How does one respond to the question, “What do you believe in?” Today it is rare to meet individuals who can articulate their life’s philosophy. Most do not know who they really are; they have never truly faced themselves. In light of our present society and its globalist ideological affront, perhaps this question is inadequate. Life has become increasingly complex and fragmented. We are a society that has scarcely invested time concerning a theology of life. The question, “What do you believe about God?” was pondered more in past decades than it is today. Apart from a sentence or two, rarely can a person elaborate about his view of God. No theological view has been formed in his life. Most people have never lived life seriously. They have merely busied themselves in an animated but thoughtless existence. Life has been somewhat like a ball in a pinball machine, randomly going here and there. Such a person has never taken the time to really establish in thought and principle what he believes about life, about the world, about society, about government, and ultimately about God.
The Present Distress of Human Concern
The past nearly two years has prompted much compelled conversation concerning the overt encroachment of government and the draconian mandates controlling our health and daily living. These actions have destroyed many of our liberties and have created overwhelming economic atrocities, including massive unemployment, depleted supplies, and escalating gas prices. Oppressive mandates have curtailed our comings and goings limiting travel and forcing public social distancing. Much is said about the many churches closed for nearly a year. More is said about enforcing a faceless, cloned society. This intelligently designed cause-and-effect has brought us to more radical paradigm shifts of uncharted territory. We have been caught in a time of imbecile political leadership, contributing to an out-of-control government cascading from one tragedy to another. Yet there is nothing the common man can do except hope for some semblance of sanity on the other side of this national train wreck approaching.
While much talk is invested in this present distress, nothing is being solved by mere talk. Nothing humanly can be done. Only a sovereign God is the hope for some measure of mercy and compassionate providence to accompany His saints riding out this Euroclydon storm. Truly, this is a most critical and urgent hour for humanity to face the question, “But what do you believe about God?” Have you come to an extensive knowledge of God as you have of current affairs? We can talk so much about what is happening in our nation and world today that we rarely speak or include God in our conversation. Perhaps the reason for our silence is an abounding ignorance about Him. Such an ignorance will profoundly affect our worldview. Many will enter the futility of “whatever will be will be,” believing life is only in the hands of fate. Such a worldview greatly affects the way they live.
The Controlling Principles of a Worldview?
In the last article of this issue, we declared that a worldview is essentially some principle or collection of principles that I have committed my life to. A worldview is also a fundamental orientation of the heart. Its formation begins in childhood and matures in the thought life of our teenage years; by the time we enter the season of young adulthood, this worldview is further established. This worldview can be expressed in a set of presuppositions that have taken hold of the compartments of life, controlling the view of life one takes in this world. If one’s presuppositions are right, then basically everything that flows out of them will be right; but if one’s presuppositions are wrong, then everything that flows out of them will be wrong.
Let us note Mary Magdalene as she came to the garden tomb after Christ’s resurrection (John 20:14,15):
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Mary supposed Jesus to be a gardener. Because this was her presupposition about Him, it influenced the way she spoke to Him. She did not know that the Lord was standing there talking to her until He called her name. A presupposition is a part of the foundation of our worldview. What do I presuppose when I see something or hear something? When the name of someone or a certain situation arises in my thinking, what is my automatic perspective? What is the presupposition that controls my thought about the person or the situation? In a worldview it will be a series or a set of presuppositions that collectively we assume are true. This becomes our reality, our worldview.
Nevertheless, as was acknowledged in the first article, worldviews could change in an individual’s life. In Acts 9, Saul’s worldview, on the road to Damascus, radically changed. He was a leader of the Jewish nation; he was deep in that worldview. And the radical change that Christ brought to his life (including what transpired in the three days that followed and the three years in the Arabian Desert) transformed his worldview. This is what the New Birth is to bring us to. The very word repentance (Gr., metanoia) expresses a total transformation of the thinking creating a different perception of my past, of God, and even of life itself. I come to know the answers to the philosophical questions of the ages: “Where did I come from?” “Why am I here?” and, “Where am I going?” The answers to these questions radically change. And once that New Birth becomes a reality of our heart and life, we begin to dismantle former worldviews; we tear down the false presuppositions and begin rebuilding a new worldview found in Christ. We then must make a firm commitment of our life to this new worldview, no matter what happens!
I. My View of Reality: A Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview
A first crucial characteristic that constitutes an integral part of my worldview is my answer to the question, “What is reality?” It is often believed that reality is a condition of everlasting plasticity, constantly changing at any given moment, on a whim, and in any given mood one finds himself. Thus, one can alter and reshape it to his liking.
