Epistemological Crisis: The Result Of A Worldview Conflict

When two worldviews collide, a person will try to defend their worldview through powerful embedded themes that are a part of their personal narrative.  If the opposing worldview cannot be rationalized away, then the conflict will force the individual to examine their epistemological knowledge system that lies beneath their worldview.  Keep in mind that their worldview is formed by their epistemological knowledge system, therefore, when the worldview is questioned, the next logical step is to question the knowledge system and the source of its knowledge that lies beneath.  The worldview conflict will bleed back into the realm of epistemology where knowledge and its source will be questioned.  Most likely, what one will find behind opposing worldviews are opposing epistemological systems and opposing sources of knowledge.  The clash between the two creates what is called an epistemological crisis.  John Wright shares with us that an epistemological crisis occurs when,
“…a person’s narrative account is no longer an adequate account for the data at hand…  The collapse of a previously held narrative brings with it a new and often awkward self-consciousness and vulnerability…  An epistemological crisis grants a self-knowledge that otherwise would escape our own understanding of ourself.  As in tragedy, we stand exposed in front of new data.  The new data interrogates us…”[1] 
From personal experience I can attest that worldview conflicts are uncomfortable, however, an epistemological crisis can be paralyzing.  Wright states, “The pain of an epistemological crisis, while ultimately helpful, initially sends shock waves through individuals and congregations.”[2]
Essentially what is at stake in an epistemological crisis is the assessment and comparison of two or more different and competing sources of knowledge.  These different sources of knowledge yield different assumptions that yield different worldviews that will yield different behavioral patterns and feelings.  Thus, you can see the profound impact and reaching breadth of this crisis. 

To read more on this subject, CLICK HERE.

[1] John Wright, Telling God’s Story: Narrative Preaching For Christian Formation (IVP Academic, 2007), 43.
[2] Ibid.