Everyone has one, whether you admit it or realize it or not. The human mind must make sense of its world to function & will knit all it knows into an organized view of life. So it’s inescapable to have your own, but how did you get it?? We are born with a basic framework, upon which the mind synthesizes new material into a holistic living whole. We take much of our cues from our parents, our culture, the people who feed our minds information, and we build upon trial & error from the countless decisions we make daily. My first topic in my Be Wise As Serpents (1991) book was “Who built your frame of reference, your worldview?” It makes all the difference in most everything.
EXAMPLES OF THE DIFFERENCE THAT A WORLDVIEW MAKES. It’s been shown in studies of pain, that a mother will experience “pain” from her new baby very mildly compared to pain from other sources, & vice versa. One quick example from history is a deliberate attack on the USS Liberty on 8 JUNE ’67. An ally of the USA deliberately attacked an Amer. naval vessel. The American crew was ordered not to talk about the event, most of the docs about the attack are still classified, & FOIA requests get deflected, & a cover-up has been maintained for yrs. by both the U.S. military & this ally. The American ship was flying an American flag, had 8’ high numbers and the ship name easy to read, and she had a unique shape. The officer of the deck has been honest & said the attack was “deliberate”. Admiral Kidd referred to the nation who attacked his ship as “murderous bastards”. The pt. here is that the worldview that this nation was an American ally has determined the response to the attack. America has gone to war with other nations, for instance Spain, Germany & No. Vietnam, for less!! (Since the topic is raised, I have to explain a little, but I am not going to get sidetracked explaining the attack, I have already in other places….Israel knew exactly what the ship was doing, & had a legit reason for the attack…the USS Liberty was a spy ship secretly providing Egypt SIGINT-based intelligence on the Israeli order of battle so that the Six Day War could last longer. Plus there were other secrets that Israel did not want out. Israel’s leaders had a more realistic worldview, not trusting their ally. The world view that believes an Amer. president works for American interests has blinded some to the danger of Obama’s Iran deal. The consensus of my college classmates is that Obama must have made a good deal w/ Iran, he’s our president, so it must be good for us. By the way, Iran just took some more Amer. hostages.) But let us set aside all this talk of political double-dealing, which was brought up to make a pt. : our worldviews affect our interpretations & responses to events in life. Is the world & life a created gift from God? or an illusion? or an evil material world distracting us from spiritual reality? Adopting one of these views will determine your responses to life.
BUILT NATURALLY. Most worldviews are built without intentional direction, they happen as a function of the mind & the matrix it grows up in. But some great thinkers have sought to master its direction. These are our philosophers & great religious thinkers, men like Socrates, Augustine, & Immanuel Kant. And these thinkers try to start from some reference pt. For German philosopher Kant it was the subjective mental abstraction “a priori categories of the mind”. For Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd, it was the human heart & its commitments, whether that heart is converted or averted to God. He said there was a religious root to thought itself. Thinking comes either from a Spirit of Holiness or a Spirit of Apostasy. The soil that grows a worldview, are rooted in the soil of the heart. If Dooyeweerd is right, my own experience shows that a worldview may begin to grow in the soil of the heart, and gain direction from the Spirit of Holiness & Truth, but that worldview still needs to be tended.
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE. The collapse of a worldview is a conversion experience. There are countless types: from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Buddhism, from atheist to Christ, etc. Reassessing factoids, for instance, realizing a brown 50’ bridge is actually a red 65’ overpass…is not a conversion experience. My conversion experience to Christ was in 1969. There is a Bible verse that says, “And be not conformed to this world [i.e. a worldview from the Matrix], but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind [into a new worldview, the mind of Christ]…”(A) This “new birth” is referred to as “putting on Christ”(B) or putting on the mind of Christ, or putting on the new man(C) and the arrival of this conversion experience was foretold by prophets of God for many thousands of years.(D) And while Christian thinkers like Augustine & Francis A. Shaeffer helped me enlarge & improve this worldview, it was not until I was in the Basic Youth Institute of Bill Gothard that I got a comprehensive complete Biblical worldview. (For that, I am grateful to Bill and am sad that he fell into sin & lost credibility—but the principles he taught were Bible based & pulled everything together.) In 3 days of study, I had doubled my already extensive knowledge of the Christian way, by finally seeing a comprehensive view of all of life as the mind of Christ sees it. Life now made complete sense. Having all of life’s experiences & all truth synthesized into a functional, organized, harmonious Worldview was critical for me to deal with all that life hits us with. The pt. is…it didn’t just happen; I had to be discipled into it…something that is very lacking in the Billy Graham approach of simply making a decision for Christ.
