If you saw an apple sitting on a table, what would you want to do with it? What would it remind you of? A child might see it as a snack, a farmer might be reminded of an orchard, an artist might draw a picture of it, and a teacher might see it as gift from a student. The reason that each person’s response to the apple is different is because each person's perspective is influenced by their worldview. A worldview is how we choose to view the world around us. Our worldview affects how we think, feel, and live every day.
Have you ever worn glasses with tinted lenses? They impact the way you see things, right? A worldview is like a pair of invisible glasses that affect how you see the world around you and can determine the basis for your thoughts, emotions, and choices as you respond to things.
For example, let’s say that you and a friend were talking about an upcoming test that you both forgot to study for. You're a Christian and your friend is not. Your friend tells you that he's going to cheat on the test. You know that cheating does not honor God, and you tell your friend that cheating is wrong. He says that it's only wrong if you get caught. Why would your friend think this way? Because of his worldview.
As a follower of Christ, your worldview says, "I'm accountable to God," and so you make decisions from that frame of reference, like making choices that honor God (1 Corinthians 10:31). A Christian worldview tells you that cheating is wrong—even if you don’t get caught—because God says that we should be honest (Proverbs 10:9; Proverbs 12:22). But your friend's worldview does not include consideration for God or His will, so there is no ultimate authority to hold him accountable. Thus, he believes he can do whatever he chooses to do.
These are two different belief systems which lead to two different thought patterns, emotional responses, plans of action, and, ultimately, different consequences. This is just a simple illustration to remind us that the worldview or "lenses" we wear for our belief system will determine how we think, feel, and act in our daily lives.
We need to be clear that truth is truth—no matter what anyone's worldview is. Though a person's perception of the truth is affected by their worldview, the truth does not change.
For example, if you are wearing pink-tinted glasses, a white shirt might appear pink to you. But just because you see a pink shirt, that doesn’t change the fact that the shirt is white. Sometimes people have a worldview that skews how they see something, and so they believe it to be true. But just because someone sees a thing differently, the truth about that thing doesn’t change.
Those who have a biblical worldview can help those who struggle to see God's truth (Romans 15:1-3). Harmful beliefs can have terrible consequences in life.
When we put together a puzzle, the finished image on box top helps us make sense of all the pieces. We could look at a worldview as the image on a puzzle box that helps us make sense of the world around us. Seeing the big picture helps us answer big life questions like: Does truth exist? Does God exist? How did everything begin? Why am I here? How should I live? What happens when I die?
A person's beliefs may align fairly well with a major worldview like Christianity, secularism, or new age spirituality. Most often, however, the perspective that we choose is a hodgepodge of different beliefs that are based on many different sources. Our personalities, life experiences, traumas, past relationships, education, and more will all affect how we think, feel, and act.
If you had a puzzle with a box top that didn’t match the puzzle pieces, you would have a hard time putting that puzzle into a coherent picture. You would probably spend a lot of time in frustration and anxiety. In the same way, if you have an incorrect image on the puzzle box of your life, then you'll have a hard time figuring out how all the pieces fit together and make sense.
Everyone has a worldview, regardless of whether they're conscious of them. But does that mean it makes no difference what kind of worldview you have? Is everyone's truth true for them? Nope. Remember, truth is truth. Worldview determines how we SEE that truth.
Worldviews govern how leaders rule countries, what teachers teach in school, how parents instruct their children, how work ethic is defined, and so much more. Worldviews affect what people believe about God, what they think is wrong in the world, how they address injustice, and decisions they make about their eternal destination. Worldviews affect how friends treat one another, how dating relationships are navigated, and where people choose to invest their resources (Matthew 6:21).
People will have both healthy and unhealthy beliefs. Some beliefs shine light on truth and others try to hide it. A healthy worldview can have a positive result in our lives, and an unhealthy worldview can result in hurt, pain, and suffering. What we choose to believe has consequences, and those consequences affect us and those around us—both now and into the future. Worldviews based on ultimate truth bring blessing, and those based on worldly desires and selfishness ultimately lead to death (Proverbs 13:14; 14:12, 14:27; Romans 6:23). So it's important that we formulate our worldview based on truth.
One system of beliefs has been given to us which will help us make sense of the world, make sense of our existence, answer the big questions in life, and encourage us to grow into kind, compassionate humans: a worldview based on God's Word (John 14:6; Psalm 19:7-9). A biblical worldview ought to drive the follower of Christ because Scripture tells the truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
When we realize that we've twisted something in our belief system that doesn’t match the truth of Scripture, we must reject the lies and replace it with a biblical mindset (Romans 12:2; John 17:17). When we have a biblical worldview, we can truly find order in the chaos that is our existence in this universe (Psalm 23), meaningful and purpose-driven fulfillment in life (Colossians 3:23-24), and assurance of our eternal fate after our time on earth is over (John 3:16-17, 17:3).
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." —Romans 12:2
Worldviews are based on a system of beliefs and determine how we see the unchangeable truth of life, the universe, and everything else. Our worldview affects how we think, feel, and live every day. Everyone has a belief system, but they aren't all created equally. Healthy worldviews bring blessing, and unhealthy ones ultimately lead to suffering (Romans 6:23). A worldview based on the system of beliefs in God's Word will help us make sense of the world, make sense of our existence, answer the big questions in life, and encourage us to grow into kind, compassionate humans (John 14:6; Psalm 19:7-9). A biblical worldview ought to drive the follower of Christ because Scripture tells the truth (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Hanna loves spending time with kids and teens. She enjoys being detectives with them to investigate God's Word to discover truths to answer any questions. She is the co-author of a newly published apologetics curriculum for children and teaches one online for highschoolers-adults. To learn more about her ministry you can visit networkerstec.com. For fun, she likes to play Ultimate Frisbee, read historical fiction, and paint.