Blog #4- Soul Health

In the last blog post, I wrote about identity and how certain beliefs form more central parts of our identities than others. In the next post I plan to finish my series on identity with a discussion of gender. However, for now, I want to continue the series about identity by evaluating “mental health.”

Our students are bombarded with an unprecedented amount of “mental health” jargon and many students are adopting pathologized identities (e.g., “I am a cutter,” “I am a bullied person,” “I am gender dysphoric”). In this cultural milieu, it is imperative that we guide our students to understand themselves and their place in the world in coherent wholeness and not fragmentation. Part of how we do this is by showing how our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual lives are all interconnected. Someone’s desire for self-harm is not disconnected from one’s physical sensation, thought-patterns, or relationship with God. Similarly, feeling gender dysphoria confusion is not isolated from one’s physicality nor is it isolated from how one relates to God’s design. In an attempt at thinking more holistically about what it means to live a flourishing life, I want to pose a question:


As Christians, should we replace “mental health” with “soul health?”


In the rest of this post, I will argue that “soul health” is a more capacious concept that can help us think about health in a more well-rounded and complete way. Primarily, I will argue that “soul” includes all of the concepts we normally classify as “mental.” In addition, I will argue that “soul health” touches on additional resources that help us live the “good life” and achieve happiness.


Historical use of “soul”

The term “psychology” is a rather recent development. Literally, the term is inspired by Greek words that mean something like “the study of the soul” and seems to have been coined in Germany sometime during the 16th century. However, as it was initially developed, “psychology” was a narrower subfield of “pneumatology” which was itself a subclass of Christian theology that studied “spiritual” substances. Psychology was the study of the human spiritual substance.

Moreover, many ancient theories of the soul were not simplistic. That is, many theories of the soul attempted to account for a wide range of psychological phenomena. Scripture itself affirms a complex reality of the soul. The soul has the capacity to love, obey, and seek God. The soul is capable of knowledge. The soul can be in a state of bitterness, a state of grief, or anguish. The soul can rejoice and it can desire. The soul is distinct from the body, but intimately connected to it. The soul can also be conflicted


Outside the biblical text itself, other respected ancient sources appreciated the complexity of mental phenomena within the bounds of the soul. Plato viewed the soul as being composed of three aspects: reason, spirit, and appetites. That is, for Plato, studying the soul was about accounting for a person’s rational faculties, their emotional capacities, and their physiological urges. Moreover, Plato’s investigation of the soul in the Republic tries to account for the various ways these different aspects interact with each other and how these interactions lead to virtuous or vicious states or dispositions. In addition, Plato attempts to understand and prescribe how to order the soul to achieve a “just” state. For Plato, a just state of the soul is one where the aspects of the soul operate in harmony so that the soul, and therefore the whole person, flourishes.


The early Christian tradition appropriated some of the Platonic framework to develop a vision of the soul consistent with Christian theology. Gregory of Nyssa in his commentary on the life of Moses, asserts that one who puts their faith in Christ has a just soul in the way Plato described (pp. 58-59). Augustine spends almost half of the space in his work On the Trinity (Books VIII-XV) discussing the complex nature of the human soul and how it reflects God’s image. As part of this development, Augustine spends a great deal of space attempting to understand the nature of a person’s motivations, volition, thinking, and feeling and how all of these particulars relate to one another.


In summary, historically, much of what we attribute to “mental health” was discussed as conditions of the soul. For instance, some anxiety disorders might be thought to be something like a disconnect between one’s thinking and one’s emotions or we might think about addiction as a dissonance between competing desires. Plato argued that the best kind of life one could live included harmony between one’s thoughts, emotions, and physiological urges. Christian views agreed with this basic picture and added that a good life consists in psychological harmony that is directed toward God.


