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Christian Worldview Education

and

Living a Christian Worldview

are in this page,
 and the other main worldview pages — which build on the 
worldviews-homepage that asks "What is a worldview?" — are
 Christian Apologetics & Postmodern Relativism 
and
Christian Stewardship of Life as a Worldview

 



 

      For a Christian, effective worldview education begins with gaining knowledge (of what a worldview is and what some worldviews are) plus skill in evaluation (using logical reasoning built on a foundation of faith) that is based on evidence from scripture and experience.  But "head knowledge" is not enough.  Effective worldview education must be a whole-life experience, because "the worldview you think you have" is not the way you really view the world unless it is the dominant influence shaping your decisions and actions while you are living in the world.  As a reminder that the goal of education is improved quality of living, these two aspects of life share the same page.

 
Worldview Education

Topics in this sub-area are:  Home Education   Informal Education   Christian Schools   Christian Teachers   Public Schools   Science Education

This is a "sampler page" and most sections include a links-page (in CAPITAL LETTERS) where the topic is treated in more depth, with links to more pages.

What is a worldview?
      Our HOMEPAGE for Worldviews has a basic outline of "what a worldview is" and why this concept is so useful for understanding people and our societies.  Other essential aspects of worldviews are in the first five paragraphs on the right side, in the introduction and "Shared yet Unique."
      In one part of a series about options, decisions, and truth, Dick Tripp explains what a worldview is.
      Basically, a worldview is a view of the world — a mental model of reality, a set of theories (believed by a person or a community) about what exists, how and why things happen, and what it means — that is used for living in the world, that serves as a foundation for our thoughts, decisions, and actions.
 

Christian Education

      Home Education:  For all Christian parents (whether their children are being formally educated in a home school, private school, or public school), education for a Christian worldview — based on the Bible and including spiritual disciplines (prayer,...) — should begin in the home.  Sue Bohlin shares ideas about worldviews in a "camel story" introduction and a commentary on Worldproofing Your Kids by Lael Arrington.  A wider range of resources for worldview education is in HOME SCHOOLING.

      Christian Schools continue the worldview education that begins in the home and culture.  A private school with a Christian foundation can provide an environment that is spiritually edifying, with curriculum and instruction designed to achieve the explicit goal of helping its students develop a Christian worldview and apply this worldview in all of life, inside and outside the classroom.  How can this be done most effectively?  This question, which has inspired much study and debate, will eventually be examined in detail here.  For now, here are three pages that I think you'll find interesting:
      The Radical Nature of Christian Schooling (from a principal in New Zealand) [page is no longer available],
      A Vision for Christian Education by Mark Witwer, who wants to Teach Students to Think Christianly.
      the educational mission of Dordt College (in a Christian Learning Community with a Kingdom Perspective) can also be used in K-12 schools,
      the three-stage classical education (grammar, logic, rhetoric) of Mars Hill Academy, whose goal is "to integrate learning, to think systemically about critical issues, and to submit all knowledge to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, who gives wisdom abundantly to all who ask for it."
      and more information is in CHRISTIAN EDUCATION IN PRIVATE SCHOOLS.

      Christian Teachers can openly share their faith and teach their worldviews in Christian schools (and in home schools, of course!) and they can live Christianly, in their teaching quality and their relationships with students and colleagues, in public schools.
      Wheaton College helps the future teachers in its School of Education become agents of beneficial change — consistent with their Christian faith, principles, and love — whether they teach in private and public schools, so they can "create a significant difference in the lives of their students, their schools, and their communities."

