Naming the Lenses: Part 1

Posted by Wilcox on 12/23/2013 to Critical Thinking

This entire series of articles on worldviews must be credited to James Sire. His book, The Universe Next Door, is the best work we have ever found to summarize the main worldviews recognized in our world today. Using a series of eight questions, similar to the seven questions posed in the previous article (“Focusing Lenses”), Sire clearly distinguishes and compares each of the nine major worldviews evident in society. His answers are much more detailed and expansive than the brief summaries that follow will convey, so please consider reading The Universe Next Door on your own to get a more comprehensive discussion of these worldviews. While Sire comes from a Christian theist perspective, and is unabashedly honest about that position, he gives an objective explanation of the stances of each of the other key viewpoints. It is highly recommended reading, particularly for high school students and adults. Sire brings clarity to the sometimes confusing lenses of the different worldviews. There are nine core worldviews that typically define any form of media (whether alone or in conjunction with other worldviews). By looking at each worldview, and listing some examples of each lens as displayed in filmdom, we hope you will learn to recognize these worldviews in action on the big screen. [Note: As with all film listings, please determine each movie’s suitability for your own family. Please do not interpret a film’s inclusion in a list of examples as Zeezok Publishing’s promotion of or agreement with that film.]

Lens #1—Christian Theism

  • The belief that there is an infinite, personal God who is revealed in Scripture.
  • God created the cosmos out of nothing, and it operates in a uniform, cause-and-effect manner within an open system in which miracles can occur.
  • God created human beings in His image—with wills, intellects, and sensibilities or emotions.
  • The Fall of man caused the image of God to be defaced here on earth, and only the work of Christ could redeem humanity and restore people to goodness, if they so choose.
  • Death is a truth for all people, which consists of either eternity with God or eternal separation from Him.
  • God created man to have the ability to know Him and the world around him.
  • Ethics and morality are based on the character of God because He is good.
  • History is evidence of God’s providential plan for humanity, a sequence of the events being a fulfillment of His purposes for mankind.
  • And Christian theists choose to glorify God and enjoy Him forever by seeking first His kingdom and his righteousness.

Movies with a Christian Theist Lens

  • Ben Hur
  • The Ten Commandments
  • Facing the Giants
  • Fireproof
  • Courageous
  • The Hiding Place
  • Amazing Grace