SHAEFFER’S RECOMMENDATION. Francis Schaeffer, a deep thinker, wrote books explaining why the Christian worldview was the only credible answer to the problems of modern life. He says, “I love the biblical system as a system”(E) and “The Christian system (what is taught in the whole Bible) is a unity of thought. Christianity is not just a lot of bits and pieces…and this system is the only system that will stand up to all the questions that are presented to us as we face the reality of existence.”(F) That’s a fine view, the problem is that most nominal Christians don’t have a Christlike worldview, nor even a clue that they don’t have a Christian view, their worldviews have been built by the Matrix. I think of how I had studied the Bible intensely, and yet still needed to be discipled in a systematic way to get my thinking right. Most Christians have yet to put on Christ, not yet let themselves be led by that Holy Spirit that Dooyeweerd described, let alone adopt a systematic Bible worldview. The World could easily convince a person that it is a horrible, brutal, depraved nightmare. The World tries hard to convince us that humans are evolved evil animals, for instance, that there are either victims or victimizers. Get yours while you can, it’s either you or the other guy who wins. In contrast to this… while acknowledging sin, the Christlike view offers hope…a balance to things. History has evil, but it also has God’s redemptive plan in action. If it is nighttime, wait on God, for He has created an upcoming sunrise. Some have said, you are what you eat. Christ said you eat and drink at my table. A Christlike worldview shows us dependent upon God for sustenance & identity. Eating is not merely a material action, but carries spiritual significance also. All we do, we do under God to Christ. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men’’.(G) “For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.”(H) Life itself becomes a spiritual act/sacrifice of worship glorifying its Creator. Man is created in the image of God. “The Lord by wisdom founded the earth.”(I)
ANTHROPOLOGISTS & MISSIONARIES. Those who rub shoulders with other worldviews may get cultural shock. A missionary with the Masai in Africa discovers they have a totally different view of creation, giving a different meaning to life. In some other views, nature, God & humanity are seen as a unity. Some see the consequences of actions as the moral law, and don’t acknowledge the moral law to be a set of abstract rules, like “Thou shalt not kill”. Some still in the Illuminati have told me that God to them is a clockmaker, He set things up, now it is up to us to run things. (No need for Him, He doesn’t care, it is up to us.) Karl Marx taught a world view of dialectical materialism. When we seek to communicate with & understand people, we find that we are forced to be aware to some degree of their worldview. But by worldview, I don’t mean a defined word or even something that they themselves have defined. A person may not be able to articulate their thinking even to themselves. But non-the-less each person, depending upon his or her intelligence, and experiences has built a unique organized worldview. It is becoming popular in our nihilistic post-modern world to claim that one can’t even build a coherent view…there is no single reality. Whatever; the truth remains that the human mind will create a construct in which to function.
The purpose of this message is to cause us to reflect on the importance of our worldview, and to get us to reflect on how it was built. Christ said, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.(J) If out of the heart come the issues of life…then we can determine part of our worldview by noticing what we value. What do you value? What is your worldview and where did you get it??
(A) ROM 12:2 (B) ROM 13:14, GAL 3:27 (C) COL 3:10 (D) DT 30:6, JER 31:31, 32:39, EZEK 11:19 & others (E) Schaeffer, Escape From Reason (Complete Works, Vol. 1), p. 221 (F) Schaeffer, The God Who is There (C.W., Vol. 1), p. 178 (G) COL 3:23 (H) LU 20:38 cf. ROM 14:8 (I) PRV 3:19 cf. JOB 28:23-28, & PS 104:24 (J) MT 6:19-21, LK 12:33-34