Worldview 101: the Great Culture Wars

Written by Jeff Carlson on .

In my 30 years as a teaching pastor, I have met few people who have really understood the idea of a “worldview.”  A worldview is how you view the world.  It ultimately reflects your view of the Lord and what life is all about.  So it is much more than a person’s viewpoint as a “liberal” or a “conservative,” “Democratic” or “Republican”, which seems to dominate our public discourse.  It deals with eternity and the spiritual intangibles of life.

All of our battles today are about worldview.  That battle found a lightning rod in last week’s Supreme Court decision to support Gay Marriage, but it really has been driving every disagreement and conflict. Gaining clarity about a person’s worldview is the only way to make sense of life.  Most of us got our worldviews from our families and/or religious traditions.

However, lately, it seems that the worldviews of many are being driven by the media alone, which explains the dramatic shift in  just a few years.  As a result, much of the country might believe something one year and yet change overnight depending on the politics and media of the culture. Testing this premise is easy. Back in 1965, 50 years ago, not a single person on the Earth believed legalized gay marriage would happen. Today, 50 years later, you are a bigot or outright evil to some if you do not believe it wasn’t right all along and support it now.  That is the power of the media to shift a person’s worldview.

This whole idea of worldview is easy to discern, but very hard to talk about. There are only two worldviews in life... only two. One worldview says that what happens today is all there is and will only last for this life.  In this worldview, the only “heaven” a person will find or have for sure is connected to this life and what we make happen. The other worldview says that what happens today is not the most important thing. The world is filled with sin and death. The real Heaven is yet to come.  This worldview says that life is eternal and under the control of God. 

Simple stuff, right?  And yet, you will virtually never hear these two worldviews discussed in public, including the Church.  It is a little too unsettling and close to home for most.

When the Lord Jesus came into this world this exact same thing was going on with a person’s worldview. There were only two worldviews then as there are now. In Luke 23 we see that during His crucifixion, Jesus was at the center of this worldview controversy.  On one side was a man that wanted Jesus to help him get off the cross. He wanted to live now. He wasn’t thinking about eternity or the world to come. On Jesus’ other side was another man who realized his life was closing out for this world and he asked Jesus to remember him for the next. Jesus told him He would remember him and promised him Paradise in the world to come starting that day. Is there anyone on Earth that doesn’t think the second man made a better choice?

We seem to be living in a strange time. Most people want it all now. They want what they want and they will do anything to get it.  There are others who realize this life is short and soon will pass. They realize that the life to come is what really counts and they are looking to the Lord.  May we all choose that better path. ver a time to proclaim the Good News of a GREAT future with the Lord Jesus Christ – it is now.