A Christian perspective of sociology
A worldview is a personal collection of ideas and beliefs through which all of life is perceived and lived. Every person has a worldview. There are several prominent ones, specifically Christian, humanist, atheist, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, New Age. Included in these are subsets of each and hybrids of two or more.
All worldviews are based on someone or something like a religious leader, philosopher, professor, writer, a book, popular culture, or movement. The Christian, or Biblical, worldview is based on God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible, which we believers embrace as a Word that is inerrant and infallible.
Sociology is the study of human groups. It focuses on two interrelated areas of study: social factors and recurrent relationships among people. It does not concern itself with behavior that is unique to individuals or with particular situations; these lie outside the boundaries of the sociological perspective. Basically, then, sociologists are interested in patterns of human relationships rather than individual behavior.
Sociology provides several perspectives for looking at group behavior: functionalism, conflict theory, and interactionism. Exclusive use of any one perspective prevents seeing other aspects of group life. All three aspects allow us to see most of the important dimensions of social life.
From the world’s perspective, sociology delves into the study of all groups, whether secular or religious. As a science, it should examine data, test theories, and make conclusions in a non-partisan way. That does not always happen. Those whose personal or corporate agenda is to advance their own ideas, or worldview, use sociology less as a science and more as a platform. Incorrect data, manipulated results, and misleading allegations are challenges that adults young and old must sort through to reject, agree to, or draw some sort of conclusion. This conclusion, that is, a believable thought or idea about the interaction of certain people groups and why the pattern of interaction is acceptable, is influenced by the way one is brought up, by his or her lifestyle, and by a faith that is embraced or shunned. (As a side note, in Matthew 7:15, Jesus warned about false prophets coming to us as wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Savior’s warning was not so much about teachers teaching false things as it was about false teachers making believable claims.)
A Christian perspective of sociology is foundational for understanding and interacting with the people groups in which one is associated every day. Some of these groups are: family, coworkers, school mates, circle of friends, members of a sports team, church family, and business associates.
Interactions and relationships with groups like these, combined with a believer’s inerrant view of the Bible, help to form a Christian’s perspective of sociology. Some things to remember are:
- Our family is the most important group in our lives.
- We should choose our friends wisely, and they deserve love, loyalty, and confidentiality.
- Our employer deserves trustworthy, efficient labor.
- Our neighborhoods, and therefore our neighbors, deserve safety, peace, and friendship.
- Our business associates deserve honest transactions and communication.
- Our contact with people should be done in compassionate, humanitarian ways.
- Our personal character should be one of integrity, steadiness, and grace.
Thus, the Christian perspective of sociology reminds us of three things:
- Everyone, regardless of social class or people group interaction, needs Christ.
- There is only one way for each of these people to know Jesus as Savior and that is by believing in His death on the cross, His burial, and His victorious resurrection.
- That Way of the Savior is offered to every people group and individual person in history (Romans 3:23; 10:9).
A strong Christian perspective is evident in the life of a faithful follower of Christ as he interacts with various people groups. That person will bring glory and honor to the name of Jesus; he will defend the Way of the Savior; and he will not be moved (Ephesians 6:10-20). As a believer, you should see stark differences in what other worldviews teach or expect from their followers. And the holy litmus test? God said in Leviticus 10:3, “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; and before all the people I must be glorified.”