Since this site is called Radical Worldview, it seems best to start with an explanation of what a worldview is! The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes a worldview as “a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint”. In other words, a worldview is made up of the beliefs or philosophy that shapes how we understand life and the world around us.
Now you might be thinking “Whoa! I don’t really have a worldview!” But actually, you do. Everyone has a worldview whether they recognize it as such or not. Think about how you would answer some of the following questions.
Does God exist?
If God exists, what is God like?
Where did the universe and the world come from?
What is a “human” and how did humans get here?
What is our purpose?
Is there life after death?
How do we know right from wrong?
Is there a such thing as “truth” and, if so, how do you know what “truth” is?
Why is there so much evil in the world?
The way you answer questions like these has to do with your worldview. You have underlying beliefs and assumptions that govern the way you look at and understand the world around you. This is your worldview.
Why does it matter?
- Understanding that we all have a worldview is important because each person’s worldview shapes the way they think about and react to every issue in life. We see this playing out every day as people wrestle with issues such as abortion, economics, sex and gender, immigration, crime, international relations and many more.
- Understanding that we all have a worldview is important because it shapes how we relate to others. For example, imagine your unmarried teenage daughter or a teenage friend comes to you and tells you she is pregnant and asks you for advice. What will you say to her?
- Understanding that we all have a worldview is important because it should cause us to examine all the implications of our beliefs. For example, many hold to a naturalistic worldview. In other words, they believe that everything in the world is the product of natural forces at work. Evolution is a prime example of this, where the belief is that random natural forces created humans, the universe, etc. The only things that truly exist are those that can be explained by science. But follow this thinking to its logical conclusion and you will see that it cannot account for things we all know to be real like the love we feel for another person or the fact that we have free will and use our free will to make choices every day.
Worldviews are important to think about and understand. Christians do well to understand the biblical worldview and how, precisely, it explains reality as we all experience it. It is important also for Christians to understand other common worldviews to be better able to understand our friends and neighbors, and how they see the world as well as to help point them to the truth.
Those looking for an expert and in-depth treatment of several common worldviews should check out Nancy Pearcey’s book Finding Truth which offers an excellent overview of the prominent worldviews of our day as well as how to lovingly engage those with different beliefs.