David's blog on Dalits and the caste system is well worth exploring in terms of worldviews. Why are so many Dalits / untouchables believed to be cursed from birth? The following true story is illuminating. A Dalit woman living in India was asked why she wouldn't take her baby son to the doctor. He was very ill. She replied that the illness was part of the boy's karma. He was being punished for something he had done in a previous life. She asserted that it was the boy's fate to suffer!
Why is talking about faith often awkward and filled with clichés? Why do our conversations about faith rarely grip people and intrigue them?
Mark Roques has spent his life tackling this issue and is convinced that our evangelism can be transformed if we 'do an Apostle Paul' and learn to understand and engage with the beliefs that shape our world.
In this course Mark will move us step by step through the world of religious and secular beliefs, equipping us to talk about the Christian faith in a way that is both engaging and insightful.
Films seduce and indoctrinate us in the same way as soap operas, but there is greater variety and the opportunity to discern the difference between the real and unreal worlds. Consider this sequence of films:
Soap operas (soaps for short) are radio or television drama series following people's daily lives. They were so named because they were first sponsored in the US in the 1930s by soap manufacturers.
In the UK, of course, I mean Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Doctors, and the Australian-produced Neighbours and Home and Away. And of course the longest-running one of them all, The Archers (on Radio 4 since 1950). Nowadays people can also readily access soaps from other countries, especially, of course, the USA.
We live in an age when the Western world is dominated by secularist worldviews, secularist big stories. The dominant secularist big stories are those of materialism in both senses of that key word: that physical nature is all there is, and that enjoying material possessions is all that matters. However, for this blog post, the precise characteristics of secularist big stories do not matter; it is enough if two points can be accepted.
Men pay upwards of £1000 to listen to the 'wisdom' and 'insight' of 'pick-up' artist Julien Blanc. His worldview boils down to this: objectify women and use them for your pleasure. Videos of Blanc preaching and ranting can be found online under the hashtag #ChokingGirlsAroundtheWorld.
RealityBites has now delivered presentations on Celebrity Culture and Christian Faith to more than 1300 people in England, Australia and Holland. Here we probe Paris Hilton's lived beliefs.
Forget about what she says! Look at the way she lives! Scrutinise how she treats her 'best friends' from the USA, the UK and Dubai. Evidence for this can be garnered from YouTube. What story is Paris living in?
Here follows a Hilton classic quote:
Barbie is my role model. She might not do anything, but she looks good doing it.
A quick plug for Mark's new LifeMatters course...
"Ideas Have Legs!" will explore the key ideas of the great philosophers and how we can look at them with a Christian worldview. It'll be philosophy like you've never heard it before: an earthy, blood-and-guts investigation into some of the big ideas and idolatries that have shaped our world, from Plato to Rorty.
It's not just about ideas and theories: there'll be examples of real-life situations transformed by good or bad philosophy, with guest speakers… and there'll be pirates, and crocodiles…
When people talk about Christian education, many people think about the archetypal Bible-basher. Someone who attacks you with Scripture.
This is tragic.
In my view Christian education should be about wisdom, discernment and understanding the brutal stories that ruin countless lives. Consider this.
When we talk about Christian education at RealityBites we are not talking primarily about explicit biblical teaching. We are not urging Christian educators to 'Bible-bash'. Rather our concern is to help adults and young people to understand the powerful Worldview Stories that shape and mould our imaginations and lifestyles.
Consider for a moment the powerful Hollywood perspective that repeatedly urges us to:
Trust in your instincts!
Follow your heart!
Follow your dreams!
Have faith in yourself!
Be who you want to be!