WeeklyTech #113

Herman Bavinck on the Christian Worldview

The term worldview often carries a lot of baggage in our culture today. Some dislike the term as it seems to paint the way we understand ourselves and the world around us in overly rationalistic terms. Others think that the concept is abused and misused, yet many Christians see the centrality of it to all of life and make it a central part of discipleship.

Rightfully defined, we all have our own worldview—whether we know it, recognize it, or are even able to articulate it. Nothing goes untouched by our worldview because through it we understand who we are as humans and how we are to live in this world. I prefer to define a worldview as a framework for understanding the nature of reality and how we are to live accordingly, which highlights the centrality of theology and ethics in worldview formation. If we have a truly Christian worldview then everything must be viewed in light of who God is, what he has done, and who we are as his image bearers.

One of my favorite texts to introduce students to the Christian worldview is Herman Bavinck’s Christian Worldview, which was recently translated and released by Crossway Books back in 2019. While it can be a dense read at points, it serves as a monumental resource for the Church to understand God, ourselves, and the world around us in light of Scripture. Herman Bavinck (1854-1921) was one of the chief dogmaticians of the Dutch Reformed tradition of theology and philosophy. He succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1902. Bavinck’s profile has risen in recent years due to the popularity of his monumental Reformed Dogmatics and the newly released Reformed Ethics.

I recently reviewed this volume in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, which you can read as a pdf for free online below. Bavinck sums up the centrality of worldview in Christian discipleship by saying,

“The problems that confront the human mind always return to these: What is the relation between thinking and being, between being and becoming, and between becoming and acting? What am I? What is the world, and what is my place and task within this world? Autonomous thinking finds no satisfactory answer to these questions–it oscillates between materialism and spiritualism, between atomism and dynamism, between nomism and antinomianism. But Christianity preserves the harmony [between them] and reveals to us a wisdom that reconciles the human being with God and, through this, with itself, with the world, and with life.” (29)

While many today see Christianity at odds with science and true reality, Bavinck serves as a faithful guide showing us how “the idea of Christianity and the meaning of reality belong together like a lock and key.” (28) You can grab a copy of the book from WTS books or read my full review below in the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.

The Rundown

Why Church Shouldn’t Just Be on Facebook – Bonnie Kristian | Christianity Today

For all its practical uses in extraordinary circumstances like the pandemic or as a means of including and ministering to those who physically cannot come to services, social media as a space for ordinary group worship will do us more harm than good.

Live not by outrage – Samuel D. James | WORLD Opinions

There’s a funny thing about lies, however. They tend to show up even in the places you don’t look for them. And no medium has done more service for untruths than the internet. 

The Clear and Present Danger of Social Media Out of Control – R. Albert Mohler Jr. | SBTS

Jacques Ellul was a French theologian in the 20th century and a prophet when it came to technology. He reminded Christians that we can never talk about “mere” technology because technology is never “mere.” In our age, technology becomes a god unto itself, a rival deity that threatens to contort human nature according to its own idolatrous determinations.

Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction review – the sceptic chuckles darkly – Stephen Poole | The Guardian

If justified true belief doesn’t guarantee knowledge, what does? Jennifer Nagel’s admirably clear and engaging survey ranges over internalist theories (you must have first-person access to some justification for believing the truth) and externalist ones (you just have to stand in the right relation to the truth); causal theories (knowledge is assured by being in a chain of causes from the fact to you) and reliabilist ones (you just need a “reliable belief-producing mechanism”). 

The White House is calling for an AI ‘bill of rights’ – Ben Brody | Protocol

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it wants information on a wide range of biometric systems as part of the first step in creating what it called a “bill of rights” for the age of artificial intelligence.

European Parliament calls for a ban on facial recognition – Melissa Heikkila | Politico

The European Parliament today called for a ban on police use of facial recognition technology in public places, and on predictive policing, a controversial practice that involves using AI tools in hopes of profiling potential criminals before a crime is even committed.

🔒Opinion | Clearly, Facebook Is Very Flawed. What Will We Do About It? – Kate Klonick | New York Times

If you look inward and investigate the harms your platform has caused and it turns out to be too expensive or too hard to fix them, it stirs up the exact kind of public relations storm Facebook is now enduring. From these companies’ perspective, the alternative is simpler: If you don’t study it, there’s nothing to reveal.

Americans agree misinformation is a problem, poll shows – Amanda Seitz and Hannah Fingerhut | AP News

Ninety-five percent of Americans identified misinformation as a problem when they’re trying to access important information. About half put a great deal of blame on the U.S. government, and about three-quarters point to social media users and tech companies. Yet only 2 in 10 Americans say they’re very concerned that they have personally spread misinformation.