Are the days of ‘wordlview’ over?

Conservative evangelicals will say „NEVER” and hear an approving echo from the tombs of its heroes: Kenneth Kantzer, Arthur Holmes, Francis Schaeffer, Carl F. H. Henry.

Jamie K. Smith says: „The goal is to push down through worldview to worship as the matrix from which a Christian worldview is born—and to consider what that means for the task of Christian education.”

The notion of ‘worldview’ must first of all be emptied of its nefarious modernistic, post-Enlightenment substance and be construed in conjunction with worship and with ‘the heart’s loves’, argues Smith. Smith sees this instantiation of ‘worldvieew’ as „a symbol of capitulation: capitulation to the very enlightened, rationalist conception of human beings that earlier Christian educators had (ostensibly) sought to unmask and defeat with worldview thinking..

For Smith, worldview-centered education reflects a continued understanding of human beings as primarily rational creatures, moved and animated mainly by ideas. From this assumption has come a particular form of education—very much in line with the secular academy—that elevates the classroom and privileges fact, argument, and belief. To those who espouse this view, Smith poses one fundamental question in the form of a thought experiment: „What if education wasn’t first and foremost about what we know, but about what we love?”

If educating is indeed about properly ordering our loves, as Smith (following Augustine) believes, then formation rather than information should become the primary end of our institutions. This presents a colossal problem for a professorate that’s had its formation in the modern academy, and the modern world at large. Today’s academic disciplines weren’t exactly designed to get to the heart—quite the opposite, in fact. The very notion of „research,” whether done by chemists or anthropologists, centers on cultivating detachment and „objectivity”; „thought,” of course, requires freedom from emotion: this was the modern confidence, indeed, the modern creed.”

Read more about Jamie Smith’s diagnosis and proposal advanced in his latest book entitled „Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview and Cultural Formation” from Baker Academic, 2009, in this month’s Christianity Today issue

quotes taken from Miller, Eric, „Putting Worldview in its Place”, Christianity Today (August 2009)


Un gând despre „Are the days of ‘wordlview’ over?

  1. […] I received part B of my birthday present from my wife, Ligia: the much awaited (and anticipated on this blog) book by James K. A. Smith, “Desiring the Kingdom. Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation” […]

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