Last week I was swamped with several things to do at once, including visiting a church member in her nursing home, entertaining guests, and going to appointments. As a result I didn’t get the blog out last Sunday. However, I have had two weeks to work on the next few blogs. So, I decided to start a series of blogs that will focus on understanding some of the different worldviews that Christians may encounter. We need to know how these worldviews relate to the Christian worldview and Salvation?
You may be asking yourself, “What is a worldview?” “Why do I need to know what a worldview is? Well, every Christian needs to understand the worldviews that we can encounter in our daily life so that we can be prepared to share the Gospel with anyone. We need to know what people believe and why they believe the way they do, because it can affect their relationship with God and His Son. Just as importantly, we all need to understand how others view our belief in Christ and why they see Christians the way that they do. Then and only then will we be able to explain to them what Salvation is in the terms they can understand. Furthermore, we need to talk about at least a few of the different worldviews expressed today, because they can directly affect our Active Relational Christian Mentoring and our lives.
After this introduction to worldviews, we will then take some weeks to look at a few more specific, but common, worldviews, and we will discover how they can affect your Christian walk of shining the Light of Christ on others. I hope you enjoy learning about these worldviews and that you will be able to use the information gained when you mentor others for Christ.
Created to Serve God and Others
God created us to “serve” Him. We are to glorify and honor God in all we do. However, just as a bowl that was created to serve food can also be used to carry things other than food or may not be used at all, we, too, can do something other than serve God. For, even though we were created to love God and serve Him, God will not force us to serve Him. Instead, God gave us “free will” to serve Him or not.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
– (Ephesians 2: 10. HCSB).
Even though we were created to serve, many people are glad that they feel no compunction to serve anyone else. Some individuals even think so much of themselves that they selfishly believe they should never have to serve or do anything for another. Certainly, there are people who are so selfish that they even refuse to wait on members of their own family, refuse to develop relationships unless it is for their benefit, or refuse to care about anyone besides themselves. For some reason they feel that it is beneath them. This is all part of how they view the world. However, those who have truly given their life to Christ know how wonderful it feels to willingly live for and serve Christ. For, there is no better feeling than seeing the blessing of your service on the grateful face of another. Helping others and serving them and the Lord is all part of the Christian worldview.
Even though there are selfish people, there are many unselfish people in the world who care about others even without being “Saved.” Unfortunately, their goodness and caring alone will not get them to Heaven. For, each person must first have a personal relationship with Christ. For, Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – (John 14:6. NASV). But, we can all have this wonderful relationship, if we choose to believe in and ask Christ into our heart, for anyone who believes in and calls upon the name of the Lord will be “Saved.” (See Romans 10: 13). Then with their instantaneous “re-birth” into a new life, the growth of the goodness in a person’s heart is immediately accelerated. “Saved” individuals begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ. We can see the needs of others, and we should also want to express the Christ-like love that portrays or shows that we have really been “born-again” by becoming “doers of the word.” – (See James 1:22).
What Salvation can feel Like
Salvation affects our personal worldview. Actually something special happens to the person who repents of their sins, believes Christ rose from the dead on their behalf and then asks Christ into their heart. The Bible explains it this way: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
– (II Corinthians 5: 17. NASV).
A Christian is someone who has been “re-born” into a new person. But, what are those “new things that have come?” Well, each person can describe how their “re-birth” through Salvation has made them feel and how it has changed them, but every true “born-again” Christian has no doubt in their mind that they have become a new creature.
Salvation changes the way a person views the world they live in. New things have come. For me, my “re-birth” was and still is a feeling of spiritual freshness, like a breath of fresh air after previously being held in a room filled with stale cigarette smoke. Furthermore, there is no longer an empty spot in my soul that needs to be filled. Christ fills that spot. There is no longer continual searching for things to fill that empty spot, because it has been filled with the Trinity of God. I have the comfortable feeling of knowing that I will never be alone again or be afraid. For, Christ is always there for me, and He can be there for you too.
