Of which of these are we aware? With which do we concern ourselves?
Many people, down through the ages, have concerned themselves mainly with the first level: actions and words. This level is the most visible. And hence it is the level at which problems are most easily seen. It is also the level at which it is most easy to do something about. Even psychologists can change people's behaviour. Punishments are most readily available for sins at this level, since the way we see Law, we can only punish people for when there is clear evidence that they deserve it; and that is only true of actions.
Many churches, down through the ages, have concerned themselves with the second level: beliefs and especially doctrines. For example, the inquisitions, and in church courts that deal with heresy. But, because only the first level is directly visible, to deal with this level, they think they must first convert the beliefs into visible form, namely doctrinal statements. These are mere theorizations of the truth, not truths themselves. Moreover, what people say they believe is not what they really believe.
But God seems more concerned with the third level: attitude of heart and world view. "Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." [I Samual 16:7]
The deeper the level, the less visible it is, and also the more it has an effect. The effect of the deepest level, of world view, of attitude of heart, is not only on our own beliefs and behaviour, but also on the beliefs and behaviour of others.
It spreads, good heart spreading good, self-centred heart spreading evil. And it forms the structures of society. That is why it is so important.
This page, "http://www.abxn.org/three.levels.html", is offered to God as on-going work. Comments, queries welcome.
Copyright (c) Andrew Basden at all dates below. But you may use this material subject to certain easy conditions.
Part of his www.abxn.org pages, that open up discussion and exploration from a Christian ('xn') perspective. Written on the Amiga with Protext.
Created: 24 February 2001. Last updated: Realised I had not uploaded this! So did so, adding html stuff, .nav, .end.