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What is a Worldview?

Short Answer

George Barna, one of the foremost experts on the topic of worldview, defines it simply as “how you make decisions”.  Therefore, everyone has a worldview.  They may not be able to clearly articulate it.  It may not be consistent.  But people use it hundreds of times per day as they live their lives.  It is intensely PRACTICAL.

More Info

At some point every curious person looks at the world around them and faces at least three fundamental questions:

1.    Where did everything come from?

2.    Why does the world seem “broken”?

3.    How does it get “fixed”?

How you view “reality”, how you view “God”, and how you view “mankind” will determine how you answer these big questions and ultimately how you make all the decisions in your life.  As Christians we are called to be intellectually honest and logically rigorous in our reasoning about ourselves and the people and world around us.  Sadly, most people never think about their worldview. It is like a window pane they look through without considering how it bends the vision they see. Or worse, when faced with blatant inconsistencies in their worldview they abandon logical thought altogether. Or even worse, they harden into fanatics and progressively defend more and more blatant self-contradictions. 

A consistent biblical worldview is not complicated.  It can be summarized as: God created everything, our rebellion against Him destroys all that is good, God offers salvation if we repent and return to Him.

Here is a brief summary of one way to categorize various types of worldviews, simplified by the lens of how they view God:

1a.   Biblical Christianity:  God is exactly as He is described in the Bible.  The Bible is the ultimate authority on who God is.   (this is ideally what all “good” churches are trying to teach)

1b.   Incomplete Christianity:  God is as He is described in the Bible, but perhaps not all attributes or achievements/predictions/facts are fully embraced.   (this is what a “Jewish” worldview would be considered, it is VERY close to a “Biblical Christianity” worldview)

1c.   Compromised Christianity:  God is similar to what is described in the Bible, but modified to conform to certain cultural or societal pressures.   (this describes many of the “progressive/liberal” churches in the US today)

1d.   Corrupted Christianity:  God is loosely based on descriptions in the Bible, but other outside texts trump the Bible with additional (and contradictory) characteristics. (this describes Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Islam, etc)

2a.   Secular Humanist:  There is no God.  Man is supreme.  (this generally describes Atheism)

2b.   Socialism:  The state has replaced God.  (this can be very similar to Secular Humanism, with the additional political system of the government as divine)

3.     False Gods:  The gods are creations of men.  They did not create the universe, they do not have ultimate sovereign authority over everything.   (this describes Hinduism, animism, Buddhism, Greek/Roman gods, etc)

4.     New Age Spirituality:  Everything is God. Morality and truth are whatever you want them to be (relativism).  (this describes Relativism)

5.     Syncretism:  A combination of any or all of the above.  This will inherently be self-contradicting.  Sadly, this is by far the most common worldview in our country today.


Link: What is a Biblical Worldview? (Natasha Crain  George Barna): Article/Podcast

Find Your Worldview: Worldview Finder

What’s Your Worldview Book: What's Your Worldview? - James Anderson

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