Soul as a concept

The concept of “soul health” offers a more holistic understanding of what it means to be healthy than the contemporary notion of “mental health.” Since its inception, the concept of “mental health” or “mental hygiene” has been used primarily as a contrast to mental disorder. That is, mental disorder has been the benchmark so that “mental health” has come to be defined as an absence of mental disorder. However, in the last few decades, there has been pushback against professional psychology’s anemic account of mental health. This pushback was the impetus behind the development of the positive psychology movement. “Positive Psychology is founded on the belief that people want more than an end to suffering. People want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. We have the opportunity to create a science and a profession that not only heals psychological damage but also builds strengths to enable people to achieve the best things in life” (UPenn Positive Psychology Center). In more classical language, positive psychology seeks to help people participate in the “good life.”


Yet, even positive psychology’s emphasis on health as flourishing seems to be missing something. Invoking “mental health” can inadvertently (or not-so-inadvertently) fall into the trap of attempting to describe a condition and prescribing ways to cope with that condition without providing a positive account of what “healthy” is or why someone ought to seek to be “healthy.”. 


In contrast, historically, one’s soul condition has been the most important factor in determining whether someone is living “happy” or living the “good life.” Plato writes, “Then virtue is the health, and beauty, and well-being of the soul, and vice the disease, weakness, and deformity of the same” (Republic, 444e). Plato argues that this state of the soul leads to living an excellent life. Augustine argues that peace is the goal of all creatures, especially humans. Human peace includes an ordered relationship between one’s mind and one’s body as well as an ordered relationship within one’s mind (City of God 19.13). Moreover, Scripture indicates that living the good life requires one to crucify their sinful desires and be led by the Holy Spirit to develop excellences of the soul (Galatians 5:13-25). 


Here, it is important to note that these ancient authors believed moral living to be a key feature (though not the only feature) of an excellent life. Someone might worry that by adopting the “soul” concept that we are reverting to a view that will blame persons for their mental illnesses, conditions for which they are otherwise inculpable. For instance, someone might be afraid that “soul health” will imply a person struggling with PTSD dissociation is morally responsible for their trauma. I do not think committing to “soul health” necessarily leads to blaming someone for what they ought not be blamed for because “soul health” is not a framework for evaluating one’s responsibility. Instead, “soul health” is a framework for evaluating the quality of one’s psychological condition in light of one’s overall wellbeing or flourishing. 


This concern, though, directs us toward an upside of “soul health.” “Soul health” allows us to think about how “mental health” affects one’s moral conduct and how one’s moral conduct affects one’s mental health. For instance, pornography addiction is linked to depression and anti-social behaviors. “Soul health” allows us to investigate the kinds of habits and dispositions that have been associated with right living and how these habits and dispositions promote a healthy inner life. Promoting moral living does not mean that all mental disorders and ailments can be cured by just “living the right way.” Instead, “soul health” allows for right living to be part of a toolkit that includes medication, neuroscientific research, and psychological best practices. 


More importantly, though, “soul health” allows us to incorporate Jesus’ prescriptions about persons’ souls into the way we think about and encourage health. For instance, consider Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” In this passage, the English words “life” and “soul” are translating different forms of the same Greek word, “psyche.” Thus, Jesus declared the best kind of life someone can live is one that is lived in utter submission to Him even if this way of life includes suffering. Thus, one cannot be fully healthy unless one is submitted to Christ. 


But, I do not think the upside of “soul health” runs in only one direction. I have spent most of my time arguing that “soul health” brings conceptual resources that can help reorient the modern “mental health” discussion. Yet, if what we come to know through psychology and neuroscience is true, this contemporary information can provide insight and nuance into how we understand the soul in our theology. For instance, is it possible that Jesus experienced something analogous to traumatic dissociation during His cry of dereliction on the cross? If so, how might our understanding of dissociation help us to understand His experience? How might Jesus’ incarnation and atonement provide a way for thinking about healing from trauma?



In summary, I have argued that “soul health” is a better conceptual framework for Christians to address the holistic needs of people than “mental health.” This is because “soul health” is a more expansive concept that can incorporate insight from current “mental health” research and practice. But unlike secular “mental health,” “soul health” also provides resources for thinking about what has been traditionally thought of as the spiritual nature of human beings. “Soul health” reminds us that our minds are only truly healthy when they are properly in a state of shalom in relationship with God and desiring the Good in all things. If this is the case, I must train my children to understand that their relationship with Jesus is intimately intertwined with their “soul health.”