Informal Education
      This occurs in the home, in the church community and the broader local community, and in the context of a culture that includes a variety of media such as music and magazines, movies and marketing, books and websites, discussions and lectures, radio and television.
      Later, maybe in 2012, there will be link-pages for The Da Vinci Code and for other books & movies: Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter,... and for Christian movie-review websites.
      an I.O.U. — informal education and lifelong learning have worldview implications, both intentional and unintentional, and eventually these will be examined in more breadth and depth in the "informal education" areas of SCHOOL OPTIONS and ORIGINS EDUCATION. }

      Lifelong Learning:  The personal benefits of intentional lifelong learning — of learning from life, for life — both in school and outside, are discussed in Motivations for Learning (how to weld or ski!) and Christian Education for the Whole Person by Craig Rusbult.
      A valuable skill wherever you are, in or out of school, is Critical Thinking from a Christian Perspective.  For example, should you believe claims for a warfare between science and religion?

 

Public Education

      Public Schools also provide worldview education, but what are they teaching?  This important question is examined most comprehensively in WORLDVIEWS & RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS.  Building on that foundation, this section will give you a few additional resources, and will look more closely at the potential dangers of teaching about worldviews, whether this teaching is intentional or incidental, implicit or explicit.
      For example, Charles Haynes doesn't think an absence of religious perspectives will produce a neutral balance, but he warns that "teaching the controversy" in evolution — or in other hotly debated areas, such as teaching about religion, or discussing faith-based principles and motivations in character education, "could be disastrous" if teachers are not well prepared.
      Can we achieve worldview balance and religious neutrality in public schools if religious perspectives are always ignored?  But if public schools do teach about religion, some advocates of nonreligious worldviews will worry about positive portrayals of religion, and some advocates of religious worldviews will think this could be a particularly effective way for educators to continue their anti-religious indoctrination of students:  Can public worldview education with critical thinking be dangerous?
      Some educators will want to portray alternative religions (neopaganism,...) and non-religions (atheism,...) in an especially positive way.  In some programs this goal is explicit (an example) but it could be implicit in others, subtle and hidden yet real.
      In a typical public school, now and in the future, are there causes for concern?  Charles Glenn looks at the educational goals of governments and families, and analyzes the historical and philosophical foundations of fanatical secularism in public education that "has made the exclusion of religion from the public schools seem [for public educators in the past and present]... essential to the mission of education."
      How should Christians view proposed changes in education?  Don Closson suggests attitudes and strategies for understanding and evaluating educational reforms.
      In K-12 or college, the choice of a school is important;  Dick Carpenter provides tips for investigating the worldview(s) of a college.  No matter where you are, though, or what you're doing (whether you're in school or out), it's important to put your beliefs into practice.

      Science Education in Public Schools:
      In a comprehensive chapter from Taking Religion Seriously Across the Curriculum, Warren Nord and Charles Haynes describe some possibilities for teaching about relationships between science and religion.  { More information about "worldviews in science education" are above and in ORIGINS EDUCATION and THE NATURE OF SCIENCE. }

 
Science and Religion
      Relationships between Science and Religion will be a major feature of this website;  a beginning is THE TWO BOOKS OF GOD: NATURE & SCRIPTURE.
      The homepage for Christian Apologetics & Postmodern Relativism has a section (currently small) about the lack of scientific support for postmodern relativism, in Einstein's Theory of Relativity (which is actually a Theory of Invariance) and in the Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics.

 

 

 
Living a Worldview

      A worldview is "a view of the world, used for living in the world" so in daily living it should be the dominant influence shaping your decisions and actions.  Douglas Wilson emphasizes the importance of developing a Christian worldview that is truly in the heart and mind (not just on the tongue) and is converted into action: "A Christian worldview is not the same thing as Christian worldview jargon. ... Having a Christian worldview means living like an obedient Christian in all of life."
      In this column, the main theme is converting worldview-IDEAS into worldview-ACTION for living.  It begins by examining worldviews (communal and individual), followed by General Principles that are useful for everyone, and then moving into Ethical Principles (with a mixture of general and Christian ideas) and Christian Living.

      Worldviews — Shared yet Unique
     
Some parts of a worldview are shared by all Christians.  And some sharing is specific to Catholics (or Baptists, Mennonites,...) and to those who are not Christian yet have experiences with it — some through personal experience, and almost everyone through being influenced by "what they hear" from media, friends, or their own religious leaders.
     
