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Everyone has a worldview. Do you know what yours is?

 

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World View Primer
By Peter Bocchino - President, Legacy of Truth Ministries

 

A worldview is a philosophical system that attempts to explain how the facts of reality relate and fit together. It is similar to a puzzle. The outer frame of the puzzle represents the essential components of the worldview that provide the framework for which the smaller pieces of life then fit. A worldview can also be thought of as an intellectual lens through which we view the world. Hence, our worldview will make the essential difference in how we live our lives.

In other words, a worldview shapes or colors the way we think and provides the interpretive framework for understanding and explaining the facts of our experience. As important as it is to understand what a worldview is, it is even more critical to realize the logical consequences associated with living out the convictions of what a particular worldview holds to be true. Therefore, it is critically important to know which view of the world is the right worldview, because our view of reality will determine our view of life and our view of life will determine how much we value life.

For example, the government of Nazi Germany was not the originating cause of the Holocaust, but rather the worldview that the Nazis embraced. Victor Frankl, a survivor of Auschwitz, said,

The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment—or, as the Nazis liked to say, “of blood and soil.” I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz . . . were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.

The most fundamental dissension between worldviews is based on the existence and nature of God. In a book documenting a debate between an atheist and a theist, Peter Kreeft makes the following observation about the existence of God:

The idea of God has guided or deluded more lives, changed more history, inspired more music and poetry and philosophy than anything else, real or imagined. It has made more of a difference to human life on this planet, both individually and collectively, than anything else ever has.

To get an understanding of the primary differences that exist between atheism, pantheism and theism, we only need to define each worldview and list its major tenets. The reason for this comparison is to demonstrate the logically incompatible nature of the essential truth claims each worldview makes concerning God, reality, humanity, evil and ethics. Ultimately, only the tenets of one worldview can accurately match the fundamental truths of reality.

Classically, there are seven different worldviews: Atheism, Pantheism, Theism, Panentheism, Deism, Polytheism, and Finite Godism. Since the most prominent worldviews are the first three, we will list their major tenets below:

Atheism is the worldview that rejects the idea of God as being an essential component of its worldview. Atheists believe that God does not exist beyond the universe or in it. The universe or cosmos is all there is or ever will be; it is self-sustaining. Some of the more famous atheists were Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre, their writings have had a tremendous influence upon the world. These men expressed their views in different ways, but all of them held to the basic belief that God does not exist. Some of the main tenets of atheism are as follows:

GOD DOES NOT EXIST – ONLY THE UNIVERSE EXISTS
UNIVERSE – ETERNAL UNIVERSE, OR CAME TO BE OUT OF NOTHING
HUMANITY (ORIGIN) – EVOLVED, MADE OF MOLECULES, NOT IMMORTAL
HUMANITY (DESTINY) – NO ETERNAL DESTINY, ANNIHILATION
EVIL (ORIGIN) – AFFIRM ITS REALITY, CAUSED BY HUMAN IGNORANCE
EVIL (DESTINY) – CAN BE DEFEATED BY MAN
ETHICS (BASIS) – CREATED BY, AND GROUNDED IN, MAN
ETHICS (NATURE) – RELATIVE, DETERMINED BY THE SITUATION

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Pantheism believes that God is the universe. This view is called pantheism, manifest in popular form as the New Age movement. For a pantheist there is no creator beyond the universe. Creator and creation are two different ways of viewing the same reality. God is the universe and the universe is God. Ultimately only one reality exists, not many different ones. God pervades all things and is found within all things. Nothing exists apart from God: God is the world and the world is God. People believe in different kinds of pantheism, which are represented by certain forms of Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, and the New Age movement. Their views may differ in how God and the world are to be identified, but they all believe that God and the world are one. Some of the main tenets of pantheism are as follows:

GOD – ONE, INFINITE, IMPERSONAL, GOD IS THE UNIVERSE
UNIVERSE– ILLUSION, MANIFESTATION OF GOD (GOD ALONE IS REAL)
HUMANITY (ORIGIN)– HIS TRUE SELF (ATMAN) IS GOD (BRAHMAN)
HUMANITY (DESTINY)– DETERMINED BY KARMA, CYCLES OF LIFE
EVIL (ORIGIN)– AN ILLUSION CAUSED BY ERRORS OF THE MIND
EVIL (DESTINY)– WILL BE REABSORBED BY GOD
ETHICS (BASIS)– GROUNDED IN LOWER MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD
ETHICS (NATURE)– RELATIVE, TRANSCEND ILLUSION OF GOOD AND EVIL

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Theism is the worldview that holds to the belief that the world is more than just the physical universe. However, theists do not accept the idea that God is the world. They believe in the existence of God and see his existence as the essential component of the theistic worldview. Theists are convinced that the universe had a supernatural first cause, which is infinitely powerful and intelligent. An infinite God is both beyond and manifests Himself in the universe. This God is a personal God, separate from the world, who created the universe and sustains it. Theists believe that God can act within the universe in a supernatural way. The traditional religions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, represent theism. Some of the main tenets of theism are as follows:

GOD – ONE, PERSONAL, INFINITE IN ALL HIS ATTRIBUTES
REALITY– FINITE UNIVERSE, CREATED BY AN INFINITE GOD
HUMANITY (ORIGIN)– IMMORTAL, CREATED AND SUSTAINED BY GOD
HUMANITY (DESTINY)– ETERNALLY WITH, OR SEPARATED FROM GOD BY CHOICE
EVIL (ORIGIN)– PRIVATION OR IMPERFECTION CAUSED BY CHOICE
EVIL (DESTINY)– WILL BE ULTIMATELY DEFEATED BY GOD
ETHICS (BASIS)– GROUNDED IN THE NATURE OF GOD
ETHICS (NATURE)– ABSOLUTE, OBJECTIVE AND PRESCRIPTIVE