A quick note for those who do not hold a belief in any god, much less the God of Christianity. You may be turned off by this post. However, I would encourage you that I believe the core concepts still apply. I frame a metaphor that God is a like an eye doctor. If you just edit the eye doctor out, the metaphor of world view shifts still holds. God being like an eye doctor is simply part of my world view. Perhaps you think you see the world more clearly for not seeing through a religious lens. But if you are bold, try on my lens as you read. It might be interesting.
Is your physical sight perfect? I know mine is not and I think that our world view sight is the same. Here I use “world view” to mean “the way you see the world.” We all have a skewed way in which we see and experience the world. Our minds learn by relating everything we see and hear to our own previous experience. I think this is good. However, our life experiences shift our “sight” in definitive ways. All of our experiences – good and bad alike – shape the way we see the world.
Based on our set of experiences, some of us have poorer eyesight than others. But no matter how good your vision is, it isn’t perfect. Perhaps you are content with imperfection. But if it turned out that you were content with just being able to read the large “E” at the top of the eye chart, would you feel good about that? Personally, I would not. I have always wanted to read the smallest line on the chart that I can read, straining to read as small a line as I can. But as I grow older, I need more and more correction to see the next line.
So how does correction work? Well a start would be to try on someone else’s glasses. It gives you perspective on how much the other person’s vision would be skewed if they did not have the correction, but it is also possible that you try on someone else’s glasses and realize that you can see that much clearer. This might give you a clue that you should get your own correction.
Physical eye correction must be tailored to us. It seems to me that world view correction would follow the same pattern. If the correction must be tailored, I think that dictates a tailor. And I believe that tailor is God. Going to the eye doctor and spinning the wheels myself would have a poor result; I am certain. So I think that inviting God to align your perspective is the best way. So how do you go about that?
I believe that correction comes primarily through questioning. Asking questions about yourself, what you believe, what your experiences are, and how this affects the way you see the world. It doesn’t matter whether you ask the questions yourself or someone else does. If you aren’t good at asking your own questions, then you may have to do extra work to surround yourself with other people who will ask them for you.
Questions perform one critical task: they isolate a specific point of correction. For the eye doctor to isolate correction for you by trial and error using one pair of glasses after another for every possible permutation would require you to try on hundreds of thousands of glasses! Good questions are like the eye doctor’s clicky machine and can isolate a world-view skew from all other points.
Asking other people questions about what they believe is also extremely powerful. Actively listen to the things they say, and try to see the world through their perspective.
I find that many people are afraid to ask questions of their world view and particularly their faith. I think generally this is because they are afraid there won’t be an answer or the answer would be something they don’t like. I would argue that this type of faith is a faith founded in fear. This would be like a fear that holding a diamond in the light might prove it fake. If you think the diamond is fake, then you have the wrong diamond in the first place. If you have a real diamond, then you should hold it in the light so it can shine. If you fear the answers to your question, don’t embark alone. Find someone else who has asked that question, and ask them to help you through the process. Or read a book on the topic by an author you trust. And most importantly, ask God to be involved if that’s your thing.
One word of warning on asking hard questions. If you are asking good questions, you will rarely find answers. The best questions lead to even more questions. Do not be afraid of this result. If you feel like you get answer to your questions, seek out better questions.
Last thought, never settle for the glasses you have. In life, it is perfectly acceptable to go long periods without going to see the eye doctor. But glasses do not carry a lifetime warranty. Life is constantly buffeting our sight and alters it in large and subtle ways alike. It takes constant adjustment by the doctor to keep our sight as clear as possible. Be intentional, engage by asking God to help you see more clearly, seek out questions, and never settle. Always seek to read the next smaller line on the eye chart. You never know what it might say…