Looking up through trees
Looking up through trees

The Foundation of Our Thinking

In the Bible Study groups that I teach, we have been studying the book of Proverbs and considering the issue of wisdom. In Proverbs 9:10 we are told knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Solomon is revealing that our relationship with and view of God combine to be the foundation of our thinking. It completely determines the way we view the world. As Tim Keller puts it, Your spiritual view of reality is the foundation from which all your reasoning proceeds.

If one does do not believe in God, it will have a huge impact on the way that he views life. For instance, if you not believe in God, you have no choice but to view human beings as nothing more than a collection of chemicals that came into being by chance.

On the other hand, if one has a deep abiding faith in God, it, too, will impact one’s view of the world. You will see that a person, and, in fact, all persons, have great value because God created us in His image. We have been endowed with great value and worth by Him, and therefore, all human beings should be treated with great dignity and compassion.

Dr. Armand Nicholi is a psychiatrist who teaches at Harvard Medical School, and he says that our view of God influences how we see ourselves, how we relate to others, how we adapt to adversity, and what we understand as our purpose. Our view of God helps determine our values, our ethics, our heritage, our identity, and our ultimate destiny. Finally, Nicholi says that our spiritual worldview determines our capacity for happiness.

In his book, The Question of God, Nicholi contrasts the happiness experienced by Sigmund Freud, an atheist, with C.S. Lewis, a devoted Christian. Nicholi reveals that Freud was miserable most of his life. He saw no reason to be optimistic about the future. Near the end of his life he posed this question: What good to us is a long life if it is difficult and barren of joys, and if it is so full of misery that we can only welcome death as a deliverer? This was where the despair of atheism led him.

For the first thirty years of his life, C. S. Lewis shared Freud’s pessimism. And then he became a Christian, and everything changed for him. Lewis stated clearly that his pessimism and gloom were closely related to his atheism. His conversion to Christianity transformed his pessimism, gloom and despair to joy, a new sense of freedom and many satisfying relationships.

Clearly, our view of God and the role that He plays in our lives combine to be the foundation of our thinking about life and our place in the world.

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