Salvation has also given me a feeling of freedom as opposed to a feeling of oppression. I am free to live for Christ and to tell others about this wonderful freedom from the oppression of sin. For, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; …” – (Gal. 5: 1. HCSB)
Moreover, there is a feeling of peace and tranquility, because I now know who I am and Who I belong to. I also am at peace knowing that when this body no longer draws a breath that I will be living with God. I am no longer afraid of dying. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” – (John 14: 27. NASV). Certainly, the peace and tranquility within our soul, given through the gift of Salvation, is greater than one can ever imagine on their own and is more powerful than any peace found in this world. This peace changed the way that I viewed the world.
Among other things, my “re-birth” incorporates the excitement of first love and the comfort of a long established married couple’s love that has grown deeper and stronger throughout years. It is a love that grows sweeter with time. This love for God and His Son can almost overwhelm me on the days when I think about the love that it took for God to create us and the love that it took for Christ to lay down his life on that cruel cross for us. For, I “…have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God and God abides in him. … We love, because He first loved us.” – (I John4: 16, 19. NASV). Love colors my view of the world.
Certainly, my “re-birth” also gives me a feeling of completeness or wholeness that most women only get a glimpse of after they have given birth and hold their new-born child in their arms. With my "re-birth" I have discovered that I am no longer alone in this world. I have a friend, Christ the Savior, that will always walk with me. I see the world through His eyes.
Finally, I know that I have inside of me the light of Christ that I can shine on others, if I don’t hide it under a basket. This is the “light of Christ” indwelling me with His love and His concern for my specific life. This is the “light” from which I have been newly created. I can share this light with others so they, too, can come to know Christ as their Savior. My view of the world now includes a light that is bright, and it guides my daily walk. In fact, Jesus said:
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven.”
– (Matthew 5: 16. HCSB).
I am sure that a poet could have described the wonderful feelings of Salvation and “re-birth” in a much more beautiful and expressive way. Unfortunately, I am not a poet. I do hope, though, that I have not done a disservice to the description of Salvation and re-birth, and how it affects my worldview. I pray that those who have yet to experience the glorious “re-birth” of Salvation will want to know Christ. They, too, can repent of their sins and come to Christ. They can experience the freedom from oppressive sin, along with the peace, tranquility and the love of Christ.
But, even with all these wonderful feelings and the changes that occurred changing me from the person I was to the person that I am now, there is so much that I still need to and want to do. I need to serve the Lord. I want to serve the Lord and show others that I care. I want to be a “fruit producer”. I want to be a “doer of the Word.”
My Salvation has given me a different way of looking at the world than of those who do not know Christ personally. My worldview encompasses my Salvation experience, which is the most important part of my life. Although, my worldview may not be exactly like others, in many ways it is similar to that of other “born-again” Christians’ view of the world because of our "born-again" experience. However, each person’s worldview will be at least slightly different than another’s. This is because each Christian’s worldview is not only affected by their belief in Christ, but it is affected by the life they have lived. For example, because of where I was born, the family that I was born into, as well as my personal relationship with Christ, I have a worldview that it different from many other worldviews that are out there in the world today. Certainly, I have a worldview that is totally different from the worldview of any non-believers. But, in order to understand the difference between your worldview and the worldview of others, you will need to know what your view of the world is and then see how others view the world as well.
If we truly want to reach others for Christ, we have to understand what our personal worldview is and then be able to describe it or explain our view of the world to others. But, just as importantly, we also have to understand the worldview of others, if we are to have any chance of telling them about and reaching them for Christ. So, it is important for any Active Relational Christian Mentor to know what they believe, but to also know what their mentee believes and how she views the world. So, what makes up a worldview? What is your worldview?
What makes up a Worldview?
A worldview is basically what the two words within this single word imply. It is your view or image of the world. It is a belief system based upon how you view the world that you live in. It is your personal philosophy and your conception of human life. We each get our personal worldview from the many things that we have encountered in life as well as from what we now believe in. For example, if you were born into poverty, and no one in your family has ever had the chance to make their life better, your worldview would be different from that of a rich person who has been given everything in life. So, in part, your worldview is based on your environment to some degree or another as well as on your economic status. It is also based upon your up-bringing, that is, what kind of parents you had, how you were treated, where you went to school or lived (East coast, West Coast, Middle East, Europe, Canada, India, Russia, etc), and it is based upon who has spoken into your life (Atheists, Christians, Hindu, Buddhists, Professors, Teachers, Liberals, Conservatives, Politicians, Parents, friends, etc.). All of these things taken together will have helped you develop your own personal philosophy of life or worldview. But there are many other things in your life that will contribute to the development of your personal worldview too.
