Darrow Miller and Friends

End AIDS with One Book

According to the latest UNICEF estimates, 34 million people in the world suffer from HIV/AIDS. Half of the afflicted are women. Ten percent are children. In 2010, the latest available year for which we have statistics, 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV, and 1.8 million people died of AIDS.

Surely no Christ follower can reflect on such a report without groaning inwardly, as their Master who, when he saw the crowds, had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14 ESV).

Meet Dick and Charlotte Day, who have called Africa their home since 1990. They have worked in Malawi, where AIDS is the leading cause of death among adults. Of Malawi’s 15.4 million people, one million are living with HIV. The Days founded Sub-Saharan African Family Enrichment (SAFE). They are on a mission to reduce the spread of HIV through an education program—Why Wait—they have designed and introduced into the public schools.

When I met Dick and Charlotte about 2000, I was encouraged to find someone who saw the relationship between worldview and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Dick had written a paper called “A Biblical Worldview Needed for the Prevention of HIV AIDS.” In this landmark paper, he argues that the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa will not be curbed without a paradigm shift leading to behavior change.

Of course the required behavior change is sexual. The paradigm shift that will drive such behavior change is rooted in the Biblical worldview that sees God as the Creator and Designer of human sexuality.

Here’s a brief excerpt from Dick’s paper:

The world is looking to the West for a scientific answer to the AIDS pandemic, a vaccine. Until then, people are advised to rely on condoms for prevention and, if infected, on antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, we are dealing with a pandemic that is essentially a behaviorally transmitted disease. Promoting the use of condoms does not address the main causal factors. It advocates a technical solution to a problem that can be addressed only through fundamental changes in social attitudes, values, and behavior.[1] What is really needed is a transformation of the mind, a change in worldview.[2]

By worldview, we mean our perception of reality. It may be true, partially true, or entirely false; it may be held consciously, unconsciously, or subconsciously; it may be consistent or inconsistent.[3] Our worldview determines our beliefs and values that are then expressed in our behavior. This is what Proverbs 23:7 means when it states, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

Not only do individuals have concepts of what is perceived to be real, but so do cultures. Values in cultures are not selected arbitrarily, but invariably reflect an underlying system of beliefs. At the very heart of any culture is its worldview; and this cultural worldview helps shape the individual’s worldview and consequent behavior.[4]

Our worldview does not determine what is true or false. The extent of truth or falsity of our worldview is derived from its relation to ascertainable facts-reasonable evidence, not the judgment of the individual or of the culture. The Bible offers us an objective revelation from God regarding human dignity and purpose for life. Sin is also societal, structured, cultural, intellectual, and creates its own worldview. Our will can only choose what our mind has first grasped. Our freedom of choice is restricted to the information we have in our mind. Without the transformation of our mind, there can be no transformation of our behavior.

Although different cultures have different belief systems and values influencing the behavior of the individual, basic human needs know virtually no cultural boundaries. The evidence is strong that almost all differences between human societies are based on learning and social conditioning rather than on heredity.[5]

Click the link below to read the entire article.

A Biblical Worldview Needed for the Prevention of HIV AIDS

–          Darrow Miller

[1] William A. Rushing, former chair of the Section on Medical Sociology of the American Sociological Association, The AIDS Epidemic: Social Dimensions of an Infectious Disease. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1995), p. 225

[2] Romans 12:2.

[3] James W. Sire, Discipleship of the Mind. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), pp. 29-30.

[4] Mortimer Adler, Six Great Ideas. (New York: Macmillan, 1981), p. 41

[5] Paul Johnson, A History of the Modern World from 1917 to the 1980s. (London: Weidenfield & Nicolson, 1983), p. 734.

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