Blog #3- Biblical Worldview and Identity 2

Who am I? This or the Other?

Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,

And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?

Or is something within me still like a beaten army

Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved? 

(from “Who Am I?” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)


In the last post, I started talking about the concept of “identity” and how important it is to the way we function. In short, our identities are the set of beliefs we have about ourselves. This set of beliefs is necessary to how we understand ourselves and our relationship with the world in which we live. In addition, our identities guide our behavior.

Yet, we know our identities are multi-faceted. I may believe that I am a man. I may also believe that I am African American. I may believe that I am a father, a husband, and a teacher. Moreover, I may believe that I am a Christian, an American, and a car enthusiast. The list of beliefs I might hold about myself are practically endless.

Not all of these beliefs are equally important. That is, not all of the beliefs we hold about ourselves affect us in the same way. Some identity beliefs are more persistent and more influential than other beliefs. I have written more extensively on this in another place (section 4.4), but I will briefly explain here what I mean by “persistent” and “more influential.” (The next two paragraphs are meant to clarify, but they might seem a bit technical. Feel free to skip them if you are comfortable with a basic understanding of “persistent” and “influential.”)

One belief is more persistent than another when it “sticks around” more than another belief. For instance, perhaps I believe I am a good artist. I also believe I am terrible at drawing people. One day I start thinking about both of these beliefs. I might think, “Is it possible for a good artist to be terrible at drawing people?” I end up coming to the conclusion that good artists must not be terrible at drawing people. Thus, I end up abandoning the belief “I am a good artist” and keep the belief “I am terrible at drawing people.” In this example, “I am terrible at drawing people” is the more persistent belief. It “stuck around” in my mind longer than “I am a good artist.”

One belief is more influential than another belief when it contributes to modifying or creating other beliefs. For instance, suppose I have two beliefs: “I am a good person” and “I like cookies.” Because of my first belief, “I am a good person,” I also believe “people like me” and I believe  “my life will go well.”  However, my belief “I like cookies” does not contribute to forming or modifying any other beliefs I have. In other words, if I didn’t believe “I like cookies” all of my other beliefs would remain the same as they are now. Thus, “I am a good person” is a more influential belief than “I like cookies” because it shapes other beliefs I have or come to have.

The beliefs that are the most persistent and the most influential are the ones that are most central to who we believe ourselves to be and the way we see the world. If this is the case, we want our most central identity beliefs to be grounded in biblical truth. In addition, we want to order our beliefs in such a way that our most central beliefs are the beliefs Scripture reveals to us ought to be the most central.

Just like today, people in the ancient world had multiple beliefs about who they were. They had beliefs about their gender, their ethnicity, their value, their relationship status, and much more. Yet, Paul instructed the Church at Galatia that all of these other beliefs are to be peripheral. As Christ-followers, the central identity beliefs we are to have about ourselves are to be about our relationship to Christ. 

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:23-29, NIV). 

Notice that Paul is not teaching that we ought not have other identity beliefs. We can still have beliefs about our race, our nationality, our employment, and our gender. What Paul is communicating is that these other identity beliefs are supposed to be peripheral in comparison to our identity in Christ. In other words, if I am a Christ-follower the central belief I have about myself ought to be something like “I belong to Christ.” “I belong to Christ” ought to be our most persistent and influential identity belief that refines and shapes all of our identity beliefs. 

To illustrate this point, think about the difference between the next two sentences. “I am an African American man who follows Christ.” “I am a Christ-follower who is an African American man.” I intend for these sentences to demonstrate the difference in priority between beliefs. In the first sentence, the gender and racial beliefs seem to take priority over the Christ belief. However, in the second sentence, the Christ belief is central and the other beliefs are more peripheral. 

