The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

We Form Our Worldview, Then Our Worldview Forms Us

Posted on: November 03, 2015


Life is more easily caught than taught, and we tend to catch life by imitating the culture around us.  But we are not all identical.  There are liberals and conservatives.  There are theists and atheists.  There are big-picture and detail perspectives.  We live in a world in which there is more input than we can handle, so we let some influences in and keep other influences out, and that process makes us all similar but different.

As we’ve been gathering information and an understanding of how the brain works and it’s role in our spiritual growth and the transformation process of a disciple of Christ, there is another piece of information to be aware of. The brain filters all information that comes into it using a little feature in the subconscious called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS acts like a bouncer at the door, or a guard, letting some information in, and keeping other information out, since the brain is not capable of focusing on everything simultaneously.  It is the feature of the brain that allows us to focus on what we’ve decided is important, and not be distracted by what is unimportant.

The challenge is that the RAS doesn’t know if something is truly important. It only knows if we think something is important. Therefore, we must be very careful what we tell the RAS because we feed the RAS and then the RAS feeds us.

For example, if we go to a doctor who tells us that we need to lower our cholesterol, we suddenly become aware of food labels, news articles and conversations at work that deal with cholesterol. We feed our RAS the fact that it’s important to lower our cholesterol, and then our RAS feeds back to us information that has been around us all the time, but which we didn’t see because it was not yet important to us and was being filtered out.

As a result, it is imperative that we become intentional about what we believe, what we tell ourselves is important, because once we have fed those facts to the RAS, the RAS then works to sift the millions of impulses that come to the brain every day and feed back to us information deemed helpful based on what we believe.

Therefore, one of the most important things we must get right is our worldview, which is simply our overall view of reality… what is important, true, right and valuable. It is our comprehensive and all-encompassing beliefs and assumptions on everything to do with life.

Our worldview, then, is a watershed issue in life. If we have one worldview, our life goes one direction. If we have another worldview, our life goes another direction. So, it is vital that we have a correct worldview… a correct understanding of reality.

There are several foundational components of a person’s worldview. Perhaps the most fundamental is whether or not there is a God. Other components of a worldview include our understanding of who or what humanity is, what is truth, or whether or not truth even exists, what is moral, and what the purpose of life is.

Because of how the brain works, because of the role of the Reticular Activating System, and because of the life-determining role of our personal worldview, we will spend some extended time in the next several blogs establishing a Christian worldview and investigating how to live it.

Why? Because, as Francis Schaeffer once said, we get our values the way we get the measles. By being around others who have them. As a result, we often end up with values that, upon more careful thought, we might have chosen to avoid.

So, we must think about our worldview.

We must make sure we have not, like measles, caught elements of a secular worldview, which can take our lives in an unhealthy direction, because: we form our worldview, then our worldview forms us.


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