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Worldview: Critical Thinking versus Indoctrination


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Hello all,

 

I'm interested in my Sophomore doing some study of Worldviews this fall. However, I'm completely overwhelmed by the materials available. My primary concern is I would like a course that expands his thinking and helps him discern viewpoints and and where they are coming from. I do not want to use materials that attempts to indoctrinate a certain viewpoint. We are Christian, but in our particular tradition the viewpoints on issues are wildly varied. Although we don't necessarily agree with all the viewpoints, I would like for him to have understanding on why people think as they do AND are Christian. I want to use material that fosters respect for viewpoints, while assisting him in articulating his own. Could anyone offer some suggestions on reading/materials that might be beneficial? Thank you.

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:iagree: I want my guys to form their worldview based on Scripture, not based on what someone tells them to think.

 

I wish I could tell you what to use, but I haven't found it either. I think that you would NOT want to use "Thinking Like a Christian", or "Understanding the Times", its parent book, both of which I would term indoctrination. Actually, there is some material in them that might be good to use as reference, but I certainly wouldn't say "Here -- read this and you'll know how you should think!"

 

My two younger sons took a worldview class through our co-op, in which the instructor mainly threw out topics and moderated discussions. He didn't tell them what to think, and usually didn't even tell them what he thought. He tried to keep them on topic, and asked questions, getting them to back up what they were saying with Scripture rather than "this is what Mom and Dad say". They also read and discussed works by Keller, C.S. Lewis, etc.

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Laura,

 

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your comments are helpful. I'm leaning towards selecting some books by classic authors for him to read and for us to discuss around the dinner table. I think for me personally the hesitation about using packaged worldview materials is they are primarily published and made available by only one facet of the Christian community due to George Barna's initiatives in this area. OF course, I really respect Barna's work, but I'm hesitant to jump on what looks like a bandwagon, if what we're aiming for is "thinking independently." Just mulling this one over.... Thank you again.

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Thank you for those threads. Good reading. And I completely agree with the thread that speaks of the term "worldview." I'm intrigued by Starting Points, it sounds like it might be a good jumping off point for book list and possible discussion starters. I'll have to check it out. I had emailed Jeff Baldwin of Worldview a question or two and his very gracious and thoughtful response led me to believe that his books and study guides might not be the way to go.

 

It would be icing on the cake if I could find a book or two with my own bias thrown in - seeing the world through a Wesleyan lens. :001_smile:

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I think it would be much better to follow the WTM pattern (note: you don't have to use the book, I think some of the curriculum out there can follow the pattern) and pay attention to what the authors of works are saying and assuming. The strength of this is you can encounter world view from the most eloquent writers of that point of view.

 

I've listened to various "world view" materials over the years and part of what makes me nervous about these materials is how often arguments are boiled down to too little making those views straw men instead of the vital views they are in the hands of their proponents. While I want my children to have a strong and vital Biblical world view, I see the danger in having them later discover that much of what we studied isn't really true. I suspect this might be a devastating blow to a world view that speaks of truth as being one its core values.

 

That said, I have considered using a package world view curriculum to allow us to think directly on these subjects and compare them to what we are reading.

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I think it would be much better to follow the WTM pattern (note: you don't have to use the book, I think some of the curriculum out there can follow the pattern) and pay attention to what the authors of works are saying and assuming. The strength of this is you can encounter world view from the most eloquent writers of that point of view.

 

I've listened to various "world view" materials over the years and part of what makes me nervous about these materials is how often arguments are boiled down to too little making those views straw men instead of the vital views they are in the hands of their proponents. While I want my children to have a strong and vital Biblical world view, I see the danger in having them later discover that much of what we studied isn't really true. I suspect this might be a devastating blow to a world view that speaks of truth as being one its core values.

 

That said, I have considered using a package world view curriculum to allow us to think directly on these subjects and compare them to what we are reading.

