John Stonestreet and I spend a lot of time on BreakPoint talking about the concept of “worldview,” but what exactly is a worldview, and how can you know what yours is?
Well, to answer the first question, a worldview is a set of beliefs about the nature of reality, and those beliefs attempt to answer the perennial human questions, “Where did we come from?” “What’s gone wrong with the world and how do we fix it?” and “How should we live our lives?”
Of course, theologians, philosophers and auto mechanics down through the ages have offered different answers to those questions, and it remains a perplexing topic for many of us.
Happily, the answer to the second question, “How can I know what my worldview is?” is a lot easier to figure out.
We can see what provides our lives with ultimate meaning by examining what we do. That’s because what we do actually determines what we love. And according to Colson Center theologian T.M. Moore, “what we love … defines our worldview.”
Worldview, you see, is ultimately not a matter of the head — though of course our intellect is involved — but of the heart. Moore, in one of his recent online ViewPoint columns, reflects on the wonderful book Desiring the Kingdom, the first in a three-volume series on the theology of culture by theologian James K.A. Smith.
Citing Smith, Moore says, “Worldviews are fashioned according to what we desire, and not according to what we know. A person’s worldview reflects what he or she loves more than what he or she believes.”
In other words, we choose our worldview based upon our affections. And, Moore writes, “The everyday practices in which we engage have a powerful effect on shaping our affections and beliefs.”
This principle exposes the hidden worldview of professing Christians, too. We cannot, as the old saying goes, say we believe in God but live like the devil.
As Moore says, “If what we spend the bulk of our time and conscious energy doing — with our eyes, mouths, brains and bodies – is fixed in and dictated by the world of flesh and things, then flesh and things are what we will love the most. And if flesh and things are what we love the most ... then these will be the defining elements of our worldview.” It’s a sobering warning for all of us.
What is the treasure in your heart? Robertson McQuilkin, former president of Columbia Bible College, tells the story of a ministry leader who allowed his mind to wander to a certain sexual fantasy that he thought would never happen. Day after day, his imagination returned to this hidden dream, but it was all harmless. Just daydreaming. Well, one day, what the man had been imagining presented itself to him in real life, and he fell for it — delivering a crushing blow to his family and his faith.
No wonder the Apostle Paul says, “train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
As I said, we talk a lot about worldview here, and it’s easy to think that it’s all about thinking. But as T.M. Moore reminds us, worldview training — honing a godly understanding of what gives life ultimate meaning — begins not with what we think, but with what we do. We cannot separate Christian orthodoxy from orthopraxy.
If you want to challenge and hone your worldview, sign up to receive T.M. Moore’s ViewPoint columns every day by email. Come to BreakPoint.org, and we’ll tell you how.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print.
Publication date: March 6, 2013