Where did you come from, Cotton-Eyed Joe?

C. S. Lewis wrote, "The character of evidence depends on the shape of the examination... It determines how much of that total truth will appear and what pattern it will suggest" (Lewis, The Discarded Image, 223). In other words, we understand truth in light of the questions we ask and how we ask them.*

Because of this, there's not a Christian worldview but many Christian worldviews. Worldview includes many components such as economics, politics, knowledge (or epistemology), science, ethics, etc. Religion is one part of worldview. Christianity both is influenced by worldview and influences worldview. Christianity cannot exist outside of culture, but it also transforms culture.

For example: are only arranged marriages correct or only marriages that result from a couple meeting and falling in love? Or can both be transformed by Christianity and reflect the relationship of Christ and the church?

I say this so we realize we come to the Bible with preconceptions. What kinds of questions we ask shape how we understand truth. And what kinds of questions we ask emerge from our culture and worldview.

What kind of economic background do we have? What kind of understanding of family roles? What understanding do we have of science? How do we approach and what do we believe about music? How do we enter into marriage, and what roles do men and women have in marriage and family?

In fact, because of the filters we have through which we see the Bible, we cannot have an objective view. 

This isn't always bad: God meets us where we are. The Scripture is alive and works in each culture. We also have the the Holy Spirit to guide us in our reading of the Scripture and the universal Church (global and historical) to offer different perspectives.

So we approach the Bible with humbleness. We strive in community to understand the nature and work of God. However, we also know we won't have full understanding. Understanding my cultural or worldview filters doesn't raise obstacles in my relationship with God. On the contrary, it frees me to praise him in my tongue, in the way in which he's created me.

Consider what in our history and surroundings influences our understanding of the Bible (e.g. the Industrial Revolution's influence on work and family, capitalism, democracy, the Technological Revolution, science). What do you think are some influences?

*Note: to reveal my background which influences this understanding of worldview--before entering seminary, I studied ethnomusicology as an undergrad. I continued cultural studies in seminary by entering the cross-cultural missions track where I took cultural anthropology classes. Post graduation, I became fascinated with the Medieval and Renaissance eras. As I learned more about how people during those times approached and understood truth, I better understood how people during Modern and Postmodern times approach and understand truth. All of these studies increased my awe of our creative and magnificent God who cannot be contained to one culture but who uses many cultures to reflect different aspects of himself.

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