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My Christain World View

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My Christian World View

 

The great Christian hymn 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind' includes the line 'the silence of eternity interpreted by love'. In a very small nutshell, this is my worldview. Feel free to stop reading now; everything else is a footnote to that short sentence.

As a Christian I believe – I reach out in faith and hope in other words – that Love lies at the heart of this ordered yet chaotic universe. This ultimately means that there is more 'out there' than the unstable love we humans possess. When the Big Bang banged it did so, in other words, in love and creativity, not by sheer randomness and chance. But whisper it, this is faith not knowledge. Belief in God is not at all like the 'I see an orange on the table' kind of belief. This, in short, is basically the 'God hypothesis'. It's a hypothesis that I fall in and out of love with all the time. But something in it will not let me go.

Whist God may be the most uncertain of realities – experiencing God is a bit like someone leaving a room just as you've entered it – Jesus offers the seeker after truth something a bit more solid to build on. And so I see God reflected in that strange fellow who lives through the pages of four books (the Gospels in the Bible), and in the hearts and imaginations of believers everywhere. Some Christians think that Jesus is with them in a literal, supernatural way; I don't. But I do believe in Jesus because he talks in stories and parables and riddles that I love to ponder and apply to my own life. The personal application bit is seldom easy or straightforward. If I really took Jesus at his word I'd be living without a roof over my head, travelling around the country with no possessions, and asking people to repent and turn towards the Kingdom of God. Not very appealing, is it?

Critics of the Christian way say that it's all about 'pie in the sky when you die' (e.g., the carrot of the afterlife and the big stick of hell), or believing six impossible things before breakfast (virgin births, miracles, Jesus coming back to earth on a cloud etc, etc). Those Christians who think such things are vitally important offer up their (to my mind) not very convincing arguments and defences. For them the admission of doubt and scepticism is as good as bringing down the whole house of belief down around one's ears. But I think they're wrong; faith can survive the harshest of conditions.

Jesus is reported to have said that

'every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits.' (The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 7, verses 17-20)

Right action rather than pious speculation is the true test of anyone who claims to mould their life after the example of Christ; it is the standard I try and apply to my own life. To quote an atheist (Karl Marx) the point of a Christian's life is not about interpreting the world but changing it. Jesus called changing the world bringing in the Kingdom of God. We Christians have some way to go on this one.

So, for me, Christianity has very little to do with proving the impossible or worrying about whether or not there is life after death (though I hope there is). As the Christian Aid slogan says, I believe in life before death. Seen this way, my Christianity is a risky project aimed at elevating and transforming the human mind, body, and soul in this life. It's concerned no less than with the raising up of each individual to divine levels. 'God became man so that we might become God' said the theologian Athanasius over fifteen hundred years ago. What an inspiring thought even after all these years! The poet William Blake called this vision 'Divine Humanity'. For isn’t the point of life, after all is said and done, about doing good, about learning and growing and transforming ourselves and the people around us? And so I test not only my own beliefs but all belief systems against this principle: does what we think and practice lead to human growth or not? Christianity, to its shame, has often gone down the wrong road (in my opinion). It's managed to acquire itself a terrible reputation through calling the bad good and the good bad. This causes me a great deal of sadness and anger. My Christianity is, I hope, free of this vice. Though I can never be sure.

This is where what we Christians call sin enters the picture. Yes, I believe in sin, that old-fashioned word. No system, religion, or belief structure is or ever will be perfect. I don't believe I fell from the sky the finished article – nor will I ever be. There is always that irritating gap between the ideal and the reality, between what I would I like to do and what I actually do. This is why I go to church and seek forgiveness and reconciliation for when I've missed the mark. Here's a prayer about sin and forgiveness from the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer. Believe it or not, I can't imagine my life without it.

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid; Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name.

As you might have guessed by now trying to summarise my deepest beliefs and principles has been exceptionally difficult! For one thing my Christianity is not all of me, nor is it the only place I go to find truth and meaning. Christianity, like everything other worldview, has talked a lot of nonsense over the years. And it's always a great delight for me to find truth in the most unexpected places. For example, I find a great deal of it in other religions - especially Buddhism – as well as in humanistic belief systems like psychotherapy. Something deep within me resists dividing the world up into ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’. God for me, after all, is the maker of all things in heaven and on earth. More importantly, I believe whatever else God is God is He/She/It is a God of freedom, not of control. S/he actively desires that we roam widely and freely, making, breaking and discovering as we go. Jesus once said that the truth shall set you free (The Gospel of John, chapter 8, verse 32). That’s a pretty good test to lay at the feet of any worldview.