A person's "Christian worldview" is influenced by their beliefs and faith, and also by other factors — their inherited characteristics and abilities, background experiences and life context, the values, attitudes, and habits they have developed, and more — and these vary from one person to another.
      Therefore, it's not accurate to talk about THE Christian worldview, since each person has a unique worldview.  But we can think of the beliefs shared by all Christians as being "the Christian worldview-component" if we recognize that this component varies from one person to another (and one church to another), and if we recognize that Christian beliefs are only one part — although often a very important part — of a person's worldview.

 
      General Principles
      Some principles for effective living are general, spanning a wide range of worldviews:
      The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (by Stephen Covey) summarizes and illustrates valuable principles for living.  I recommend reading this book.  To convince you that it's worth reading, there are summaries (by Covey) of The 7 Habits and (by others) a brief review, an introductory summary and a detailed summary in a 10-page outline: inside-out and overview and the habits.
      A classic from John Wooden, whose UCLA teams won 10 basketball championships in 12 years (1964-1975), is The Pyramid of Success for athletics and life.  Wooden began with his definition of success — "success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming" — and built a Pyramid of Success that is useful in all areas of life;  you can learn about each of the 15 blocks and print the pyramid.
      Conflict Resolution:  useful principles from U.S. Navy & UC-Berkeley & The Bible & Colman McCarthy (re: turtles and sharks,...) & Peacemaker Ministries (for coaching mediation arbitration and exploration using pagetop links, search, sitemap!) & 12 Skills (beginning with Win/Win) & Conflict Resolution Information Source (with LOTS of information if you're willing to click links and you like to explore, in a knowledge base about apology + forgiveness and much more).
 

      Ethical Principles
      Christian Ethics:  Byron Borger provides an excellent summary of important ideas from a book, by Dennis Hollinger, that he says is "the best I have yet seen" about Christian ethics.  This book "makes it clear that admitting ethical complexity is not the same as moral relativism."  { The page also includes brief descriptions of nine other books about ethics-and-applications. }
      General Ethics:  Are ethics and atheism compatible?  In his introduction to worldviews and options, Jerry Solomon seems to question the possibility of non-Christian ethics when he says to a friend, "Joe, you're an excellent doctor.  You care deeply about your patients.  Why do you care so much for people since you believe we have evolved by chance?  What gives us value?" {source}  Solomon says that "Joe was stunned by the question and couldn't answer it.  His 'world view' had taken a blow."  Do you think Joe should be stunned, or can an atheist have good reasons for being ethical?
      Charles Kay summarizes the principles of four ethical theoriesEgoism (goal is "the benefit, pleasure, or greatest good of the self alone") & Utilitarianism (wanting to "promote the greatest good for the greatest number") & Deontological Ethics (behave in ways you would want everyone to behave, if the goal is producing a good society) and a Theory of Justice by John Rawls that you can see in an overview and, in more depth, from IEP & Stanford & Wikipedia.  Most of these ethical principles are consistent with a wide range of worldviews.  For example, a principle of Rawls — asking you to imagine that you don't know your role in society (are you rich or poor, influential or powerless,...) when you are thinking about how to structure your society — is related to the “golden rule” of Hillel and Jesus and others, because Rawls is describing one way that we can develop empathy for others (for their situations & perspectives) while Hillel and Jesus are saying that, when we are using our imaginations to think in this empathetic way, we should “do the right thing” to convert our ethical ideas into ethical actions.  But these ideas-and-actions also can be used by people in other religions (not just Christianity) and by agnostics or atheists.
      Ethical principles similar to The Golden Rule — treating others as we would like to be treated, or (with empathy and an understanding that others may differ from us) treating others as we think they want to be treated — occur in a wide range of religions and philosophies, and can form the basis for a shared ethics.  A basic principle of character education is the existence of "widely shared... core ethical values... that transcend religious and cultural differences and express our common humanity." (quoted from #1 in Eleven Principles of Effective Education)
      Norman Geisler, a Christian scholar, respectfully summarizes ideas from The Ethics of Humanism by Paul Kurtz (author of Humanist Manifesto II, who claims "there can be an objective and positive humanist basis for ethical conduct") and then Geisler critically analyzes the positive and negative aspects of Kurtz's views.
      The two meanings of tolerance (old and new) and the ethical demands based on "the new tolerance" are discussed in APOLOGETICS & RELATIVISM.
 
