Buzzword?

Interpretations of “biblical worldview” seem to vary greatly among people, Christians included. Teaching biblical worldview can range from a detailed curriculum explaining all of the -ologies, to Christianized versions of public school textbooks (1+2=Jesus), to the belief that being a Christian means you will simply live and act a certain way. Is the concept of “biblical worldview” in the classroom more of a buzzword than a reality?

9 Comments

Filed under How Kids Think

9 responses to “Buzzword?

  1. Rose Bexar

    It’s been a long time since I was in private school, so I can’t really speak to actual conditions in most schools now. But worldview shouldn’t be a buzzword; it ought to influence everything about the way we teach because of the question “Why are we doing this?”
    Secularists have all kinds of problems answering why we ought to learn. Christians shouldn’t. We believe that God made us in His image, which includes the ability to reason; we also believe that He gave us reason so that we can learn about Him and that learning about Him includes learning about the world He has made. Bonaventure’s _Retracing the Arts to Theology_ and _The Journey of the Mind to God_ are beautiful discussions of how the concept works.
    Obviously, 1 + 2 = Jesus is a bit much (any chemist knows that 1 + 2 = BOOM ;)), but our faith does–or should–shape the way we understand everything. The world works the way it does because God made it that way, and even though it’s fallen, we can still see His fingerprints on everything from the smallest molecule to the furthest galaxy. History works the way it does because it has an Author and because fallen men sometimes do really evil things. Math is important because God is a God of order and created an ordered universe that math can help us understand. Language is important because we are people of the Word (both God’s written Word and the Incarnate Word); literature is important because it lets us see what other people have learned about God. The heavens declare the glory of God–let’s find out what they have to say!
    But, as I say, that’s how it *ought* to work. I don’t know if it actually does work that way in most schools now.

  2. I think it is a worthy goal, but unfortunately most of us apply what we believe to the bible rather than the other way around.

    We tend to wield the “sword” as if it were our personal weapon, and then we get kind of nutty people out there in politics (who unfortunately get all the media attention) that reflect poorly on what it means to be Christian.

    But a biblical worldview means that our worldview has been shaped by scripture, not that we use a few verses to support what we believe.

  3. I don’t know what “biblical worldview” means in a classroom, but I do know that hearing that term, in and of itself, doesn’t tell me exactly how a school or classroom will be run.

    For example, is that a code-word for “legalism?” Does it mean “We are fundamentalist conservative Christians?” Or, how many American Christians define “biblical worldview” in a syncretistic way that mixes nationalism with Christianity?

    And, even if a whole bunch of us agreed that a “biblical worldview” involves seeing the world through the lens of the Bible as a whole rather than lucky-dipping verses here and there to support our beliefs, I’m sure we would still come up with varying definitions.

    I would hope “biblical worldview” isn’t generally defined by some of your examples, like the “1+2=Jesus” or “a list of do’s and don’ts.” But I’m sure this is true in many contexts.

  4. It’s probably easier to address what teaching a Biblical worldview is not than what it is. It’s not superficial, putting random Bible verses on math pages. It’s not arbitrary, requiring every idea to find some support or analogy in the Bible, no matter how tenuous. It’s not domineering, contorting every fact into proof and examples for our particular interpretation of Scripture. Too often what claims to be a Biblical worldview is one of these things. (I wrote a post on this a long while back: http://carrotduchy.blogspot.com/2005/01/bible-and-everything-else.html)

    Having a Biblical worldview is placing God and his revelation at the center, allowing our understanding of everything to work out of that–but approaching it with humility, realizing that even with revelation we don’t know everything yet. It requires a deep love of God AND a deep love of learning. And thinking.

    The real problem, I think, is that a Biblical worldview can’t be taught from a book. It’s not just parroting someone else’s interpretation of Scripture. It has to be learned from a person, thinking and talking together. I’d rather have my children studying Darwin and Marx under someone who genuinely loved God and thought carefully, than studying the Bible itself under someone who just repeated what someone else had told him.

  5. I like what Queen of Carrots says here:

    “I’d rather have my children studying Darwin and Marx under someone who genuinely loved God and thought carefully, than studying the Bible itself under someone who just repeated what someone else had told him.”

    Yes! In fact, this is something I WANT my children to do someday… study Darwin and Marx and others, whether with me or with someone else who can help them think about their writings from a Godly, Biblical perspective.

    I think of Paul in Acts 17:16-34 as a good example of teaching (preaching) from a biblical worldview… he knew about the Athenians and used his knowledge of their religious practices to speak to them about God. This is what I want my children to be able to do someday (even if *I* feel unqualified to do so myself!).

  6. Of course its a buzzword. A worldview (biblical or otherwise) is altogether to big a thing to be taught in a classroom. Of course, everything that is taught is a component of a worldview. But worldviews by their nature are too wideranging and deepseated to be able to be “taught” in a classroom.

  7. When I teach my children, I try to put a Christ perspective on everything I teach. We discuss how (whatever topic we are on) lines up with what the Bible teaches us. I don’t know how it would work in a regular classroom. I attempt to get them to think more like Christ by teaching them to be more like him, and instilling the traits of love and humbleness.

    I just don’t believe that there is a formula or equation for teaching a Biblical worldview. I think you have to train the heart and mind. Once you start thinking more from the perspective of Christ, the Biblical worldview starts coming into focus.

  8. jenny

    My thinking is that a biblical worldview puts God at the center of all things. A secular worldview puts man at the center. I know this is simplistic, but so am I, so were my second graders in the classroom, so are my toddlers in my home. (I am not sure what I’ll do when they get smarter than I, but I have a few years). So it’s not just a buzzword, it’s a fact. Kids that are parented and taught and discipled by people who have God as the center, Jesus as King and live lives of faith will well be on their way to adopting a biblical worldview. Kids who are led by people who have placed themselves at the center and head of all things are well on their way away from a biblical worldview.

  9. Having been around (but not attended) and then subbed at a Christian school I think there is definitely an extent to which things can be “over-christianized” I’m sorry, but trying to apply a Bible verse to every math lesson is just absurd. Yes, the big picture is that our God is a God of order, but learning the quadratic equation really doesn’t have that much to do with some Bible verses! I won’t name publishers…

    I think the way the biblical worldview comes out best is in classroom (or one on one) discussions about the daily things that happen. Current events in the world as well as in the bubble of school. This is a teacher’s best opportunity to engage students and ask them questions. Don’t just tell them the “Christian viewpoint”, but let them figure it out for themselves. Maybe play the devil’s advocate. It won’t do us any good to have little robots who know all the right answers, but haven’t thought through why these are the right answers.
    I think that’s one of the biggest problems in the church today. People are afraid of those who question. But questioning will help you understand and our God is certainly big enough to handle our questions!

    In this one Christian school that I know I think they do a really good job (lame textbooks aside) of engaging the students in thinking about our world from a biblical point of view. Isn’t that what a biblical world view really is?

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