We live in a world that is always in conflict, and physical war is only the tip of the iceberg. At it’s essence, the warfare that permeates our societies and cultures is a warfare of ideas. Moreover, this is not a war that you can fight for others, or protect others from. Every persons mind is a battlefield on its own. And its a battlefield they alone can man. Anyone with a mind is both a potential weapon and potential target. We are all in it whether we like it or not.
The battlefield of the mind is perhaps both the most powerful and most vulnerable kind. Ideas dictate the rise and fall of history. The greatest triumphs and tragedies have all arisen from individuals deeply gripped by worldviews and ideas, individuals who have sought to live out that which they firmly believed to be true.
In his book Rules for Reformers Doug Wilson pens a winsome and witty work on the subject of culture reform. I must say that this is one of the most interesting, not to mention entertaining books that I have ever read. This is a book that has been challenging, expanding and shaping my thinking on a number of levels. These are ideas I want to really grasp, to truly own, to make in inseparable part of how I relate to all that surrounds me.
One of the biggest things that Wilson is teaching me to do is to think globally about the local and “little” issues in my life. Very often, our perspective is hindered by the narrowness with which we approach the issues and question of life, culture and society. As self centered creatures, we rarely look beyond the bounds of our own personal experience. Consequently, we develop biased and partial perspectives on things.
An accurate perspective is a global perspective. That is to say, it is a perspective that understands that everything in life is connected. The accuracy of our grasp of the specific issues depends on the accuracy of our grasp of the whole. Inconsistencies and fallacies in one area will inevitably lead to inconsistencies and fallacies in other areas. The grid through which we see life is one. Problems in how we see any one thing point to problems in how we see it all.
If we want to be people who have a wise and positive impact on society we have to be people who are always building a comprehensive perspective. We need to be people who are always seeking to put all the pieces together in a way that works for the whole picture, not just for our personal experiences.
The litmus test of an effective worldview is one that it makes sense on all levels, not just the ones that touch our little corner.
If thats a bit technical, lets bring it down to the practical.
Think about some of the issues that swirl in the air today – marriage, drugs, racism, gun control, religious freedom. Much of the ideological warfare that goes on today is often focused on isolating certain issues of society and destroying them for the sake of change.
Yet we don’t realize that in the destruction of certain long-held aspects of culture and society we are causing the collapse of the whole. Everything is connected. Abortion, gay marriage and divorce are not just issues by themselves. They are all connected to the nature of the family. And that connected to the most fundamental aspects of building a strong and healthy society. Religious freedom, racism, discrimination and gun control are all connected all raise a question of the role and effectiveness of government in dealing with a fallen human heart.
You can’t argue against one thing without arguing for or against a host of others. Everything is connected.
Thus war of the woldviews, even on the most simple daily levels, is fought most effectively by people who are cultivating a robust and comprehensive perspective of that things that surround them. What is your worldview? What is it built on? What sort of society does it build (or destroy) around you?
Wilson is challenging me to think a little deeper here. I hope I have challenged you a bit as well.