The Importance of Common Ground

By Logan Judy

In his book Anything but Invisible, Christian author and pastor Nate Collins argues that most in the Western world do not have a worldview. Instead, he argues, most have a “social imaginary,” more like a story of how the world works than a developed philosophy. While I don’t believe it’s strictly either/or, story certainly holds a lot of sway.  This is especially true when discussing values.

Take the recent controversy regarding the children of undocumented immigrants. People express their view through a story – a child separated from her parents and locked in a cage, for example. Objections to Christian are presented this way as well, rather than an intellectual problem of evil. “How could your ‘good’ god let my mother die of cancer and my father be killed by a drunk diver?”

Some misuse this tendency to express ourselves in story. However, it also provides a valuable opportunity. The key distinction between worldview and social imaginary is the relationship between values and philosophy. Values often inform philosophy rather than the reverse. Apologists and theology nerds sometimes live in the former without ever visiting the latter. But a reversal of this order reveals a new tactic. If we show where their values overlap with Christianity, perhaps they will reconsider their philosophy.

There are myriad ways to do this. One is through the stories that we tell, applying a Christian lens to relevant social issues like domestic abuse, racism, or gun violence. Another is in discussions with non-believing friends, affirming them and their commitment when it comes to moral issues we agree on…

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The Importance of Common Ground