The professor stepped back to check the spelling of the word he’d just written on the chalkboard.
“There should be two u’s in Weltanschauung,” I ventured timidly.
All heads turned my direction. I was the only underclassman in the small Ancient History class (and the only girl).
The professor grabbed an eraser and added a “u.” My classmates groaned. They feared I was brilliant and would ruin the class curve.
What they didn’t know is that German was my first language.
“Weltanschauung” is German for worldview, or the lens through which we view life.
Everyone has a worldview. The only question is, are they aware of what it is?
An old Chinese proverb states, “If you want to know about the water, don’t ask the fish.”
Fish are unaware of water, and we are usually unaware of the cultural environment we “swim” in all day long. Yet it’s influencing us constantly.
As a Christian parent, you must be a student of pop culture. You must learn about history to understand where certain ideas came from.
You must constantly grow in your knowledge of the Bible and how it contrasts with today’s commonly held beliefs.
Here’s why: If you merely take your kids to church, read them Bible stories, and tuck them in with bedtime prayers, they’ll be ill-equipped to interact with an anti-gospel culture (I Peter 3:15).
They’ll be at high risk for losing their faith when they go off to college, if not before. They may fall prey to the dangerous error which sociologist Christian Smith calls “Moral Therapeutic Deism” –the belief that God wants us to do good things, but he pretty much exists to make us happy.
This false god is missing attributes like holiness, righteousness and justice. This false gospel is devoid of responses like repentance and obedience.
Where did we get this false religion?
Western culture is heavily influenced by the ideals of secular humanism, wherein man is the measure of all things.
A corresponding belief is naturalism, the belief that the supernatural does not exist. So God is out of the picture, and man is the boss of everything.
Naturalism breaks down into either modernism, which emphasizes the world of scientific facts, and post-modernism, which emphasizes the subjective world of feelings.
Postmodern pop psychology, based on secular humanism, has had a huge impact on today’s parents.
Yet the goal of secular psychology is to make people feel better, in contrast to the gospel, which deals with the root issue of sin and transforms people from the inside out.
The influence of pop psychology has crept into the church, loading guilt onto parents and causing you to believe you must always make your child happy, never hurt their feelings, and laud their tiniest efforts with copious amounts of praise.
What kind of picture of God does this paint for your child? Is God the kind of parent who never hurts his children’s feelings? Is he anxious about whether we like him? Is he afraid to require obedience?
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives. –Hebrews 12:5-6
That’s quite a different worldview from moral therapeutic deism.
We’ll continue addressing worldview in future posts. Meanwhile, take notes. Compare things people commonly say to what Scripture says. Dialog as a family.
Here’s a great resource: axis.org offers a weekly “culture translator” with tips on how to discuss current issues with your kids.
Your faith is grounded in reality. You life is founded on the truth.
May God pour out his grace on you as you study Scripture to interact with culture–and teach your kids to do the same.