Saturday, December 01, 2007

Heart, Liver, Kidneys and the Christian Worldview

Bak kut teh

Nothing like a bit of prolonged travelling to realise what the heart, liver and kidneys, to use old Hebrew metaphors, truly treasure. It is strange to discover, day after day, that which remains constant in foreign cultures and different circumstances; the consistency of one's beliefs, one's worldview, one's lifestyle, one's passions.

Everybody has a set of beliefs. Beliefs not as the gullible acceptance of incredible things but basic ideas or presuppositions we have about the nature of reality.

Everyone has a worldview or a framework for perceiving reality. We have conceptual frameworks (the abstract concepts through which we "frame" and organise all our specific concepts), ideologies (sets of ideas about the nature of society and our role in it), lifestyles (practical sets of values and ways of looking at life). Worldviews are formed when our foundational beliefs or presuppositions combine with our inferred beliefs to form a network of beliefs that help us think about or act in the world. They explain life and give it meaning.

Worldviews affect things. They affect the way that we think, the way that we act, the way we make ethical decisions, the way that we relate, the way that we live and the way that we much we eat, what we eat, how we spend money on...

Worldviews have particular components. They usually consist of beliefs concerning God and his/her existence and character, the nature of human beings, morality, ultimate reality (what is really real), death, and meaning to life.

Naturally, having a worldview limits the views that can be consistently held. No argument whose conclusion is obviously inconsistent with one's worldview can be rationally convincing unless the worldview itself is adjusted.

Somehow It comes as no surprise that with the Christian worldview, no editing is needed. It is as constant as the Faithful One, the Only God, whom Christianity reveals.

The Christian Worldview
  • The world is not a mere cosmic accident. God created world with specific beginning and end in mind. The world is tied up with God's purposes.
  • Human beings, too, are not cosmic accidents. They are created by God as part of his purpose for the world. That purpose is intricately tied up with human beings and involves them sharing in relationship with their creator as both dependent creatures and willing friends.
  • God is the loving ruler of the world. He is independent from his creation and committed to it. His nature is to love his creation and to rule it in grace in justice. Our experience of life is that we can't live rightly with God, without other people and with the environment God gave us to live in other than the way God intended for us to live.
  • Instead of acting responsibly as dependent creatures and willing friends, we behave as independent rulers and judges, passively ignoring him or actively rebelling against him. This desire for, and practice of, independence is deep seated and incurable in us.
  • God will not let his purpose go. He is so committed to it that he sent his son Jesus into the world as a human being.
  • Jesus did what no other human being had done. He lived in dependence and friendship with God. He demonstrated this in his being willing to obey his Father to the point of death on behalf of all humans.
  • He took the punishment that was due to them for their independence and rebellion. He acted as God had always acted – with our best interests in mind. As a result of God's action in Jesus, reconciliation is possible. If we accept what Jesus has done on our behalf, God promises to treat us as though the breach in relationship had never happened. He promises to give us new life and new strength to live dependently through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
  • This life will continue past death. On the other hand, if we continue to reject God's purpose in Christ, God promises that he will judge us for our rebellion and that we will forever live out of relationship with him, the source of all goodness, justice and love.
  • Purpose and meaning for life is now found in two things: (1) living in close relationship with God ourselves; and (2) telling others of what God has done in Christ in order that they too might live as they were created to live.
  • As God began the world and as he sent Jesus into the world to redeem it, so God will end the world. At that end, God will balance the books, establish justice and bring in the possibility of a new world where human beings might live in untainted relationship with him, with each other, and with the environment he places them in.
Andrew Reid, Apologetics

Ah Huat Bak Kut Teh
7 Keppel Road
PSA Tanjong Pagar Complex

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