Focusing Lenses: What Is a Worldview?

Posted by Wilcox on 12/16/2013 to Critical Thinking

In his work, How to Read Slowly, James Sire describes a worldview as a map of reality upon which we act. Another author, Boris Uspensky, defines a worldview as “the framework of beliefs, expressive symbols, and values in terms of which individuals define their world, express their feelings, and make their judgments” (Quoted by David Noebel, The Battle for Truth, pp.) It encompasses ideologies, philosophies, theologies, movements, and religions that provide an “over-arching approach to understanding God, the world, and man’s relations to God and the world” (Noebel, The Battle for Truth, pp.) Therefore, a worldview answers basic questions about reality, humans, the world, what happens after death, why we can know things, and how we can know right from wrong, human history, and core personal commitments. A worldview can be fairly clearly summarized by answering the following seven questions:

  1. Is there a god and what is he like?
  2. What is the nature and origin of the universe?
  3. What is the nature and origin of man?
  4. What happens to man after death?
  5. Where does knowledge come from?
  6. What is the basis of ethics and morality?
  7. What is the meaning of human history? (Tracy Musil, “What’s Your Worldview?” Cited on 9/26/2012)

Determining the answers to these questions—whether in a piece of literature, in watching a movie, or in deciding one’s own perspective on life—are the keys to figuring out an over-arching approach (as Mr. Noebel calls it) to life and the after-life. In a sense, the worldview is like lenses in a pair of glasses that help to bring everything in life into clearer focus and comprehension. Or the worldview could be considered camera lenses that are used in a film to focus on certain aspects of a scene, while blurring other aspects in the background. We need to instruct our children how to recognize the different lenses in use in a given movie, and then how to refocus their view through their truth lens. Over the next nine articles we will be looking briefly at the main lenses or worldviews in place, and determining how to focus on truth in spite of all these differing lenses.