One day, while talking to a friend of mine about the topic of “worldviews” she said, “Worldview . . . I’m not sure that I even have one”. I bet there are a lot of people out there like my friend who are unsure about whether or not they have a worldview. Perhaps you are, too.
The fact is, all of us have a worldview whether we realize it or not. Worldviews are the kinds of things that people can’t live without.
What are worldviews?
A worldview, put simply, is a way of understanding the world in which we live. Everyone has been shaped by all kinds of beliefs and experiences. Our ideas about the world make up the content or structure of our worldviews.
Worldviews help us to answer all kinds of deep questions about everyday life, such as:
- Why is there something rather than nothing?
- How should I treat other people?
- What kind of friend should I be?
- Who should I date?
What do you believe?
Some beliefs within our worldviews are more important than others – these beliefs are called “control beliefs”. Control beliefs affect many other beliefs we have or the decisions we make. After all, everyone believes something about the following important issues:
- GOD: Does God exist? If God exists, then what is this God like? Does more than one god exist?
- REALITY: Is the universe all that there is or is there more to reality than what we can see, taste, feel, and touch? Is there a real world out there or is reality much like the Matrix, where everyone is connected to some big computer?
- KNOWLEDGE: What can we know? Is science the only way that we can know things about the world? Is there such a thing as absolute truth or is all truth merely subjective?
- HUMAN ORIGINS: Where did we come from? Did we evolve or were we created by God?
- ETHICS: What is right and wrong and who says so? Society, individuals or God? How should I treat others?
- AFTERLIFE: What happens when we die? Do we all turn to dust or do we live on? Is there more to life than the “here and now”?
These questions are heavy. Because of all of the answers out there, sometimes it becomes overwhelming to know how we ought to answer them.
Of these questions, perhaps the most important is the question concerning God, because what we decide to do with God will influence many of our other beliefs.
For example, if we believe that God is real and that he created all things, including humans, then how should we humans respond to him? What does God expect of us? How should we treat other people? How should we treat the earth? Our beliefs about God set the foundation for many other beliefs that we have.