What is a "mini-story" of the world?
A mini-story tells people who they are, how they got here, and what matters to them. It explains how each social group sees itself in the big story of the world and why it lives the way it does.
Everybody---religious or not---has a “mini-story of the world.” People do not use that term, and the mini-story may be subconscious most of the time, but if you ask a few of the right questions, you can soon figure out which mini-story a person is living by.
The members of a group won't agree on all the details of their shared story, of course, but the group is held together by the main parts of it, which always clash with some main parts of some other stories of the world. If the group ever loses confidence in the main parts of its story, that group breaks up like the Soviet Union did when the grand Soviet story broke down.
Six sample mini-stories that various groups live by
These show how a mini-story is focused on one theme, such as progress, power, victimization, submission, sin/salvation, or ethnic groups.
Evolutionary/technological: The “story of the world” is the story of progress. All through history we observe ever-increasing complexity and sophistication in nature and among humans. The computer is the most recent giant step of human progress. It gives us astonishing new power to discover things and create the world we want.
Post-modern: The story of the world is about power. Power holders do not want to admit this because it undermines the loyalty of their subjects, so they invent many other “stories of the world.” Those stories pretend to be about great legacies, grand visions, and honorable goals, but they are all fakes. They only exist to motivate the public to keep the power holders in power. The story of the world is the story of power holders playing this power game with their myths. Don’t fall for them!
Critical theory: The story of the world is a story about group victimization. At some point in the past, some other group wronged my group. That wrong has to be righted by us critiquing and exposing it, forcing the oppressors to face what they did. They usually deny it, of course. Eventually they may offer a lame apology or a tiny token compensation, but nothing could ever make up for what their group did to our group.
Islamic: The story of the world is a story about submission. God, who is far greater and wiser than we are, gave instructions through a series of prophets like Moses and Jesus. Finally he gave the Quran to Muhammad as the ultimate guide for all people and all time. We must submit to God’s instructions in the Quran and get others to submit to it until God comes to judge the world.
Evangelical Christian: The story of the world is a story about sin and salvation. God made the world good but humans disobeyed and their relationship with God was broken. Jesus came to earth to pay their sin debt by sacrificing his own life. Those who accept what Jesus did for them get their relationship with God restored.
Nazi: The story of the world is a story about ethnic groups. The time has come for the most sophisticated ethnic group, the Germans, to create the perfect world. This will include the elimination of the most despicable ethnic group, the Jews, who till now have been polluting the world and keeping too much of its wealth. Other ethnic groups will be brought under German control, where they belong, and the result will be a highly organized global society, a marvel of human achievement, the best of all possible worlds.