|EXPLORING CHRISTIANITY - TRUTH||
LIFE AFTER DEATHChristianity's Hope & Challenge.
Four major worldviews
It may be helpful to begin by giving a brief summary of four important worldviews that are prominent in the world today. A "worldview" is a way of thinking about truth and reality. It sums up the basic conclusions about life and meaning that a person figures out and lives by, either consciously or unconsciously. James Sire, in The Universe Next Door, gives the following definition of "worldview":
A world view is a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic make-up of our world.
Or we could simply say it is the sum total of what we believe about the most important issues of life.
Sire suggests the following seven questions we can ask ourselves in determining our own particular worldview. In summary, they are as follows:
Whatever answers we give to such questions will obviously have a big effect on such matters as our goals in life - how we make decisions; the way we treat other people; the way we value ourselves; our attitude to material possessions; the way we face death; what we think is wrong with the world and how we are going to put it right; how we relate to human need, to family structure, to those outside our own community, to human rights, or to government. Though recognising that what we say we believe and how we behave do not always match up, our actions often point clearly to what we really believe.
With these questions in mind, let's have a brief look at what are perhaps the major worldviews that people hold in this modern world. It is important to note that the following summaries are extremely brief, and you may well think simplistic. Certainly we could find variations on each of them. However, I give them here in order to underline the fact that they are different and that these differences cannot but affect the way we live. Some tend to pick bits that appeal to them from two or more of these worldviews and end up with a hotch-potch of beliefs, but this is usually the result of not thinking deeply enough about the issues. If, indeed, one of them should be true and the others false, then which one we choose to go with cannot but have important consequences, both for the present and the future.
Samuel Johnson, the essayist and dictionary-maker of the eighteenth century, said: "Truth, sir, is a cow; which, when sceptics have found it will give them no more milk, they have gone off to milk the bull." But milking the bull is not only futile. It can be positively dangerous to one's health!
Four major worldviews