What’s in a worldview?

Megan Almon » Systematic Theology Study Worldviews Gospel Apologetics

If someone were to ask you, “What is Christianity?” —how would you respond? A religion? A relationship? A way of seeing the world? A worldview?

Everybody, whether they’re aware of it or not, sees the world in a certain way. For those who think that philosophy is a waste of time—that’s a philosophy. Your worldview is shaped by a number of factors including but not limited to family, culture, education, and experiences. To be a Christian is to believe that Christianity is the worldview that makes the most sense of reality.

Piece by piece

When an individual’s ideas about the world rub up against reality, there are consequences. If those ideas match reality, the result is harmony. When false ideas meet reality, the consequences can be disastrous. Believe what you wish about gravity, but someone who believes human beings can sprout wings and fly is going to collide with the truth (not to mention the ground) when he or she tests that belief by diving off of the roof. 

Think of assembling a puzzle. Pieces are piled on the table, and the goal is to get those pieces to fit together in such a way that the end result matches the picture on the box. Everyone has ideas about God, humanity, history, truth, knowledge, and reality that may or may not correspond to the picture of the world in front of them. Some still have their pieces in a pile, and have never given the bigger picture a passing thought. Some have pieces forced together that just don’t fit. Some are working with the wrong pieces altogether.

The person who carefully compares each piece to the picture is going to complete the puzzle successfully, and the end result is a coherent and beautiful whole. And, like the picture on the puzzle box, because we have reality in front of us, ideas can be compared to it to weigh their validity. 

Be transformed

The gospel accounts reveal Jesus giving his disciples a new worldview. Jesus helped them to understand that the kingdom being proclaimed was greater than—and in many ways, the opposite of—any worldly kingdom they could imagine. It is evident that the good news about the resurrected King they proclaimed in Acts is not the king they understood at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

Paul tells Christians in the book of Romans to be transformed by changing the way they think about the world: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (emphasis mine). He even claims that the war we fight takes place in the realm of ideas: “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4–5).

Christian, are you taking “every thought” captive to the obedience of Christ? Are you believing the truth? Doing so won’t make everything sunny and great, but it will help you make sense of the world, just as it will help you understand why you truly have a future hope.

As C. S. Lewis wrote in The Weight of Glory, “I believe in Christianity as I believe the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

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