 

 

Candid, Yes, I agree with everything you've said! And I definitely want to head in the WTM direction. That's a skill we all need for life in our reading and listening and watching. I think, however, our family needs some sort of primer to help us get started with questions and examples. At a glance, it looks like Starting Points might offer that. Not sure, though. ;)

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Candid, Yes, I agree with everything you've said! And I definitely want to head in the WTM direction. That's a skill we all need for life in our reading and listening and watching. I think, however, our family needs some sort of primer to help us get started with questions and examples. At a glance, it looks like Starting Points might offer that. Not sure, though. ;)

 

I used Starting Points for my ds in 8th grade because I really wanted to get my son thinking about worldview before we started another 4 year cycle. What I liked about the curriculum was there were no "answers". The student is encouraged to form his own opinion and really think about the "big" questions, while recognizing that all authors are writing from a viewpoint, whatever that may be. We only made it 2/3 of the way through the curriculum, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Think of the points you want to study in regard to worldview. Then start with the Bible and list what the Bible says about those topics. Then pick a worldview and research that worldview and see where it stands on the same issues. Then have a conference with your student, also include dad, discuss how that worldview stands up against the Bible. You might want to have your student back up what he says, and explain why he believes that. Look at the results of the ideals of some of the worldviews, how do they treat the least of these, how does it treat women, etc.

http://www.summit.org/resources/worldview-chart/

 

Also, you might want your students to work through a Logic course. That will help them with recognize false logic.

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Think of the points you want to study in regard to worldview. Then start with the Bible and list what the Bible says about those topics. Then pick a worldview and research that worldview and see where it stands on the same issues. Then have a conference with your student, also include dad, discuss how that worldview stands up against the Bible. You might want to have your student back up what he says, and explain why he believes that. Look at the results of the ideals of some of the worldviews, how do they treat the least of these, how does it treat women, etc.

http://www.summit.org/resources/worldview-chart/

 

Also, you might want your students to work through a Logic course. That will help them with recognize false logic.

 

DH and I have often discussed the role of the Devil's Advocate. In Catholic settings, this was the person appointed to argue against the cannonization of a saint. They were expected to put their full talents into research, reasoning and argument. The goal was that to move the process as much toward a correct decision as was possible.

 

DH also had Jesuits describe to him the process in their scholastic education, where the house would have a topic for discussion and debate and one of the group would be assigned the role of Devil's Advocate.

 

Or as my ds's chess teacher tells him, Black has to play its best game too - or you won't learn.

 

I think that it's important for the discussion to not just include a measuring of systems and philosophies and positions against one standard, but to delve into why the advocates for the other side have come to that position. You may in the end still decide that the other side is wrong. Or you might see that there are rational reasons for someone be advocating a certain position. Those reasons are then a place to start discussion.

 

We take a lot of magazines and newspapers. In part because I want my kids to read about a lot of opinions and ideas, not because I run a cafeteria style idea market, but because I want these encounters to happen when I'm in a position to help them do research and think through the issues (and not just depend on their college roommate or classmates for opinion forming).

 

One concern that I have with my own children is if the discussions we have about politics/religion/economics end with an appeal to authority (even one I have confidence in) there isn't much rebuttal to someone who doesn't believe in the same authority. In other words, if Person A says that homosexuality/abortion/slavery is wrong because the Bible says XYZ about it and Person B says that they don't believe the Bible is true/faithful or original text/divine/relavant, there isn't anywhere for the conversation to go.

 

I'm also trying not to make comparisons between the ideal philosophy of views I hold and the gritty failings of the opposing side. There can be real ideals on both sides, real failings and also real typical manifestations.

 

One book I read years ago and kept in order to read it with my high schoolers is Foolishness to the Greeks by Leslie Newbigin. I expected to disagree with a lot of it, because his political leanings were not my own. But I found a lot to embrace about taking faith seriously.

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I used Starting Points for my ds in 8th grade because I really wanted to get my son thinking about worldview before we started another 4 year cycle. What I liked about the curriculum was there were no "answers". The student is encouraged to form his own opinion and really think about the "big" questions, while recognizing that all authors are writing from a viewpoint, whatever that may be. We only made it 2/3 of the way through the curriculum, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

That's very encouraging.

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DH and I have often discussed the role of the Devil's Advocate. In Catholic settings, this was the person appointed to argue against the cannonization of a saint. They were expected to put their full talents into research, reasoning and argument. The goal was that to move the process as much toward a correct decision as was possible.

 

We do quite a bit of this around our dinner table. I like this process.

 

I think that it's important for the discussion to not just include a measuring of systems and philosophies and positions against one standard, but to delve into why the advocates for the other side have come to that position. You may in the end still decide that the other side is wrong. Or you might see that there are rational reasons for someone be advocating a certain position. Those reasons are then a place to start discussion.

 

:iagree:This is so true. It's what I call "context."

 

We take a lot of magazines and newspapers. In part because I want my kids to read about a lot of opinions and ideas, not because I run a cafeteria style idea market, but because I want these encounters to happen when I'm in a position to help them do research and think through the issues (and not just depend on their college roommate or classmates for opinion forming).

