There are people who really get into the study of nutrition and can tell you what all of the vitamins and minerals are and what they do for the body. I deeply appreciate the people who do this because that is not a topic that I want to spend much time studying. I do, though, want to have that information available. Let them do all of the research and just tell me what foods are good for me and what kinds are bad, right?
Wouldn’t it be great if it really were that simple? I certainly don’t need to know the kind of detail a nutritionist knows. But if I don’t at least learn the basics I am setting myself up to allow my body to deteriorate. A young person can get away with bad nutrition for a time, but there will come a day when it will catch up. And the damage that a long term lack of good nutrition causes will make ones later years awful. At every age people need to know what foods deliver the kinds of nutrients that the body requires for optimum health.
This principle concerning knowledge is true in many areas of life. But today we want to see how it applies to our spiritual lives. Sometimes people don’t pay much attention to the topic of worldview because even the word itself seems to express some kind of abstract concept which doesn’t have much relevance to real life. Nothing, though, could be further from the truth, and to counter that impression we want to take a moment to explore the practical implications of this topic. How does knowing, or not knowing, about worldview affect your everyday spiritual growth.
There are two arenas where the practical expressions of worldview can be vividly seen. The first area relates to your personal spiritual life. The second is connected with how you express your faith toward others. Lets look at these two areas and explore how we can use worldview to make our personal faith lives stronger in every respect.
Know What You Believe
What is it that causes a person not to have confidence in his or her faith? A lack of confidence is a direct result of not knowing two things – what your faith consists of and why it is the truth. Let’s consider what this means. The “what” part can be addressed simply by a study of the doctrines of the faith. The “why” part, though, is the domain of worldview.
Suppose someone begins attacking your Christian faith. It may not even be directly to your face. It may be simply someone blabbing away when you are in a small group in an informal setting. What will you say, if anything? If you truly don’t know how to articulate what you believe and why, you will probably not say anything because you have no idea what to say. However, if you have the ability to express your beliefs that way, you get to decide whether or not it would be appropriate to respond at that time. If you determine that it is, you have the ability to say something.
There is another place where consciously knowing our belief foundation is important. God is a person and it is possible for us to interact with him in a personal relationship. However, if we don’t know much about what he is like, and believe in our heart of hearts that he is a real person, it becomes difficult to interact with him.
I’m sure you have been in situations where you had to interact with someone that you really didn’t know well. If it turned out that this other person came from a culture that you were totally unfamiliar with, you, no doubt, found it even more difficult to connect well. God is a person who has a particular personality. If we do not know what he is like, it is hard to know what to talk to him about and how to interact with him. It is essential for us, as Christians, to know all of the elements of our faith so we will be confident as we interact with God.
There is a third area where knowing what we believe, and why, is important. This relates to knowing what our faith teaches about lifestyle. It is not enough to know what God is like, we must also conform our own lives to the requirements for interaction with him. God is a holy person and cannot allow sin into his presence. If we insist on living a life that is contrary to his teachings, we have relegated ourselves to living outside of fellowship with him. To solve this problem, it is important for us to have confidence that our faith position is the truth. This is massively enhanced by an understanding of worldview.
Know What Others Believe
The second category where the practical expressions of worldview emerge relates to sharing our faith with others. Without confidence in your personal beliefs you might doggedly hold on to your faith, but you can bet the farm you won’t be spending any time and effort sharing it with others. Even knowing our own faith will not give us confidence to share if we don’t have a way to evaluate the truth of our beliefs in relationship to the truth claims of other beliefs. If we want to be able to effectively witnesses for our Lord, it is essential for us to know what others believe and why the other beliefs are not the truth. Worldview gives us this understanding.
We know that two opposing beliefs can’t both be true at the same time. They can both be false, but both cannot be true. Worldview gives us a set of tools to not only compare various belief systems with one another, but also to help us understand the truth of our own Christian faith and evaluate weaknesses in the truth claims of other beliefs.
For instance, if a Naturalist approaches you and begins giving all kinds of “scientific evidence” as to why Darwinistic evolution is true, how will you deal with it? One possible approach is to go point by point and refute each argument. It is possible to do that, but there are literally thousands of arguments you might have to deal with and you will always be on the defensive. But, if you can show that the worldview itself is not valid, it throws into doubt all of the arguments they make as they try to defend it.
As an example, Darwinistic evolution requires for matter (or, at least, the building blocks of matter) to be eternal. If you can demonstrate that this belief is, itself, is nothing more than a philosophical assumption (rather than a scientific certainty) all of the arguments which are built upon it are shown to be suspect. The Naturalist’s belief is demonstrated to be just as certainly a faith position as our own. All that is left, then, is to determine which faith position has more support. Using worldview tools, this is a relatively easy thing to do.
This is just one example using one worldview, but the principle applies to every belief system. If we can understand worldview and demonstrate how the various non-Christian belief systems are suspect based on their faith assumptions, our confidence in our own faith skyrockets. This confidence makes us more comfortable and confident to share the truth with others.
What Are You Going to Do About It?
It is possible to delve into both of the areas above in a scholarly manner. Realistically, though, not everyone is interested enough in the topic to become a scholar in that field. There is nothing wrong with that, but it would be a tragedy to take that sentiment too far. Just as a basic understanding of nutrition is important for our long term physical health, at least a basic understanding of worldview is important for our spiritual health.
God is deeply interested in having you develop an ever deeper relationship with him. He is concerned that you not be lured away from your relationship with him in any way. He also wants to use your life to touch others and lead them to a relationship with himself. Our grasp of the practical implications of worldview will provide us the tools to conform to the purposes and ways of God.
You don’t have to become a professional Christian apologist. But at the very least you ought to put yourself on the road to gradually learning the basics. The practical expressions of this will be that your personal relationship with God will grow deeper and your witness to others stronger.
© 2007 Freddy Davis