by site founder, Connie Rice
Before determining whether or not worldviews matter, let’s define the term: Merriam-Webster defines a worldview as “a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint“. In other words, a worldview determines how a person perceives the world around them, providing the foundation for forming ideas and opinions, which affect their attitudes and decision-making. A person’s worldview generally depends on what each person has experienced in their lives, what they have been exposed to, and who or what they consider to be an authority.
For the purposes of this article, the focus is between a secular worldview and a Judeo-Christian biblical worldview in America. A growing divide in the country is revealed through cultural and political battles leading to a disturbing decline in civil discourse on both sides and attempts from some groups to block the rights of those with differing opinions to speak. How many of us even agree 100% with all of our family members? I remember as a teen, my mom told me that she strongly disagreed with a particular vocal public figure, but that she would defend to the death that person’s right to express themselves (roughly quoting biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in referencing Voltaire). America is unique among nations in its protection of free speech for every person.
The secular worldview has been exclusively taught in our public schools and universities for many years now and most museums and scientists adhere to it. Many think that Darwinian evolution is proven science, but beliefs about the origin of the world cannot be repeated or tested as is required for the scientific method, so it actually does not fall under the realm of science. It seems to fit better under philosophy or religion. According to the secular worldview, mankind and apes came from an ape-like common ancestor. This worldview rejects the existence of God, offers no hope of eternal life, and considers humans to be animals. It rejects the existence of absolute truth, which had previously helped to hold American culture together with shared values.
A secular worldview cannot explain why only humans are self-aware and have the capacity to reason, create, imagine, ponder, love sacrificially, seek justice, have a sense of morality, use logic, have language, and look for meaning in life. It also cannot answer how life arose, why order exists, why creatures reproduce only within their kind, or how reproduction could have developed at all. Recent scientific discoveries bring into question that everything (complexity of the “simple” cell, DNA discoveries, diversity of animals and plants, soft tissue in dinosaur bones, etc.) could have come about through random evolutionary, materialistic, and chemical processes over millions of years.
For people professing to belong to a religion, their worldview is affected by the beliefs of that religion. Of the approximate 327 million people in America, those who profess Christianity are about 65% (compared to 77% just 10 years ago). Those with the religion of Judaism are almost 2%, but many of whom tend to align with a secular worldview. According to Pew Forum, those who declare themselves as not having a religious affiliation make up about 26% now (compared to 16% just 10 years ago). Of those, there are people who consider themselves to be agnostic (which when literally translated is “without knowledge”), but the term is used according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary to describe “someone who doesn’t know whether there is a god, or even if such a thing is knowable”.
The Judeo-Christian biblical worldview adheres to a belief in a personal, loving, holy, triune Creator God outside of time and space, who created the heavens, the earth, the plants, the heavens, creatures, and mankind, and revealed Himself through His amazing, diverse, and complex Creation (general revelation) as well as the inspired writings of the Bible (special revelation). His Word is accepted as absolute truth and good and evil (right and wrong) are defined by God.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16-17
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”2 Peter 1:20-21
Mankind is made in God’s image, with the capacity to love, create, reason, imagine, ponder, desire justice, use logic, etc. This worldview also recognizes that mankind has a sin nature and needs a Savior to bring reconciliation between them and a holy God. Knowing mankind could not save themselves, God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to live the sinless life that mankind could not and gave His life sacrificially to pay the penalty for the sin of mankind. Jesus rose again, conquering both sin and death. He offers forgiveness and abundant life to all who receive His free gift of salvation.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”Romans 3:23-24
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.“Proverbs 1:7
Jesus promises all of His followers eternal life in heaven and they are given the power to overcome natural tendencies so they can treat others with respect and forgive wrongs. This worldview recognizes that all will be accountable before God for how they lived and how each person treats others. It helps to create a sense of accountability to God and of the need to respect and accept others, resulting in a culture with greater mutual respect and acceptance.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”Colossians 3:12-14
“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before Me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”Romans 14:10-12
According to Lifeway Research (see chart below), only 9% of adults have read through their whole Bible more than once. That means that only a small percentage of adults in our society (including Christians) have a biblical worldview. Evidently, recent generations of Christian families have neglected to make reading their Bible a priority. Children follow their parents’ example. Leaders have evidently not communicated how important it is to know God’s Word and pass that on to the next generation.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”Deuteronomy 6:5-9
As our nation becomes more biblically illiterate and subsequently influenced by secular culture, should we be surprised that our culture is drifting farther and farther away from God’s ways and deeper into confusion and moral decline? The incidence of depression and suicide is at an all time high. People are seeking meaning in all kinds of areas that put them at risk (alcohol, drugs, sex, etc.). It is critically important for parents and Christian leaders to know God’s Word themselves in order to have a biblical worldview themselves and to disciple the next generation.
“God has no grandchildren. He has only children, so being a born-again Christian is not an automatic thing.”Reinhard Bonnke
If reading the Bible is difficult, pray for God to give you a love and passion for His Word – that is a prayer He is assured to answer (I know because it is in His will and He answered that prayer for me). Christian parents have adopted the parental values of our culture rather than following God’s standard for parents and their children and grandchildren are paying the price:
“But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”Matthew 7:26-27
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.1 Peter 5:8
“To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.”Proverbs 17:21
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate’. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”1 Corinthians 1:18-25
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”Galatians 6:7
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love.”Psalm 33:18
Do worldviews matter? Absolutely! A person’s worldview is how they see everything else and motivates not only their thought and attitudes, but also their opinions and decision-making. That cannot help but affect not only their own lives, but that of other people in their families, schools, workplaces, and people in public places. The nation’s law-making, judicial decisions, and the future direction of America is at stake, but more importantly – the next generation is depending on us to show them the way.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.”Psalm 37:23
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare Your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”Psalm 71:18
© Constance Rice 2020