Worldviews and Religions
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What advantage does the apologist gain in calling Christianity a 'worldview,' as opposed to a 'faith' or 'religion'?
I use the New American Standard Bible, 1995, in my daily reading of the word and in study. The pericope at the beginning of the 3rdchapter of 1 Peter is a good one because in two words it encompasses the context of the entire chapter. The translators Pericope at the beginning of the 1 Peter chapter 3 says, Godly Living. Part of the context of godly living is to be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks us to give an account for the hope that is in us. Not only is it, godly living, to give a defense for our Christian hope but to do so with gentleness and reverence. (cf. 1 Pt 3:15) Is Peter saying that we should fear those whom we are giving a defense to? No, I think that he is saying that we should respect them and part of respecting them would be to not use words like religion when referring to their unbelief, when we know that they may take offense to it. The gospel is offensive enough to the unbeliever in its own right, let us not offend them unnecessarily.
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Tm 2:24-26, NASB)
A month or so ago the Lord put this passage on my mind and I am now taking it to heart. I think that it is a very important passage for the apologist because the passage gives us the reason for arguing, the manner by which we should argue and reminds us not to quarrel.
An atheist is opposed to being called religious because he sees religion as being a set of irrelevant beliefs, values, and practices. Even a Christian would feel strange calling atheism a religion because its belief system is not associated with the supernatural.
A worldview on the other hand is a person’s operating system. A world view could be defined as beliefs that guide a person’s thoughts, words and actions.It is a patch work of ideas by which a person views God, the nature of the universe, the nature of human beings, knowledge, and ethical principles by which a person lives.Given this definition atheism and Christianity could both be called worldviews.
Considering that our goal for the unbeliever is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and that the Scriptures teach us to be kind to all and correct with gentleness it would be most kind to use the term worldview when giving a defense to unbelievers.
Thorvald B. Madsen, Worldviews and Christianity(Kansas City: Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, date unknown), 8.
Francis J. Beckwith, “Introduction,” in To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview, ed. Frances J. Beckwith, William Lane Craig, and J. P. Moreland (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 14.