What is a Worldview?

The Christian community is waking up to the fact that we have some serious problems. And not a moment too soon.

We’re called to be distinct, yet Christians by and large have the same debt problem as our non-Christian neighbors. We have the same divorce rate. Christian versus non-Christian rates of addiction are comparable. We generally look like the world, sound like the world, and act like the world. Ultimately, our problem is that we think like the world. Ideas have consequences, and it is our faulty ideas about God and man and life that cause us to act in ways displeasing to God.

A worldview, simply put, is the accumulation of one’s core beliefs and values. A worldview is the filter through which everyone sees and interprets life. It shapes the way we see and live in the world. Christian thinker David Noebel defines a worldview as, “…any ideology, theology, movement, or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God and the world.”

A look at one contemporary social issue can help clarify this definition of a worldview.

Secular Humanists demand that abortion be available to women in our society. Consider how their worldview “proves” that abortion is a woman’s right.

First, Secular Humanists deny that mankind is created by God and in His image. All that exists is matter, they claim, and we are nothing more than material beings, highly evolved animals. Since there is no God, there is no absolute standard for right and wrong; we must determine our own morality. Evolution asserts the survival of the fittest; only the strongest or smartest animals survive to breed and pass on their genes. Therefore, according to evolutionary theory, the purpose of life is reproduction.

Let’s put that in the clearest possible terms: According to the Humanist worldview the meaning of life is sex. As a species, this view states we are most likely to survive and prosper when only the strongest and best babies are allowed to be born. Therefore, abortion is not only a woman’s right, but it is RIGHT, according to Humanists. They would have us believe it is our moral duty to prevent the births of defective or unwanted babies.

This frightening view of human life was detailed by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf. Abortion is consistent when one believes there is no God, humans are animals, and survival of the fittest determines right and wrong. In other words, the Humanistic worldview about God and man shapes their thinking about abortion.

In contrast with the Secular Humanist belief in abortion is the Christian belief in the sanctity of life. According to the Christian worldview, God created man in His own image, man is therefore valuable by nature. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation, and our value stems from God Himself. The purpose of life is to love God and our fellow man, because they deserve our love. Our value as God’s image-bearers makes it RIGHT for us to be loved.

God is also the Divine Lawgiver. He tells us those things which are absolutely right or absolutely wrong, including the murder of human beings. God commanded mankind to marry, share sex with only our spouse, and multiply to fill the earth. Therefore babies, as the result of sexual relations, are the image-bearers of God, and the fulfillment of God’s will for mankind to multiply. Even unborn infants are valuable and deserving of love and protection. The Christian worldview therefore concludes that abortion is immoral.

Again, it is one’s beliefs about God and man that shape one’s belief about abortion.

Look at the progression of this issue for each worldview:

Acquiring a Christian Worldview

If your worldview shapes your thoughts and actions, then it is of the highest importance that your worldview be true. In our cultural milieu of relativism and tolerance, it may sound offensive to describe one’s worldview as true. After all, this implies that the worldviews of others might be false! In spite of this harsh implication, we must acknowledge that a “true worldview” reflects the world as it truly is. For example, the Islamic worldview asserts that Mohammed was God’s final prophet and his Koran is the inspired word of Allah. If this is true, then the Islamic Worldview is true. If this is false, then the Islamic Worldview is false. We would explore the truthfulness of this assertion by examining the historical evidence for or against Mohammed and the Koran.

The Christian Worldview is unlike any other in that we have God’s Word in the Holy Bible upon which to base our beliefs. God’s Word is truth; He does not lie. We have voluminous evidence of the reliability of the scriptures. Therefore, we have a secure source of accurate information from which to build our worldview.

The foundation of all worldviews is the answers to life’s big questions: Where do we come from? What is the meaning of life? What are good and evil? Where do we go when we die? Notice that the big questions are all inherently religious. Every worldview is made up of our answers to the religious questions of life.

Consider this contrast of a few of the common worldviews in our society:

It is ironic that most Secular Humanists and Postmodernists would claim to be irreligious, yet they hold very specific religious beliefs. They would allow that religious faith is fine for others—if they need it as a crutch or to find meaning in life—but stress that they have outgrown the need for God or religion. The truth is, however, that when their beliefs are examined in detail, their worldviews are fundamentally religious and faith-based.

The assumption that there is no God is just as much a faith statement as the Christian assertion that God exists. It might even be argued that atheism requires greater faith than Christianity. After all, which requires the greater faith: to believe in a Divine Creator or to believe the universe exploded out of nothing into everything we see? Reason supports the Christian faith much more strongly than that of the atheist.

Ultimately the Christian Worldview is founded upon the truths revealed to us by God Himself in the Holy Bible. The God who was present at the creation of our world, the God who reveals good and evil to us and gives meaning to our lives, the God who will judge us when we die—this God is the ultimate source of truth. A Christian’s worldview is built upon His answers to life’s big questions. And that will set us apart, if we follow Him faithfully.

By David Duncombe

[1] David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1991.) p 8.