The term “world view” refers to any ideology, philosophy, theology, or outlook which provides an intellectual framework for interpreting life, including the metaphysical (supernatural/theoretical) properties associated with existing. Since volumes have been written on this subject, this article will briefly comment on the philosophical integrity of each major world view. Seven Major World Views The seven major world views are as follows:
- Atheism: No God (time + random accidents = reality).
- Polytheism: Many gods (random acts, limited control).
- Pantheism: God is the universe = the impersonal One.
- Panentheism: God is universe (His body), but He also has a spiritual existence beyond nature (a soul).
- Finite Godism: God is limited in goodness and power; He cannot counter man’s wrong doings.
- Deism: One God initially created all, but He is not in control now – initial laws working to a planned end.
- Theism: One personal all powerful God who created all, continues to control all, and is distinct from all.
The remaining six major world views – theism, deism, pantheism, polytheism, finite godism, and panentheism – all believe that there was an initial and personal cause to create nature, and an ongoing influence, or at least a predetermined law, to maintain it.
Logically Evaluating World Views
At least two conclusions are inescapable concerning the validity of world views: First, because each world view contradicts all the others, only one can be correct. Second, for a world view to be correct it must be logically consistent in principle. When critically evaluated, only theism is shown to be non-contradictory in principle.
Atheism, for example, cannot define a first cause or beginning and thus contradicts its most fundamental principle: that all beliefs must be supported by observational evidence, and that those which cannot must be rejected. Rationally speaking, only an allknowing, unchanging, eternal being would be able to categorically declare that there is no God, but then would not such a being actually be God? In either case, atheism is an illogical assertion.
The world views of polytheism, pantheism, panentheism, and finite godism identify a supernatural presence which is limited or initiated or changeable. A being that is subject to natural laws such as cause and effect is a contingent being whose existence results from something which previously existed. Contingent beings therefore cannot account for their own existence; a superior necessary being must exist. For example, humans are contingent beings. We exist because our parents existed; Adam and Eve existed because God created them. Through procreation (the natural law of reproduction) man simply passes along to the next generation the building blocks of life that previously existed. The changeable or limited god(s) of these world views have a contingent essence which requires a preexisting being to account for their existence.
Deism contradicts itself in principle by stating that a self-existing, unchanging, unlimited God created all things, but then cannot intervene to manipulate that which He first created. Certainly any subsequent divine manipulation of nature would be an inferior feat in comparison to the initial miracle of creation. Philosophically speaking, theism is the only world view which does not contradict itself; one all-knowing, allpowerful, eternal, immutable God created all and controls all.
Belief Systems Related To World Views
Belief systems relating to supernatural world views are numerous. So which, if any, are based on divine truth, and which are merely based on a religious facade? As with world views, at least two conclusions pertaining to belief systems are apparent: First, only one of these belief systems can represent truth, as the tenets of each system are incompatible with others. Secondly, for a belief system (such as a particular religion) to be correct, the basis of that system – such as “divine revelation” usually in the form of a “holy book” – must be consistently accurate. Why? Because absolute truth cannot be inconsistent.
So which belief system can boast of a foundational truth which is both consistent in content and in agreement with scientific discovery? The authenticity, uniformity and prophetical content of the Bible prove its vast uniqueness as being God’s Word to man. Other “holy books” posed by various world religions do not have these qualities of truthfulness. For example, the Quran disagrees with itself concerning whether those who worship idols can be forgiven or not, and it poses five different and conflicting stories as to how man was created. Thousands of archeological findings have validated the Bible’s historical veracity. This is in sharp contrast with the Book of Mormon which has no archeological evidence to substantiate that any of its cities or places ever existed. The Bible contains no assertions which are contrary to what is presently observed in nature. But, for example, the Hindu Vedas states that the earth is held up on the back of four elephants. Consequently, the only answer to the question above is a belief system which accurately adheres to the Bible’s teachings. This eliminates churchianity and religiosity in Christian disguise; biblical Christianity is not to be confused with these humanized forms.
The Christian World View
No denomination, sect, or movement which systematizes Scripture can claim to be perfectly true. The truth of the Bible is in the Bible’s entirety, and man, even when he tries his best, will fall short of obeying the precepts of Scripture. With this said, it is understood that there is one central truth concerning salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ that permeates the entire Bible. When an individual yields to this revelation, he or she is brought into a relationship with God. Thus, biblical Christianity is not an earthly institution, or a human-conspired organization, or a set of systematized teachings per se, but rather it is the opportunity to experience spiritual union with Jesus Christ; this is the central theme of Scripture. Oneness with Christ secures eternal life and affords the believer an opportunity to enjoy a life that is meaningful and pleasing to God (Lk. 9:23-26). These truths are foundational to the Christian world view. Biblical truth and the Christian world view cannot be separated, for by the former, man is able to interpret life and understand why life exists, and by the latter he is enabled to supernaturally live to please God.
The main distinction between biblical Christianity and all the religions of the world is that it teaches the vital need to be saved from spiritual death by trusting in a Savior alone; whereas the world’s religions present a system of works to merit salvation or to obtain an improved afterlife. Religion equips man with a “do it yourself” manual and workbook through which he may impress himself as to how well he is doing by completing religious exercises/checklists. Biblical Christianity, however, is not a religion but a relationship with Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, there is no forgiveness of sins, no life and no hope. “Jesus said … ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (Jn. 14:6). This is the main message of the Bible, and it forms the Christian’s manifesto for not just interpreting temporal life on earth, but also enjoying everlasting life with Christ in heaven!
By Warren Henderson
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org