Introduction to culture and worldview analysis. Asking questions to better understand ourselves and others

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1 Introduction to culture and worldview analysis Asking questions to better understand ourselves and others

2 What is culture? How would you answer this? Get in small groups of 2 or 3 to discuss this question.

3 What is culture? Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. (accessed 9/2008)

4 What is culture? Culture refers to the cumulative deposit of knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving. (accessed 9/2008)

5 What are your core values? Make a list of your core values.

6 A non-inclusive list of values. Feel free to add others! Achievement, Success Adventure, Fun Authenticity, Openness Beauty Challenge Collaboration, Teamwork Community Competition Compassion Courage Creativity, Innovation Discipline, Persistence Diversity, Inclusiveness Education, Personal growth Equality, Fairness Excellence, Competence Faith, Truth Relationships, Family, Friends Flexibility Freedom Generosity Inner peace Integrity, Trustworthy Joy, Positive attitude Justice Leadership Peace, Non-violence Power, Authority Prosperity, Wealth Reliability, Responsiveness Respect Responsibility, Self-reliance Service Simplicity Strength Tolerance Health, Wellness Wisdom, Knowledge

7 Why Do Americans Act Like That? A guide to understand the U.S. culture and its values. Dr. L. Robert Kohls, Director of International Programs at San Francisco State University

8 1. Personal Control over the Environment/Responsibility Americans do not believe in the power of fate, and they look at people who do as being backward, primitive, or naive. In the American context, to be "fatalistic" is to be superstitious, lazy, or unwilling to take initiative. Everyone should have control over whatever in the environment might potentially affect him or her. The problems of one's life are not seen as having resulted from bad luck as much as having come from one's laziness and unwillingness to take responsibility in pursuing a better life.

9 6. Self-help Initiative Americans take credit only for what they accomplish as individuals. They get no credit for having been born into a rich family but pride themselves in having climbed the ladder of success, to whatever level, all by themselves. In an English-language dictionary, there are more than 100 composite words that have the word "self" as a prefix: self-aware. self-confident, selfconscious, self-contented, self-control, selfcriticism, self-deception, self-defeating, selfdenial. The equivalent of these words cannot be found in most other languages. It is an indicator of how highly Americans regard the self-made man or woman.

10 2. CHANGE SEEN AS NATURAL AND POSITIVE 3. TIME AND ITS CONTROL 4. EQUALITY / FAIRNESS 5. INDIVIDUALISM / INDEPENDENCE 7. COMPETITION 8. FUTURE ORIENTATION 9. ACTION / WORK ORIENTATION 10. INFORMALITY 11. DIRECTNESS / OPENNESS / HONESTY 12. PRACTICALITY / EFFICIENCY

11 Note: Ideas, feelings & values Biblical values & Cultural values Biblical values American cultural values All 3 intersect Traditional Maasai cultural values

12 A beginning list of some values American Democracy Independence Self-reliance Progress Critical thinking Problem solving Entertainment Punctuality/ time management Creativity American cultural values Biblical values All 3 intersect Traditional Maasai cultural values Biblical Worship God only Making disciples of all nations Stewardship of God s gifts Compassion (widow, orphan) Justice, especially for the poor Obedience to God s instruction Recognize life as gift from God Trusting God Maasai Tradition Respect of elders (especially male) Family Community Hospitality Courage Cattle

13 CORE SURFACE Levels of culture Sensory Cultural products, patterns of behavior, signs, rituals Explicit Belief systems Implicit Worldview themes, categories, logics, epistemology Source: Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008) 33.

14 Worldview a preliminary definition The foundational cognitive, affective, and evaluative assumptions and frameworks a group of people makes about the nature of reality which they use to order their lives. Source: Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008) 26.

15 Worldview in other words Our world view determines our values It sorts out what is important and what is not, what is of highest value from what is less It thus advises how its adherents ought to conduct themselves in the world. Source: Brian Walsh and J. Richard Middleton in Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008) 28.

16 We become conscious We become conscious of our worldviews when they are challenged by outside events they can not explain. Immigrants (thoughtful tourists/students) Refugees Bicultural children Worldviews can also be made visible by consciously examining what lies below the surface of ordinary thought. Source: Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008) 47.

