded or hurt because we view God poorly. And by “can” I mean “are most certainly, and often, hurt by” a poor view of God.
But don’t give up. God hasn’t given up on us.