We live in a culture that urges us to prioritize a plethora of identity beliefs over our Christian identity. Some of these pressures may tend to be more subtle. For instance, the New York Times published an article titled “Applying to College, and Trying to Appear ‘Less Asian.’” This article investigates many Asians’ perspectives on applying to Ivy League schools with affirmative action policies in place. While this one article does not explicitly urge us to prioritize our own racial identity beliefs, a consistent exposure to such articles keeps racial identity at the forefront of our minds, thus making it more likely that we will focus our attention on our own racial beliefs.

Other pressures are more explicit. In her highly influential article from 1989, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack,” Peggy McIntosh developed the concept she referred to as “white privilege.” In her view, “white privilege” refers to the unearned power with which white people are arbitrarily endowed. Toward the end of the article she writes, “It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all.” In the article McIntosh does not explicitly explain how to deal with the problem she identifies, but her article strongly implies that an integral part of addressing the issue is to raise awareness of the way a person’s racial identity contributes to the unequal social power structure. Thus, both the social problem and solution are defined in terms of racial identity which intentionally brings the reader’s own racial identity beliefs to mind. If I believe white privilege to be an existing problem, my racial identity becomes more central to my belief system because McIntosh’s call is to inform my other beliefs in light of my racial identity. In addition, my racial identity becomes more persistent because I believe it to be the key to fixing something broken in my world.

Even for those who reject McIntosh’s position, it is quite likely racial beliefs become more entrenched. “Just because I am white doesn’t mean I have privilege” is a belief about my race. If this belief is formed or associated with my rejection of “white privilege,” my existing belief about race will likely become more entrenched, especially if I experience any kind of emotion attached to my rejection. Thus, there is pressure to elevate the importance of my racial identity regardless of whether I accept or reject McIntosh’s position. The same pressure often occurs in relation to our sexual, gender, and/or socioeconomic identities. 

In the midst of a culture that divides itself over increasingly narrow identities, Christ calls us to ground our identity in Him. This means we are called to make our identity in Christ the most central part of who we understand ourselves to be. This is how unity is established in the Church. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6, NIV). 

So, how do we go about making our identity in Christ not just one identity belief among many, but the most central belief of our identity? First and foremost, we must put our trust in Christ. We cannot be “in” Christ or “clothed with” Christ until we have first believed in Him.  

For those of us who have put our faith in Christ, I have three suggestions for how we might make our Christian identity more central: increase awareness, involve emotion, and influence thinking.

Increase awareness. How often do we think about ourselves as belonging to Christ? If you are anything like me, I tend to think of myself as a Christ-follower when I go to church or Bible study. Worshiping with other Christians is a primary way of reinforcing our Christian identity. Thus, if you are a Christ-follower, regular church participation is incredibly important for developing a biblical understanding of yourself.

Of course, my status as a Christ-follower doesn’t change when I am not at church. I want to find ways to remind myself that I am a follower of Christ. Another way of reminding myself that I am a Christ follower is by reading Scripture, particularly passages that speak directly to who I am in Christ (e.g., 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

Lastly, I think it is helpful to periodically evaluate how I, as a Christ-follower, live a different kind of life than non Christ-followers. For instance, maybe I recognize that my marriage is a symbol of Christ’s relationship with the Church. Therefore, I seek to serve my spouse without expecting my spouse to “even the score.” I recognize that because of my commitment to Christ, I am a different kind of spouse than others I know. When people are reminded of their identities often, those identities tend to become more important to them.

Involve emotion. Many people view emotion as something that just gets in the way of thinking or acting properly. This view does contain some truth. If I only think or act based on spontaneous emotion, my life will be chaotic and unpredictable. However, God has endowed human beings with emotions and thus emotions are good.

One way emotions can be quite helpful is that if an emotion is associated with certain memories and/or beliefs these memories and beliefs become more persistent and we pay attention to the emotionally-tagged memories or beliefs more often. One way to stimulate our emotions to reinforce our in-Christ identities is to engage entertainment that touches our emotions in a way that reinforces our Christ-centered identities. For instance, my favorite movie is Les Miserables. It is probably the most emotionally exhausting movie I have ever watched, but I am inspired by Jean Valjean as he is transformed from a bitter, revengeful shell of man, to someone who learns to forgive seemingly impossible transgressions. I weep for the plight of Fantine who experiences the depths of human sinful depravity. I rejoice in the hope that Cosette embodies as demonstrating the way God uses terrible wrongs to redeem people and the world. I find that I identify, at least in part, with many of these characters and their experiences. When I see how God is providentially present in the plotline, I am reminded of how He is present in my own life. What kinds of entertainment (e.g., movies, television, music) do you take in that reinforce your in-Christ identity? Is there anything you take in that undermines your in-Christ identity?

