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Worldviews frame politics

Don Rogers

We call those core beliefs that shape all the others “worldviews.”This is the tap root for your tree of knowledge, the foundation for all your opinions, your most basic perceptions of life’s meaning.Your worldview, or Weltan-schauung as the Germans called it, essentially means your answers to questions such as What’s this all about? Why are we here? What’s the point? These are core questions of faith, of course. But what you believe has a direct link to what you think should be done.Your worldview matters, in short, to your politics. And your politics matter to this section of the newspaper.So where did this kooky idea come from to try to start a discussion about worldviews through a series of commentaries by preacher Bob Branden?Actually, it was supposed to be a sort of point-counterpoint between Bob and a very, very liberal local rabbi, Jack Gabriel. At least that was my thought sitting in the KZYR studio during a remarkable radio show featuring those two debating the nature of evil.Bob, as you know if you read his series of columns, is a word-for-word guy. Everything in the Bible is concretely true, if I understand his belief correctly. Every scene, every word just as it really happened.Jack, the rabbi, believes the opposite. It’s all met-aphor to him. But he left town, and Bob stepped up with his series, which has been running in this space.The response frankly has amazed me. No article has had nearly so many comments online as his latest installment, “Evolution is a worldview, not science.”I think every regular columnist has written something on the topic now – other than Kaye Ferry, whose own worldview begins and ends somewhere between the Vail Golf Course and Dowd Junction, I’m convinced. (No criticism; Vail is a world unto itself in many ways.)Readers have submitted letters, Tipslines, Web comments and columns of their own in response to Bob’s provocations.Some, including my friend and regular columnist Richard Carnes, have asked pointedly why a Christian preacher’s thoughts have found their way to the commentary section.That’s a good question, even if I believe they’ve more than answered it by responding as they have.I’m sure some suspect this Rogers guy of evangelizing his own deeply held Chris-tian faith.Alas, I suppose I’m more the devil in this case, perched firmly atop the fence. I’m not a believer, although I respect believers. I believe God is far bigger than anything the world’s puny religions can imagine. I think churches are best viewed through the lense of anthropology, evolving in their way much like the scientific concept for life in general, only much faster.I’m probably as anti-dogmatic a soul as you’ll find, although my wife reminds me that “no dogma” is in fact a dogma, too.I don’t see that faith and science even plow the same ground. Science deals in the mechanics of this plane, seeking through disciplined inquiry to understand God’s tools, if you will. Faith has plenty of fertile soil outside the realm of our physical reality. But I don’t know, and I don’t mind that I don’t know. What’s life without some mystery?In short, my worldview accepts God and science. I know that what man attributes to God because of “irreducible complexity” has and will continue to shrink as science solves those puzzles. We once thought flies were born of rotting meat, the Earth was the center, and all sorts of things that science eventually disproved. We’re closer to the beginning with science than the end of what we can learn through this remarkable discipline. The churches can only lose credibility, as they have through the ages, while assertions about reality laid to God prove other than their doctorine.That’s part of my worldview, and this lense will show me truth differently than it does, say, to a preacher. Doesn’t make me right and the preacher wrong. We just don’t see things the same way.Our different core views will have a little something to do with political issues such as stem cell research, personal vs. societal responsibilities, when war is justified, you name it. Even how far to attempt the overt separation of church and state in governance.So the discussion in and around this series is core, as well. Thankfully, we can have this discussion. In most of the Middle East, the dominant faith does not have the confidence to allow such debating in these pages. Our dominant faith, Christianity, invites rather than demands people to share its worldview.Many, maybe even most Americans subscribe to some version of the Christian worldview. How it affects our world is profound. How it shapes our politics is obvious by the vigor of the debate Bob ignited.Just look how furiously you are arguing about it. Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 748-2920, or editor@vaildaily.com. Read his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG


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