Key Thought for this session:

“My worldviews are what make me think, feel, and act as I do.”

Okay! … so, let’s look at some simple examples to see how worldview works and why it matters.

Suppose there was a loaf of bread. And suppose two different people were in dispute over who the loaf belonged to. They each thought they had good reasons for why the bread belonged to them.

If you were the judge, how would you resolve this dispute? “Since there is a dispute, it means both feel they deserve the bread. So, what might be a right thing for you to do in resolving the dispute? You may be very creative as a judge, but many people would perceive that a fair solution would be to just cut the loaf in half and give each person half a loaf. In this case, everyone’s worldview may likely come to the same conclusion making resolution of the conflict not very difficult.

But let’s say the dispute is not so easily resolved. For instance, suppose there was a baby at the center of the dispute:
- like in a divorce case where each parent believes they should have custody of the child or in case of a woman who gives up her baby for adoption only later to decide it belongs to her since she is the birth mother. What seemed fair in the dispute over the bread was practical, but this is not a good answer here.

Cutting the baby in half and giving a portion to each person with a claim is not a good solution. Obviously, the baby would die and neither mother would get the child.

What is right in this situation is more difficult. The judge could look at practical solutions such as: who has the most money to care for the child or who has the best legal claim. The worldview of the claimants and the judge would not likely come to the same solution in this situation.

There is a story of a wise judge who once faced this very dispute. His worldview was that decisions should be principled and not practical. The principle the judge wanted to apply is based on the truth that the best mother is the one who selflessly loves the child. The judge believed that selfless love is demonstrated when someone would sacrifice their own rights for the life of their child. The judge offered the practical solution of cutting the baby in half, proposing to give equally to each claimant. The real mother responded, ‘the other woman is the mother, let the baby go with her’. At this point, the judge knew exactly who the real mother was and awarded the child to the woman who was willing to give up her own rights to her child to save her child’s life. Thus, in this example we see that difficult decisions about what is right often requires wise perspective based on principles of truth.

When we are faced with judgments about what to do in a situation, choices are either principled or practical. Principled means there is a truth that should determine the choice regardless of obvious, short term consequences. Practical choice deals with what works best and is an efficient way to produce the most benefit or least pain in the moment. In the first example of the bread, cutting the loaf in half and giving an equal amount to each was a practical solution. In this case, a practical choice was acceptable because it was efficient relative to what it would take to find the truth about who owns the bread, and the short-term consequences of the choice were not severe. In the choice over the baby, the easy choice of cutting the baby in half would have been more efficient, but the short-term consequences would have obviously been too severe because of the death of the baby. Therefore, the judge trusted the truth about a mother’s love as the basis for the decision.

So, let me ask you about how you typically make decisions.