Stefani Germanotta is afraid of ghosts. The full-time singer, known to her fans as Lady Gaga, employs a team of paranomal investigators, armed with specialized equipment, to scout out potential hotels as she travels on tours. Many people reporting Germanotta's fear have chalked it up to a belief in fairy tales, legends and ultimately a myth. Something that New York City, which rang-in 2012 with a Times Square ceremony that identified Gaga as their "Person of the Year", has been visually stimulated with by billboards.
The American Atheists have taken out numerous billboards across America similar to the picture listed above. Their message is to challenge traditional beliefs in Jesus Christ and equate His existence with that of Poseidon, Santa Claus and a pitch-fork wielding Satan. They believe that the Christian faith is based on myth.
There are basically four structures that found belief, something we present to students on a daily basis. James Sire has categorized them as Sociological, Psychological, Religious and Philosophical.
Sociological reasons center on instruction from parents, friends, culture, community and peer-pressure. It basically states that because people in these sociological categories are liked or trusted, their messages are true and worthy of belief.
Psychological reasons include comfort, peace-of-mind, meaning, purpose, identity and hope. These reasons assert that if a belief benefits the overall psyche of a person, the messages can be trusted and are a necessary belief.
Religious reasons include scripture, a church, tradition, mysticism, a pastor/priest/rabbi, or guru. This reasoning is founded on religious devotion which give purpose, meaning or explanation to the world. These institutions are established as giving metaphysical explanations to a physical world.
Philosophical reasons point to consistency, coherence (understanding) and completeness. Beliefs based on this structure identify that if something is consistent in the world, understandable and complete, it is worthy of belief and is therefore true.
While many of these reasons can be pragmatically true, showing something true or correct because it "works" and gives the desired results, it doesn't necessarily mean the reasoning is correct. A matter-of-fact approach to a Mormon neighbor who contibutes to society, doesn't harm others and is family oriented doesn't show her belief-system to be true.
There are approximately 6,000 distinct religions in the world today. Educated men have broken these religious explanations, including the assumptions, thoughts, perspectives and values into 5 major worldview categories.
At Hillcrest we study these categories through chapel, traditional education classes like History, English, Science, and the like, but specifically the worldview categories are studied in a mandatory graduation required class called Understanding the Times (UTT).
UTT identifies the Naturalistic, Post-modern, Pantheistic, Theistic and Christian explanations of the world. By exposing inadequate justifications for belief and validating or invalidating truth claims, the class strives to present students with a consistent, God honoring foundation for godly living and servant leadership. Students are encouraged to test all worldviews to deem if they are consistent with reality, understandable, and comprehensive in their dealings with mankind.
Students will constantly be posed with icons like Germanotta and the American Atheists, who act based on a belief and cause others to respond because of it. However, the basic framework to comprehensively breakdown a belief system is something that will cause them to not only retain their faith, but be a dissenting voice in a sea of confused explanations. It is what causes our students to be significant as they communicate the redemption of Christ in a logical, thought-out manner.