This shifting view of reality began to infiltrate philosophy with the nineteenth-century rise of Existentialism. Now as a dominant practical philosophy of most people, Existentialism proclaims that humanity’s reality is constantly fluctuating and evolving; it is a reality where nothing remains absolute or permanent. Initially popularized by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, Existentialism powerfully redefined reality to make it the product of one’s creativity. It permitted one to create a virtual reality, an artificial reality that in turn is embraced as one’s personal assumed reality in which to live. This approach is so often observed throughout society today.
The popular 1960s rock star Janis Joplin had a very troubled upbringing and left home early in those difficult years. She was drawn to weird and flamboyant dress and became a prominent raunchy-voiced rock singer. Unable to live with the destructive demands of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, she died at the age of twenty-seven. In the last few years of her life, she turned to the heavy use of drugs and alcohol to escape her reality. During these years she kept herself drunk and sedated nearly twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, trying to deny and reject the real world. Through the euphoria and synthetic emotions from her addictions, she had hoped to create another world in which to live. What she did create was an illusionary world in which to escape. This kind of escape pursuit was popular in the 1960s; youth were encouraged to create their own reality.
This philosophy of hating the true reality of one’s life demanded the necessity of creating one’s own illusion of life. Denying reality and creating a fantasy world not only becomes an escape from true reality but also is eventually believed to be true reality. The sane man in society today may shake his head at such a dream and ask, “What are you thinking?!” But much of society has come to believe that everyone can make his own individual truth and that truth is only true to him.
For this very reason Washington politicians can be neurotic liars; they continually create their own truth, their own reality, and no one is allowed to question their constructed truth. Such a worldview of reality is also pervasive in the news media and in fake science and common core education. To them it is true, and no one has the right to question their perceived reality. For this very reason, we are being forced toward a pluralistic society where all opinions must be accepted equally as truth; anyone who questions or denounces these opinions will be “canceled.” Even the statistics concerning COVID-19 and its vaccine therapies are manipulated to distorted conclusions; society is intimidated into accepting these.
In the absence of absolute truth, terminology is conveniently redefined, shifting to the pragmatic need of the moment. This contemporary presupposition of postmodernism does not even permit reason to exist in its reality. We have come to a global hour of belief where the governments of the world are forcing upon its people their created reality of political correctness. Even if acknowledging their reality is created completely from a lie, they care not. The question no longer can be asked what is real when reality is what we make it to be.
Dear reader, illusions of reality abound in our country and around the world. They abound and thrive amidst a multitude of contradictions. Confusion reigns as every context of human existence creates its own truth. What motivates what we do at this hour in history? Is it fear of the government or the panic of a “plandemic”? What is the motivational force of how we live? Are we given to believing something to be truth this week and then a different concept of truth next week? The question must be asked, “What is the controlling worldview of our lives?” Is it God, or the pressure of the world?
The dominant forces controlling the world today are also controlling what is perceived and promoted as reality. For this reason, it is imperative that the Christian define reality by the divine revelation of the Word of God. A proper definition of reality profoundly affects the Christian’s worldview. For this reason, it is important that Christian parents establish early biblical reality in their children, even amidst their early honorable enjoyment of childhood make-believe. The child must know the difference between imaginative make-believe and biblical reality. The child must learn to live his life in the light of that reality. How often youth respond to the shifting tides of life, not establishing a solidarity of mind and heart about their lives. According to Ephesians 4:17, one of the divine appointments of a pastor-teacher is to preach the unchanging Gospel. By doing so, spiritual stability comes to the life, and we are kept from being blown about by every wind of doctrine that comes along. Each Christian home must resolve for its members what is reality.
While existentialism has settled into the warp and woof of society’s subconsciousness, postmodernism is raging in global societies. Reason has been denounced by political correctness and cancel culture. Amidst its limitations, it must be acknowledged that reason at least helped us; reason at least kept our feet on the ground. Yet political society has thrown away not only the revelation of God but also natural reason. In the absence of reason, humanity has become the creator of its own truth; man has become a partaker of the tree of the knowledge of good (excellence—truth) and evil.
This approach is also seen in Neo-Christianity. The pseudo-gospel taught by men like Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagan speaks of a creative faith where one simply says the word and faith is created. If a person is sick or dead, one can purportedly heal him or bring him back to life with just a “creative word” expressed from the heart. As a result, modern Christianity has equally come to creating its own reality. After a while the only reality is self; nothing else truly is real; it is what one personally thinks is real. Both Neo-Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement were founded upon existentialism, believing in additional revelations from God. Thus, the individual becomes a voice of truth within himself, without any basis upon the inerrant Word of God. Such ministries are built upon human subjectivity or (as the prophet Jeremiah declares) “their own heart” (Jer. 23:16).
