What is the Nature of Religion? Worldview

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This entry is element two of four in the series

“Worldview-Forming Worship”

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Religion is composed of two components, the very first of which is worldview. A worldview consists of a set of assumptions a particular person holds about reality it is a lens by way of which he understands and interprets all the things about him. James Sire has supplied a beneficial and influential definition of worldview:

A worldview is a commitment, a basic orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may possibly be accurate, partially accurate, or completely false) that we hold (consciously or subconsciously, regularly or inconsistently) about the simple constitution of reality, and that delivers the foundation on which we reside and move and have our getting.

Numerous components of this definition are vital to recognize. Initially, central to this definition of worldview is that it is “a basic orientation of the heart.” In truth, David Naugle has recommended that what philosophers nowadays contact “worldview” is primarily equivalent to the biblical idea of the “heart.” He argues, “As the image and likeness of God, men and women are animated subjectively from the core and all through their getting by that key faculty of believed, affection, and will which the Bible calls the ‘heart.’” In each the Old and New Testaments, the thought of heart refers to “the central defining element of the human particular person.” Naugle observes,

In Hebraic believed the heart is extensive in its operations as the seat of the intellectual (e.g., Prov. two:10a 14:33 Dan. 10:12), affective (e.g., Exod. four:14 Ps. 13:two Jer. 15:16), volitional (e.g., Judg. five:15 1 Chron. 29:18 Prov. 16:1), and religious life of a human getting (e.g., Deut. six:five two Chron. 16:9 Ezek. six:9 14:three).

Likewise in the NT, “the heart is the psychic center of human affections (Matt. 22:37-39 John 14:1, 27 two Cor. two:four), the supply of the spiritual life (Acts eight:21 Rom. two:29 two Cor. three:three), and the seat of the intellect and the will (Rom. 1:21 two Cor. 9:7 Heb. four:12).” Therefore, when the philosophical idea of worldview is a somewhat current philosophical improvement, “what the heart is and does in a biblical way is what the philosophers have been receiving at unconsciously in coining the term ‘world-view.’” A worldview is not mostly a set of concepts or beliefs rather, it includes the innate inclinations at our core.

This leads to a second vital characteristic of worldview: a worldview is a set of assumptions about the simple constitution of reality. Due to the fact worldview is not mostly stated beliefs but rather an orientation of the heart, these assumption about reality are not commonly stated or held explicitly rather, they come to be formed inside us typically without the need of any conscious intention. An additional word for this is what philosophers have named the moral imagination—an inner image of the planet. All the things we encounter filters by way of and is interpreted by this inner image. Sire delivers eight beneficial inquiries that kind the presuppositions that lie at the core of our worldview:

  1. What is prime reality—the truly true?
  2. What is the nature of external reality, that is, the planet about us?
  3. What is a human getting?
  4. What occurs to a particular person at death?
  5. Why is it attainable to know something at all?
  6. How do we know what is correct and incorrect?
  7. What is the which means of human history?
  8. What individual, life-orienting core commitments are constant with this worldview?

Now, in evaluating a worldview, these assumptions can be stated, and as we shall see, we can consciously and intentionally assess and even transform our assumptions—we can reorient our hearts. But in the standard course of life, most men and women do not give cautious reflection on these inquiries or evaluate their worldview rather, these innermost assumptions about reality, assumptions that orient the core of our getting, are naturally formed pretty early in life primarily based on what we knowledge in the environments in which we develop therefore, a worldview typically develops subconsciously, unless we intentionally reshape our worldview primarily based on other elements.

Third, it is the heart orientation of a worldview that “delivers the foundation on which we reside and move and have our getting.” The inner image of the planet formed inside us—our moral imagination—interprets reality and therefore impacts how we evaluate and respond to what we encounter. It is what motivates and moves us to act in particular strategies inside the several situations of life. This is why the Bible commands, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov four:23). As Naugle suggests,

From a scriptural point of view, for that reason, the heart is accountable for how a man or lady sees the planet. Certainly, what goes into the heart from the outdoors side planet at some point shapes its basic dispositions and determines what comes out of it as the springs of life. Consequently, the heart establishes the simple sic presuppositions of life and, simply because of its life-figuring out influence, have to usually be meticulously guarded.[7]

This is all the case for folks, but it is also characteristic of complete societies. Simply because a worldview is a heart orientation formed in an atmosphere, folks inside specific communities have a tendency to create comparable assumptions about reality and therefore a collective worldview. It is also vital to recognize at this point the possibility that particular worldview assumptions of non-believers can typically be pretty comparable to that of a biblical worldview. This is accurate each given that all men and women are created in the image of God (Gen 1:27) and simply because God’s creation delivers a common revelation that reveals to all men and women God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal energy and divine nature” (Rom 1:20). Unbelievers suppress this truth about God, but nonetheless their assumptions about reality emerge from that suppressed knowledge—they borrow the biblical worldview without the need of even understanding it, and they operate in the planet as if God exists when at the similar time rejecting him.

For instance, all through most of the course of human history, even unbelieving men and women have assumed the existence of an immaterial reality that can’t be perceived merely with the physical senses, and for that reason they have sought to interpret what occurred in the planet about them on the basis of transcendent reality, just like God’s men and women do.

But when God’s men and women share worldview assumptions like this with some unbelievers, eventually their heart orientation is distinctive, and this is due to a basic distinction of the second element if religion—theology. That is our topic subsequent week.

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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Division at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, exactly where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Strategy to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Creating Musical Selections in a Noisy Planet, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks about the nation in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX exactly where he resides with his wife and 4 kids. Views posted right here are his personal and not necessarily these of his employer.

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