On Worldview

As the American Heritage dictionary defines worldview:

"The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world."

If our worldview is the filter through which we see everything, it deserves some thought, and potentially deserves some adjusting. If you think about it, God has a worldview (or universeview or something) and a Christian ought to be making an effort to match it. I do not pretend to have an entirely correct worldview.  I'm sure it has some holes and flaws, but what follow are some observations on how worldviews are formed.

Let's start with this idea:  you probably didn't pick a large portion of your worldview. I don't mean to offend — I am in the same boat — but much of what we think is more often a reaction than a proactive decision.  Much, if not all of what happens around us is out of our control. All we can do is decide what we decide, and to so this well proves more difficult than you may think. It boils down to two things, primarily.   

a) Our experience 

b) Our father

"Joshua! There are many other factors to consider! That's awfully narrow!" I don't mean to say they are the only two, I just mean that they are probably highest on the list, or at least pretty high. Let's talk about experience first.

To put it simply, if something happens to you, you will probably expect it to happen again. If it happens several times over a long period of time, you may just have a worldview on your hands.  It might take shape like this: "all men want the same thing," "women become nags when they get old," "people like me are always poor," "pastors are hypocrites," et cetera...

Take this example: one girl grows up in a relatively stable home. She has siblings she loves and love her, though they bicker a good deal. Her parents give her somewhat consistent affection. When she comes of age she gets married and her first time being intimate with a man is on her moneymoon. She concludes "sex is a beautiful expression of love." Another girl is kidnapped from her family as a child and becomes a sex slave. She knows many men who care nothing for her. She concludes "Sex is abusive. It has nothing to do with relationship and is all about money."  I'd say while the first girl's worldview is closer to what God wants, neither worldview is all-encompassing. A Godly worldview may go something like this: "Sex is a sacred, beautiful gift from God, designed by him for procreation, fun, and symbolism. It is highly abused because it is so valuable and weighty. A Christian should fight to exemplify sex done correctly and, when possible, help fix where it is not." 

Now that is an extreme example. It could be more subtle. Perhaps everyday your mother made you breakfast, and you assume every mother makes breakfast. You are shocked when you spend the night at your friend Billy's house and he wakes up and pours a bowl of cereal, because his mom has a nine-to-five. 

Don't worry though. God is awfully patient with us, and knows how some of our ideas are seared, branded in us  In fact, he knows every detail of why your worldview is the way it is, and knows just how to unwind it. I'd say that while a good dollop of introspection is required, mainly look to Jesus. He'll help you out. (The most profound ways your worldview is incorrect you probably are not even aware of!) It's a good thing truth, reality is all found in the person Jesus Christ. 

And now to the dad.  This truth is potentially wonderful and potentially terrible, as you already guessed. I do not know why and I don't even claim to like it, but no other person has been a given a weightier role in shaping your expectations and paradigm than your dad. In other words, fathers shape reality for their children.  What dad says goes, or, more accurately, what dad does is.  

"But Joshua! Because of what my dad did, I do the complete opposite!"

*insert long silence* 

Right. In response to what your dad did.  

This idea can be supported in scripture, but even a brief glance into the current findings of psychology will show this true.  Perhaps that's why when Jesus showed us to pray, he immediately mentions that the guy charge is our father.  Perhaps he knew the weight of it; knew how much many of us desperately need a shift of worldview because of what dad did. Jesus declared, "Your real dad is in heaven.  He is the one ultimately in charge and whatever your experience has told you, this dad is benevolent and has specific, good intentions for you. He won't bend the universe around your every whim, and neither will he abuse you. He's perfect in all the ways your dad is not."

What happens inside you when you read that statement? Does it resonate as true? Are you immediately frustrated?Somewhere in between?  Do you not care?  I submit that your response is of utmost importance to how you interpret the world around you and even to your Christian faith.

Here are some marks of a professional worldview maker: lots of adjustments and lots of forgiveness over lots of time. It doesn't happen quickly. It doesn't happen by mistake. It takes much concentrated effort. (In fact, if anything you read today resonated with you, you'll probably need reminding in a year. Don't worry. I have the same disease!)

I now offer a prayer,

"God, I don't know to what degree my worldview is accurate, but you do.  I invite your Holy Spirit to illuminate where I have learned things that are untrue from my experiences and from my father or otherwise.  Please help me see and align with what is true."