We all have a worldview. Whether we are conscious of it or not.
It’s what we believe. Not necessarily what we profess.
Quite simply, our worldview is the ideas that actually control our lives - often without our realizing it. It’s what motivates and influences our every thought, our every decision, every move we make. Worldview affects how we relate to other people, what we feel, and what we do under pressure. It informs how we spend our money and how we spend our time.
But - as important as worldview is - most of us don’t spend enough time thinking about it. Too many of us just assimilate the worldviews of our family, our culture, and our friends.
Here are seven questions we can ask ourselves that will help reveal what our worldview really is. We can then reflect on how our answers to these questions affect the choices we make each and every day.
Is there a God? Or a higher power? And if so, what is He like?
Do we believe that there is a God? If so, is He involved with the world? With our lives? Does He care about our job or our schoolwork? Our habits and our hobbies? Does He want to change the way we interact with our family and friends? Is He a distant God? Or is He intimately involved with every aspect of our life? Is He holy and sovereign and loving and kind? And does knowing Him change absolutely everything?
Is there a physical world, a spiritual world, both, or neither?
Do we live in the here and now? Do we trust in what we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell? Is science the only way for us to explain what happens in our world? Or is there more going on behind the scenes? Is there a spirit world as well? And does that spirit world permeate our world at every point? Is there a continuing cosmic conflict over our souls?
Are human beings good, evil, both, or neither?
The vast majority of us want to say that we are good. We want to say that most people are. When asked to define “good,” we might say, “Nice.” Or “Kind.” Or “Not a jerk.” We would reserve the label of “evil” for terrorists and murderers and human traffickers and such. But even then, we might hesitate to judge. So are we born “good”? Or are we born evil and in need of a Savior who can make us new?
What books, TV shows, people, or other media inform our life?
When asked to name the sources that inform our lives, most of us today find them too numerous to count. Family and friends still rank high on the list. However, their voices compete to be heard over the hundreds of television stations and websites and billboard ads and celebrity promos and musical performances and youtube videos we encounter in a given week. Too often, we pay attention to something just because it went viral. And we don’t think critically about what we let in.
Is there such a thing as truth?
The question about truth can be tricky today. Some of us say, “There is no such thing.” Ironically, this - in itself - is an assertion of truth. Others say that truth is complex and unknowable, and if anyone claims to have it figured out, we think he must be arrogant or ignorant or intolerant or all of the above. Still others believe that, yes, there is truth. It’s found in God and His word and His world. And though none of us will ever come to understand it entirely, we will spend our lives seeking it out.
What do you value?
When asked what we value, many of us say, “Family. Friends. My work. My life. My health.” Or we might say, “Authenticity. Selflessness. Justice. And peace.” We might make a list of people and activities and objects and ideas. But the better question might be: Where do we spend our time and money and attention? Because that will reveal our actual values - whether we would name them as such or not. And while the things listed above are good, we also have to ask: When it comes to my life values, is “good” really “good enough”? Where does God fall on our list? Are all other things a pile of dung compared to the value of knowing Him?
What happens to people when they die?
Most of us want to assume that our dead loved ones have gone to heaven and, of course, we want to believe that we are headed there too. We might not use that exact term. But we comfort ourselves with phrases like this: “I’ll see him again” or “she’s in a better place” or “he’s looking down on me.” Do we believe that even people who had no time for Jesus on earth have gone to spend eternity with Him? Or do we believe in a literal heaven and a literal hell? Could heaven be an eternal relationship with a loving God - a God who does not force people to be with Him? A God who has provided a second option - eternal estrangement - a place called hell?
A.W. Tozer has said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Our worldview matters. We would do well to look deeply at what we value and what we believe about God and man and truth and reality. And make it our own. Because it will affect every decision we make. And because life has a way of picking us up and tossing us around. And we always want to nail the landing.