Worldview Basics Pt.1: Understanding Worldview

Lately, when Robie and I meet together in the lobby of our local Tim Horton’s restaurant for coffee, it seems that there is one theme that dominates our conversation—that of worldview. One of the many blessings that God has graciously granted is the companionship of another who cares deeply for the same issues that concern me. What Robie and I have come to understand (and I hope he agrees!) is that discussing the concept of building and maintaining a Christian worldview is of paramount importance! Over the next several weeks, I’d like to take some time and expound upon what John Frame labels as, “The four most important things to remember about the Christian worldview.”[1] However, before all the fun begins, we must do a little work in defining the idea of what it means to champion a “worldview”.

The term “worldview” is traditionally accredited to the famous philosopher, Immanuel Kant. According to one source, “There is virtually universal recognition that this notable Prussian philosopher coined the term Weltanschauung in his work Critique of Judgment published in 1790.”[2] The German expression Weltanschauung is the word from which we get our “worldview”, and for Kant this term was meant to describe one’s sense perception of the world. For more clarity, consider how C. Stephen Evans defines worldview as a, “Comprehensive set of basic or ultimate beliefs that fit together in a consistent or coherent manner.”[3] These fundamental beliefs taken together as a whole are what formulate our personal perception of the world. In a very simplified way, it is as if each of us are looking at the world from a specific lens or perspective which governs our beliefs. If the lens is tinted red, we should expect to see the world with a hint of red, or if the lens is highlighted blue, we should notice that everything possesses a shade of blue. This same principle applies when we discuss how major belief systems, such as Christianity, influence the way in which we view and do life.

As a Christian then, our lives are viewed from the perspective of a Christian. If you maintain naturalistic evolution, some form of Eastern mysticism/religion, Islam, or any other fundamental belief, you view the world from that specific lens. Of necessity then, the basic set of assumptions that govern our thought will provide answers to the so-called “big questions” of life. Questions such as: What is our purpose? Why is there evil in the world and what is solution? What happens to me after death? And so on. Our basic worldview commitments dictate how one answers these questions.

By now, the importance of the worldview concept should be in clear focus. We live in a world where societies are dominated by the clashing of differing worldviews. For example, political agendas in the United States are fueled by this issue along with the many theological and religious debates that are currently happening in the church. In hopes of providing an answer to these questions, and many more, we must remember that the proposed solutions arise from a basic set of beliefs that dictate how one answers. However, still some questions remain to be asked. For example, which worldview is correct, and how do we know it? What makes one particular system of belief “special”, or better than any other? As readers are probably well aware, these types of questions are prevalent in our culture. However, it is seeking an answer to these questions which will be the focus of the next several posts.

Stay tuned!

WORKS CITED

Evans, C. Stephen. Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion. Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2002.

Frame, John. Apologetics to the Glory of God. Phillipsburg: P&r Publishing, 1994.

Naugle, David K.. Worldview: The History of a Concept. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2002.


[1] John Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God (Phillipsburg: P&r Publishing, 1994). 34

[2] David K. Naugle, Worldview: The History of a Concept (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2002), 58.

[3] C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2002), 124.

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