Frequently a film will contain elements of two or more lenses or worldviews. In the Sound of Music, for instance, Catholicism is the main religion presented, giving a viewer the feel that a Christian theist point of view is promoted in the movie. Yet, in the midst of the film is a song that upholds a rather eastern pantheistic viewpoint when Maria and Captain Von Trapp sing “Something Good,” in which each claims that “…somewhere in my youth or childhood/I must have done something good.” The concept of karma—an event or episode happening to a person because of something else he did in the past (whether good or bad)—is a very eastern monist thought. It’s tucked away in a predominantly Christian theist worldview, but it is a karmic addition to that worldview, nonetheless.
This brings us to the key question of this series of articles on worldviews: which worldview is right? Which lens, in essence, is the correct one to use? In James Sire’s The Universe Next Door, the author enumerates four ways we can know if the worldview we have adopted is correct (Sire, 282-283).
- Inner intellectual coherence—If any essential element of the conceptual system or worldview is logically inconsistent with its other propositions, it is false.
- Adequate handling of data—All of us glean data of all types through our conscious experience of daily life, scientific investigation, reports from others, and so forth. If the data stand the test of reality, we must also be able to incorporate them into our worldview.
- Ability to explain what it claims to explain—“How does it [the worldview] explain the fact that human beings think but think haltingly, love but hate too, are creative but also destructive, wise but often foolish, and so forth? What explains our longings for truth and personal fulfillment? Why is pleasure as we know it now rarely enough to satisfy completely? Why do we usually want more—more money, more love, more ecstasy? These are…huge questions. But that is what a worldview is for—to answer such questions, or at least provide the framework within which such questions can be answered.” (Sire, 282-283)
- Subjectively satisfactory—If it does not meet our sense of personal need, if it does not satisfy by being true, it is not a legitimate worldview to adopt or maintain.
- Does this worldview ever contradict itself? (If it does, it is not valid.)
- Does this worldview match real life experiences? (If it does not, it is not accurate.)
- Does this worldview explain what it claims it will explain? (If it cannot, one cannot trust it and should not believe it.)
- Does this worldview your personal needs satisfactorily? (If it does not, you need to keep searching for the worldview that brings true peace.)
These four questions can be asked about one’s personal worldview, a movie’s lens on life, and even the worldviews of different characters encountered in a film or a book. Does the character’s worldview contradict itself, match real life, explain what it promises it will, and bring the character peace? If it fails to fulfill even one of those four criteria, it fails to be a legitimate worldview.
We at Zeezok Publishing would propose that only peace with God (Rom. 5:1) can bring the peace of God (Phil. 4:6-9). And this perfect peace comes from a worldview based on a personal relationship with God that is achieved through trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus saves us from the permanent penalty of our sins, and He offers us eternity with Him because of His victory over death and the grave (1 Cor. 15:3-4 and 54-58). The worldview He presents us is not contradictory, is real, is understandable, and is personally satisfying. You need never struggle to find the right focusing lens again, if you have a personal relationship with the Savior, Jesus Christ.