If you want to know what water is don't ask a fish.
I am constantly intrigued by the concept of "worldview". I forget where I heard this statement about fish and water but I love it. It demonstrates so well our relationship to our worldview... most of the time we don't even recognize its existence. Yet our understanding of the way the world works affects absolutely every area of our lives; especially the way we view God.
James W. Sire is one of the leading authorities when it comes to understanding our worldview. In his book "Naming the Elephant", Sire tells this story to highlight the role of worldview in our lives: (I am, of course, only briefly summarizing his story)
One day a little boy come to his father and asks, "Dad, what holds the world up? Why doesn't it fall down?" The father, chuckling at this childish question, gives his son a childish answer, "A camel holds up the world, son." The boy is temporarily satisfied with this answer, after all, camels can carry all sorts of things. But soon the son comes back with another question. "Dad, if the camel holds up the world, what holds up the camel?" The dad, for lack of a good answer keeps going with his theme and says that a kangaroo holds up the camel. Again, the boy is only temporarily satisfied and soon comes back asking what holds up the kangaroo. Well, of course an elephant holds up the kangaroo. And what holds up the elephant? Now the father is done playing this little game and so he ends it by answering: "The elephant goes all the way down."
Naturally, we all ask the question, "all the way down to what? What is the bottom?" At some point each one of us has to give a similar answer; but what is it? What is our elephant? What is our way of getting to the bottom? And what is the bottom?
For years many Christians' elephant was the phrase "because the Bible says so". When they lacked any "real" answer they would simply say "God" or "Jesus" or "the Bible". Is this sufficient? When we are faced with questions that we honestly can't answer is it fair to ourselves, others, and God Himself to give quaint "Sunday school answers" like "because the Bible says so"?
While I am personally uncomfortable with these "Sunday school answers" I am comfortable resting in the fact that in Christianity God has provided us with a complete worldview. This is all explained in Sire's book "The Universe Next Door". According to Sire (and I am inclined to agree), no other worldview can satisfactorily answer the essential questions of a worldview. In Christianity, God answers all the questions of the nature of reality, knowledge (epistemology), and identity.
Is "because the Bible says so" a fair answer? Upon what basis can this statement be authoritative?
In your opinion, how aware are we of our own worldview?
How have our western worldviews effected Christianity in the west?