The reason Christians need to understand worldview is not just to become smarter – though that will be an important side effect. Rather, it is important because a person’s worldview has a profound effect on how daily life is lived.
We have Valentine’s Day coming up soon. It is a time for us to celebrate love. But we all know that the English word “Love” does not mean the same thing in every situation. We love God, our spouse, children and parents, but we also love football, ice cream and a mild spring day. Honestly, love really does mean different things in different situations. So, what exactly does that have to do with worldview?
A worldview is more than just a point of view. People who hold the same worldview can have different points of view about matters which are not a part of the essential structure of the worldview system. What we are dealing with here are entirely different ways of understanding how reality is structured. At this fundamental level of understanding, even the way people understand love will be different. So, let’s take a look at how this plays out in real life.
Love from a Naturalistic Worldview
Based on Naturalism, there is no such thing as a supernatural reality. That is, everything which exists is purely natural. So, when it comes to love, all that exists is the physical/animal element of a living creature. Feelings of love are viewed to be purely the result of chemical and electrical processes within the body.
Additionally, there is no such thing as objective morality, so other matters typically associated with love, such as what people believe about marriage and sex, are purely social constructs which can be thought of in any way society approves. There is nothing morally wrong, in an objective sense, with any form of sexual activity, and marriage is seen purely as a social institution to serve society.
Love from an Animistic Worldview
Love, from an animistic perspective, is based purely on the natural order of things. There is no particular reason why human beings love each other, but they do. Since this is what human beings experience, they ought to do it within the confines of what is natural. Doing otherwise messes with the natural order of the universe and is likely to bring the displeasure of the spirits.
Love from an FET Worldview
The Far Eastern Thought worldview also understands reality to be structured in its most natural way. Everything in all of realty is as it is because it has evolved to its current state based on karma. When people try to act in ways which run contrary to the natural way, bad karma is brought forth.
Typically, traditional marriage and traditional ideas about sexual behavior are associated with what is normal. Sex outside of marriage and divorce are considered abnormal and produce bad karma.
Love from a Non-Christian Theistic Worldview
There is not just one single way Theism defines what is proper about love. There are different expressions of Theism and a different God associated with each one. Everything depends on which God you are dealing with and what that God has revealed to mankind about what is proper. In order to get at this topic from a non-Christian theistic perspective, you must read the revelation of the specific belief system you are dealing with. For instance, you will find some very different teachings about sex, personal human relationships and marriage when you examine Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.
Love from a Christian Worldview
A Christian worldview understands the concept of love based on the teachings found in the Bible. It begins with the belief that human beings are more than mere physical animal creatures. They are spiritual persons created in the image of God who have a capacity for love and relationship that goes beyond physical attraction and interaction. Additionally, the love that human beings show one another has a higher purpose which is found in the purpose and plan of God. As such, sex outside of marriage is not approved. For the same reason, divorce is not viewed as a part of God’s plan.
While love can be expressed in numerous ways, the highest form of love has its basis in selfless giving. Each individual is admonished to give him or herself to God and to others in ways which demonstrate the love of God and express his purposes in the relationship.
The Reality about Love
Interestingly, people express love no matter their worldview. In the case of those who base their expressions of love on non-Christian worldview beliefs, many of those expressions will be perversions. Often these are ultimately demonstrated as pre-marital sexual relationships, homosexual behavior, adultery and other expressions of non-biblical morality.
That being said, people do try to express love in their lives. There is such a thing as objective reality and that reality is that human beings have a built in need and capacity for expressing love. We must live in it, no matter what we believe. As such, it is important to grasp the truth of that reality and conform our lives to it. We find and understand the truth as we grasp ever more fully what the Bible teaches. To the degree we do, we will be able to experience what true love is all about.
© 2013 Freddy Davis