Do you know what your worldview is? It might sound like a philosophical question, but the truth is, your worldview influences every aspect of your life – from your beliefs and values to the decisions you make and the way you interact with the world around you. As Christians, cultivating a biblical worldview is crucial to living a life that brings honour to God. But having a biblical worldview is not something that comes naturally – it takes conscious effort and a deliberate practise to establish it.
Unfortunately, many Christians today have become consumed by worldly goals such as material success, the fear of failure, and the pursuit of comfort – forgetting that these objectives often conflict with their faith. As Paul reminds us in Romans, we should not be conformed to the ways of this world, but transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can live according to God’s will.
In this article, we will explore the importance of examining our own worldview and identifying any differences from a biblical perspective. We will also address the potential threats that may try to change it, and consider how we can put our faith into practice in our daily lives, especially in the workplace. Join us as we embark on a journey to develop a biblical worldview and live a life that reflects our faith.
What is a worldview?
A worldview is a set of beliefs, conscious or unconscious, about the world and how it operates. Different individuals and groups have varying worldviews based on factors such as life experiences, race, language, etc. For believers, our worldview is shaped by our faith in Jesus Christ. This is referred to as a biblical worldview, a theistic view that recognises God the Father as the Creator of the universe and all existence.
Understanding your own worldview
To examine your own worldview, consider these five questions (Zohar, Zero Distance):
Around the world, various cultures have different answers to these five questions.
A simple way to categorise these diverse worldviews is by placing them on a spectrum, with Animism on one end (predominantly from Eastern cultures) and Secularism on the other end (common in Western societies). The diagram and table below (Miller, Discipling Nations) highlight how these three distinct worldviews answer the five questions differently.
The Worldview Continuum
|Ultimate Reality Is Spiritual
|Ultimate Reality Is Personal
|Ultimate Reality Is Physical
The diagram illustrates that Animism, at the left, views the world through a primarily spiritual lens. It believes that the real world lies beyond what we can see. On the opposite end, Secularism views the world through a physical lens, maintaining that there is nothing beyond what can be perceived by the senses and that there is no spiritual aspect. Theism, in the centre, believes that ultimate reality is personal – it is both spiritual and practical, and it exists in both a spiritual world and the real world we can see and touch.
Some might argue that there are many variations in between these three worldviews, and others propose that there are only two worldviews (Jones, The Other Worldview). Despite these debates, the three foundational worldviews (Animism, Secularism, and Theism) have remained largely unchanged throughout history. For simplicity and adaptability, this article will use these three main categories.
The three major worldviews as indicated above are compared in the table below, highlighting their critical differences:
|Ultimate reality is spiritual
|Ultimate reality is personal and relational
|Ultimate reality is physical
|Spirits animate everything, everything moves towards oneness of spirit
|God exists. He created a universe of physical and spiritual dimensions, seen and unseen worlds.
|Life is result of matter, energy, time, and chance
|Truth is hidden and irrational (all is mystery)
|Truth, as revealed by God, is objective and be known by man
|Truth is empirical
|Universe is basically amoral
|God’s character establishes absolute morals
|Morals are relative, values emerge from social consensus
|Religion: Monistic – ultimate reality lies in a realm that transcends worldly phenomena (reality is consciousness)
|One personal-infinite God “I AM”
|Religion: Pantheistic – equates God with the laws of the universe
|“All is one!”
|One God created man and the world. God transcends the world but is immanent in it
|“Everything is God!”
|Ancient Near East
|Secular humanism (Enlightenment)
(Adapted from Miller, Discipling Nations)
The world is changing rapidly and has experienced significant upheavals in recent decades, from terrorist attacks in the early 2000’s to fraudulent and corrupt activities such as the Enron scandal and predatory lending practices leading to the 2008 financial crisis, and South Africa’s state capture and Steinhoff debacle. It is clear that better leadership is desperately needed.
In the West, a shift towards Secular Humanism/Secularism has emerged, originating from the Enlightenment era where figures such as Darwin are well-known. The Enlightenment marked the division of religion and science, leading to Scientific Materialism becoming the dominant belief system. Anything unseen was designated to religion and the church, while anything perceivable by the senses (matter) was placed under the authority of science.
The current trend is towards Materialism. Society has developed global economies where material success is the defining factor of human worth, as evidenced by the use of gross domestic product (GDP) as the key indicator of any country’s prosperity. Many people, even Christ followers, struggle to break free from this influence. This is a time of confusion, as we are unaware of how our thinking and emotions have been shaped by a scientific and secular humanistic worldview.
The new-age movement recognises this materialistic orientation, but often lacks a critical evaluation of alternative perspectives based on biblical standards (Mangalwadi, When The New Age Gets Old). Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of misleading messages that may appear appealing but lead us astray. The battle for our hearts and minds continues.
I encourage you to spend a few moments reflecting on your leadership, organisation, or business orientation. When was the last time you thoroughly examined the five questions above?
Do your hunger, desires, and motivation find their centre in kingdom purposes? Or have your values been moulded more by society than the Bible? Do you feel peaceful or anxious when making daily decisions that impact your organisation or society? Can you trust that even if material things are not looking great, your Father is working out his plan for your life?
In today’s fast-paced and often secular world, it’s more important than ever to stay grounded in our faith and hold firm to the biblical principles that guide us. Remember, as Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Let us make a conscious effort to develop a biblical worldview and live a life that honours God.
Look out for J-D Nel’s follow-up article on the Ziwani Knowledge Hub, entitled “Rise Of The Quantum Worldview”.
J-D Nel is a coach, facilitator, and author with a decade of experience in start-up and leadership development. He holds a Master’s degree in Business Ethics from Stellenbosch university and is currently an entrepreneurial coach with the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. J-D is passionate about leadership development and supporting purposeful businesses in Africa. He is married, has two kids, and lives in Stellenbosch, South Africa.