Influence thinking. In the last paragraph I focused primarily on emotions. To complement this, I want to think about how our in-Christ identity informs the way we think about the world. For example, when I vote, do I think about political issues through the lens of being a Christ-follower? How does my in-Christ identity affect the way I think about my coworkers? By intentionally associating our in-Christ identities with the way we think about the world, we reinforce our identity beliefs and consciously associate them with other beliefs. In this way, our in-Christ identities become more central to who we are.

In an objective sense, our identity in Christ is the most important part of our identity. However, in each of our individual lives, our identity in Christ does not always influence our thinking and behavior more than other aspects of our identity. As we seek to honor Christ and make Him known, we want to be conformed to His image, which includes coming to think of ourselves more and more in terms of being “in-Christ.” “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV).


Blog #2- Biblical Worldview and Identity

In chapter 5 of Alice in Wonderland, Alice finds herself face to face with a deeply inquisitive caterpillar.

The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

Alice struggles to answer the seemingly simple question, “Who are you?” Here, Lewis Carroll exposes the deeply complex nature of identity. Is Alice the same person who woke up that morning even though her body seems to have undergone change? What does it mean to be the same person? What does it mean to be “me?”

The set of beliefs about who we are, otherwise known as our identity, is perhaps the most significant part of our worldview. Our identities “whether conscious or not, are essential to psychological functioning, as they organize people’s perceptions of their traits, preferences, memories, experiences, and group memberships. Importantly, representations of the self also guide an individual’s behavior.” (Talaifar and Swann, 2018, p. 1) This network of beliefs serves a number of functions. Primarily, my identity allows me to associate all of the experiences and beliefs I have as belonging to a singular  “me.” 

Yet, each “me” is different. I am not the same person you are and you are not the same person as your neighbor. Our distinct identities are shaped by our choices, our experiences, our commitments and more. If I choose to play sports, I may identify as an athlete. If I regularly attend symphony performances, I may identify as being cultured. If I have committed to raising children, I may identify as a parent. Of course, our identities are also multi-faceted and not monolithic. That is, I can identify as an athlete and a parent. I can identify as cultured and as a mechanic. 

In the next blog post, I want to spend some time exploring the different kinds of identity beliefs we can have, and how some of these beliefs are more central to who we are. Right now, though, I want to think about characteristics all people have in common. Much of our contemporary culture emphasizes the differences between identities. For example, many diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives purport to work to make sure all different identities are recognized and supported. For instance, the University of Tulsa’s diversity pledge reads, “I pledge to welcome and embrace people of individual identities and be an active bystander against disrespectful and exclusive behavior.” (Note, there are a number of problems with the way this is stated, but it would require a separate blog post to address all of these. Interestingly, though, the TU pledge states people will be welcomed. I think this is a better statement than identities will be welcomed. After all, should we be willing to accept one’s belief about oneself that they are superior to others because of their race?) There is much good in this statement. After all, we are called to love others, regardless of how much like us they are (or how similar our identities are). “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?… But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:32, 36, NIV). 

However, the call to “welcome and embrace” people with different identities rings hollow unless we have a reason to think that all persons ought to be welcomed and embraced. If all people are utterly different with no common characteristics, it is hard to explain why we ought to treat all persons with a certain level of respect. The good news is that the Christian worldview provides a significant reason why all persons ought to be treated with a certain level of dignity. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’” (Genesis 1:26, NIV). God created humanity in such a way that humans uniquely resemble and reflect the Creator of the universe. How amazing is that! If this is true, we have good reason to think all persons ought to be treated with respect, namely, all persons are divine image-bearers. 

