by Rob Lundberg
You hear a lot about the subject of world views and you may have run across some posts here on this blog about world views. But repetition is always a good teacher, particularly when it comes to matters of truth and ministry.There are a variety of definitions that are presented by different authors. When we look at the meaning of the worldview, my go to is James Sire’s definition where he says that a worldview is
“a worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions, that may be true, partially true, or false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides that foundation on which we live and move and have our being“.
Another writer states that “a worldview is, first of all, an explanation and interpretation of the world, and second, an application of this view to life. In simpler terms, our worldview is a view of the world and a view for the world.”
Having taught a couple of courses on worldviews, I like Sire’s definition because of its specificity. Looking at the definition of a worldview, it is true that a worldview can be true or they can be false based upon criteria for evaluating a worldview on its soundness.
What I would like to do is give you a series of questions that when evaluating a worldview, everyone of those worldviews will answer them similarly (in some cases) but differently in many cases.
There are there are five major questions that you can use to evaluate a worldview very quickly. Depending on who you speak to those answers will come out, like Sire’s definition, either consistent or inconsistent.
Everyone has a worldview. The question is whether or not the worldview that you embrace is a good one or not. So what are those questions? Each of these questions fit the specific definition of Sire’s definition. Is it possible to have an inconsistent worldview? Yes.
If you are a professing Christian, how would you answer those questions, and are each of the answers to those questions consistent with the previous question(s)? What does it mean to have a “good worldview?”
Let’s look at those questions and let me explain a little bit on each of them. Let’s look at the first one. . .
II. Secondly there is the question of meaning and purpose: “Why am I here?”
The question of meaning and purpose today is probably the most puzzling for our anti-Christian culture. Why is this so? It is because basically the philosophy of nihilism (everything is meaninglessness) is being promoted in many pockets of our culture today. People today are looking for meaning and purpose by trying to define many things. But the question still remains: What brings meaning and purpose to our lives?
Some people believe that accumulating many things from the latest and greatest cell phone or mobile device brings meaning. If you look around you, we don’t have to look too far to see many gluing their eyes to their devices. There is not a whole lot of personableness being shared in our culture today.
I bring this thought in because with the growing impersonal-ness growing in the culture, we find that meaning will be interpreted in many different ways to many different people. That said, there is no relationship other than what satisfies the self, and that too is short-lived.
Meaning and purpose ultimately comes in relationships. We see this from our family interactions and our brothers and sisters in the faith. Ultimately, and individually meaning comes in the most personal relationship of all. . . the relationship with your Creator through the Lord Jesus Christ.
III. Thirdly there is the question of the origin of morals and ethics (morality): “Where do right and wrong come from?”
Whose morals? Hitlers? Hugh Hefner’s Mother Teresa’s Billy Graham? If you are willing to admit that there is a moral law, then question is where do those morals come from? Let me dive a little deeper into this.
One thing we must admit is that morals have to have starting point. They are not just random pontifications of right and wrong.
Our culture for the most part believes that morals start from within. If this is true, then morals are really subjective and not absolute; and yet those who start here believe them to be absolute (to them that is).
When we say that there is a standard of right and wrong, we are positing an absolute moral claim. But then where did that idea come from? If you would like to see this played out, check out this video.
If we see how confusing this can get, isn’t it just more reasonable to think that if morals are absolute then they must come from an Absolute Moral Law-giver? But that would posit that morals come straight from the throne of a moral and loving Lawgiver. . .God. Precisely,
IV. The question of being: “Who am I?”
With all the gender bending and dysphoria rampaging the culture, this question seems to be as important as the other four. The idea of one’s being is seemingly becoming more and more untethered and open to redefinition. But is that true reality? I say, No!
FIrst off this really runs us back to the question of origin, (where do we come from?). And then if follows to the second question of where one finds the meaning for their very existence (the second question). And then lastly this question flies off the table with regards to the third question on whether or not there is an absolute moral standard to govern how we make moral choices. Really is goes right back to the question of origin on where we come from and how we see life in general.
“Gender benders” like to say that one can self-identify whatever they want to be. But does that mean that the redefinition is the real individual? I say no. The Christian worldview posits that we are created in the image and likeness of a loving God who gave us our definition found in our DNA. The DNA tells you and I everything about our gender, and physical characteristics along with other things about us. The God who made us all tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our DNA tells us and defines our gender. We are created for a purpose (back to the question of meaning again). What is that purpose? To know our Creator in a personal relationship with Him, and to make Him known. And lastly we have . . .
V. The question of destiny: “Where am I going?”
Is this life all that there is? After this life is over what happens? Is there anything beyond this existence? Or when this life it “Game Over”?
We know, from the writers dating back to ancient times, that our conscience survives after this life is over. (Whoops! There goes atheism!) So does this mean that there are several re-incarnations or that when one dies they become a shadowy ghost.
It certainly is not a GAME OVER option. But if there is a God and He has provided a way for us to know that this life is not all that there is, then what is that proof? As the Apostle Paul writes in Acts 17:31, that He has furnished proof to all by “raising Him (Jesus) from the dead.”
If this is true, and I believe that it is, it is a total game changer.
In closing. . .
In closure here is a list of eleven things that a true worldview must answer in a coherent manner so that the answer corresponds to all of reality. But as to wondering about whether or not you have a good worldview, that will be determined by how you answer these questions. Here is the list. And if you would like to share with me your answers, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s kick these ideas and questions around.
2. The design of the universe.
3. The origin of the four natural forces.
4. The origin of order and the law of causality.
5. The origin of reason and the laws of logic.
6. The origin of mathematical laws
7. The origin of objective morality and human rights.
8. The origin and design of life and consciousness.
9. The origin and design of new life forms.
10. The origin of intelligence and personality.
11. The origin of love and beauty.If you have any questions, or comments, let me invite you to leave your questions below. I would love to engage those questions and visit with you. If you would like to leave an email with your question, please send to email@example.com
1. James W. Sire, The Universe Next Door. (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1988), 17. Even Wikipedia has a page that defines a worldview pretty well and can be found here at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_view.
2. W. Gary Phillips and William E. Brown, Making Sense of Your World (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 29.