Relationships that you have developed will affect your worldview. Whether it is a friend, an acquaintance, or a group of people that you hang out with, there is a great chance that you were or you are being influenced in the development of your personal worldview or philosophy of life. For example, if you hung out with pot-smoking friends in school who had no respect for authority, there is a good chance that you developed the same attitudes that those friends had. For, those that you allow to speak into your life and everything that you do in life will affect your attitude and eventually contribute to your view of the world.
As mentioned, your worldview is affected by your economic status too. For, those who are poor will have a different view of the world than those who are rich. However, even though your worldview is based on your personal environment, economic status and relationships, there are also beliefs, general philosophies and cultural situations that lend themselves to the development of broad categories of worldviews that can also contribute to our individual worldviews. So, let’s take a look at a few categories of worldviews that we can encounter today. These worldviews can affect our beliefs and our personal philosophy of life and can contribute to how we decide to live our lives.
Obviously, a blog cannot list every worldview that you could encounter. It would take several books just to list the many different beliefs, philosophies and cultural situations that could be the basis for the many different worldviews that one could encounter. I just want to give you a few examples, though, of some common worldviews that you could encounter today, so that you will understand what a worldview is and why it is so important for us to try to understand some of the more obvious worldviews that we will encounter in our life and our walk for the Lord. Remember too, that even though I am describing a generalization of a particular worldview, I cannot possibly know how an individual has incorporated that worldview into their life in order to make up their individual personal worldview. Let’s start first with the Conservative Christian worldview.
The Conservative Christian Worldview.
I will just highlight a few of the most pertinent points in the Conservative and Christian worldviews. As you read this, you may think of other points that you feel are important in one or the other. Although we could separate the Conservative worldview from the Christian worldview, I am going to lump both Conservative and Christian into one worldview, because I believe that most Christians are also Conservatives.
Although it is not impossible, I believe that it is hard to be both a “born-again” Christian and a liberal, because some of the liberal beliefs do not fit in with Christian beliefs and teachings. However there are some people who profess to be Christians, but also have a liberal philosophy. So, I guess it just depends on how liberal the person is and whether or not they are truly “born-again” in order to say that they indeed have a Christian worldview. Moreover, there are many cultural Christians (that is someone who goes to a church that believes in Christ, but has never asked for a personal relationship with Christ) who do not really have a Christian worldview. Just saying that you are a Christian does not make you one, which is why the world in general can have a bad attitude about Christians. For, seeing people act differently from what they profess is their Christianity and belief confuses non-Christians, and the word “hypocrite” arises quickly.
What then is a Conservative Christian worldview? Well, I will give you a hypothetical situation in order to give you an idea of the Conservative Christian worldview. Remember that this is just a “generalization”. But whether you are poor, rich or somewhere in between, the Salvation part stays the same.
Let’s start first with the Christian aspect of the Conservative Christian worldview, and let’s say that you were born into a middle income family that always put God first in everything that they did. Along the way, you have been given a good education, and you have also been taught that you need to work hard to achieve the things that you desire in life. Your parents have always been kind, but they have also expected you to develop Christian morals, integrity, kindness and humility along with a strong work ethic.
While you were growing up, your parents took you to a church that believes in God and in having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, so that you could study the Bible and eventually come to a decision about Christ on your own. At some point in your life, you chose to repent of your sins and ask Christ into your heart. Now you have been “re-born” into a new being who now has those wonderful feelings that I described earlier. You are a Christian, i.e. a follower of Christ.
Early on in life, you were also taught that you are to love others as you love yourself and that you should never want to intentionally hurt another person. In fact, your parents have constantly taught you to think of the other person as worthy and as having feelings that are just as important to them as yours are to you. Now with your Salvation, you understand what your parents were trying to teach you, and you want to serve Christ by helping others any way that you can and by allowing your Christ-light to shine. Your parents have also helped you develop a conscience about right and wrong. Indeed, truth has been one of their highest goals for you. This all has become part of your worldview.
