Western, Eastern, and Biblical Thinking

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 13, 2019 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There are two major trains of thought and thinking in this world: Western thinking and Eastern thinking. Western thinking is very factually based. It is about logic, reasoning, explanation, and science. Eastern thinking is about purpose, the spiritual, honor, respect, and family. In a way, I am a Western thinking person because I am so fact-oriented and I really don’t think emotionally very often (though challenge me with a false teaching and you’ll see how strong I hold to truth). But that said, I am also a born-again Christian so I see the spiritual side of things too.

I frequently get “called out” by treating the Bible with my “Western Greco-Roman-Platonic thinking” when I declare what the Bible actually says about Genesis. I believe Genesis records the only accurate account of the origins of the earth, the universe, man, and the nations. But I also sense a Marxist tactic in that claim: to take what you are doing wrong and pin it on an opponent so they get defensive and so you can call them out for being divisive. It’s actually not me using the Western thinking to interpret the Bible, which was not written in a Western culture. It’s them. I can prove it too.

Western thought also separates each of our areas of life: job, family, career, science, history, religion, etc. What goes on in the church should stay in the church and not be brought into the career field. Your problems at work should stay at work. And when it comes to the Bible and Christianity, religion is a separate issue from your job and your education and your extra activities. What started with the Enlightenment in the 17th-18th centuries became very popular into the 19th century with Lyell, Darwin, Huxley, and others who pursued “naturalism” as the explanation for the origins of life, the universe, and everything. They promoted a “deistic” god that is only vague and general, and most certainly not the God of the Bible (the Athenians had a similar issue when they worshipped a God they did not know). Since those ideas exploded like stage 8 cancer (I know there isn’t such a thing, it’s hyperbole), where there are so few healthy cells left, Christianity has been pushed into smaller and smaller circles of influence. Now, if we dare take our faith out of the church or the home, expect a backlash.

Eastern thought is different however. Eastern thought focused more on the spirit of the matter: honor, respect, doing your job perfectly, being with family, doing the spiritual thing, prayer, etc. I heard of a Chinese missionary who came to America and said this: “When I see a Buddhist monk do his prayers and meditations, I think ‘holy man.’ When I see an American preacher, I think ‘business man.’” And that can very easily showcase the difference between Western and Eastern thinking.

Eastern thought is also sweeping through our country through New Age beliefs, the occult (Wicca is among the fastest growing religions in the country over the last 20 years), and other forms of mysticism. And there are Christians and Christian leaders I have met and read who promote this kind of stuff. That there is this “energy” in and around us (like the Force of Star Wars), and as long as we tap into that energy which is part of us, speak out our wishes, and visualize it, we can create what we want into reality. If you are thinking that is crazy, you are right, but some of the biggest names in American Christianity today are preaching this.

However, ancient Israel and Biblical Christianity do not fit either bill. Geographically, they were literally smack in between both major cultures, not to mention the cultures of Africa, which have not been addressed here. In their way of thinking, they were actually both. Those who deny the historicity of Genesis try to get us to emphasize on the “spiritual” or “theological” lessons of Genesis. Problem: the “lessons” they are trying to “get us to see” are not Biblical at all.

The Bible is unique from all these ways of thinking in that it doesn’t separate any area of life. Your spiritual life and your job are one and the same in Christianity. How you treat your family is a reflection of what you think about God spiritually. How you do science is to be a religious pursuit of God’s thoughts. How you study history is to be intertwined with what choices you make. In Christianity, our religion determines how we lead and how we operate in every area of our life. How and why? It ultimately is because we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives. Unless God is center-stage and our end goal, all of our studies in science are null and in vain. Unless we seek God’s wisdom and submit to his leadership in our life, how can we govern others correctly? Why did we choose our current job? Because of the money or the prestige? Or is it because we sought the Lord on where he wants us planted?

Biblical thinking does not esteem correct thinking; it determines what is correct thinking. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. How can we do that? First, we must discard the thinking of our world and our culture. One of the key themes of the Bible is holiness, that is separation from this world, from the ordinary, and from the very mindset of this world. It does not suggest going into isolation lest we be corrupted, but rather to go into the darkness to rescue people from it.

Christianity does not think like the rest of the world. It does not operate by worldly thinking. God frequently does things so opposite of how anyone else would do it that it baffles most of us. It is often to confound the self-proclaimed wise and to prove that only He can do it. He shrunk an army of 32,000 to 300 to defeat an army of about 125,000. He created plants before the sun. He uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. When Paul preached the Gospel, namely about the Resurrection, to the world’s top scholars in Athens, they all thought he was out of his mind, calling him a “babbler,” because a crucified Savior made no sense, let alone a risen one.

If we are going to think Biblically, it will not make sense to the carnal, natural mind. I’ve had people tell me that the 6-day creation is impossible because you can’t have plants before the sun because the nuclear fusion in stars are the only way to produce heavy metals. It appears to me that these people truly don’t understand physics, because even by their own time frames, we should not exist because there hasn’t been enough time for the stars to even produce carbon, let alone anything up to iron. They also refuse to consider that God operates supernaturally and is not limited by natural process. He spoke the universe into existence and He chose to take 6 days, to model for us how our bodies should operate. Think Biblically and you will find the True Christ. Do not think according to this world. It never will reveal the truth. Choose Christ. It will be worth it in the end.

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