 

I appreciate the fact that at this point I see my son being a "free thinker." I want to nurture this. I have just in the last year or so been intentional about leaving other "ideas" in books, newspapers, etc. around for him to pick up and peruse and ponder with us. I wasn't quite so open when he was younger.

 

One concern that I have with my own children is if the discussions we have about politics/religion/economics end with an appeal to authority (even one I have confidence in) there isn't much rebuttal to someone who doesn't believe in the same authority. In other words, if Person A says that homosexuality/abortion/slavery is wrong because the Bible says XYZ about it and Person B says that they don't believe the Bible is true/faithful or original text/divine/relavant, there isn't anywhere for the conversation to go.

 

I agree and that seems to happen all the time across all lines, which in part is where I was when I started this thread. I want my dc to stay in the conversation out of respect for others.

I'm also trying not to make comparisons between the ideal philosophy of views I hold and the gritty failings of the opposing side. There can be real ideals on both sides, real failings and also real typical manifestations.

 

One book I read years ago and kept in order to read it with my high schoolers is Foolishness to the Greeks by Leslie Newbigin. I expected to disagree with a lot of it, because his political leanings were not my own. But I found a lot to embrace about taking faith seriously.

 

Interesting. I'll have to check it out. I'm not familiar with it.

 

Thank you for all these good thoughts.

Edited by deltagal
put response in wrong place
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Hello all,

 

I'm interested in my Sophomore doing some study of Worldviews this fall. However, I'm completely overwhelmed by the materials available. My primary concern is I would like a course that expands his thinking and helps him discern viewpoints and and where they are coming from. I do not want to use materials that attempts to indoctrinate a certain viewpoint. We are Christian, but in our particular tradition the viewpoints on issues are wildly varied. Although we don't necessarily agree with all the viewpoints, I would like for him to have understanding on why people think as they do AND are Christian. I want to use material that fosters respect for viewpoints, while assisting him in articulating his own. Could anyone offer some suggestions on reading/materials that might be beneficial? Thank you.

 

We are using this:

 

http://www.brimwoodpress.com/

 

Reviews:

http://www.timberdoodle.com/A_Young_Historian_s_Introduction_to_World_View_p/282-100.htm

 

http://cathyduffyreviews.com/worldview/young-historians-introduction.htm

 

http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/Homeschool_Reviews/reviews.php?rid=937

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DH and I have often discussed the role of the Devil's Advocate. In Catholic settings, this was the person appointed to argue against the cannonization of a saint. They were expected to put their full talents into research, reasoning and argument. The goal was that to move the process as much toward a correct decision as was possible.

 

I think that is really cool and I also like the kinds of conversations you are talking about.

 

However, I'm not sure this is what a worldview course usually tries to do.

 

My impression of most recent worldview courses is that they are trying to help students see what worldview is behind different attitudes and decisions that don't scream out "this is my worldview." It's not exactly like understanding that there are many ways to look at something, either.

 

I see these programs as more like helping kids to identify the unsaid, or sometimes even the unrealized viewpoints, even in things that sound good to us. I think one of the classic examples is from The Deadliest Monster, which looks at two books which might seem pretty similar - Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein. Without going into the details on the book, it's used to demonstrate that they come from opposite views on the "nature of man" -- one comes from the worldview that we are a blank slate and shaped by our environment, while the other comes from the worldview that man has a dual nature within him. Or something like that :tongue_smilie:

 

This examination of literature can be extended to everything from political stances to bioethics. I feel like I'm not saying this right, but it's not really "here are the reasons I disagree with some idea and here are the reasons I think another person might agree..." Instead, I see it as more like helping kids identify "what does a particular stance really represent?" and "can we identify the worldviews that are inherent in that idea?" Instead of "it would be bad because it would affect X," saying, "it represents X view of God's relationship with man."

 

I suppose you might end up at the same place, but to me it just feels like a little different type of training for a student.

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I see these programs as more like helping kids to identify the unsaid, or sometimes even the unrealized viewpoints, even in things that sound good to us. I think one of the classic examples is from The Deadliest Monster, which looks at two books which might seem pretty similar - Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein. Without going into the details on the book, it's used to demonstrate that they come from opposite views on the "nature of man" -- one comes from the worldview that we are a blank slate and shaped by our environment, while the other comes from the worldview that man has a dual nature within him. Or something like that :tongue_smilie:

 

This examination of literature can be extended to everything from political stances to bioethics. I feel like I'm not saying this right, but it's not really "here are the reasons I disagree with some idea and here are the reasons I think another person might agree..." Instead, I see it as more like helping kids identify "what does a particular stance really represent?" and "can we identify the worldviews that are inherent in that idea?" Instead of "it would be bad because it would affect X," saying, "it represents X view of God's relationship with man."

