Everybody has a worldview. You say you don’t? Oh, you have one but you just don’t recognize it as such. A worldview is that body of beliefs, suppositions and biases by which we operate – what we view as the proper basis for life and the standard by which we make decisions. It is how we think the world ought to work and how we think we are supposed to relate to the world. It is how we make sense of the world around us.
We don’t think we have a worldview because it is not called that by people in general. It is not a subject that is taught as such in schools, but which education affects profoundly. We arrive at our worldview by our upbringing, the books we read, from the entertainment/news media, the internet, from friends and associates and from our friends and families. Most people more or less absorb their views from surrounding culture.
Worldviews are in a constant state of change. As times change the ideals people value change. As they see one set of ideals not working as promised they gradually reject that in favor of another flawed set. There have been many different worldviews throughout history. Sociologists tell us that we have transitioned from superstition to “enlightenment” to a “modern,” or “scientific” worldview to a “postmodern” one in which the old modes of thought have been rejected because they were perceived as not valid and have been replaced by forms of thought that are considered to be more appropriate to the times in which we now live.
So called “postmodernism” is perhaps the most amorphous, indefinite, indefinable of the modes of thought to come along so far. It is characterized by a brand of “tolerance” that is most intolerant of any idea that is not on the “politically correct” agenda. Multiculturalism is one of the mantras of postmodernism. The widespread acceptance of such immoral practices as abortion, homosexuality and same sex marriage are directly attributable to postmodern thought. Generally, it seems that postmodernism is, for the most part, bent on indiscriminately discrediting dismantling, deconstructing and discarding everything that has gone before as being of no value or even detrimental to society. That means that with some postmodernists, the Bible, Christianity, faith, the church and anyone who believes in, supports or is even suspected of being a Christian are viewed, at the least, with suspicion and at most as enemies of society. Yet it seems that the postmodernists have no idea of where they want to society to end up. As with modernism and other older systems of thought, man is the measure of all things postmodern.
In contrast to the generally accepted pattern of thought there should be among Christians a widespread view of how things should be based on the Bible. Remarkably though, according a recent poll, there are very few professed Christians who espouse a biblical worldview. In a 2003 survey of 2,033 people, the “Christian” polling firm, the Barna Group found…
“…that everyone has a worldview, but relatively few people have a biblical worldview – even among devoutly religious people. The survey discovered that only 9% of born again Christians have such a perspective on life. The numbers were even lower among other religious classifications: Protestants (7%), adults who attend mainline Protestant churches (2%) and Catholics (less than one-half of 1%). The denominations that produced the highest proportions of adults with a biblical worldview were non-denominational Protestant churches (13%), Pentecostal churches (10%) and Baptist churches (8%). (Read the article at: Barna Group.)
If everyone has a worldview and no more people among churches in our nation say that they have a biblical worldview than this poll shows, that means something like 90% or more of professing Christians have bought into the prevailing worldview. That tells us that the United States of America is definitely not a Christian nation. Actually, we are a neo-pagan nation with a thin veneer of a dumbed-down form of Christianity as a very precarious facade.
That tells me that the churches that are supposed to be shaping the thinking of their members are either failing to do so in a biblical direction or they are part of the problem and advocating the societal assumptions of the time. And what with churches ordaining homosexual priests and ministers, advocating gay rights and refusing to speak out against the prevalent immorality of the day shows that they are part of the problem and have nothing to offer in way of a solution. To put it plainly, such simply do not believe what the Bible teaches!
How should the Christian look at how the world should operate? What should be the basis upon which Christians make decisions about their lives, their families, their work, their neighbors, their relationship to the government and a thousand and one other things? I would not attempt to offer a comprehensive listing of all that should enter into the thinking of people who profess to be followers of Jesus. A short article such as this simply does not allow the development of all that could be suggested, but I will offer a few key ideas.
- The Christian should understand that God is the creator of all things and as such has not only the right, but the wisdom to inform us as to how we should live in this world. All morality, government, philosophy, education and social system should be rooted in the being and character of God who is behind all existence.
- We should understand that this world with all its suffering, injustice, cruelty, war, greed, sickness, disease, prejudice, immorality etc., etc., is as it is because of the sin of man – instigated by Satan, beginning with our first parents and continuing through every generation of man to the present.
- We should understand that God’s plan for the redemption of His fallen creation culminated in the death of Jesus on the cross to redeem mankind from sin and to gather a people – the church – who would work with Him to show His glory to all creation – those beings both on earth and in heaven. (Ephesians 3:7-10; 20-21). Everything the Christian does should be done with a view to giving glory, praise, worship and service to Him – which includes not only religious activities, but our families, our jobs and all our relationships.
- We should understand that Jesus, after His resurrection ascended to the right hand of God where He now reigns as Lord of lords and King of kings. He is the one who is ultimately in control of all things, not kings, presidents, governors nor any other power on earth. He is above all and before all and is the lawgiver to whom all creation will one day bow and give answer for their deeds done in this life.
- Finally the Christian should be looking for the return of the Savior at whose coming all the dead will be resurrected to eternal life, the wicked judged and the whole of creation redeemed. (Romans 8:18-25).
This world (order or system) with its “worldviews” is but a temporary arrangement, always doomed to failure, disillusionment and disappointment. But a biblical outlook gives permanence, order, security, stability and hope both in time and for eternity.