by Rob Lundberg
You hear a lot about the subject of world views and you may have run across some posts here at The Real Issue on 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 that definition worldviews can be true or they can be false. When evaluating a worldview there are four major questions, even five, that you can use to evaluate a worldview very quickly. Depending 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 all 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 consistent with the previous questions? What does it mean to have a “good worldview?”
Let’s look at those questions and let me ramble a bit on each of them. . .
There is the question of origin: “Where do I come from?”
Some folks like those who reject a supernatural worldview would say that we come by way of the primordial soup, kind of like a “from goo to you by way of the zoo.” While there are others who will say that we come into being as a product of several reincarnations (Eastern religions). The Judeo-Christian worldview says that man is created in the image and likeness of God and that we have intrinsic value, which brings to the next question.
There is the question of meaning and purpose: “Why am I here?” The question of meaning and purpose today is probably the most puzzling in our anti-Christian culture. Why is this so? Because basically the philosophy of nihilism (meaninglessness) is being promoted in many pockets of our culture today. What brings meaning and purpose? 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. 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? You see if there moral laws, they have to start somewhere. Our culture for the most part believes that morals start from within. If this is true, then morals are really subjective and not absolute. However to say something is right or something is wrong is to posit an absolute moral claim. But then where does that come from. If we see how chaotic 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, There is in recent days the question of being: “Who am I?” With all the gender confusion going on in our culture, I insert this question. 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 all in all is not who they were created to be.We are created in the image and likeness of a loving God who gave us our definition in the DNA. The DNA tells all for He is told us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Our DNA tells and defines our gender. We are created for a purpose (back to the question of meaning again). To know our Creator and to make Him known. And lastly there is the question of destiny: “Where am I going?” Is this all there is? After this life is over then that’s it? Or is there something after this? We know, from the studies of NDE’s there are plenty of writings, even dating back to ancient times, that the conscience survives after this life is over. (There goes atheism.) So does this mean that there are several reincarnations 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 by these questions as the only options, there are some other things to consider. I have listed eleven below for us “to kick 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
2. W. Gary Phillips and William E. Brown, Making Sense of Your World (Chicago: Moody Press, 1991), 29.