Fox or CNN – The Matrix of Christian Ethics – Nullens & Michener
In this fascinating book, ethics are reexamined in light of worldview and a methodological Christian interpretation.
I’m convinced more and more of the leverage or influence worldview has on all of our mental inputs and outputs. Rationality often seems to be cast aside in favor of falling under the spell of whatever worldview we subscribe to.
This past week, Sean Hannity, a conservative American television personality interviewed three couples on how Obamacare (the new American health act) has, in his words, “turned their world into horror stories.” A day later, another reporter decided to “fact check” this story and called all those who were part of the show. After digging a little deeper, there seemed to be many discrepancies, therefore, the second reporter called his article “Inside the Fox Lie Machine.”
My purpose isn’t to debate the pros and cons of this American dispute, but after reading The Matrix of Christian Ethics, the parallels of how worldview affects our understanding of morality and belief were uncannily, right on target.
The three couples responded in the Hannity interview with phrases such as “I’m forced to close my business; I have to cut back on employees and hours.” Others implied that it will cost so much more that they would not be able to have coverage at all!
But when Eric Stern, the second reporter talked to them, he found out that the new health care act would actually save all three couples money and in one case, not only save them money, but would provide coverage for a special needs child of one of the couples. But then worldview reared its ugly head.
None of the couples had actually checked to see what their costs might be. Even after hearing that the new health care system would be beneficial for them, the couples refused to explore further, citing that they hate Obama and will continue to believe that it’s bad – even without proof. Their worldview is dictating their behavior and values, to their detriment!
Their filter was one of conservatism and the lens in which they saw life was not about to change, even with facts. Nullens and Michener suggest that in cases like these, deconstruction needs to take place. We need to deconstruct our worldview so that first, we can understand how we see the world and secondly, so that it can be reconstructed according to the filter of Jesus Christ.
The authors use four approaches to an ethical understanding for our lives: consequences, principles, virtues and values. In the illustration provided by Sean Hannity, I see that the interviewees believed that the consequences of continued government involvement and their belief or principles regarding less government interference, provided them with a worldview that in this case, seemed to override and even compromise, their virtues and values, thus leaving them with an incomplete matrix in which to develop their own ethical position.
A similar example and discussion could just as easily be made on the other side of the political aisle. The matrix of ethical deliberation works to counter these strongly held but usually false worldviews, allowing us to see issues and the world through a Biblical lens, honoring God.