The Christian’s worldview must be a true worldview, not a subjectively created reality; the truth of the Word of God must be the thinking of the Christian’s heart. Possibly in our teenage years the thought of God not existing may have crossed our minds. However, this passing thought never became the conclusive thinking of our heart. The Bible reveals that as a man thinketh in his heart (not his mind) is his true reality. Questioning God’s existence as a passing thought in the mind is not the same as that thought being a possession of the heart. The choices of life are based on what that heart thinks and believes. “I will do this or that because God does not exist,” or “I’ll do it believing God does not see me, for He does not exist.” When the thoughts of my heart become the motivating force of my decisions, this then becomes my reality for living: my heart has come to believe “God does not exist.”
The warning of Proverbs 4:23 is so important to heed: “Keep thy heart with all diligence.” The heart is the fountain from which come the issues of life. Everything I do, even my conversations and decisions of life, comes out of that heart. The heart is the realm where one’s worldview resides. This fountain includes one’s wisdom, emotions, spirituality, desires, and will. Our living must come from the heart, just as God’s living and everything about Him comes from His heart! This is why we can never question God or doubt Him. Everything He does, everything He says, everything He promises issues from His heart. He infinitely loves me from His heart; out of His heart are all the issues of His life. We are told that David was “a man after God’s own heart.” Yes, he failed at times; but what misery his conscience was in, what misery his heart suffered (as his psalms reveal) until he returned to God. It proves David did have a worldview, and it provoked his conscience when he failed.
I must have as a foundational principle of my worldview what is reality, and more specifically, what is the prime reality, the superlative reality. The prime reality is truly real and addresses the most important principles first. Do you believe in God or many gods? Are you an agnostic? Are you an atheist? Additionally, within this prime reality is what I think about the universe. Was it created? Did it evolve?
There are many presuppositions that could take over one’s worldview in answering these questions. One’s prime reality sets boundaries in his thinking. If I believe in God, there are certain boundaries I cannot cross in my thinking, in my living, and in my decisions of life. The prime reality composes the boundaries of my life. This prime reality must be very clear in my thinking because it controls my life. What is my prime reality? Do I believe God is real or imaginary? Do I believe evolution is true or false? Do I believe that I am part of the universe or that I create my own universe? So, my prime reality is the foundational pillar that controls my worldview. For the Christian, God must be the prime reality of his worldview.
II. My View of External Reality: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview
In contrast to the prime reality of God in the heart of the Christian, there is also a proper view of the external reality to the life I live. This reality is my environment and all that lies outside of the life I live. It includes the universe and the world in which I live. Several observations are imperatively needed: How am I related to my external world? How am I related to the universe? How am I related to the government? How am I related to my family? Am I part of the universe, or am I separate from the universe? Does my life have anything to do with the universe?
Existentialism proposes that the individual is not related to anything. He is like a rolling stone that never gathers moss. This presupposition declares that while reality is ever changing, mutating, evolving, the individual is separate from his external reality. He is not a product of the past or a product of the present; only self is what controls his external reality. But further questions need to be asked, “Am I autonomous to the universe?” “Is my universe chaotic?” “Is the universe in law, order, design, purpose, and beauty?” I must draw a conclusion about this. No matter what happens, the worldview must always be consistent. Why? Because this is what the individual has come to believe is true, and nothing in a worldview needs to be altered.
Am I only subjectively related to my external world? In the early 1960s, rock musicians called upon the youth to embrace the world around themselves. But in the latter part of the 1960s, more and more were being drawn to the zodiac and into astrology. These steps opened the door to curiosities in Eastern religions that were founded on illusion, devoid of any absolutes, and given to a false reality of non-existence. Told they were one with the universe, the youth began to relate themselves with whales, plants, cows, stars, and planets. This new worldview was called the Age of Aquarius.
Such thinking returns us to the concept of prime reality. Youth were called to a new prime reality of pantheism and panentheism, that all the universe is god, and that we are one with it. Are we one with the universe, the planet Earth, the whales, the porpoises, the dolphins? Is this my reality? These questions must be answered for the completion of a worldview. It must be settled: “Am I distinct from the universe?” “And if so, what makes me different from all other creations?” Yes, I must settle this presupposition.
