During the summer of 2014, we will have the opportunity to study worldviews together. This class surveys major world religions and philosophies and seeks to assess them.
If you are interested, the information below is from our 2013 study of worldviews. Some of the information may be beneficial.
In the first quarter of 2013 we will study worldviews. We will use David C Thompson's book What is going on in the World.
His book includes questions for discussion. If you would like a digital document (as opposed to the questions listed in the back of his book which most might find a little small) in which you can answer his questions, including your own worldview, those questions are in this document. There are no supplementary materials in this document, just David Thompson's questions. This document is read only-for download. If you would like a paper copy, let me know. This is the easiest way to go through the materials. You can open the study questions, then open Thompson's book and go right down the questions.
The full edition of our class notes, with multimedia related to the content, charts, quotations, and footnotes is this document. This document will be updated during the class as questions come in. This document is read only-for download.
If you would like to converse with others about this material, please answer questions and make comments in this document. This is the full edition of the class notes with student comments. Please try not to delete anything that existed before you added your thoughts. If you do delete something, that is okay. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will restore the changes.
This class will run through March 2013. We hope you find it beneficial!
Lesson 1-January 06, 2013
In this first lesson, Pastor Timmermann dealt with introductory matters: the various formats class material is available in; the book for the class; the bibliography; and the schedule. He introduced the goals of the class: 1. To recognize worldviews, whether by name or by concept. 2. To engage worldviews. He pointed out that incidentally, students will realize a deeper connection between what they think and what they do, and vice versa. He then compared these objectives with those of David C Thompson's in his book, "What in the World is Going On". The students then worked through a practice exercise to see how they might explain their worldview. This was slightly confusing, since the materials entitled "My Own Worldview" is supposed to be the student's own worldview, but the page consistently uses a worldview. Finally, Pastor Timmermann directed everyone to prepare for next week. He misspoke, telling everyone to read chapter one and two when he actually meant the preface and chapter one.
Lesson 2 January 13, 2013
In the second lesson, we dealt more thoroughly with the idea of a worldview. We spent a fair bit of time discussing the fact that no person has a pure worldview in the sense that their worldview is only one philosophy, religion, or system of thought. Rather, we are almost all a mixture. We recognized that because of this, different authors have different definitions for the term 'worldview'. A common definition is an individual's assumptions and guiding principles, or their answer to life's big questions. But some writers use a more narrowed definition, speaking of a system of thought as a worldview. One attendee pointed us to Gene Veith's book on postmodernism for a good discussion about the effects of postmodernism on our thinking. Pastor Timmermann asked everyone to read chapter one if they have not yet done so and prepare chapter two.
Lesson 3 January 20, 2013
In the third lesson, we finished our introduction to worldviews as a concept. We reviewed the definition of a worldview, as a set of assumptions and principles which a person holds. We then moved into a necessary but initially uncomfortable discussion about how to respond to other, possibly incorrect, worldviews. Should we assess another's worldview? We read a number of passages related to that point. But we also admitted to an inability to do this with pure hearts and true minds, so we returned to Christ's mercy. He judged, sometimes gently, sometimes harshly but never incorrectly or unrighteously. Lord have mercy on us sinners. We encouraged everyone to read chapter 2 in preparation for the next week.
Lesson 4 January 27, 2013
In the fourth lesson, we began to study the confessional Christian worldview. We spent a good amount of time on the questions, working up through question 16. We put more time and energy into discussions of natural vs special revelation. We became entangled in a discussion of devolution at the end of the period because of some comments. There we had some confusion with regards to Scriptural statements or scientific and philosophical conclusions. We will spend some time at the beginning of class next week to clarify this issue. The class notes 'expanded edition' that accepts comments has been enlarged to include some passages and thoughts pertinent to the issue. We will continue to study the confessional Christian worldview during the coming week. From there we will move on to modernism, postmodernism and spiritualism. Pastor Timmermann has referenced a paper by David Jay Webber a number of times. Reading it may be helpful.
Lesson 5 Feburary 03, 2013
In the fifth lesson, we were again challenged. We briefly looked at the idea of devolving. We were not referring to social or moral devolving, but physical devolving. We cautioned against saying the Scriptures require us to have such a view. We then moved onto question 19 from Thompson's book, which dealt with justification and sanctification as the solution for evil. This is one of the most difficult questions in Christianity. What is evil, where did it come from, where does it still come from, and how is evil dealt with? We discussed these questions at great length because of the challenge they present.
Pastor Timmermann ended the class asking everyone to review their worldview now that we have reviewed the main Christian ideas. This is a great way to practice sharing our faith. He also shared an article which everyone could read in order to see how a different Christian worldview plays out in reality.
Lesson 6 February 10, 2013
We reviewed our own worldviews. This was a beneficial exercise to refresh and clarify our explanation of our worldviews. We noticed that many answers require two parts. For example, how do we know things? We know from nature with reason and revelation. Both means are beneficial. This method of explaining our ideas takes effort but is a rich explanation of the world.
We also worked through chapter three discussing modernism. Modernism is challenging, but we enjoyed a discussion of naturalism/materialsm and secular humanism.
Lesson 7 February 17, 2013
We finished our discussion of modernism, discussing secular humanism and theistic existentialsim. Pastor Timmermann provided some examples of prominent individuals of these ideologies.
We read the Humanist Manifesto and discussed it. In a world without God, it sounds nice.
Lesson 8 February 24, 2013
Lesson 9 March 3, 2013