17 An overview of 4 worldviews 1.Christian 2.Modern 3.Post-modern 4.Pre-modern/traditional (Maasai as a case study)

18 Four basic worldview questions 1. What is the general view of reality? (Where am I?) 3. What is the nature of the human predicament? (What s wrong?) 2. What is the nature of the human person? (Who am I?) 4. What is the solution? (What s the remedy?) Stevenson, Seven Theories of Human Nature Walsh and Middleton, The Transforming Vision

19 Christian Worldview 1. Where am I? 2. Who am I? 3. What s wrong? 4. What s the remedy?

20 Christian Worldview 1. Where am I? 2. Who am I? God is infinite and personal (Triune), transcendent and immanent, omniscient, sovereign and good. God created the cosmos ex nihilo 1 (material and spiritual world) 3. What s wrong? 4. What s the remedy? Through the Fall, the image of God became defaced 1 (sin, sinful nature) 1 James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door,1997. Human beings are created in the image of God, and thus possesses personality, selftranscendence, intelligence, morality, gregariousness and creativity. 1 (material and spiritual beings) Through the work of Christ, God redeemed humanity and began the process of restoring people to goodness, though any given person may choose to reject that redemption. 1 (redemption through Christ)

21 Modern Worldview 1. Where am I? Matter exists externally and is all there is. God does not exist. 1 (material world only) 3. What s wrong? Religious explanations and myths have established a faulty consciousness. 1 (religious myth) 1 James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door, Richard Mouw, Christian Worldview and Contemporary Challenges study guide. 2. Who am I? Human beings are complex machines ; personality is an interrelation of chemical and physical properties we do not yet fully understand. 1 (material beings only) 4. What s the remedy? Eliminate all traces of religion. The truth about reality can only be known through the scientific study of empirical cause and effect. 2 (science and education)

22 Post-Modern Worldview 1. Where am I? The question shifts from what there is and how we know to How do we construct meaning? 1 (world of meaning) 3. What s wrong? Misplaced faith in rational progress; Self-imprisoned in a meta-narrative. 2 (religious or scientific meta-narratives) 2. Who am I? Human beings are comprised of multiple selves/roles. 2 (one who creates meaning) 4. What s the remedy? To have the freedom to wander through the maze of meaning. 2 (To create my own meaning.) 1 James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door, Richard Mouw, Christian Worldview and Contemporary Challenges study guide.

23 Maasai Worldview (Pre-Modern) 1. Where am I? Engai created the cosmos, is transcendent, and can be both benevolent and angry. 1 (Not personal, not triune, not immanent. Sin and curse are not separate concepts.) (material and spiritual world) 3. What s wrong? People are not following the traditions, the way of life established by Engai. 1 (sin/curse from following modern ways) 1 Beth Elness-Hanson, Maasai Worldview Paper. 2. Who am I? 3 kinds of human beings were created by Engai, pastoralists, agriculturalists, and huntergatherers. No life after death. 1 (material beings that can interact with both the material and spiritual) 4. What s the remedy? Maintain well-being in relationships by following the traditions passed down for generations and Engai s revelations to the shamen (laiboni). 1 (follow traditions)

24 Three Main Maasai Relationships 1. Engai 2. Others 1. Male family elders 2. Family 3. Clan 4. Other Maasai sub-tribes 3. Environment

25 Maasai Worldview Implications Relationships are very important. I am, because we are.

26 Maasai Worldview Implications Sickness & Disability Sickness is seen as a curse resulting from conflict/broken relationship. The laibon (shaman) will not ask, Where does it hurt? but rather, Who are you in conflict with? Disability is seen as a curse and a shame upon the family.

27 Maasai Worldview Implications Respect Dishonoring a parent brings a curse to the family. (salaipuko)

28 Maasai Worldview Implications Tradition Education conflicts with tradition (meeki ) Creativity can conflict with tradition

29 Maasai Worldview Implications Reconciliation is critical.

30 Maasai Worldview Implications Reconciliation rituals

31 Reflections on Reconciliation Conflict is normal. It is how we deal with it that makes it good or bad. We don t have reconciliation rituals. What is an idea for a reconciliation ritual?

32 6 Functions of Worldviews 1. Worldviews are our plausibility structures that provide answers to our ultimate questions. (assumptions rarely examined) 2. Worldviews give us emotional security (in a world full of uncontrollable forces). Thus, seen at life celebrations and passages; to renew order in life and nature. Source: Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008)

33 6 Functions of Worldviews 3. Worldviews validate our deepest cultural norms, which we use to evaluate our experiences and choose courses of action. 4. Worldviews help us to integrate our culture; organizing our ideas, feelings, and values into a more or less unified view of reality. Source: Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008)

34 6 Functions of Worldviews 5. Worldviews monitor cultural change. (Helps us select and reject new aspects.) 6. Worldviews provide psychological reassurance that the world is truly as we see it and a sense of peace and of being at home in the world in which we live. Source: Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews (Baker Academic, 2008)

35 Questions?

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