Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"How Now Shall We Live?" and Christian Worldview

Some time ago I reviewed Chuck Colson's book How Now Shall We Live? This 1999 non-fiction writing is for the purpose of convincing Christians to have a "Christian" worldview. Colson and co-author Nancy Pearcey define worldview as "the sum total of our beliefs about the world, the 'big picture' that directs our daily decisions and actions." For a Christian worldview, that would mean that the person and message of Jesus Christ should order and direct those decisions and actions.

I intended to write a second installment of the book, which is large. It's been so long ago that I read it and wrote the first part of the review, all those good tidbits floating around in my gray cells have no sunk into the sludge at the bottom. So now I'll have to improvise.

I remember that the best section of the book--that is the part that held my interest best--was the discussions of laws, law-making, court decisions, etc. We would expect Colson, an ex-lawyer and government official, to do well with that section. It is comprehensive and clear, well documented and foot-noted. The basic premise of the section is that Christians should be involved in the law-making/legal process, and that their Christian worldview should govern not only their actions but, hopeful, also the land in which the Christian lives. This is a gross over-simplification, but I think I have it correct.

Yet, this section of the book troubles me, causing me to pause and think. My thoughts are concerning if our Christian worldview should translate into laws governing Christian and non-Christian alike. In assessing this, I think of those with Moslem worldviews. If they do what Colson suggests and seek to influence the law and public policy, we will all soon be listening to the call to prayer broadcast throughout the neighborhood before dawn and four other times a day. We'll be under sharia law, with hands and heads severed for the specified crimes. Businesses would have to close from sundown Thursday to sundown Friday. And we'll have our major holidays around the hajj, not Christmas.

Is the cause of Christ furthered when Christians attempt to make non-Christians behave like Christians through the force of the law? Or is it furthered when the difference between Christian and non-Christian is greater? When Christians do what they do because of Christ, not because of the law? How great is the example of Chick-fil-A, which closes all their stores on the Lord's day? Or the example of Sarah Palin, who had the Down Syndrome baby rather than have an abortion? Or the Christian who is audited by the IRS and is found to have correctly reported income for taxes? Much greater, methinks, than if we try to force non-Christians to behave according to Christian ethics built into laws.

I'm still thinking this over. Much of our code of laws is based on the principles of Judaism and Christianity. I wouldn't want to do away with that. But it just seems that Christians may hurt the cause of Christ more by being over-zealous on shaping the law than by behaving as He wants us to regardless of the law.

Still thinking.

No comments: