According to Steven Keillor in his God’s Judgments: Interpreting History and the Christian Faith, the fundamental obstacle for Christians’ interpreting historical events is the philosophical stance called “worldview.” Mark Noll writes the foreword and admits he’s a worldview thinker and Keillor’s got him thinking.
The big book for worldview is by David Naugle, called Worldview: The History of a Concept (Eerdmans, 2002). Worldview, Keillor contends, has a blindspot when it comes to seeing God’s judgments in historical events. By the way, Keillor is not a clear writer. If he is against “worldview thinking,” I kept asking myself, what is “worldview thinking”?
In worldview thinking, evil is talked about but without the concept of the Judge. This like talking about crime and not talking about a police force. He refers to this unwillingness to see catastrophe as judgment from God as the “agnostic gag rule.” In part, worldview emerges from the Enlightenment and therefore postmodernity’s critique of Enlightenment means critique of worldview.
Assuming we know what worldview thinking is, a cranky Keillor argues that worldview thinking — since it assumes the knowing self at the center of the universe — cannot come to grips with tragic history because it refuses to begin as a self under the judgment of God. Here’s his point: “The question confronting the self is how to escape God’s judgment, not whether a tree exists in reality or in the mind, or how the self can know if a tree exists or whether the word tree represents reality” (54).
The Bible confronts us not as testimony, not worldview knowledge. Now we get something bordering on a definition of worldview thinking: “Worldview thinking stresses the knowing self that believes because it perceives the intellectual coherence of the Christian faith” (54). And “Belief is warranted [that’s a worldview term if there ever was one] due to the trustworthy character of the Testifier not because the testimony is so clearly true, even self-evident, as to form the conclusion to a syllogism” (54). [Dang if this doesn’t sound like Barth.]
“The Christian faith is not the knowing self’s worldview. It is God’s view of the helpless, guilty self…” (56). What warrants such faith is promise becoming event — ie fulfilled prophecy.
On 9/11: Falwell and Robertson focused on sins that anger them the most. Insted, “a more objective, cautious approach” will focus on actions of the USA and the West that anger both Islam and God.
1. US support for Israel? not adequate.
2. UN sanctions against Hussein’s Iraq? not adequate.
3. American troops in Saudi Arabia?
4. Globalization that enriches the West?
Our view of economy is Enlightenment stuff; not Scriptural. Rampant materialism.
5. Western culture is decadent? Yes, Islam and God are angered. Apostasy is found in Western culture.
6. The terrorists themselves? The mujahideen are the creation of the CIA. God is using one of our Cold War tools against us.
9/11 is God’s judgment on the USA for materialism, cultural immoral exports, and our own use of terroristic guerrilla units.