III. My View of a Human Being: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview
These characteristics provoke another important question regarding one’s worldview: “What do I think of myself as a human being?” Before answering this question, we must ask, “What is a human being?” “Does a human being have a soul?” “What is the accountability of that soul?” The contemporary declares that we do not have a soul or a creator, and therefore, we are not accountable to any higher power. Although the world speaks of the “psychic” reality, do they acknowledge the existence of a soul? Is that soul separated from the universe, or is it part of the universe? The secular answer says it is not so much that we have a personal soul but that our soul concept is part of the soul of the whole of the universe. Well, am I a complex machine? Am I nothing more than a computer? Is it possible for them to connect me with artificial intelligence? A lot of questions come up at this point. Am I a “sleeping god” that needs to be awakened; is the purpose of education to bring me to this godlikeness? The New Age movement declares that we can evolve into being the image and likeness of God. If this becomes a part of my worldview, then it will profoundly affect what I become and what I do. How I answer this question will become a presuppositional part of my worldview. Do I exist to be part of a communist or socialist government, to be controlled in every aspect of my human existence? What is a human being? Does the government define this, or do I look to the Bible for its answer?
IV. My View of the Hereafter: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview
My established worldview must include the presupposition of another question: “What really happens to a person at the point of death?” The Christian Scientist cult mothered by Mary Baker Eddy responds that everything is just an illusion of the mind. She declared, “When you hear that I have died, don’t believe it, and don’t come to my funeral; even though there’s a casket, don’t believe it’s a casket; my body may be in there, but don’t believe that; it’s just an illusion.”
The reality after death is a sobering question whose answer must become a part of my worldview. What happens at death? Is death only a product of the mind? We live in a society in which much emphasis is placed on the mind. With concentration, we are told that one can bend a spoon; with concentration, one can influence people to think the way he wants them to think. Concentration and determination of the mind will help one through what seems to be impossible things. Nevertheless, the question remains: at death what happens? Is it the end (as the communists and socialists teach), or is there an afterlife? In this afterlife am I absorbed into the universe (as the New Age movement declares)? Am I reincarnated (as Hinduism and Buddhism declare)? The Mormons tell us that the devout Mormon is taken to another planet, an unpopulated planet, where he will be given a wife (or the wives that he has known); he will become god of that planet, and he as god will populate that planet. This is the Mormon afterlife. A Muslim’s afterlife is described as a very sensual paradise where man is given great pleasures.
First Corinthians 14:10 speaks of many voices in the world vying for our attention and control of our hearts. Knowledge has become more prolific at this time than at any other time in history. We live in a world abounding with moods, spirits, and ideologies that are clamoring in competition for the minds of humanity today, knocking on the doors of our hearts to claim our worldview, each voicing its distinctive. What do you believe happens when a person dies? Did he die? Does he come to the end of life to merely be annihilated? Do we know that one day all will stand before God and give an account of their lives? These are important questions for our worldview.
V. My View of Knowledge: Another Key Characteristic Defining My Worldview
Is it possible to know anything at all? The answer to this question is another key characteristic defining one’s worldview. One of the key philosophers that brought this question to the forefront was David Hume (1711–1776). He didn’t believe one could thoroughly know anything, not even himself. Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) tried to give a response by reasoning that perhaps we can take the world of epistemology and divide it into two spheres called the phenomena and noumena. He claimed we cannot know the noumena world, referring to anything in an invisible realm like angels, heaven, hell, soul, or God. As a closed world system, the phenomena world could be known through science and reason. Sadly, postmodernism has called us to question if we can even know anything about this phenomena world.
We may think that we have found the answer. But with all this melee of knowledge out there, who really knows? Who knows if Joe Biden lies? Is a lie tied to motivation and intention? Can a person say something wrong and not know that he has done so? But if one does not believe it is a lie when he states it, then has that statement become true and can be called truth? Can you repeat a lie around the world so often that it becomes true? In your knowing, can you know God? Can you know the truth about the White House or Congress? And can you know the truth about the weather? With all our accumulation of knowledge and the technology of our present age, can we know anything? Can we create science that is not true science but masquerades as science when proclaimed? If we say that no knowledge can be known, then it keeps us all in a nebulous context where we will never be able to come to conclusions about anything. Perhaps, in this confusion is where our contemporary leadership wants to keep us: trusting that only their word is true.
Yes, the Christian can absolutely know certain true things! We were made in the image and likeness of God! God is holy, and God is omniscient. Having never experienced it, He has more of the insight into the knowledge of sin than even the Devil has. Yes, He has all knowledge of everything. My worldview declares this to be a part of my thinking and presupposition. While it is impossible for anyone to know everything about everything, God knows everything about everything. And for the things that I don’t know, I am trusting Him with my life, because He knows; He knows!
The powers that have risen in the past two years have proved to be powers to force the world into changes of worldviews. As a Christian we are confronting a force to receive and believe the worldview of the world’s corrupt system. The woke movement and the cancel-culture movement are forcing society to change its worldview. We are being told what presuppositions we are to accept and those we must reject. Amidst innumerable presuppositions, one’s worldview is the great crucial key.
We want to observe the final characteristics that must control our worldview in the concluding article.