2) Challenge alternative worldviews

Helen Bell | Jan 5th, 2013


1) Understand your Christian worldview

But it's likely to take more than a lucid explanation of the Christian worldview to convince someone to become Christian. After all it would take more than a lucid explanation about Hinduism to convince me to become a Hindu. I'd also have to be persuaded that Christianity had failed. I presume it's the same for non-Christians. Their pre-existing worldview also needs to be challenged.

A good starting point for such a challenge is identifying the assumptions and values that underpin your non-Christian friends' opinions and practices. Listen closely to what your friends think and why they think it. Ask yourself, what do they assume about things such as God, the world, humanity and right and wrong.[1] I've started a list of assumptions my friends make:

  • Being happy is more important than being good or right.
  • Science is the only basis for truth.
  • The individual is paramount.

What would you add to the list?

Then try to identify where and why you agree or disagree. Paul gives an example of this in Acts (Acts 17:16-34). He observes that the Athenians fear 'missing' one of the gods in their pantheon and quotes an Athenian poet in his argument. These 'agreements' are Paul’s way of connecting with Athenian hearts and minds as he tells them of the one true God, revealed in Christ, who created all and is close to all. Further, he then redefines their true need as the need for forgiveness. Likewise, for example, we can identify with the loneliness many people experience in this world, but then point to this as a symptom of our deeper alienation from God. It is only in turning to Jesus for forgiveness that our real loneliness can be addressed.

It's also worth encouraging people to evaluate the sufficiency of their own worldview. At a minimum, a worldview should be intellectually coherent, explain reality and be able to be lived out in practice. These are what others rightfully require of Christians and we, in turn, should require it of them. So when a friend of mine, after arguing for the relativity of right and wrong said in a later conversation that paedophiles should be castrated, I politely pointed out her inconsistency. She politely changed the topic.

3) Cross cultures to build relationships