A few days ago a reader requested a definition of “worldview” on our LutheranWiktionary. I have obliged. (To view the LutheranWiktionary click here. If you want to participate in this community developed Lutheran dictionary click here.) My definition addresses a pet peeve that I have. I believe confessional Lutherans should not use the word “worldview.” The very word assumes the false view that perceptions can only be processed through one’s view. Granting that means that there is no objective truth, only one’s perspective. Give this definition a read and see what you think. it is a little rough in the last few lines and needs some editing but I think you will get the gist of it.
“Worldview” comes from the German word “weltanshaung.” Postmodernism has promoted this notion as way of discerning one’s bias. A worldview is basically the way someone approaches reality or the presuppositions one has about reality. For instance, a secular worldview begins with the presupposition that there is no God or that if there is, His presence ought not to be allowed into public discourse. An ecological worldview sees all things through the question of “What is good for the earth?”
How do confessional Lutherans approach this matter? One could say that we have a Scriptural worldview. For instance, we believe there is a God, that he created all things, that the world will be destroyed one day, that meaning in life is derived from confession and absolution, etc. It is probably best that we as Christians not succumb to the use of this term however. As noted above, it grows out of the postmodern approach to the world which assumes that everyone has a different interpretation on reality. That is not true. There are no competing views of the world. People may have different views and it may affect what they think is true, but in the end there is only the world and us. Instead of speaking of a Christian worldview, we need to hold everyone accountable for properly perceiving the world and drawing true conclusions about that experience outside of a worldview. The average human being is equipped with the same sense perceptions. If someone is “viewing” the world wrongly, we determine that they have physical problems with their sensing ability or if it is due to delusions then we say they are crazy. There is no need for us as confessional Christians to succumb to the notion that we have a world view. The world is there for everyone to sense. Of course, our wills have been blinded by sin and so there can be wrong conclusions drawn about the world based on sin. That is why we do not let any of our conclusions of reason contradict what we learn from Holy Scripture. Accurate sensation guided by Scripture leads to objective truth about the world and not some one’s presuppositions or “worldview.”
Most of the definitions in our LutheranWiktionary are not this obtuse. Check it out and see what you think. We have a nice start thanks to all of you who have requested definitions of written them. We hope you will make use of the LutheranWiktionary as you read this site and others and more importantly we hope you will help us build this useful resource by doing a little research and offering up a definition.