Say It with Me: Worldview
by Travis Satterfield
At first glance, worldview seems like an arcane topic reserved only for the more philosophically minded. Discussing worldviews can get tedious and sometimes downright arbitrary. However, worldview thinking is becoming increasingly necessary for Christians to understand the world around them properly.
The term worldview refers to a person’s general concept of reality. It is general, being the perspective from which a person approaches every aspect of life. It is a concept, existing as a set of ideas that precede further thinking and action. It deals with reality, viewing the ultimate state of everything as it truly is.
Simply put, our worldview is the way we view the world.
Our worldview consists of what we acknowledge as ultimate reality, whether that is a personal God, or a universal spirit, or the material universe. Our worldview is how we make sense of our experiences and assign meaning to them. Our worldview is largely responsible for why we think and act the way we do.
Our worldview will determine how we answer life’s biggest questions.
- What is real? – Our answer depends on what our worldview says about the nature of reality.
- Who am I? – Our answer depends on what our worldview says about our identity.
- Why am I here? – Our answer depends on what our worldview says about our purpose in life.
- How do I know what is right and what is wrong? – Our answer depends on what our worldview says about morality.
- Where am I going? – Our answer depends on what our worldview says about our destiny.
We may not spend time on a regular basis, thinking through these questions. However, because these questions are so basic to our lives, forming a worldview to live by is inevitable, whether we know it or not. To quote Francis Schaeffer, “People function on the basis of their worldview more consistently than even they themselves may realize.”
Research psychologist Artur Nilsson agrees.
While it is true, I believe, that most persons do not have an articulated and organized philosophy of life, everyone does have a worldview. But we’re not typically aware of our worldviews in our daily lives. They’re so basic to our thinking that they become invisible to us. They present themselves as the obvious truth. We use them to think, perceive, and act in a largely habitual and unconscious way, but we rarely reflect upon them.
So, here’s the thing…
How beneficial would it be if we were to think deeply about our worldview and worldviews in general? What if we intentionally curated and cultivated the way we think about the world around us? What if we took up the task of worldview thinking?
After all, we are what we think. (Proverbs 23:7)
Ultimately, the question is not whether we have a worldview, but how well formed our worldview is.
I submit that a fully formed worldview will include at least four components…