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Worldviews Comparing the Middle Eastern and Western Mind Sets


Worldviews is one of the most important aspects of our lives. It is the sum total of our beliefs about the world we live in. You, can't 'see', 'feel' or 'taste' it. It is a little bit like the 'Matrix' movie - 'Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. 'You have to see it for yourself' and 'If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain' - ha ha - or something like that!
(quotes from the Matrix movie)

Worldviews determine how we live our life, how we use our money, what we teach our kids, how we relate to people around us, and much much more.

WorldViewWorldviews are far more than you think.It will determine how you see God, or relate to Him.

The Hebrew (Biblical world view)

The Hebrew world view, in the bible, are representative of alot of the world views that where hold in the middle eastern countries.
Traditionally the Hebrew mindset is based on relationship, relationship with God, relationship with people.
This explains why 'Covenants' between people, and people and God is so important in the bible, it cements the relationship.

It explains things like: Why did God called David (who sinned greatly) 'a man after My own heart' and Saul He rejected (which sinned less)

Have a look at the diagram, which contrast the historically 'Hebrew' (Middle Eastern) and classical Greek (Western) worldviews

Some of the practical applications of a world view:

Western Practical 'Signs'Hebraic Practical 'Signs'
Performanced based: Two strangers meet. Person's value is based on achievements and career. Hi, my name is *** I am a teacher.Family based: Two strangers meet. Person's value is based on from which 'family' you come from. My name is *** , my father is ***, he lives in *** town
Religion is institutionally orientated: Go to a church building, go to 'service'Religion is family orientated: Sabbath is seen as a family, rest, fun day.
In the bible: Read 'Father' - relates to 'boss', 'law enforcer' have to meet criteria to be accepted, and to get 'rewards'In the bible: Read and understand what a 'Father' is

Western Approach

Hebraic Approach

Life analyzed in precise categories.Everything blurs into everything else.
A split between natural & supernaturalSupernatural affects everything.
Linear logicContextual or "block" logic
"Rugged Individualism"Importance of being part of group
Equality of personsValue comes from place in hierarchies
Freedom orientationSecurity orientation
Competition is goodCompetition is evil (cooperation is better)
Man-centered universeGod/tribe/family-centered universe
Worth of person based on money/material possessions/powerWorth derived from family relationships
Biological life sacredSocial life supremely important
Chance + cause & effect limit what can happenGod causes everything in his universe
Man rules nature through understanding and applying laws of scienceGod rules everything, so relationship with God determines how things turn out.
Power over others achieved through business, politics and human organizations.Power over others is structured by social patterns ordained by God.
All that exists is the materialThe universe is filled with powerful spirit beings
Linear time divided into neat segments. Each event is new.Cyclical or spiraling time. Similar events constantly reoccur.
History is recording facts objectively and chronologically.History is an attempt to preserve significant truths in meaningful or memorable ways whether or not details are objective facts.
Oriented to the near futureOriented to lessons of history
Change is good = progressChange is bad = destruction of traditions
Universe evolved by chanceUniverse created by God
Universe dominated and controlled by science and technologyGod gave man stewardship over his earthly creation. Accountability to God.
Material goods = measure of personal achievementMaterial goods = measure of God’s blessing
Faith is blindFaith is knowledge based
Time as points on a straight line ("at this point in time…"Time is determined by content ("In the day that the Lord did…")

The biblical worldview in bible scripture

It helps understands scriptures like: Jesus saying 'Abide in my and you will bear much fruit'. This scripture emphasise that we get have our value in staying in Him, not in our own 'works'. It means that the Father accepts us just as we are. We don't have to earn it, achieve it, prove it - just mellow in His love. WE ARE FAMILY.

Money talks

In the Hebrew mindset to be rich,  is a blessing from God, in the Greek mindset often if you want to be 'holy' you have to seperate yourself and take a vow of chastity and poverty. (like the catholic monks and nuns) 

Hebrew thinks in line of 'reality' 'heaven and hell' is real places 'just to far to see' - that's the general idea. The Greek mindset thinks of Philosophy.

The Bible, in its original languages, is, humanly speaking, a product of the Hebrew mind. The first and original manifestation of what we now call "The Church" was also an expression of the Hebrew mind. At some point in ecclesiastical history, someone snatched away the inceptive Hebraic blueprint by which Jesus’ movement was being constructed and replaced it with a non-Hebraic one. As a result, what has been built since is at best a caricature of what was intended. In many respects, it is downright contrary and antagonistic to the spirit of the original believing community.

Doing vs. Knowing

The fundamental differences between the Western, Hellenistic (Greek) mind and the Hebrew mind is found in the area of knowing vs. doing. Barrett says, "The distinction…arises from the difference between doing and knowing. The Hebrew is concerned with practice, the Greek with knowledge. Right conduct is the ultimate concern of the Hebrew, right thinking that of the Greek. Duty and strictness of conscience are the paramount things in life for the Hebrew; for the Greek, the spontaneous and luminous play of the intelligence. The Hebrew thus extols the moral virtues as the substance and meaning of life; the Greek subordinates them to the intellectual virtues…the contrast is between practice and theory, between the moral man and the theoretical or intellectual man."

This helps explain why so many Christian churches are focused on the issues of doctrinal orthodoxy (however they may define it) -- often at the expense of godly living. In many Christian circles, what one believes or espouses is treated as more important than how one lives – i.e. how one treats his or her neighbor.

In the days when Jesus’ Kingdom movement was known as the "Sect of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5,14), being a "Christian" was about relationship with God and with fellow man (Matthew 22:36-38; John 13:34-35). In the centuries since, we have de-emphasized relationship, and at the same time have intellectualized, politicized and commercialized the "faith once for all delivered." These three deleterious influences have radically changed the nature of the Church. The spirit of anti-Judaism and later anti-Semitism has done much to destroy the original personality of the believing community. This explains why it is so difficult for many to understand either New or Old Testament in it's true context.

discipleship gabriel worldviews hebrew

By: Gabriel Kolbe

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