I believe that most of the people who will make the effort to read this article consider themselves Christians and believe they hold a Christian worldview. But at this point, I want to challenge you to consider the possibility that your worldview may not be as Christian as you think. This thought may be a bit shocking at first, but just follow me for a moment.
When dealing with the topic of worldview, most will recognize that what we are actually talking about are our beliefs. The problem we run into, though, is that in the English language, the concept of belief is associated primarily with our intellect. When we say we believe something, what we are generally asserting is that we intellectually affirm the truth of a statement or idea.
Now, intellectual belief is certainly the starting point for understanding worldview. But worldview beliefs actually go to a deeper level. When we are dealing with worldview, it is not enough to intellectually affirm a belief. Rather, we have to believe it in the very core of our being – so much so that we could not even conceive of the possibility of acting against it.
For instance, do you believe that lying goes against a core Christian worldview belief? Well, of course it does. Have you ever deliberately told a lie? Again, of course you have. So, what does this tell us? It tells us that we believe lying is against our Christian worldview on an intellectual level, but that in certain circumstances we permit ourselves to act in ways which go against what we say we believe. In those areas where we allow ourselves to lie, our intellectual belief and our claimed worldview beliefs don’t completely match up. We intellectually believe we ought not to lie but our worldview belief is that it is okay in that circumstance. At that point, we actually don’t hold a Christian worldview. (Note: Do you see the connection between sin and non-Christian worldview beliefs?)
By definition, a worldview consists of the assumptions we hold about the nature of reality. What this means is that we have beliefs (assumptions) about what is real that play out in our daily lives. So, even though we might intellectually assert that we believe lying is wrong, when we do it we are actually living out worldview beliefs which are not Christian.
What I am getting at here is that while on a surface level we might assert that we are Christians and hold a Christian worldview, on the actual worldview belief level, we also hold beliefs which are not a part of the Christian worldview – that is, we have allowed our faith to become hybridized with beliefs that are not Christian. To make my point, I used the example of lying, but there are many who call themselves Christians who live out other beliefs which go against a Christian worldview (cheating, sex outside of marriage, belief in the Theory of Evolution, gluttony, stealing, and the list could go on and on).
But it gets even harder. Not only do we find ourselves doing things which go against a Christian worldview, it is even possible to outwardly live out the morality expressed in Scripture and still not have a biblical worldview. That is because a Christian worldview is not just about actions, but about attitudes, as well. You know very well that it is possible to act civil toward a person but still hate their guts. It is possible to tell the truth to someone, but slant it in a way that deliberately causes them harm. It is possible to remain physically faithful to a marriage partner, but emotionally commit adultery. You get the point.
So, here we are again looking at the actual result of a person’s worldview. The truth is, every person, at all times, is living out the worldview that they hold. If you are willing to tell a lie, that means your worldview beliefs have a provision which allows you to do it. If you participate in sexual relations outside of marriage, your worldview permits it. If you can hold a grudge, your worldview beliefs allow for that. And what this tells us is that, as Christians, perhaps our worldview is not as Christian as we thought it was.
In our Christian faith, we have this concept called spiritual growth. The way we usually express that idea is to recognize that we are not as fully conformed to the image of Christ as we need to be and are on a quest to become more like him. The process of making adjustments in our lives to do that we call spiritual growth. Essentially, what we are doing, as we grow spiritually, is kicking out non-Christian worldview beliefs and replacing them with Christian ones. Now, perhaps you can see how our worldview is not merely our intellectual beliefs about our religion, but is a deeper set of core beliefs which govern our actions, as well. We can violate shallow beliefs as we live life, but we cannot violate our worldview. To do so would be to actually go against the way we believe reality is structured – and that is, indeed, a difficult thing to do. It takes a deliberately considered act of faith.
Taking on a Christian worldview means you “become” a person who lives life based on biblical teachings. It is not enough to “do” Christian things, we must “become” like Christ. Being comes before doing. And when we become one who follows a Christian worldview, we will automatically “do” the things that Christ would do.
The topic of worldview is bandied around a lot these days, but it goes way beyond what most people imagine. It certainly does start with a set of intellectual beliefs. It is impossible to live out beliefs that we don’t understand on an intellectual level. But it is so much more.
A Christian worldview is held by those who not only believe the Bible intellectually, but who believe it to the degree that they can’t bring themselves to live life contrary to its teachings. Those who hold a Christian worldview recognize that God is a real person who can be known in an objective personal relationship, and they actually live in that relationship. We will never perfectly achieve a Christian worldview this side of heaven, though this is where every true believer in Christ wants to be. However, we can continually move in that direction as we conform ourselves to the image of Christ.
© 2012 Freddy Davis