Worldviews Are for Everyone

Previously on this blog I spoke of the basic Christian worldview.  Referencing the worldview of Christians begs the question, “What is a worldview?”  This is the second major idea (the first being here) of Pushing the Antithesis:  The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen.  Before we define what a world view is, I want to make a statement.  Wordviews are not merely religious constructions used solely by those who believe in God.  Put another way, worldviews are for everyone.  We all have them.

Definition of a “worldview”

 I can’t put it any better than Pushing the Antithesis does so I won’t try.

First, a worldview forms a network of presuppositions, an entire belief system of assumptions.  The network is a complex web of numerous beliefs organized in an interlocking, interdependent, self-contained truth system.

To think of your own beliefs in a piecemeal fashion, as if your ideas are disconnected and have nothing to do with eachother, is to ignore the reality of belief.  This will soon become more clear.

Even this definition of worldviews begs a question.  What is a presupposition?  “A presupposition is an elementary assumption in one’s reasoning or in the process by which opinions are formed” (pg. 44).  This type of assumption is so essential that they are personal commitments held to at the most basic level of one’s belief network.  They are an individuals’ starting point under which everything else is interpreted and evaluated.  As such, presuppositions are treated with a kind of special immunity to revision and are the least negotiable of beliefs.

To explain each aspect of a worldview more fully…

Worldviews are Universal

Every single person must have a philosophical framework that tells them how to view and interact with the world around them.  This goes hand in had with the idea that worldviews are for everyone.  However, the universality of worldviews also speaks to the totality of their influence upon the individual.  Every single rational act or belief is filtered through an individuals’ worldview.  In fact a rational act, by definition, must have a starting point in the presuppositional level. 

To assert that one can interpret facts and beliefs without filtering it through their worldview would be like reading a single sentence of a book and claiming to find meaning in that sentence without the context of the sentences around it or, indeed, the entire book.

Worldview Interpretation

As mentioned before, through our presuppositions everything is interpreted.  This is to say that “presuppositions hold the highest level of authority in our worldview and are basis by which we interpret and understand reality.”(pg. 46)  Because of this, you are least likely to give these beliefs up.  Bahnsen puts it this way:

“Every thinker grants preferred status to some of his beliefs . . . These privileged convictions are “central” to his “web of beliefs,” being treated as immune from revision – until the network of convictions itself is altered . . . our thoughts, reasoning, and conduct are governed by presuppositional convictions which are matters of deep personal concern…to which we intend to intellectually cling and defend “to the end.” “

Everyone’s worldview is, and must be, founded upon basic presupposed ideas, held as truth, which are immune from revision

Worldviews are Immune from Natural Science

That is to say that the presuppositions that make up our worldviews can’t be observed, tested or falsified by natural science.  In fact, some presuppositions are need for natural science to be viable.  “Just as the scientist stands on the floor of a laboratory to perform his experiments, so science itself stands on the floor of presuppositions in order to analyze the world.” (pg. 48 )

Personal Note

This idea really hit home.  The unbelievers hold to their beliefs of “none God” or “not the Christian God” or “the universe is nothing but matter” as deeply and tightly as we hold on to our Father.  It is these deep beliefs that are completely contrary to the Christian worldview, it is those deep beliefs that we must attack, not just arguing evidence for evidence.

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