Do we need to engage in “worldview training” with our children and grandchildren? What difference does it make? Isn’t all of that “worldview” stuff just for philosophers who use big words that my kids and I can’t understand anyway? Isn’t it enough to just follow Jesus and leave worldview to others?
It might be tempting to think that way, but let’s pause for a moment to consider what a “worldview” really is. Our worldview, simply put, is our view of the world. It’s the philosophy or viewpoint we use to interpret everything around us. It’s our road-map to how we live our lives.
That means every single one of us has a worldview. It might be an organized, coherent philosophy, or it may be a hodge-podge of ideas we’ve picked up here and there with no organizing principles. But each one of us, whether we realize or not, has some kind of worldview.
Of course, there are many worldviews in our culture today. There’s humanism, pantheism, socialism, postmodernism, etc. And, of course, there’s Biblical Christianity.
But again, what difference does it make what our worldview is as long as we follow Jesus? And why do we need to go to the work of teaching our kids about worldviews?
To begin, let’s dig a little deeper on what a worldview is.
Defining a Worldview
At the foundation of any worldview are certain “big ideas” that undergird everything else. Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey, in their book How Now Shall We Live?, contend that every worldview must answer three questions:
- Creation: Where did we come from, and who are we?
- Fall: What has gone wrong with the world?
- Redemption: What can we do to fix it?
The Bible answers all of these questions, of course, and those answers form the starting point of a Biblical worldview. And if we choose to live consistently with those answers, every facet of our lives will be impacted.
But what happens if we change the answers to those three foundational questions? Simply put, we’ll end up with a very different worldview.
Marxism, for instance, gives answers that are radically different compared to Christianity. In her book Total Truth, Nancy Pearcey explains it this way:
- What is Marxism’s counterpart to Creation, the ultimate origin of everything? Self-creating, self-generating matter.
- What is Marxism’s version of the Fall, the origin of suffering and oppression? The rise of private property.
- How does Marxism propose to set the world right again? Revolution! Overthrow the oppressors and recreate the original paradise of primitive communism.
And once again, from that high-level, big-question perspective, Marxists can figure out what it means to live a life consistent with Marxism.
If the Bible is true—and it is—then its answers to these big questions reveal and describe the world as it really is. It gives us an accurate picture of true reality. All other worldviews, to one extent or another, distort reality and lead their adherents to live contrary to the truth.
Where We Are
Our children are going to believe something. They’re going to have some view of the world around them. And if we don’t give them a Biblical worldview, the world will be glad to give them a substitute to take its place.
The truth is, most of the children in our country today are enrolled in secular government schools that don’t share our worldview. They’re also spending vast amounts of time plugged into media that doesn’t share our worldview.
What ideas are they learning? What worldview are they absorbing through all of this educational and entertainment content?
Young people have been walking away from the church in massive numbers, and the number of “nones”—essentially, those who hold to no religion—has been on the rise. According to Pew Research Center in 2015, 35 percent of Millennials were “nones.”
Moving from the religious to the political sphere, consider these headlines from the past couple of years:
- CNBC: “Most young Americans prefer socialism to capitalism, new report finds”
- Axios: “Gen Z prefers ‘socialism’ to ‘capitalism’
- Fox News: “Americans warming to socialism over capitalism, polls show”
- Gallup: “Four in 10 Americans Embrace Some Form of Socialism”
Are these young people hardcore socialists? As Gallup notes, “Whether the appeal of socialism to young adults is a standard function of idealism at that age that dissipates as one grows older, or will turn out to be a more permanent part of the political beliefs held by the cohort of millennials who have come of age over the past decade, remains to be seen.”
Of course, once we find out the answer to that question, it may be too late.
As we look around our culture, we see the decline of Christian thought and ideals. If ever there was a time to teach our children a Biblical worldview, the time is now. And I’ll say it again: if we don’t give our children a Biblical worldview, someone is going to take our place and teach our children a different one. But it probably won’t be the one you would have chosen.
Why it Matters
There are at least three negative outcomes our children may succumb to if we fail to teach our them a Biblical worldview:
- Without a solid understanding of a Biblical worldview, they may fall prey to one of the false worldviews prevalent in our culture—perhaps under the impression that it better explains the “big questions” of life—and walk away from the Christian faith entirely.
- They could remain faithful to Christ at one level, but be led astray by wrong ideas (such as socialism) because they don’t understand the Bible’s teaching on anything other than personal faith and values (in other words, they think Christianity is only about a personal relationship with Jesus, not truth about all of life).
- They may absorb elements of many false worldviews without having any Biblical framework to filter them through, leading to a life lived without any real core.
Worldview training, then, is about equipping our children to understand the world as it really is (because only the Bible has the real answers to the biggest questions), refute the wrong ideas our culture tries to hand them, and live confidently according to what they know to be true.
Of course, having a Biblical worldview isn’t a substitute for saving faith in Christ. It’s possible, after all, to know all the right answers yet remain spiritually lost. Yet if our children trust Christ but don’t understand how the Bible offers the best answers across life’s many questions, they won’t be equipped to stand strong in a culture that has lost its way and point others toward the Truth.
Let’s make sure we’re passing on a Biblical worldview to the next generation.
IFI Worldview Conference
To help equip Christians to think and live out our faith in the public square, the Illinois Family Institute is hosting their annual Worldview Conference on March 7th at the Village Church of Barrington. This year’s conference is titled “Thinking Biblically About Our Corrosive Culture” and features Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Rob Gagnon.
What: IFI Worldview Conference
When: Saturday, March 7th, 10 AM to 3:30 PM
Where: Village Church of Barrington, 1600 E. Main Street, Barrington, IL 60010 (map)
How much: $20 per person/$50 per family
Click HERE for a flyer for this event.
You don’t want to miss this!