What is a worldview?

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever considered that maybe we’re living right now in the year 2020 in two different Americas? Have you ever wondered why it feels like our country is divided and pulling in two different directions, really led by a variety of movements that never seem to quite be able to get together with any kind of consensus about what needs to happen?

I would suggest that what has been called the “Culture Wars,” the “Cold Civil War,” the “Collapse of the Melting Pot,”; all of those things describe something that we really by-in-large we haven’t put our finger quite on precisely. We’ve been told this is a Democrat-Republican divide. It is not. It’s not a Black-White divide. It’s not a divide between the rich and poor, between the urban and the rural, between Globalists and Isolationists. It’s not even a divide between Boomers and Millennials.
Rather, there are two Americas right now. But it’s explained, not by any of the issues that are typically talked about. It’s not explained by the actions that we can see. It’s explained at a much deeper level by the fact that there are two competing and contradictory worldviews.

A worldview is the framework of assumptions that we use to evaluate and interpret the reality that is all around us. In other words, how we see the world is determined at the most foundational level by our worldview. Now, there are number of minor variations to worldviews in our culture today. But there are two dominate contenders that are really battling for the soul of a nation.
Cultures thrive when there is a consensus of worldview. The American Founding Fathers for example, were able to stand together against the greatest army of their day. They were able to form a nation from a rag tag collection of colonies. They were able to do that, not because they were all Christians, not because they all agreed on every issue, but because they had a consensus about their worldview. The underlying way they interpreted reality.

Let me explain what a worldview is. A worldview answers three basic questions. And those three questions, once you’ve answered those and constructed a worldview, those answers have implications that play out in every decision you make about how to react to the world that is happening around you.

The first question that a worldview answers is this one, “Where did we come from? What’s our origin? Why are we even here?”

The second question is, “What’s the problem that we face right now?” or “How did we get into this situation?”

The third question that a worldview must answer is, “How do we move forward from here? “What do we do next?”

Every worldview has some basic assumptions at that level and those assumptions have implications. Let me give you an example. I said that there are two competing and contradictory worldviews in our culture today that are fighting for supremacy. And this battle of worldviews will determine the future of the United States of America.

The first of those two worldviews I call, “Secularism.” Some people refer to it as “Secular Humanism.” There are a variety of labels that are given. But Secularism is this. It answers the first question of “Where did we come from?” by assuming that we are the random product of evolutionary chance. We have been created without purpose. We have developed randomly, accidentally as a product of cosmic evolution.

Now there are implications for that view. And the two main ones are, because there is no explanation for the randomness of our ascension to the top of the evolutionary chain, we have to believe that self-actualization, or what’s best for me, is the highest value I can aspire to. If I am simply the product of random chance, then maximizing my place in the world is the goal of my life.
The second implication is that because this is random, there is no God out there to whom I have to answer. Ok, remember those implications because I’ll show you how they play out in America today.

The second question, “What is the problem we face?”, or “How did we get to this moment?” The Secularist answer is that we are where we are because external societal pressures prevent mankind from developing evolutionarily into the fullness of what he can be. For example, the implication of that is, if we can just remove all external pressures each man could be fully what he has the capability to be. He could be his best self. So, the solution is to remove those external pressures. That has given us two generations of governmental attempts to eliminate poverty, because poverty is an external pressure. And we say if we could just take people out of poverty that would solve their problem. What we see today is that racism is the cause to blame. If we could just eliminate racism. Well, racism is not issue of the human heart in this worldview. It is a systemic, it is an institutionalized external pressure. And if we have to dismantle society in order to remove that external pressure, then that’s what we need to do. That shows itself in the elimination of drug laws for example. It shows itself in this latest movement called “Defund the Police.”  You see, the police are an external force and they hold us down. And we can’t be everything that we were meant to be. External societal pressures, that’s how we got to where we are.

The third question is “Where do we go from here?”  Well, we have to free individuals from those societal constraints. That’s what the Secularist tell us. You may not understand this, but I want to put the pieces together. That’s why this worldview typically argues that there should be no legal boundaries. There should be no sexual boundaries. There should not even be any geographical boundaries on this generation.  That’s because eliminating all those external pressures will allow us to be our best selves.

A perfect example of this, if you want to watch this play out, is Seattle’s new Autonomous Zone. In case you haven’t been aware of that, about 48 hours ago a small group of young people fenced off a portion of downtown Seattle. They took over a Police building and some other spaces.  And they declared themselves autonomous. They are under no one’s authority. Police are not allowed.  No one is there. They are going to create the model community that lives by these principles and shows us that once everything is eliminated that puts pressure on human beings from the outside, that they can find the utopia that Secularist have always dreamed about.

