The Christian Worldview
A Summary by Hudson Farrell
Class Instructor: Hobert Farrell
Based on the Book: Understanding the Times ©2006 by David A. Nobel
Christian ideas rest on these points: the evidence that Jesus Christ existed as a human being, the historical proof that he was killed, the actuality of his resurrection, and the fact that by doing so he provided the way for individuals to be forgiven of their sins and reconciled to God. Christian’s believe these points to be true; this belief implies many assumptions which compromise the basic foundation of the Christian faith. These assumptions are not based on wishful speculation, they are not blind faith; they are based on a great deal of evidence. Through the course of this paper I will outline basic key assumptions and evidences by briefly looking at ten different (but related) categories: theology, philosophy, ethics, biology, psychology, sociology, law, politics, economics, and history. The ideas and beliefs one creates, consciously or unconsciously, about these ten categories form the basis of his/her way of “looking at life” (worldview). Therefore, by looking at these ten topics from the Christian perspective, we will gain a glimpse of the Christian worldview.
Christian theology rests on two foundations: special (the Bible) and general (the created universe) revelation. These foundations determine how a Christian views God and life. Christians believe in theism (the conviction that God exists), which causes them to view existence as ultimately meaningful. The Christian is not only concerned with the existence of God, but also with the relationship that exists between God and people. Christians believe that the Bible is God’s Word and that it is the basis for understanding all of reality. We believe that God manifests himself and his relationship to us through his Word. This special revelation is considered superior to the general revelation displayed in the physical universe because it specifically describes our relationship to God. General revelation, however, is considered important as well because it is believed to be proof of God’s existence (if one finds a watch in a dessert, concluding that a chance sandstorm gave it order is foolish). These two foundations shape the way Christians view God. Consequently, our view of God forms the basis for the rest of our worldview (as does anybody’s view of God).
Philosophy is the study of wisdom and knowledge. Because Christians believe that God is the source of all knowledge, their study of knowledge starts with him and then, consequently, with special revelation which in turn is based on history, the law of evidence and the science of archaeology. Christians believe faith and rational thought are not devoid of each other, but rather are concisely intertwined. We believe that we can understand much about creation and the Creator because he has made us with the capacity to understand him and his intelligent order. We view our minds as separate entities from the physical brain. Therefore, our minds are proof for the existence of the supernatural.
The origin of life continues to be one of the most questioned and debated issues in this era. Most Christians consider the creation of the world to have happened as described in the Genesis account. Adam is seen as an important historical figure. We believe Adam was created perfect but then fell into moral indifference by his own choice and that every human inherits this moral dilemma at birth. We believe that science and the Bible are not in conflict over the originations of the universe, but rather that they support one another. Proof in science for the validity of the Creation account include: the intricate design found in all living organisms, the complexity of DNA, and the fact that there are fossil gaps in the evolutionary tree. Christians view the universe like a piece of art: it suggests an artist.
Christians hold a different view on sociology and psychology than other competing worldviews because Christians put emphasis both on the individual’s worth and on society’s worth as a whole. The Christian believes that in order to understand society, one must understand the individual first because individuals are responsible for the evils in society. To understand the individual one must understand that humans have a natural tendency to revolt against God and His laws. This evil in human beings is what causes the evils seen in societies (and, the only way to rid individuals of this evil is to point them to Christ). However, Christians believe that the individual is valuable in God’s eyes and is capable of contributing to society. We believe society should have three institutions to “govern” itself: family, state, church and a prerequisite – labor. Each of these institutions has place in society, however, if they aren’t kept in proper balance, society as a whole will crumble.
Because individuals have such a large impact on society, the ethical code and morals which govern the individual should be of top concern to the Christian. Christians believe that every human has a common moral heritage engrained into their mind and that God also revealed the ethical code to us in the form of his word: the Bible. We believe that the ethical code is unchanging and not relative; when we follow the code we please God. Laws that politicians make are based on their own ethical codes. They determine what is just by what they believe is right and wrong. Christians believe that God is the world’s lawgiver and judge and that he provides his own character as an absolute basis for law making. Not only did God give us a sense of what is right and wrong, he also provided the Bible to show us what is moral and lawful. As Christians, we believe that the Bible should be the stem from which the laws of government blossom.
Human government is instituted by God to protect our unalienable rights, which are found in the Bible, from our own selfish tendencies, and those of others. As humans, we have unalienable rights only because we are made in God’s image, and those rights are based on his unchanging character. We Christians see justice as the principle reason for the state’s existence. Our evil inclinations toward moral indifference must be kept in check by laws and a government capable of enforcing such laws; and we are to obey, respect, and participate in the government in order to serve God according to his will. However, if a system of government is unjust, and remains so, we may be required to engage in civil disobedience in order to remain obedient to God. Obedience to God is primary in the life of a Christian.
Christians differ over the subject of which economic system is more in line with biblical teaching; but one thing we agree on is that no system run by people is perfect. Socialism and Capitalism have clashed during the past century and Christians have aligned themselves onto both sides. However, the Bible makes itself clear that humans have the right to own property when it states “Thou shalt not steal”. This implies that the owner already possessed property. The Bible also makes it clear that those who work are rewarded and those who are lazy remain poor. God makes it clear in the Old and New Testament that fairness does not consist of showing special favor to the rich or to the poor (Lev. 19:15; 2Thes 3:10). The biblical view of Free Enterprise does not cause the rich to get richer or the poor to get poorer; rather it encourages the rich to create more wealth, and use it to aid all of society.
Because Jesus Christ is the basis for the Christian worldview, the proof of his existence is key for the Christian faith. The historian Josephus mentions Jesus at least twice in his Antiquities of the Jews. Bruce Metzger writes, “Today no competent scholar denies the historicity of Jesus.” This includes atheistic and secular scholars. Christians believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection were real events. The proof of this claim lies in the accuracy of the New Testament and whether or not it is a reliable and truthful document. Not only does the New Testament remain unchanging across copies a thousand years apart, it also was written by eyewitnesses only a few decades after Christ’s death. The writer of the Gospel of Luke goes out of his way to place major figures of history in the description of Christ’s death and resurrection. This, coupled with five-hundred eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after his death, gives enough proof for the validity and historicity of Jesus’ resurrection. This divine intervention by God implies a purpose in history. As Christians, we believe that the story of humanity is invested with meaning and that history is moving to a specific climax- the Day of Judgment. This is when Christ’s resurrection and triumph over sin will become known to all and Christians will celebrate with him in his victory.
By taking the time to look over each of these ten topics from a Christian’s perspective, we are able to conclude that Christians view life as very meaningful. This meaning provides hope to every individual through the provider of meaning, Jesus Christ. We believe that Christ provides himself as the basis for how each topic should be viewed and applied. Hopefully you have seen that the beliefs Christians hold to are not blind ones, but are based on strong and reasonable sciences. As Christians, it is important for us to be able to know where we stand on each of these ten topics (1Peter 3:15-16), and hopefully this paper provided a basic overview of the beliefs a biblical Christian holds.