 

:iagree: Great thoughts, Julie. Thank you.

 

 

This does look really good. Have you begun to use it? What are your thoughts so far?

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I think that is really cool and I also like the kinds of conversations you are talking about.

 

However, I'm not sure this is what a worldview course usually tries to do.

 

My impression of most recent worldview courses is that they are trying to help students see what worldview is behind different attitudes and decisions that don't scream out "this is my worldview." It's not exactly like understanding that there are many ways to look at something, either.

 

I see these programs as more like helping kids to identify the unsaid, or sometimes even the unrealized viewpoints, even in things that sound good to us. I think one of the classic examples is from The Deadliest Monster, which looks at two books which might seem pretty similar - Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein. Without going into the details on the book, it's used to demonstrate that they come from opposite views on the "nature of man" -- one comes from the worldview that we are a blank slate and shaped by our environment, while the other comes from the worldview that man has a dual nature within him. Or something like that :tongue_smilie:

 

This examination of literature can be extended to everything from political stances to bioethics. I feel like I'm not saying this right, but it's not really "here are the reasons I disagree with some idea and here are the reasons I think another person might agree..." Instead, I see it as more like helping kids identify "what does a particular stance really represent?" and "can we identify the worldviews that are inherent in that idea?" Instead of "it would be bad because it would affect X," saying, "it represents X view of God's relationship with man."

 

I suppose you might end up at the same place, but to me it just feels like a little different type of training for a student.

 

I'm not necessarily recommending that the student be put into the position of Devil's Advocate. But I think that in some situations, only a characature of the viewpoint under discussion is presented, measured against a standard, found wanting and dismissed.

 

[i'm trying hard to stay general on topics of faith and politics, so I'm not being particularly specific.]

 

One conversation comes to mind as a possible example. We're fans of the Econ Stories videos with Keynes and Hayek. It has prompted a lot of discussions of economics and a lot of reading.

 

One day my econ leaning son breezed in and asked dismissively, "Why would anyone be Keynesian anyway." I thought this was a really good question and one that I shouldn't dismiss.

 

So I agree with you that identifying worldview is really important. (Does this newspaper, article, movie, political figure, activist movement assume that economies should be government controlled and directed for the good of all or that the invisible hand of independent decisions will be more effective? What choices and critiques flow from that viewpoint.)

 

But I also think you need to get at why or how they came to hold that belief. What are the experiences or underlying presumptions behind a certain worldview? And I totally agree with you that many of these presumptions show up in contemporary media.

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[i'm trying hard to stay general on topics of faith and politics, so I'm not being particularly specific.]

I know, I kept writing examples and deleting them because I didn't want to go there :)

 

One day my econ leaning son breezed in and asked dismissively, "Why would anyone be Keynesian anyway." I thought this was a really good question and one that I shouldn't dismiss.

 

So I agree with you that identifying worldview is really important. (Does this newspaper, article, movie, political figure, activist movement assume that economies should be government controlled and directed for the good of all or that the invisible hand of independent decisions will be more effective? What choices and critiques flow from that viewpoint.)

 

But I also think you need to get at why or how they came to hold that belief. What are the experiences or underlying presumptions behind a certain worldview? And I totally agree with you that many of these presumptions show up in contemporary media.

I agree that teens (especially boys I think) can sometimes be very superficial when they are learning underlying worldviews. So, maybe learning the underlying worldviews is the first step, and then learning the presuppositions underlying them is a second step? Maybe worldview courses do go there, eventually, if they have time. I'll keep an eye out for that as we study worldviews this coming year :)

 

But I do think that the first step of determining underlying worldviews is important, and it's something that kids today seem to have no clue about -- at least the teens and young adults who wander in and out of our home (mostly public schooled). Yes, they talk about beliefs, morals, and faith. But that seems compartmentalized from when they watch a movie, read a book, or discuss the economy.

 

Julie

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But I do think that the first step of determining underlying worldviews is important, and it's something that kids today seem to have no clue about -- at least the teens and young adults who wander in and out of our home (mostly public schooled). Yes, they talk about beliefs, morals, and faith. But that seems compartmentalized from when they watch a movie, read a book, or discuss the economy.

Julie

 

I like this point.

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