Filtering Our Literature​​

"Apart from a Christian mind we will either be taken captive by the myriad of worldviews contending for our attention, or we will fail to make the Christian voice heard and considered above the din."

— James Emery White, A Mind for God, 16.

The process of filtering water is fascinating. Did you know that in a jam just a few simple items are needed to purify water with a homemade filter? Simply cut a soda bottle in half, place the top half upside down into the bottom so that water can be collected. In the top half add tissue, sand, gravel, and charcoal. When dirty water is poured through the layers and collected, it becomes clean.

In the same way a physical filter can remove impurities, a mental filter can be used to process or assess items in order to reject those unwanted. We filter information daily without much thought. While listening to spotify or streaming youtube videos we filter out commercials. While listening, we filter out bits and pieces of conversation. We even filter information we read by skimming. This type of filtering can be used to make us better and more informed readers.

We read everyday - Facebook posts, news articles, magazines, books. We probably don't think much about how or why we filter our reading. We probably filter based on what is entertaining, or interesting to us at any given time. More than likely we are not considering the fundamental cognitive orientation of the author, but make no mistake, the author has a worldview and the author desires to influence your belief system. I am not calling for a book-burning, and I certainly don't desire to disparage reading. Books are useful for entertainment and information. Books help us grow, but regardless of who or what we read, we need to learn to pay attention and approach books analytically. In Psalms 86:11 David writes, "Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name."

David's prayer is useful to consider when we read. We must learn to ask how our reading material aligns with the truth of God's Word. The Bible, like all written material, presents a worldview to its readers. The difference between the Bible and other reading material for a believer is that the Bible presents the Christian worldview. A biblical worldview should serve as a filter for a Christian's reading. This practically means learning to look for the biblical worldview in everything you read.

Here are five questions you can ask any text to determine its worldview:

1. Who or what does the author identify as primary in this text?

2. What does the author believe about humankind?

3. What does the author define as humankind's main problem?

4. What is the author's solution to the problem?

5. Where does the author believe humankind is going?

Remember, everything you read is filtered through a worldview. Nothing comes to us without an author's agenda. As Christians we have freedom to read whatever we desire to read, but learning to read through a biblical worldview will allow us to filter out ideas contrary to our faith.


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