People who have come to know Christ as their personal Savior and who want to be “fruit-producers” for the Lord, will have what is called a Christian worldview. In this worldview, although there have been the normal ups and downs of living in a fallen world, there really has never been anyone in your family who has developed ideas of liberalism or who has accepted the beliefs of a different type of philosophical culture. For example, most true Christians also do not believe in evolution, because we know that without a doubt God created each of us. In fact, to keep us focused on the Truth, the Bible also tells us to “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” – (Colossians 1: 23. NASV). This is why you test every statement against the Truth of the Bible.
The Christian Worldview generally also adheres to a Conservative worldview as well. This is because the conservative views of the Christian faith are generally based on the conservative views of the Bible. So, if you believe in the Bible as God’s inerrant Word, it is easy to have a Conservative worldview as well. It is then wonderful if a conservative politician also believes in the Word of God and tries to live for the Lord. However, you don’t have to be a “born-again” Christian to be a Conservative or a Conservative politician. You could have been raised in a Conservative family or taught in Conservative schools without ever asking Christ into your heart.
Some people who think for themselves in their college classes or who have graduated from a Conservative college may have acquired Conservative beliefs along the way. Of those individuals, some will go on to find Christ and accept His gift of Salvation, giving them the Conservative Christian worldview, while others won't. They will still have the Conservative philosophy about life and politics. Additionally, Conservative beliefs often lend themselves to the person being a patriot who puts God, family, and country first in their life and in that specific order. Those, though, who are not Christians will still usually put family and country high on their list of patriotic ideals. So what else makes up the Conservative part of this worldview?
In America, a Conservative worldview believes in the preservation of Constitution and the freedoms that come with our Constitution, such as the freedom to worship the way that you want, even if you are not a Christian. A Conservative believes in taking care of the earth by being personally responsible for our actions and without the larger government telling us what we should and should not do, unless the actions of one or a few will hurt the many. Laws are for important, but they are to be there for our protection and to benefit us rather than to hurt us or take away individual freedoms.
Conservatives believe in the freedom of American capitalism or the idea that we live in a country where you can become an entrepreneur, begin you own company or start your own business, if you are willing to work hard to do so. Conservatives do not believe that the government should get involved in telling you when, where and if you can start a business or how many hours you are allowed to work. In other words, Conservatives in our country generally do not believe in having a big government who controls your life and actions. Moreover, Conservatives believe that you should have certain personal freedoms that the government should not be able to infringe upon.
There are many other aspects and beliefs within the Conservative Worldview. But it is important to note that the Conservative Christian Worldview has through Christian love established hospitals for the sick, orphanages for children without parents, Christian adoption agencies, and many other organizations to specifically help people to get back on their feet when life has knocked them down. But, in the Conservative Christian Worldview, we do not believe in handing out money to people who are healthy but are just not willing to work.
Most Conservative worldviews also incorporate a loving Christian attitude toward others. But even though they believe in caring for others, they do not believe in giving hand outs when someone who is capable of working has not attempted to work to make their own life better. Even the Bible tells us that we are to work in order to eat. In fact, in the Bible the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians:
“For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle. … Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.”
-- (II Thessalonians 3:10-12. NIV).
You can probably add several other attributes to both of the Conservative and Christian Worldviews. However, I just want to highlight a few of the most pertinent points in these two worldviews. Please take a few moments to sit and write down what you believe and express why you believe what you do. How do you view the world and your life? You may be very surprised at some of the things that you have come to believe. If you are a Christian, just make sure that your beliefs follow the commandments of God and the teachings of Christ. If they don't you may want to ask Christ about your relationship with Him.
Next week, I will continue talking about some of the different worldviews that Christians can encounter. Remember that it is important to understand what is going on in our world and to especially understand the different worldviews today, if we want to reach others for Christ or help those who need our help. You can do it! I believe in you. You can share Christ with others. You can become an Active Relational Christian Mentor for someone who is just waiting for a Christian friend.