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A Christian World View - or - My Christian World View

Apologies I should have admitted that I wrote the above comment

Revd. Philip Ball, Chaplain ( Hull College )

A Christian World View - or - My Christian World View

Whilst I agree with much of John Breardon's article, I think there is an essential flaw in his title and therefore his thesis. The title Christian World View, implies an objective analysis. But John’s assertion in his first paragraph . . . this is my world view shows ( as does the argument in his article) that what he is describing is a subjective, personal world view – based in his beliefs as a Christian. Now I would be the first to acknowledge that we cannot be entirely objective and that all ‘Christian’ world views are subjective, yet I think that it is important in helping others understand faith(s) that we attempt to be honest about what we are doing. John should either title his piece something like My Christian World View, or provide a more balanced analysis of what A Christian World View is by opening up something of the range of ideas about the world that Christians hold and where and how these have been obtained. Viz . . . A Christian is someone who follows the teaching and life style of Jesus Christ ( a man who lived and taught about 2000 years ago and claimed to be the Son of God). A Christian World View is one which is derived from the teachings and this Jesus Christ. Such a world view is primarily reached through study of what Jesus did and taught ( as recorded in the best authenticated texts, the four ‘gospels’ of the Christian bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which tell the story of his life ) and study of the teachings and writings of those who knew him, ‘know him’ and have built their lives and attitudes upon his life and teachings. i.e. The early Apostles ( as recorded in the New Testament of the Christian Bible ), and Christians of all sorts ( who’s sayings have been recorded in all sorts of places ) down the 2000 years in which ‘Christianity’ has been a living faith. • Because : Jesus lived for 33 years; the record of his life is quite long; there is a large amount of teaching said to come from the ‘lips’ of Christ and this is diverse often using allegory, story and other non-literal forms. • And because : Christ’s teachings were given in another language, recorded by third parties, in a 1st Century cultural context; • And because : his followers have made, done and said a vast variety of things as an interpretation of his life and teaching. • And though many attempts have been made to do, it and large volumes have been written aiming to achieve it; • It is not possible to absolutely tie down all the detail of what a Christian World View is or make a summary which is comprehensive. Rather there are many Christian World Views. Nevertheless there are some things in addition to the above which can be said to tie down the range within which Christian World Views exist: Jesus was a Jew and claimed to be ‘Messiah’ as prophesied in the Jewish scriptures. He regarded the Hebrew text as foundational to who he was and what he did. Most Christian world views therefore have a foundation in the Jewish scriptures and in particular the ‘Ten Commandments’ which form the basis of the Jewish Law. Yet Jesus declared that he brought in a ‘New Covenant’ between humanity and God ( replacing that between God and the people of Israel ), a new covenant in which any person from any tribe, clan or nation could join, through the indwelling power of God available through his Holy Spirit. He asserted that there is an afterlife which his followers can access through faith in Him. He is claimed to have given up his life to death in an act of self-sacrifice and it was this which overcame the power of sin, death and the ‘devil’. Within his teaching, Jesus summarised the Judaic Law and prophets thus : Someone asked "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:36-40 NIV Additionally Jesus early followers, guided by ‘God within them – the Holy Spirit’ understood the new dispensation which Jesus taught established that essential to orthodox Christian faith is a belief that there is one God but also three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son (Jesus) and Holy Spirit - who it is argued lives in interrelated love. ( They asserted that the Spirit guides into all truth yet what it says cannot be anything other than an interpretation of Jesus teaching and to prove this the promptings of the Spirit need to be tested against scripture, by ‘wise’ Christians. ) All of the above paragraphs lead to the conclusion that: • a variety of Christian World Views are valid. • Christian World Views see love and good relationships as fundamental to the way Christians behave. • They have within them a high regard for the value of all people and see self-sacrifice as a way to achieving change and good. • They value highly the transformation of this world into a better place for all to live, whilst also looking forward to an afterlife which transcends many of the problems and issues of this life. • They are not primarily about the spiritual fulfilment of the individual, for their own sake, but the fulfilment of all, brought about as individuals work together. • All Christian world views have a moral framework, which seeks for good to triumph over evil, and calls for individuals to behave in particular ways ( though there is quite some disagreement on the detail of what these are ).

I am a christian and I

I am a christian and I believe that what God said in his word is 100% true if we choose to think God may be wrong about some points then we are calling God a liar. He said he would send his holy spirit and his disciples after waiting experienced God when fire came over there heads and they spoke in tongues of angels and of men to which thousands heard the Good news of Christ and were saved. we have the 'same power that raised christ from the dead' within us. As born again christians, we are encouraged to read God's living word because it is not a historical document, God's word inspired by God is applicable to our lives and his holy spirit gives us understanding therefore no wat can you say that God does not live in us! We are the temple of the holy spirit each one of us, that does not mean that we are God rather we have acknowledged our sin asked God to cleanse us so that we could be made holy and dwell in others so that they may also know the awesomeness of God! Other religions do have some good morals but it is only my God, whom we can call father, who we can directly speak to, who pleads for you and me! You are correct in saying that Jesus once said that the truth will set you free, but do not forget he also said and is saying to all of us TODAY 'I am the way the truth and the life and it is only through me that you come to the father' Jesus is the only truth there is no other truth!!!!

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