Cothran on The Wrong Way to Teach Worldview

From My Bookshelf Jul 13, 2010

I was thrilled to find someone who had the same general discomfort about “worldview education” that I have. I know this is strange coming from a guy who teaches a worldview class (and hopefully, I’ll be posting a response to his article on that blog), but for right now, his thoughts about the Christian community’s attempt at imparting a “Christian worldview” are spot on and actually form the basis for a lot of what we do in class

In recent years, the word “worldview” has become increasingly popular among Christian educators. Indeed, not only has the word become common parlance, but there has now arisen a veritable worldview industry. There are books, programs, and curricula based on articulating and defending a Christian “worldview,” and there are retreats and blogs and sermons devoted to furthering its study.

The term “worldview” has now gained official status as a Christian buzzword….

To most people, the expression “Christian worldview” means simply a knowledge of the basic truths of Christianity and how to defend them against Christianity’s cultural competitors. The best way to defend the Christian worldview—we learn as we make our way through many of these programs—is to learn the propositional truths of the historic faith and to use logic to defend them. Once we defeat our opponents on the intellectual battleground of argument, they will come weeping across the barricades, dressed and ready for Sunday School.

We get it in our heads, too, that the Christian worldview is best taught in a class: a “worldview” class. Worldview, we are tempted to think, is its own subject, like mathematics, English, and history. By segregating it from the rest of the curriculum, we can study it in abstract, as a thing disconnected from other things.

Part of the problem is that, when teaching it, we often assume a narrow view of logic—and an even narrower view of rhetoric. Modern systems of logic—the kind you find in college textbooks as well as private school curricula—emphasize a sort of dry
formalism. By the use of symbols and variables, we put together complex mathematical statements and “solve” them—like we solve a mathematical equation….

There is no geometry of the heart. We do not live our lives by proof, nor do we make the important decisions in our lives by solving some sort of moral equation. Life is full of mystery, and mysteries are not amenable to the kind of calculus so many of us would like to impose upon them.

Cothran, Martin, The Wrong Way to Teach Worldview. The Classical Teacher. Spring 2010 . pp 26-27

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