Definitions and problems
Definitions of "worldview:"
|The FreeDictionary: The term means:|
|The overall perspective from which one
sees and interprets the world.|
|A collection of beliefs about life and the
universe held by an individual or a group.
|LaborLawTalk: "The term denotes a comprehensive set of opinions, seen
as an organic unity...At all times, religious and political teachings were
bases for forming worldviews; in fact, they were often worldviews
themselves. For example, Christianity,
Islam, socialism, Marxism,
Scientology may be called worldviews; at least they generate clearly
identifiable worldviews." 2|
|Author Palmer Michael describes
a worldview as consisting of six parts:|
|Ideology (e.g. beliefs in
God, cosmology), |
|Narrative (e.g. sacred writings and myths),|
ethics and morality), |
|Rituals (e.g. activities designed to renew bonds),
|Experience (e.g. emotional
and spiritual elements), and |
|A social element (educating future generations). 3|
|Professor James Olthuis of the Toronto
Institute for Christian Studies has written: "A worldview (or
vision of life) is a framework or set of fundamental beliefs through which
we view the world and our calling and future in it. The vision may be so
internalized that it goes largely unquestioned; it may be greatly refined
through cultural-historical development; it may not be explicitly developed
into a systematic conception of life; it may not be theoretically deepened
into a philosophy; it may not even be codified into creedal form.
Nevertheless, this vision is a channel for the ultimate beliefs which give
direction and meaning to life. 4|
Problems with worldviews:
People tend to adopt a worldview early in life, and often do not change it
radically in adulthood. They often reject new understandings and discoveries in
the fields of religion, culture, science, etc. out of hand because they are
incompatible with their personal worldview.
As James Olthuis writes, A person's worldview is often "largely unquestioned."
To author James Sire, a worldview consists of:
"...a set of presuppositions
(assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold
(consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic
make-up of our world." 5
If one lacks understanding of their own worldview and/or is not aware of the
diversity of worldviews within the culture, one is often mystified by the
beliefs of others. This can lead to demonization of others, as is often seen
between pro-choice and pro-life supporters. It can also lead to people having
difficulty in converting others to their point of view.
Hopefully, those people who become aware of the existence and content of their
personal worldview will be able to alter it to accommodate changes in the
culture. When adults who are now retired were entering their teens,
racial segregation was a way of life; abortions were
criminal acts in many states; homosexual behavior was
outlawed and widely considered a mental illness;
inter-racial marriage was outlawed in many
states, and same-sex marriage was inconceivable. If
this rate of social change continues into the future, today's youth will have
difficulty coping. Teens who are aware of their own worldview may be able to
better accommodate change.
Unfortunately, the diversity of worldviews and religions in the national culture
is not often included in school curricula.
- "Worldview," TheFreeDictionary, at: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/
- "Worldview," LaborLawTalk.com, at: http://encyclopedia.laborlawtalk.com/
- Michael Palmer, "Elements of a Christian Worldview," Logion Press, (1998)
Read reviews or order this book Pages 28 - 30.
- R. Wesley Hurd, "Me and My Worldview," McKenzie Study Center, at:
- James Sire, "The Universe Next Door: A basic worldview catalog"
Intervarsity Press, (3rd edition, 1997). He discusses, from a conservative Christian viewpoint, such worldviews as theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism,
Marxism, postmodernism and the New Age.
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Copyright © 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally posted: 2005-JUN-02
Latest update: 2005-JUN-03
Author: B.A. Robinson