Saturday, June 25, 2005

WORLDVIEW - From where you're standing you can't see what I see!

WHAT’S BEHIND DOOR NUMBER ONE? [2 Corinthians 6:13-18; Culture, Others, Outreach, Perspective, Separation]

A couple drove several miles down a country road, not saying a word. An earlier conversation had resulted in an argument; now, neither party would concede their position.

As they passed a pig farm with several mules in a nearby pen, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?”

“Yep,” the wife quickly replied, “In-laws!”

This illustrates how two people, viewing the same scene, can see two entirely different things.

How we look at things (our prejudices, presuppositions; our knowledge or ignorance) determines our position on issues and our attitudes toward others.

If two people walked into a room from opposite doorways and found a man holding out a ball, between thumb and forefinger, and where asked what they saw, both parties would say, “A ball!”

However, if asked to describe the ball one might say, “It’s a white ball.” While the other might say, “It’s a black ball.” If prodded for more details, one might say, “It’s a hard, white, cue ball,” while the other might say, “It’s a soft, black bouncy ball.” How can this be? There’s only one ball, yet they both describe it differently.

The fact is the ball is half-black and half-white … both people are correct from their point-of-view (i.e., they approached the object through different doorways). Additionally, each person’s data retrieval system did a search for information on balls: one white ball, the other black balls … they each answered based on their knowl-edge (aka: prejudice).

Life is like that. If we approach a subject (e.g., politics or religion) with a presuppositional belief in abso-lute truth, existence of a sovereign God and His creative power (something out of nothing), our view may be decidedly different from that of our neighbor. Why? Because he approaches the same subject through the presup-positional lens of a belief in relativism, the ascendancy of man, and the ‘big-bang” theory; each of these is covered with his life experiences like icing on a cake.

Take any subject and you will find those with whom you interact holding view-points varying from your own.

Now, instead of a man holding the ball in the middle of the room, assume it hangs by a string from the ceiling. Instead of a rectangular room, assume a circular room. Instead of just two doors, assume an indetermin-able number of doors around the inside circumference.

Finally, assume the other person is free to enter any door in the room; you, however, always enter through the same door (assuming your beliefs are fairly stable). Now, take notice of the following phenomena:
    1. If he enters the same door you entered, his view of the object should be the same as yours.
    2. If he enters the door exactly opposite yours, his view will be a polar opposite of yours (if yours is righteous, his will be unrighteous; if his is conservative, yours will be liberal; rigid versus flexible; knowledge-based versus ignorance-based; and so on).
    3. The closer to your door he enters the room, the greater the similarity between views … that is, the more common ground you have.
    4. If the object changes, someone whose views were only slightly different than your own will, more likely than not, enter through a different door on the new subject (aka: issue).
    5. Notice, between divergent viewpoints: a.) the greatest possible good is accomplished when there is common ground; b.) the least hope for accomplishment is when there is no common ground; and c.) the least efficient scenario is when there is common ground, but one or both parties is determined to work on uncommon soil.

Every institution known to man, especially the church, would benefit from this insight.

Divergent world-views certainly do separate people, but Christians must not fear engagement with the enemy. The “whole armor of God” protects us; and besides, God’s “grace is sufficient” for every contingency. And, as Paul told Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” [2 Timothy 1:7]

You would be right if you said, “This sounds good but it sounds too much like psychology. Who’s to say one view is better than the other? Isn’t this too much like relativism?” Yes, it is, if all we have is the stage and the two actors; only the stronger of the two has any hope of prevailing.

However, someone hung the ball on the string (The String-hanger/God). This someone knows whose view is the right one; if you’re a true believer, so do you!

For those who practice the doctrine of absolute separation this insight holds no value; but for those who grasp the meaning of the Parable of the Good Neighbor (aka: Samaritan) [Luke 10:25-37] and Paul’s words in about “others” [Philippians 2:3-7] much can be done to woe people to “The Door.” [John 10:1-18]

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