Thursday, February 19, 2009

It's Book Review Time

In my "25 Random Things About Me" post, I mentioned there were 4 books that have really influenced my world view, and my view of what an authentic relationship with Christ looks like. I decided it would be fun to get my thoughts on "paper" and share with you what I learned through these books. And honestly, I haven't been taking any pictures lately so I don't have any to post. This is my plan B when pictures are scarce. So let's begin with the first book "review" . . .

"Infidel" is an auto-biography of the life of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The first half of the book describes her childhood and adolescent years growing up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Through this part of the book you learn what radical Muslim faith mixed with tribal religious faith looks like. Hirsi Ali does a great job at describing the turmoil that went on in her soul as she struggled to follow Allah as a devout Muslim woman, while longing to enjoy the things of this world.

In her 20's, Hirsi Ali escaped to Holland to flee an arranged marriage. There she eventually learned Dutch, became a Dutch citizen and attended college for the first time in her life. After some time in Holland, Hirsi Ali denounced her faith in Islam and became an Atheist. She embraced the European post-modern theology that runs rampant here. She also ran for the Dutch parliament and won. Hirsi Ali worked with Theo Van Gogh on a short film called "Submission" which created such a stir amongst radical Muslims that Van Gogh was shot one morning while riding to work in Amsterdam. Ayaan Hirsi Ali now lives under 24/7 protection.

This book revealed so many things to me about my own world view. So, what is a "world view?" This is my favorite definition:

A worldview is a theory of the world, used for living in the world. A world view is a mental model of reality — a framework of ideas & attitudes about the world, ourselves, and life, a comprehensive system of beliefs — with answers for a wide range of questions.

I grew up in a Western society, in a conservative Christian home, with a Mom and a Dad who loved me and were always present in our lives. All of these factors have influenced how I view the world, whether right or wrong.

When I looked at how Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up, I was fully able to understand that people all over the world truly do grow up with a COMPLETELY different world view. She experienced female circumcision, a mother who firmly believed in Jinn (evil spirits according to Islam) and verbally abused her and her sister constantly. Hirsi Ali grew up in a world where different tribes are known for being a certain way, and they all look down on the other tribes.

When I compare THAT life, with what I grew up . . . wow. The reason this was so eye opening was because it reminded me that we need to understand this concept: that others have a different world view than us. Neither is necessarily right or wrong. There isn't one secular world view out there that has all the perceptions of reality correct. But we do need to remember this. When we think about foreign policies, or when we think about ministering cross culturally, or when we go to the grocery store and meet someone from another country, keep in mind they probably don't see the world as you do. And that's ok. You don't need them to think like you do, and they don't need you to think like them either. What you do need to do is be willing to understand where a person is coming from. When I think about our Spanish friends here who have been told to pray to Mary, or other virgins and saints, and that by kissing a statue of a virgin they will receive material blessings, I can see that their view of the God I serve is vastly different than how I view Him. I can't assume they will see God as a loving God, because they probably don't believe he even exists.

And then I think about some of my friends from North Africa. Their concept of always saving face rather than be truthful affect how they view the world. If I ask my friend if she wants to come over to bake some cookies next week, she'll say yes-even though she has no intention of coming. Her perception of reality is that you always tell the other person what they would like to hear.

Some of these are really broad generalizations, but it's the best way I can describe the idea that people have different world views. They see the world differently. And honestly, this isn't just a cultural thing. In the states I knew people from my same town who had a very different view of reality. A persons economic status, family background and religion background all play a huge role into how a person views the world.

I highly recommend this book. If you want to expand your world view, check it out.


Scott & Julie said...

That would be an interesting read.

Jonathan et Kari said...

Excellent choice for your book review, Julie. This one's in my top ten of all time.

Dee said...

Good book review, Julie, but also good articulation of a difficult subject.
A Dee

Dee said...

Good book review, Julie, but also good articulation of a difficult subject.
A Dee

The Billingtons said...

Hi! Don't know if I've ever commented here before, but I've visited often (came here from Kari's blog).

Thanks for the review. It makes me want to read it, so you must have done a great job!!

Your little girl is precious and so expressive.

God bless you guys!