Note that the Bible presents the human image-bearing capacity as an objective truth that does not depend on an individual person’s subjective belief. It is important to recognize that persons can have false identity beliefs. For instance, I might believe that I am the best player in the NBA or that I am richer than Bill Gates. If I believe these things it will be better for me to abandon these beliefs because these beliefs do not reflect reality. I am going to be in trouble if I go to write a $1,000,000 check to buy the newest Bugatti sports car. The more my beliefs do not accurately reflect reality, the more I will have difficulty navigating life. (This is why we want to develop a worldview that accurately reflects the world.) It is also true that many people do not identify as divine image-bearers. Yet, it does not make it any less true that they are. It is better for persons to believe they are divine-image bearers than to believe they are not because in believing, they believe what is true. When we believe what is true, we are better situated to navigate life.

But how do we go about encouraging others to adopt imago dei (image of God) as part of their identities? I have a few suggestions. First, we must think about our own identities and discover whether we truly believe we bear the imago dei. Do I believe I have been created in God’s image? Do I really believe that God has endowed me with inherent dignity? Note, having inherent dignity does not mean you are morally perfect. Instead, having inherent dignity means you have value regardless of who you are or what you have done. Inherent dignity comes from the kind of thing you are, not from your ability to do certain things or the capacities you may or may not have. 

Second, we treat other people like they have inherent dignity. This means that we treat all people with a certain level of respect regardless of whether we agree with them or whether they are different from us. That means we treat conservatives, liberals, and independents with a certain level of respect. That means we treat immigrants, members of the LGTB community, and persons in prison with a certain level of respect.  This also means that we advocate for dignified treatment for all humans regardless of age, level of development, disability, or perceived privilege status. Not only is it right in itself to treat other people with dignity, but treating others with dignity is also a way we love others by encouraging them to adopt the imago dei as part of their own identities. I am more likely to believe I bear God’s image if someone treats me like I do.


Blog #1- Adam Blehm

If you are reading this, you can’t not have a worldview! Why? You are a human being and thus the kind of being that has thoughts about the world.

Both philosophers and psychologists believe all people have worldviews. A worldview is a set of fundamental beliefs and attitudes through which you interpret the world. Think about a worldview as a set of glasses that allows you to see the world well. What happens if you get the wrong prescription? The world becomes blurry. You might be able to make out some things and you may even be able to keep from getting significantly injured, at least for a while. However, the wrong glasses don’t allow you to see the world for what it truly is. This can cause you to get injured or it could cause you to miss out on much of the beauty in the world. This is what happens when our fundamental beliefs and attitudes about the world are mistaken.

As Christians, some of our worldview consists of the following beliefs: God exists, Jesus was crucified for our sins, and the Holy Spirit empowers the Church to spread the good news of the Kingdom. Thus, the way we view the world is influenced by these and other worldview beliefs (i.e., all people are created in God’s image).

To give an illustration as to how worldviews operate, I would like you to consider the painting Life is Everywhere by Mikola Yaroshenko. I have a print of this painting up in my classroom, in part, because it is a vivid illustration of the power of worldview. Yaroshenko depicts a railway car carrying a bunch of people to exile in Siberia. Even though they are about to be exiled, the people in the car are intently focused on the child who is looking out and is focused on the birds flying just outside the car. Even though these people are being tragically separated from their homes and the lives they have known, they have found hope even in their dismal circumstances. If we believe that God is always present with his people (i.e., John 14:26), then we will interpret seemingly dismal situations with hope. The situation is not as bad as it might seem. If you look toward the back of the railcar, though, there is one person who is ignoring the situation, and is quite literally in the dark. Similarly, if we believe that life is merely a cosmic accident we are more likely to interpret dismal situations as hopeless. In this case, one worldview offers hope, the other offers despair. Our worldviews matter.
In this blog I hope to explore the biblical worldview and why it matters. I want to explore issues that affect us at both intellectual and emotional levels (especially since research indicates our intellect and emotions tend to be psychologically intertwined) and show how the biblical view on these issues can account for the world in all of its fallenness and yet direct us toward flourishing.

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