Ask Steve: The Christian Worldview

Jesus con

 

Currently Reading:

Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You

by J.D. Greear

Category: Theology / Christian Living

2014, Zondervan

 

 

 

Question: Can you give me a broad explanation of the Christian worldview and what makes it so unique and better than other worldviews?

Answer: A Christian worldview is an indispensable one to have in order to live the proper, God-glorifying Christian living. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (Jn 14:15). The degree to which you understand the commands of Scripture will influence how you live your life. Without a proper understanding of Scripture, you will not have a proper worldview – one that will benefit you in the long run. 

The term “worldview” comes from the German word Weltanschauung, which literally means “to look onto the world.” So a particular worldview is how you look onto the world. It refers to the overall perspective from which a person or group both consciously and unconsciously understands and interprets the world. Of course, understanding and interpreting the world depends on the type of glasses you wear and look onto the world with. In other words, it begins with the laws and convictions you understand to be true, agreeable, or affirming. From this, you make decisions in life – social issues, politics, lifestyle choices, religious issues, and even liberty issues. A worldview takes into account a person’s presuppositions and beliefs about such issues as the existence of God, the meaning of life, the essence of right and wrong, and the fate of a person after death. How one understands these issues affect how he views reality and responds to it.

What makes a Christian worldview and how is it better than other worldviews? Like most other religions, philosophies, and ideologies, the Christian worldview seeks to provide answers and convictions concerning core life issues like ascertaining the truth of an absolute (“Is there a God?” “What is this God like: personal or impersonal?), humans (“Who is man?” “Is he any different or superior than other living things?), the universal problem (“Why is there evil and suffering in the world?” “Is there a solution?”), the solution (“Do I need to be reconciled to God?” “Do I need to be one with the universe?”), ethics (“How should I live morally?” “Is there such thing as real right and wrong?), life after death (“Is there a heaven or hell?” “Is it just non-existence?”), and other religions (“Are other religions wrong?” “Is there such thing as one true worldview or system to live by?). There are many modern religions and ideologies that compete with the Christian worldview, such as Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Confucianism, New Age, Scientology, Wicca, atheism, and even ideologies from within heretical Protestantism (liberal Christianity, Faith Word, etc).

Worldview

Even though it is popular in postmodern times to believe that all religions are true, or that they at least contribute something to the overall puzzle of reality, there is good reason to believe that the Christian worldview is the best and only viable option. This is obvious when one acknowledges the inspiration of Scripture. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6). His words provide “everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). History, archaeology, science, prophecy, and geography also attest to the total truthfulness and historical reality of the Bible, more than any other existing or non-existing religions, philosophies, or worldview. Aside from empirical evidence and philosophical logic, God’s Word also holds incredibly strong and logical when it is used as the starting point in explaining reality. If this is true, that that presupposes that whatever contradicts the Bible is erroneous, inconsistent, and does not adequately explain the mysteries of life.

For example, atheism strongly proposes to give solutions to the answer of the origins of life and, to some degree, how men are to live. All within this camp agree that “science” is the starting point and evidently explains everything there is about life’s existence. Some atheists and agnostics even believe that there is real right and wrong. Yet atheism cannot explain where everything in the world (and the universe) came from. Where did all the matter originate? How did it originate? How did everything in the world become so orderly and sustainable for life on earth? Atheism cannot account for why nature runs by certain laws that are timeless and immutable (ex. law of gravity, the rotation pattern of the earth, the survival skills of insects and mammals, the DNA cell which contain the blueprint for the person’s physical makeup). Atheism claims to believe in morality that leads to the common good and survival of humanity, but it cannot account for why people need to abide by a certain code of morality or ethics, especially if we all evolved from some impersonal force. Why should people be selfless and giving instead of selfish and self-surviving, especially if this life is all there is? Why do parents give up their lives for their children, and not vice versa? Why do people believe that hatred, racism, and genocide of others (even weaker and deformed ones) are wrong, even if an entire society deems it acceptable (ex. Nazi Germany)?

The only solution that reasonably answers this topic is the existence of a personal God who puts His law into the hearts and minds of people so they know what is objectively good and evil; right and wrong. God’s Word affirms what is observable in reality, as it regards objective, unchanging morality, when it says “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…” (Rom 2:14-15).

Worldview 2

If we stopped here, then we would acknowledge the reality of a Creator God, but not know who He is exactly. Which religion speaks truth about God’s essence and character, since there are quite a few monotheistic religions out there? The truth of Scripture stands in its ability to answer questions about God and to even reveal inconsistencies and/or lack of answers in other religions. For example, Islam claims that there is one God. He is Allah, who created the world and everything in it, commands how people are to live, and will judge the righteous and the unrighteous on Judgment Day. They insist that Allah is one Person within the Godhead, yet they cannot account for how this leads to the unity amongst diversity that exists in the world, whether with people or animals. Why are there people of many types of personality who unite in one movement or cause? The theology of God also does not really explain the reason why there is such thing as love and submission that is evident in government, religious organizations, family, and marriage. Why is it timeless and proper for women to submit to men, while men faithfully lead the marriage? Why do children submit to their parents, and not vice versa? Why is it proper for subjects to submit to the governing authorities?

Even though Islam, or even Judaism, does not give an obvious answer, the Bible does. It teaches that God eternally exists in three separate Persons (diversity), yet they are all one God (unity). Within this Godhead is a defined pattern of responsibility and function, in which each Person knows their role and acts it out perfectly. The Father plans and leads and the Son and the Holy Spirit submits to the Father (Luke 22:42; Jn 5:36; Jn 14:26, 16:7). In this perfect relationship, we see the perfect love of God expressed, and everything it entails (kindness, humility, service, selflessness, faithfulness). This explains why there is unity amongst diversity, defined roles, and even the existence of love, which is a big mystery if the world merely evolved from merely water and matter, or if God were only one Person (because the Father would have no one to show and exercise perfect love to for all eternity).

There are many more examples that can be given when it comes to using the presupposition of the Bible to answer questions and refute error, but this exercise ultimately demonstrates that God’s Word is not only true, but a necessary guide to one’s life. It is the only logical and safe one to put on, in regards to both salvation and Christian living. Failure to exercise a Christian worldview will not only lead to wrong answers about life’s questions, but a wrong lifestyle that is displeasing, if not abominable, to a holy, righteous, and true God. If there is a God, then there exists truth, which means there is real error. If God’s Word is true, then there exists falsehood in other religious books and ideologies. This is why a Christian worldview is important to hold, because a slight deviation away from it can lead to misguided, futile, and even dangerous choices in life.

Recommended Resource: Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey