The Inertia of the Christian Worldview

Saturday, April 03, 2021 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing exploration of the topic.

"The abolitionist movement ended the physical oppression of slavery. The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s changed the laws of our nation and made overt forms of discrimination illegal. The emerging civil rights movement is concerned with dismantling systemic racism." ~ Ally Henny

Reflecting on these remarkable human rights achievements reminded me of something lacking in the practice of Christianity among many churches and Christians. Those of us who follow Jesus Christ as Lord take action in society, sometimes unrelated to preaching, as part of our spiritual and civic lifestyle. We also call it "social justice." Many do not act because of an error in thinking social action, or social justice, is inconsistent with biblical faith. This is one of the reasons why white churches of the 18th and 19th centuries did not work to end slavery (while many individual White believers did work to end slavery). In fact, in the 18th and 19th centuries many believed the Bible affirmed slavery and the inferior status of persons of African descent (which was part of their worldview at that time.)

This is part of the reason why white churches of the 20th and 21st centuries remain largely ineffective and silent concerning injustice or dealing with issues such as white supremacy. Many condemn social activism and concepts such as anti-racism, Black lives matter, Critical Race Theory, protesting voter suppression, the "woke" movement, and more.

In the 19th century, Christ Followers, such as Frederick Douglass, acting as citizens  empowered by God's grace (not as church members) "agitated" for change in society based on Constitutional provisions--though the Constitution was not originally designed to serve the interests of African Americans. 

A young Black man once asked an old black man what could be done to preserve and enhance the rights of black people. The old man, Frederick Douglass, an internationally known orator, had just one word of advice: "Agitate." (

Frederick Douglass also said, 
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both." (1867)

Much of the silence and inaction of white churches has resulted from the inertia of decades and centuries of building frameworks, and worldviews, that reject "secular" practices which have proved to be highly effective in society. Examples include protest, civil disobedience, and speaking out against injustice. By contrast, these were regular practices among what we call "Black churches" in the 20th Century.

So, we need to challenge frameworks and worldviews that cause churches and Christians to be ineffective, silent, and resistant to proven methods. Everything does not have to be strictly "biblical" to be helpful and effective in the larger society. 

Much of my research of the Christian, or biblical, worldview has demonstrated its application in encouraging students and church members to adopt a preset dogma while characterizing (or mis-characterizing) other worldviews as harmful. 

This statement from a Christian homeschool resources website advertises a book offered to prepare students to guard against harmful conscience and "subconscious" worldviews, like a virus,  such as "blameism" and "conformism." (which are made-up words crafted to contrive conditions against which to argue. Also known as a “straw man”)

The final chapter touches on the potential influence of other worldviews on you. For example, do you consciously or subconsciously embrace scientism, technicism, hedonism, individualism, consumerism, blameism, or conformism?

There is the narrative that everyone is operating from a worldview, which contributes to the notion of "competing worldviews" or a type of "war of worldviews" in which the Christian faith is perceived as under attack. 

From Union University, a Southern Baptist Convention college:
A worldview must seek to answer questions like: 
• Where did we come from?
• Who are we? 
• What has gone wrong with the world? 
• What solution can be offered to fix it?  

In addition, a worldview must seek to answer the key questions of life, whether the general implications or specific applications.  It is to these foundational questions and attending issues that we now turn our attention.  
A Christian worldview is a coherent way of seeing life, of seeing the world distinct from deism, naturalism and materialism (whether in its Darwinistic, humanistic, or Marxist forms), existentialism, polytheism, pantheism, mysticism, or deconstructionist postmodernism. Such a theistic perspective provides bearings and direction. (From Shaping a Christian Worldview: An Introduction)

Within a different context, the Apostle Paul wrote,  "For we can do nothing against the truth, only for the truth." (2 Corinthians 13:8) God's truth is stronger than we seem to believe. A foundation of biblical truth, and relationship with Christ, are stronger than outside influences.
We should acknowledge that the missional work of preaching the Gospel, leading people to Christ, and making disciples is different than taking social action, or practicing social justice, whether ending slavery in the past, securing civil rights for Black people, or dealing with white supremacy in the present.

We can do both by the grace of God, but we can no longer be guided by frameworks or worldviews that limit what we SHOULD do. The Christian faith does not effectively address every facet of life for everyone, everywhere (as history has demonstrated). The Bible and Christ shapes our lives so that we can use every resource to help others.  


Bryan Hudson, D.Min.