 

      Christian Living

      Some general principles for effective living are useful for everyone.  But a Christian believes that to live a fully effective life, as defined by God, we need Jesus Christ.
      Yes, God has a wonderful plan for our lives, but to live it we must develop a Bible-based worldview, and live this worldview daily by faith.  Paul says, "Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.  This is the true worship that you should offer.  Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.  Then you will be able to know the will of God — what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect." (Romans 12:1-2)     And a brief modern classic describes a Christ-Directed Life.
      The essence of living a Christian worldview is letting God transform your mind and thus your attitudes, relationships, and actions, as described in reviews (1 2) of The Transforming Vision by Brian Walsh (articles - academic & popular).  More ideas, and inspirations for living in a way that is consistent with these ideas, are in Foundations for Developing a Christian Worldview, which gives brief summaries of 14 inspiring books.
      We can learn from your own experience and also the experience of others, by talking with them or by reading biographies such as Christian Leaders (Servants) in Action. (Mark 10:42-45)
      Paul says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Colossians 3:23-24)
      God calls all Christians to a life of service, and there are many ways to serve.  No matter what you're doing, whether it's helping the poor in Calcutta or serving people and God in some other way, here is wise advice from Mother Teresa: "...it was never between you and them anyway."  But if it isn't between you and them, what (and who) is it all about?
      It's obvious that Teresa invested her life in humble service.  But can we also serve God by working, in our vocation, as a plumber, teacher, secretary, or scientist?  Walter Hearn offers wise advice in his excellent book about Being a Christian in Science: a summary and reviews.  And a sub-area is devoted to exploring opportunities for CHRISTIANS IN SCIENCE.
      Christian Perspectives on Critical Thinking criticizes an either-or view of faith and reason, because although "our salvation is in Jesus Christ, not human reason,... logical reasoning is useful and it should be highly valued," and "critical = evaluative" so critical thinking can produce positive conclusions and praise.  And it links to educational web-resources that will help you (and your students) improve the quality of your thinking.

      Can we live more Christianly by exerting more effort?  Or does it require dependence on a spiritual source of support?  Motivated by these questions, here are two pages I've assembled from the writings of others.
      Building a Vital Spiritual Life by Prayer:  principles of prayer — featuring two commandments of Jesus, a spiritual metaphor, and two prayers of Paul — that make it easier for God to supply the wisd om and love we need for living.
      Abide in Christ:  excerpts from the classic book on relational spirituality by Andrew Murray.

      Later, there will be more, from the thousands of websites with principles of Christian faith and living.  We haven't yet invested the time needed to make a short list, but here is a short classic — The Four Spiritual Laws (available in HTML and many languages & versions including a Good News Children's Version and CCC's Flash) — plus (from Billy Graham) Steps to Peace With God and (from Greg Laurie) How to Know God.  And you can explore Christian resources and Kids Links.

 

      Christian Stewardship

      Fully living a Christian worldview involves a CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP of everything in life, including our opportunities (which depend on time, abilities, knowledge, money, relationships,...) and our environment.

 

 
All links were checked and fixed on January 1, 2009.




A DISCLAIMER:
Even though in each resource I've found SOMETHING interesting and useful, this doesn't mean that I (the editor) agree with EVERYTHING in it.  And my views don't necessarily represent those of the American Scientific Affiliation.  Therefore, linking to a page does not imply an endorsement by the editor or the ASA.  As always, we encourage you to use your own critical thinking to evaluate everything you read.

This links-page, Worldview Education for Christian Living, written by Craig Rusbult, is
http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/views/wvb.htm

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