Inter-Cultural Intelligence and Faith

What is the place of my faith when looking at worldviews? Why is it important to look at worldviews from a faith-based perspective?

Roland Muller in his book The Messenger, The Message and the Community (2013) established a simple and profound rule. For a worldview to be truly called a worldview it must explain why people think the way they think, speak the way they speak and act the way they act, and it must also explain why people who are from different cultures but adhere to the same philosophy, faith or religion think, speak and act differently (See: What are the Three Colors of Worldview?)

Why does a typical Christian from the Midwest of the USA behave different from say a Christian from South-East Asia?

They adhere to the same religion, believe in the same God and the same Bible, yet they think, speak and act differently, because their worldview is different.

Using Honor/Shame, Innocence/Guilt and Power/Fear as primary drivers that make up one’s worldview have shown to be a construct that fits this rule and helps uncover the cultural part of one's religion.

Religion is still an important driver that shapes how one’s worldview is implemented.

A Christian from the Arab world and his/her Muslim neighbor do have a similar cultural background and a similar worldview (let’s assume Honor/Shame is the primary driver in their worldview), and think, speak and act in similar ways, but at the same time there are also profound differences. Why?

Religion is a very important driver of our thinking, speaking and actions that decides how the subconscious worldview drivers Honor/Shame, Innocence/Guilt and Power/Fear are being implemented in a given situation. The worldview drivers may be the same, but they are being implemented differently. In that sense, religion sits above the worldviews in the iceberg model of culture.

Let’s look at a different example. In Arab cultures, the response to extreme shame is usually extrospective, like wiping out the shame through revenge. In East Asian cultures, the response to shame is many times more introspective, like committing suicide to remove the extreme shame one brought on the group. The worldview driver is the same, but other elements of the culture make the response look different.

Through religion we answer the why’s of what we observe around us.

Even those of us who profess to be non-religious have a life philosophy to answer the why questions in life. Our faith or religion is used to explain the why’s of things we observe around us, including culture and behavior, and it sets rules on how to respond.

The Three Colors of Worldview are a powerful set of descriptors that I can observe, and use to predict people’s response regardless of their walk of life. I can look at history and anthropology to see how the worldview drivers developed over the course of time and guess their origins. But I would also look at the Bible (since I’m a Christian) to explain why these primary worldviews exist in the first place.

Other people would look to their religious and philosophical sources to explain the why’s of the world around them (and consequently come to different answers for these why questions. 

Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more info on workshops that look at worldviews from a Christian perspective.

Bart Heiligenberg – April 14, 2017


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