Each of us interprets the events of our lives and our external reality through the lens of a worldview. A worldview is a philosophy of life that runs very deep into our soul. A worldview operates at the level of our subconscious thought and it teaches us early to make major assumptions about life. It is how we are taught to think as toddlers by the actions of significant people around us. Our worldview is largely locked in by the age of seven. Asking a person to describe their worldview is like asking a fish for a definition of water Its hard because its all they’ve ever known. Fish are not taught about water, they can feel it from the moment they are born. Water is the only medium through which they can sense and interpret reality. That’s how it is with your worldview. Every person carries in his or her head this subjective mental worldview framework of how external reality works. Worldviews are so well absorbed early in life that it takes a huge amount of effort, often a crisis, to change from one worldview to another when older.
A viable worldview must answer the six great questions of life. These are:
- What or who is the ultimate first cause of everything?
- What is the origin and nature of the universe?
- Where did humans come from and what is our nature?
- What is knowledge and truth, and how do we find it?
- What is right and wrong?
- What is the purpose of history and what is our destiny?
All the great religions, both supernatural (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam), and atheistic (Communism, Humanism and Post Modernism) are worldviews. The difference between these two camps is simply the answer they give to the first question. All subsequent answers flow from a worldview’s answer to that first crucial question.
It is a difficult task for any aspiring worldview to answer these questions in a watertight fashion. Hence, the development of a new worldview is rare. Once a worldview takes root in a culture it lasts for centuries and it requires an enormous amount of intellectual and social effort for the next worldview to dislodge it. Islam is attempting just such a shift in the Western world at present. It will be an interesting fight for a long time to come. Atheism has now decisively dislodged the Judeo-Christian worldview from centre stage in the Western world and is currently developing its moral code through the lense of sexual politics and offense.
Worldview shifts are therefore always times of great physical conflict, political change, legal flux and social anxiety. To understand the current global wave of historical and spiritual events you must fully understand this concept of competing worldviews. A worldview teaches the culture who is in charge, it is all about power and authority.
The Western world has been slowly expelling the Christian worldview from its traditional position of authority for over the last 100 years. This only happened because Christianity became weak, not because Atheism was strong. Christianity was and still is stuck in an outdated institutional structure that lost touch with the surrounding culture. It confused mission with ritual.
This is now changing. The non-Western church is booming inside hostile cultures. Hundreds of millions are pouring into God’s Kingdom. It is conquering other worldviews, be they Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim. The mission hasn’t changed, this is because the methods they use are far closer to the methods Jesus taught his followers to use in their mission. These methods are non-institutional and have ditched ritual. They are now slowly seeping into the Western church too, with the same results. Outwardly the future for the church in the West looks grim, but spiritually, it is bright as we learn from our brothers and sisters who are doing what Jesus asked, making disciples of their nations, one person at a time.
This link will take you to a research article demonstrating how effectively the non-Western church is doing the Great Commission.
For Fun: Ask your friends the six big worldview questions above and you will have a very long and deep conversation!!!