Monday, June 30, 2014

Distinction: Points of View vs. Worldview

There is a difference between specific points of view on various matters and a worldview that frames those points of view. Specific points of view are formed by premises and conclusions about some matter and use a discourse provided by the worldview behind them. The worldview itself is the narrative that makes all points of view for an individual coherent, or at least attempts to do so. Clearly, many individuals hold within their own worldviews conflicting points of view, of which conflict they may not be cognizant; and this for several possible reasons: 1) ignorance; 2) lack of self reflection; 3) lack of understanding the implications of other points of view or a worldview (related to ignorance); 4) a psychological factor that presses them to accept the conflict, such as guilt, resentment, or desire, etc.

Therefore, when a person, for example, says that they are Christian, or spiritual, or an atheist, or a supporter of something, and when two people attempt to discuss an issue, although they may happen to use similar words in their conversation, these words may be nuanced by radically different worldviews and narratives and hence carry different meanings. These different meanings, however, may contain enough similarity between the two people that their differences go unnoticed. This phenomenon is most clearly seen when people "talk past each other" in a debate. The reason is not simply that a word must be defined, but the context of the word must also be defined. When both the words used and the context in which those words are placed have been defined and displayed clearly, a conversation may begin.

The process of listening to another involves differing degrees of self-reflection, in which the discourse of another person is compared with one's own in order to spot differences and similarities and hence make progress in conversation. Listening requires the realization that there must be a synchronizing of some kind in order to advance in the conversation.

Sometimes for this synchronizing to occur, either or both of the participants must undergo a process of growth—in knowledge, in reflexivity, in maturity, etc.

Thus many younger Christians who don't understand what Protestantism is in contrast with Catholicism because they don't even know the basic history of their own religion, such Christians will never understand the stresses that Catholicism places on certain aspects of Catholic faith, such as justification, salvation, the Sacraments, the Pope, apostolic succession, the communion of Saints, etc.

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