Watch this movement because they are barely 48 hours in and it’s already showing signs of collapsing. They can’t understand why. I’ll tell you why in just a minute.

The second worldview, the competing worldview, is what we call the “Judeo-Christian” or “Biblical” worldview. It has a very different way of answering these three basic questions.

Let me read you three verses from Psalm 14 verses 1-3.  The Bible says:
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt; they do vile deeds. There is no one who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the human race to see if there is one who is wise, one who seeks God. But all have turned away; all alike have become corrupt. There is no one who does good, not even one."

Well let’s talk about that. The Judeo-Christian or the Biblical worldview answers these questions this way. “Where did we come from?” This worldview says that each human being is a purposeful creation made in the image of God. That means the implications of that position is that we are accountable to God. We answer to Him as our Creator. It means that we have purpose and meaning. Life is not random. It has a goal. It has a destiny. It has a significance to it. It also means that life is sacred. If you ever wondered why the pro-abortion and the pro-life movement seem so intractably separated and unable to even come to any kind of legislative agreement, it’s because we’re arguing over legislative restrictions of abortion, what should or should not be allowed. But the battle is at the foundational level of a worldview.

You see, if I’m the product of evolutionary chance, then maximizing my contentment is the greatest goal of life. Hence, “My body, my choice.”  But from the Judeo-Christian worldview, if all life is a specific and special creation by God in His image, then every life has meaning, and purpose and significance. Hence, abortion is murder. Those two positions cannot be reconciled. One wins and the other loses. But we are in the battleground era of those two worldviews vying for the dominant consensus in the culture.

“Where did we come from?”  We came from the purposeful direct special creation by God in His image.

The second question, “What is the problem we face?” The problem we face according to this worldview is the depravity of human nature. That is, it’s not the external pressures of society that are holding me down. The problem is much closer to home. It’s the brokenness of my nature, the sin that damages my soul. The implication for this is that we don’t draw our morality like the Secularist from their own experiences. They decide what’s true for them. Maybe you’ve heard that phrase, “Well, that’s true for me.” They decide their morality on the basis of their own personal experience. The Judeo-Christian worldview draws their morality from the nature of God. That morality is derived from God.  And it is maintained by the order of law that God has established by putting governments in place as a delegated authority to maintain order.

What you’re seeing in the difference between different cities is those who view the role of government as a delegated authority by God to maintain order versus those mayors and governors in some states, who may not even understand that their worldview undercuts their ability to even serve in their political positions. Their idea is that government itself is an external oppressive authority and needs to be dismantled. They are doing that in cities across America.
The third question for the Judeo-Christian worldview is “Where do we go from here?”  The answer is “We need the moral transformation of individual souls.”  The implications of that is that the solution to our problems is national and individual repentance followed by the acceptance of the Gospel of Salvation.

Well, so what do we take from this? I want you to understand not to be caught up in the guilt that comes because I don’t hold this position or I don’t hold that position. The battle in America today, this “Cold Civil War,” this “Collapse of the Melting Pot,” – Oh, and by the way, The Melting Pot was never about a melting the races and cultures into a single race. Americans have always been marked as Irish or African-American or Swedish-American or Native-American. We’ve always had that. The Melting Pot was never about the melting of cultures into a single culture. It was about a single underlying worldview, a way of seeing reality. And that consensus is what allowed us, in our differences, to have a functioning culture. That’s what’s at stake here. It’s not just culture wars in the sense of political and social issues. This is a worldview battle.

What will happen? Well, one of two things.  If Secularism gains the ascendency, if it becomes the majority consensus in America, it will not tolerate a competing worldview. That means that we will first be separated as Christians. And secondly, we will be persecuted until we are, in their minds, driven away as a threat to the consensus.

On the other hand, if the Biblical, Judeo-Christian worldview is to gain ascendency, it always happens because God’s people pray for a movement of the Spirit of God, and spiritual awakening breaks into the history of the nation and draws people to salvation. They meet God. The internal problem of their sin nature is fixed. And their accountability before God. That sets a nation on a course for blessing.

The Secularist’s worldview will result in destruction over time.
I know what I’m praying for and working for. Don’t get caught up in surface level debates even about what appear to be significance issues. Engage people at the level of worldview.
“Where did we come from?”
“How did we get in this situation?”
“Where do we go from here?”

You can help other people see the logical breakdown of their worldview.
What you will see in this Seattle Autonomous Zone is you can’t live by the Secularist’s worldview. Charles Colson used to always say that. The way to judge a worldview is to ask this question, “Can you live by it?”

They will prove for everybody to see that worldview doesn’t work. It’s already not working. They’re barely 48 hours in. Watch that story. “The Seattle Autonomous Zone.”

Pray for God to move in this nation. That’s the call for today.

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