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Components of Worldview - High School Level
Last Revised: January 1, 2009
What is Worldview?
A worldview is simply how you view the world around you. It answers the basic questions of life such as what is true, what is important, and what is the purpose of the individual. A worldview includes your values, morals/ethics, and assumptions about life. Your worldview determines your behavior and way of thinking.

Everyone has a worldview. Whether or not we realize it, we all have certain presuppositions and ideas that affect the way we view every aspect of life. A worldview is like a set of lenses that affects our vision and alters the way we perceive the world around us.

Our view of the individual gives us purpose. Our view of the family explains the role of each member. Our view of the church and community reveals our placement in the Body of Christ and our connection to our community. Our view of society determines the extent of our influence. All of these views are based on what we hold true, what we value, our sense of right and wrong, and our conduct.



Why It Is Important — Take One
Our worldview is formed by our upbringing, our education, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and movies we absorb, and our experiences. It is what “grounds” us. If we do not consciously recognize our worldview, then we can be easily tossed to and fro by whatever ideas are being presented at the time (see Ephesians 4:14). We can flip-flop back and forth on issues and behavior. We become inconsistent and begin to compromise the values and beliefs we once had.

The problem with this is that our human nature craves stability and equilibrium. Eventually, we either have to decide on a set way of thinking (worldview) or become ineffective because we cannot make a decision and stick with it.

For most people, their worldview is something they have absorbed by osmosis from their family and surrounding cultural influences without much conscious thought. They have never taken the time to think about what they believe and why.

I Peter 3:15 tells us: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” As Christians, we need to take the time to know what we believe, why we believe it, and how these beliefs differ from non-Christians. This has become known as worldview training.

It is generally recognized that we live in a post-Christian society in America. The dominant worldviews surrounding us are secular humanism, post-modernism, Marxism, Islam, and New Age (cosmic humanism). Each worldview has a distinct way of thinking. These ideas have consequences - they determine how we live our life as individuals and as a society.


Why It Is Important — Take Two
For homeschoolers, in particular, recognizing worldview is important because every publisher has a worldview. Since your worldview determines your behavior and way of thinking, it’s only natural that a publishers’ worldview impacts their way of thinking and behavior. When designing a curriculum, there is always more material available than can be covered in a textbook – at least one that is manageable in size! So publishers have to decide what gets included and what doesn’t, based on what they consider to be important and interesting.

Worldview also influences the presentation of the material – whether it is presented in a positive or negative light. What is often misleading is that we generally assume that what is written in a book is true. In the past, there was a conscious effort in publishing to be fair, balanced, and objective when writing textbooks. But as with journalism, there is a movement that recognizes that objectivity is impossible, so material is presented in a way that is useful and enjoyable instead.

The key is who decides what is useful? Is it useful to present both sides of a story, or is it more useful to present material in a way that pushes a certain agenda or way of thinking? In case you haven’t noticed, that latter approach is taking over.

Since objectivity is no longer the goal, then we must decide whether the publisher’s goals match our goals for homeschooling. Does the publisher’s worldview reflect our own? If not, is it worth using?

This is not to say that we should never present something that goes against our worldview or values. There comes a point in a student’s life when he/she must recognize other ways of thinking and evaluate them accordingly. But this involves advanced critical thinking skills and requires enough life experiences to be able to judge accurately and weigh the consequences.


Worldview Training
Given the importance of worldview, more materials are now available to help families identify a biblical worldview, recognize it’s usefulness in explaining the “big questions” of life, and defend how we approach life, including the education of our children. Each program comes at worldview training from a slightly different approach and uses various terms to describe the components of worldview. Each is geared for a specific age group, although most programs are for high school and above because of the critical thinking skills that are necessary.

Examples are:
  • David Quine’s Cornerstone Curriculum – Starting Points (CornerstoneCurriculum.com)
  • Summit Ministries’ Understanding the Times, Worldviews in Focus, Lightbearers, Building on the Rock (Summit.org)
  • BiblicalWorldviewMedia.com
  • Broadman & Holman’s Thinking Like a Christian and Countering Culture
  • Brannon Howse’s Worldview Weekend (WorldviewWeekend.com)
  • Northwest Christian Academy’s Project Biblical Worldview-ProjectBiblicalWorldview.com
  • Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project with Del Tackett (TheTruthProject.org)
  • Worldview Matters Think Again! Workshops (BiblicalWorldview.com)
  • NehemiahInstitute.com
  • Biblical Worldview Learning Center’s Polished Cornerstones and Fathers & Daughters (BiblicalWorldview.com)
  • Cascade Christian Schools Biblical Worldview Institute (BiblicalWorldviewInstitute.org)
  • Biblical and Christian Worldview for the 21st Century (BiblicalWorldview21.org)
  • Israel Wayne’s and Wisdoms Gate’s ChristianWorldview.net
  • Matt and Annick Slick’s The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM.org).
Even though the terms vary somewhat, most of the programs recognize 10 key areas or components of worldview. They are summarized in the table below.

