Your world view is your "big picture," the way you harmonize all you believe about life and the world you live in. It is your way of understanding reality and responding to it, and is the underlying basis upon which you make decisions, both big and small. Given all this, it is important that we all know about the world view out of which we have elected to function.
Every world view should be able to answer these questions:
First, who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going?
Second, where are peace, joy, fulfillment and purpose to be found?
Third, what obstacles stand in my way, and how can I overcome these obstacles?
Different world views can generate different answers to the questions.
A person whose dominant understanding of the world is "naturalism" would answer the first question like this: "Who we are and why we are here is a product of random acts of nature and evolution. I am on my own in this 'survival of the fittest' world, and I'm at the mercy of my own animal nature, albeit informed and directed by my intellect."
A "materialist" would probably answer the second question like this: "Since the material world is all there is, fulfillment and comfort can be found only in the acquisition and enjoyment of material things." In other words, "He who has the most toys wins."
A "secularist" would answer the third question like this: "The world can be made a better place and my destiny fulfilled only through human intellect, reason, logic, science and technology."
A Christian world view, on the other hand, answers the questions something like this: "Who I am is a beloved child of God, created to be eternally in fellowship with God. Fulfillment, joy and peace, therefore, are to be found in my relationship with the God who created me (Genesis 1:27-28).
"As for question two, my relationship with God is distorted because of the darker side of my human nature (greed, pride, self-absorption, etc). As a Christian, I know that full purpose and power for living is to be ultimately found in the restoration of my walk (my unencumbered relationship) with God (Genesis 3:8).
"And for question three, what stands in the way of recovering this full and eternally life-giving relationship with God are three things: myself; the influences of this broken and hurting world in which I live; and the devil and the spiritual forces arrayed against God's plan for me who seek to prevent my full fellowship with God. Try as I will, I cannot overcome these enormous obstacles arrayed against me, but God who has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ can. God is obviously my only hope and salvation." (Luke 19:10, Isaiah 65:17-25)
What is your perspective? What is the dominant world view through which you understand and respond to life?
The truth is that we all have a blend of world views, even Christians. But as disciples of the living God, we Christians strive (by the grace of God and power of God's Holy Spirit in us) to possess a mature, comprehensive "Christian world view" that, day by day, becomes less tainted by the world, the flesh and the devil. We know this is the only source for living life to the fullest, for as Jesus says, "I am come that you might have life, and have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
The Rev. Rob Hartley is the pastor of the Church of the Holy Trinity (Anglican) in North Augusta.