Summary: A GUIDE TO Resolving Conflicts for the Propagation of the Gospel
A GUIDE TO Resolving Conflicts for the Propagation of the Gospel
Conflicts of values perhaps do more to stymie the progressive of cross-cultural communications more than any other thing, but why? The thwarting of the gospel’s communication is often misunderstood as a challenge to the things which are considered dependable, useful, desirable, and full of worth. Whereas metaphysics tries to help us know the whole reality of one’s view of nature, epistemology gives us insights into how far we are able to fully comprehend truth, values gives us a window into the processes and contents of how one evaluates everything.
We can look at values from several angles. These can be one’s personal conscious level which is a reflection of the sum total of a man’s conscience. For example, if one’s conscience bothers him to question an elder, he will simply obey leaders instruction blindly of the consequences. Or we can examine values on a social construct level. If the society condones polygamy, we will have a harder time communicating a Biblical message that strictly emphasizes monogamy. Or we can choose to look at values from a law level. There are certain societies like Germany where there are even laws against using angry gestures to other motorists that are strictly enforced by the police. The whole nature of the German society is reflected in its close adherence to the laws of the land for fear of the consequences of disobedience.
Definition of Values - A value is a measure of the worth or desirability of something. It can be a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or a society, of the desirable which influences the selection from available modes, means, and ends of action. A value is a formulation of the desirable, the "ought" and "should" standards which influence action. (Kluckhohn and Murray 1948:59)
There can be different approaches to values. For example, one man may value a woman for her beauty; another may value her for her ability to bear him children; another may value her for her capacity to bear him many male children; another may value her for network of powerful relatives; another may value her for ability to cook good food; another may value her for what status she gives him as a married man in the society; another may value her simply for the companionship she provides. These are illustration that values lie in the eye of the beholder.
Values, according to Charles Morris, in his book Varieties of Human Values (1956:10-12) are expressed in three distinct ways. First there are operative values which refer to the actual direction of preferential behavior toward one kind of object rather than another. In other words if a man values one woman as his selection for a wife, he is making an objective decision to marry that woman over all the others he may choose.
Second, Morris says there are object values which refer to values that are preferable if the person wants to gain a certain outcome. These values shape one’s goals, direction, and expected results achieved. For example, if the man wants to marry and have male children, he will select a wife whose family has a long history of strong healthy male children in the family. In this case the woman’s looks or her ability to cook are secondary matters compared to the man’s value of getting many male children from this woman.
The third approach to values is what Morris calls, conceived values. These values affect the preferential behavior directed by the expectation of a particular achievement. For example, if a man marries a woman expecting her to bear him many male children, but she is infertile, he might seek to put her away and take a second wife who will be able to meet up with his expectations.
In all three levels of values we can see that there are both objective and subjective elements. Objective factors arise in value selection when a person bases his values on standardized facts. In other words, there are particular hard evidences that one relies on to base a determination of one’s values for one woman over another. Some men have been known to make an objective list of who they would like to marry. This has helped them become more objective in their selection of which woman they want to marry when they are swept up in the wave of biochemical emotions during courtship.
The subjective element involves ones’ personal preferences based on one’s intuitive feelings, impressions, and sentiments. For example, when I was considering marriage, I fell in love with one particular girl because of the psychological chemistry I sensed everytime I was around her. No other woman had ever given me such a feeling as that one. However, if I would have allowed my subjective persuasions to determine my directions in life, I certainly would have throw out many objectives determinants first. Needless to say, I decided to give greater weight to the objective factors when I asked the girl a serious question regarding marriage. I asked her, "Are you willing to serve God as a missionary in Nigeria for the rest of your life?" When she said, "I do not feel a particular call to the mission field." I knew that objectively I could not marry her and give up God’s call for me to be a life long missionary to Nigeria. As a result, I am 99% certain that I made the right choice in determining the will of God, 11 years later.