Shouldn’t Implicit Bias Make a View of the World Go Away

Shouldn’t Implicit Bias Make a View of the World Go Away June 23, 2017

For the last three decades at least (thanks perhaps to Francis Schaeffer and Reformed Protestant intellectuals like George Marsden and Nicholas Wolterstorff), the notion of world view (it pains me to spell it out so hereafter w-w) has inspired and informed evangelical ministry, academics, cultural criticism, and more. I have always been suspicious of the idea (it is Hegelian after all), because who beside God can pretend to view the world. I remember that opening section in C. S. Lewis’ space trilogy, Perelandra, where the space traveler not only sees earth (a w-w as it were) but also no longer experiences day or night because he is not on a rotating planet. For starters, then, a w-w should include always being exposed to the sun (except during a solar eclipse).

But having a total view of existence thanks to the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (as if conversion raises one’s IQ) dies hard:

Worldviews operate at both the individual level and the societal level. Rarely will two people have exactly the same worldview, but they may share the same basic type of worldview. Moreover, within any society, certain worldview types will be represented more prominently than others, and will therefore exert greater influence on the culture of that society. Western civilization since around the fourth century has been dominated by a Christian worldview, even though there have been individuals and groups who have challenged it. But in the last couple of centuries, for reasons ranging from the technological to the theological, the Christian worldview has lost its dominance

What if the Christian w-w, the one that informed western civilization, was also at play in slavery, racism, white privilege, and mass incarceration of the underprivileged? In other words, isn’t it time to give up w-w if it has existed, as critics of white supremacy tell us, cheek-by-jowel along side the implicit bias of white privilege? I for one don’t have any idea how to extract w-w from white Calvinist intellectuals without bringing along some inherent racial bias. Can human psychology possibly work that way? Or is it the case that when the Holy Spirit regenerates a person and gives a Christian w-w, racism goes away?

If that’s the case, then all the moaning about white evangelical voters for Donald Trump need to reconcile the doctrine of regeneration with the social construct of intersectionality.


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