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What Is a Worldview?

by Seth Pierce

A few months prior to writing this article I sat atop Hawkeye Point in the Goat Rocks Wilderness—looking over the world from the 7,431-foot summit. My trusty iPhone took breathtaking panoramas of Mount Adams and Mount Rainier. From my superior position I could look down upon the carpet of pine trees no bigger than matchsticks and even a few suspicious mountain goats giving me the eye.

The day before, my comrades and I had embarked on the epic journey that made my muscles sore, all but wore away the skin on my ankles, and robbed me of sleep. Sleeplessness came from my treacherous tent and impressionable bladder that empathized with the rain. My tent is cramped, and I was also on a slight incline, meaning as the night rolled on so did I—right to the back of the tent. The next morning we made our climb—a few thousand feet up—crossing streams, narrow paths, and wet rocks to a beautiful campsite at the foot of a basin.

After a night of wind roaring down the mountainside that threatened to blow my tent right off the mountain, I arose the next morning to continue the journey up. My ankle and knees would eventually betray me after reaching the pinnacle of our journey—causing me to lose major “man points” when my friends had to find me a walking stick, knee brace, and carry my pack the last mile.

But the view was worth it—to see how everything flowed together into one beautiful landscape.

The Gospels portray Jesus weeping over a view that broke His heart. As He approached Jerusalem, “He wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes’ ” (Luke 19:41, 42). In other words, because the people of the world didn’t have the correct view they missed the reality of who Jesus was.
It’s a problem Jesus confronted throughout His ministry.

Jesus warns spiritually blind people to get an accurate view of themselves before they can see others clearly (Matthew 7:5), to stop judging by mere appearances (John 7:24), to understand that those in need are intimately connected with Him (Matthew 25:31-46), and to be careful of the “blind” religious leaders of the day (Matthew 15:14). The ability to see the truth and interface with it correctly is a grand theme of Jesus’ ministry.

Through our own eyes we see the world in unique ways—yet no one’s view is absolutely unique. All of us have been influenced by ideas that are older than us . . . sometimes older than our grandparents’ grandparents. Sometimes those ideas are helpful, and other times they cause us grief.

We call how we see all of reality a “worldview.”

And most people haven’t given it much thought. They assume their view is great  . . . until something bad happens, or they find themselves in an argument they can’t win.

Jesus tells us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Just as that backpacking trip up to Hawkeye Point required blood, sweat, and . . . well, I didn’t cry, but in order to have a view of the world that allows us to see how everything flows into God’s grand story it takes some work.

It takes all our heart, mind, and strength—because our worldview will be challenged.

This becomes a bigger issue in high school and college. When your teacher is an atheist, the person next to you is a Buddhist, and the person behind you believes your teacher and the Buddhist are both going to burn forever in hell—what do you say?

Which one most correctly sees reality? Everyone’s worldview has something to offer, but they are not created equal in their ability to see the world rightly. Just as windows can have smudges and cracks that distort our vision—there are worldviews that distort God’s world.

How does God deal with evil? Should we enjoy the culture around us or avoid it? Is the Bible inspired? You may have immediate answers to these questions, but do you have good reasons for your answers? How do you know they are good reasons? Where did they come from?

Social media has created more opportunities than ever to encounter different, and sometimes hostile, views that clash with ours. Simply yelling platitudes and clichés at people who question our faith won’t win anybody to Jesus.

We need deeper thinking.

Deeper answers.

A deeper faith.

Next week we will explore how to craft a worldview that can bring depth to our faith and answers to our critics.

Seth Pierce is a pastor and author residing with his family in the Pacific Northwest. He enjoys Warrior Dashes, Spartan Races, reading, and collecting crazy stories, which he keeps in a secret file. You can connect with him at

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