Components of Worldview
.
Area of View Key Questions Field of Study Issues
View of Knowledge What is true?
What is real?
What is knowable?
epistemology
philosophy
relativism
pragmatism
naturalism
View of God Is there a God?
What is He like?
Is He personally involved?
theology nature of scriptures
role of Jesus Christ
miracles, intervention
redemption/evangelism
comparative religions
View of Life When does life begin?
When does life end?
What does it mean to be alive?
What is the origin of life?
What is the purpose of life?
biology


cosmology
abortion
euthanasia
bioethics
evolution vs. creationism
stewardship
View of Mankind/
View of Individual
Who is man?
What is the nature of man?
What is man’s design?
What is man’s purpose?
cosmology
psychology
consequences of behavior
victim mentality
leadership role models
role of emotions
counseling methods
heart vs. mind vs. brain
View of History How does man fit?
How do we interpret events?
history
anthropology
progressivism
eschatology
fatalism
kingdom theology
View of Creation How does man relate to the world
     around him?
science
technology
environmentalism
use of technology
health/medicine
logic
dominion/stewardship
View of Right & Wrong Can we know what is right?
Can we know what is wrong?
ethics moral absolutes
good vs. evil
View of Scociety How does the individual relate to
     others?
sociology social institutions
marriage
role of family
parental/children’s rights
role of men/women
sexuality
media/communication
role of education
vocation/career
traditions/rite of passages
church institutions
separation church/state
role of the arts
community involvement
View of Law What is the basis for law?
What is the purpose of government?
government
politics
natural law
crime & punishment
social order/public safety
individual rights
states’ rights
Constitutionalism
world courts, treaties
terrorism
View of Economics What is the basis for a sound
     economy?
economics money standard
markets/tariffs/trade
role of business
role of labor
unions
taxes
property ownership
globalization
government control

As you can see from the Issues column, worldview impacts every area of our daily life. To ignore worldview training means we are susceptible to the world’s way of thinking. To show you how pertinent worldview is we will briefly take a look at two examples.

Case in Point — Take One — Honors and Awards Discrimination
There is a growing trend in public schools to drop Honors Assemblies and the presentation of awards because they discriminate against low-performing students. Secular humanism teaches that everyone is equal because we all evolved from the same source. It doesn’t matter that we have different abilities – all abilities are equal. This means our worth as human beings has nothing to do with what we achieve or the way we act.

At first glance, a Christian may agree with this idea because God created all human beings; Galatians 3:28 says there are no distinctions in Christ – we are all one in Him. But our worth comes not because we are human, but because God created us. He created each person as an individual with a unique design and purpose. Fulfillment comes from realizing and carrying out that purpose. Without that sense of purpose, a person has no incentive to work hard or achieve – which is exactly what we are finding in the public school classrooms. Worldview matters.


Case in Point – Take Two – Children’s Rights
Because the distorted sense of equality pushed by secular humanism does not recognize any differences, there is an international move to “protect” children from their parents. According to the UN’s Convention for the Rights of the Child, it is illegal for parents to impose their views on a child and administer any physical discipline on a child to ensure proper behavior.

There is also a move for universal preschool, lowering the compulsory education age to three and in some cases even to infants. The government is concerned that some children are not getting the proper preparation for school during the key developmental toddler years. So to equalize opportunity, they want to force all children out of the care of their parents – whether or not the parents are capable or want to participate. This violates the biblical view of family, the role of parents, and the role of government.

Ironically, the UN Convention does not include an unborn child’s right to live just because the parent finds it inconvenient. That’s because of a perverted view of life and creation. Worldview matters.


Determined Purpose
These two cases are just the tip of the iceberg. But they do give us a hint of what’s to come. As things stand now, our rights as parents allow us to homeschool our children as we see fit, even if that method goes against the prevailing tide of secular education. However, it is very possible that in order to continue to do so, we will need to show “just cause.” Already there are states where homeschoolers must justify their approach.

For Christians, this means fully recognizing and understanding our biblical worldview. It means having a written statement of our worldview and how it impacts our decision to homeschool.

This should be included in a family purpose statement or mission statement. This is not an exercise in futility based on exaggerated despair. This is now. The apostle Paul warns us to be watchful (1 Thes. 5:6) and to stand fast and guard the truths we have been taught (2 Thes. 2:15).

KEY WORDS: world view, worldview, apologetics, biblical, Christian, goals, purpose, beliefs, assumptions, curriculum design, thinking skills, critical thinking, values, character

For more information on writing a Family Purpose Statement,
see the corresponding article and sample mission statement on the Archives page.
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