What is your worldview?
An Innate Sense
All of us, if we allow ourselves to think deeply enough, will discover that we have an innate sense of who we are and where we fit into the reality that surrounds and includes us. We are clearly aware of the first 5 of our senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. With some reflection we can also become aware of the so-called “6th sense” of proprioception, the awareness of our bodies that we get from buried sensors that give us vital feedback about where each part of our body is and what position it is in. And some of us have become aware of our 7th innate sense of spiritual life, which enables us to tune into influences in the universe around us that affect our thinking and feelings in vitally perceptive ways.
We have hopes and dreams of a better life, a better future, and an awareness that we’re not there yet, that there is much wrong in the world around us and even within us that could and perhaps should be improved.
These thoughts and aspirations give rise to visions of a better world and motivation for improvement. Sometimes people dream of an ideal world where pain and suffering have ceased and all things work together the way they should, dreams that assume that somewhere, perhaps over some rainbow, such a world exists.
Our senses move us toward a worldview
According to a thoughtful article by Eric Chabot, the fundamental questions that make up a comprehensive worldview include the following:
- Origins: How did it all begin? Where did we come from?
- Fall: What went wrong? What is the source of evil and suffering?
- Redemption: What can we do about it? How can the world be set right again?
- Morality: What is the basis for morality? In other words, how do we know what is right and wrong?
- History: What is the meaning of history? Where is history going?
- Death: What happens to a person at death?
- Epistemology: Why is it possible to know anything at all?
- Ontology: What is reality? What is the nature of the external reality around us?
- Purpose: What is man’s purpose in the world?
Chabot then goes on to discuss five guidelines for evaluating your own worldview:
- A worldview must be consistent.
- A worldview must be comprehensive.
- A worldview must be livable.
- A good worldview will have adequate explanatory power.
- Epistemology and Ontology
In elucidating the last of these, Epistemology and Ontology, he describes how “a good worldview will allow for a wide range of methods in the knowing process.
“To reduce reality to one area of knowledge (such as the scientific method) is a fatal mistake. Furthermore, it also commits the reductive fallacy. A worldview should recognize that humans come to know and experience reality in a wide variety of ways by not only the scientific/ empirical method, but also by memory, the testimony of others, intuition, religious experience, logical reasoning, listening to the authorities of others, etc. Since humans are subjective at their very core, a good worldview will emphasize a balance between both the objective and the subjective.
“As worldview analyst David K. Naugle says:
Ways of knowing the world complementing the capacities of sight and mind should also be embraced by believers in order to do justice to their complete God-given natures and allow them to comprehend the totality of reality in its rich multiplicity and fullness.
“Naugle goes onto quote what spiritual writer Palker Palmer calls ‘wholesight,’ which fuses sensation and rationality into union with other, yet often neglected ways of knowing such as imagination, intuition, empathy, emotion, and most certainly faith. In God’s epistemic grace, he has provided a variety of cognitive capacities which are adequate for and to be employed in grasping the diverse modes of created reality, an ancient concept known as adaequatio. All capacities ought to be well employed when it comes to apprehending the truth about God, humankind, and the cosmos, else one suffers from metaphysical indulgence.
The answer to the question, what are man’s instruments by which he knows the world outside him? is quite inescapably this: “Everything he has got” – his living body, his mind, his self-aware Spirit. It may even be misleading to say that man has many instruments of cognition, since in fact, the whole man is one instrument. The Great Truth of adaequatio teaches us that restriction in the use of instruments of cognition has the inevitable effect of narrowing and impoverishing reality.
Or, as the famous engineer, inventor, and futurist Nikola Tesla said in 1901:
My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.
The following commentary by T. R. McNeal illustrates how a person’s worldview can influence, either wittingly or unwittingly, their comprehension of miracles:
Contemporary philosophical and theological arguments over the possibility and definition of miracle reflect the altered worldview of the last several centuries – from a theistic to a nontheistic concept of the universe. The perceived tension between the natural and the miraculous is a by-product of a naturalism that is intent on squeezing out the supernatural realm of reality.
The people of the bible did not face this problem. The biblical perspective on the universe is that it is created, sustained, and providentially governed by God. The Bible makes no clear-cut distinction between the natural and supernatural. In the “natural” event the Bible views God as working providentially; whereas, in the miraculous, God works in striking ways to call attention to Himself or His purposes.
How do miracles relate to the natural order? Christian thinkers have responded in different ways throughout the centuries. Some hold that miracles are not contrary to nature (Augustine and C. S. Lewis, for instance). This harmony view contends that human knowledge with limited perspective does not fully understand or comprehend the higher laws that God employs in working the miraculous. Others (like Thomas Aquinas) have maintained miracles stand outside the laws of nature. This approach is called the intervention view, based on their belief that God intervenes in the natural order to do the miraculous.
One’s view of the miraculous is related to one’s view of the universe. A mechanistic perspective believes the world is controlled by unalterable natural laws and cannot allow for the possibility of miracles. Christians in every century have refused to have their universe so limited. They have affirmed the continuing miraculous work of God in the universe He created, continues to care for, uses to reveal Himself, and has promised to redeem.
So the question is, how seriously have you examined your own worldview?
This website is a work in progress that is committed to elaborating a satisfyingly comprehensive world view that is completely compatible with not only good living, but good science and good biblical exegesis as well. We welcome your comments and input.
First, let’s find out where you are now as we begin our journey together.