Defining a World View part 2 and final

Defining a World View

Part 2 (Final)

by Craig Smith

Part I ended with rhetorical questions about the suitability of using Dr David Noebel’s set of ten defining disciplines of any world view as a basis for one’s home education curriculum. In his landmark book, Understanding the Times and also in later works such as The Battle for Truth and Mind Siege, Dr Noebel compares and contrasts the four major world views of the Western world (Biblical Christianity, Marxist/Leninism, Secular Humanism and Cosmic Humanism/New Ageism) in regards to a set of 10 areas of thought and study. It is Dr Noebel’s contention that any world view of consequence will address each of these areas: Theology, Philosophy, Biology, Psychology, Ethics, Sociology, Law, Politics, Economics and History.

How often do you reach for a book in any of these subject areas? For most of us, all of these subjects, with the possible exception of history, would rarely be given a second thought. Yet, when you do think about it, our children (not to mention ourselves!) need to be clued up in each of these areas, for we deal with them in essential ways virtually every day. Understanding these things will allow us and our children to be incredibly well-equipped to run our own families and households, to be leaders in the church and to be sought after in the community for our wisdom. Hey, do you see a pattern here? It’s what the Lord has promised ages ago: read Deuteronomy 28:1-14. Part of the promise – as well as the condition to its fulfillment – is in verse 13: “And the Lord will make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall tend upward only, and not downward; if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God…” Having a Biblical world view is knowing what the commandments are in every area of life, being able to think God’s thoughts after Him because our minds are molded and drenched in His word as opposed to being polluted by the stuff disgorged from TV, radio and the papers.

Let’s look at each of these 10 disciplines in turn.

Theology: A world view will have a position on the existence and nature of God. This is foundational to any world view. In the Christian world view Jesus is God. There are statements to this effect and situations described which indicate this all through the New Testament. Prophecies in the Old Testament indicated the same. Next time you read through the New Testament as a family, a fascinating, faith-building study is to simply note down all the passages which point to the divinity of Christ. Here are a couple of starters: John 1:14, John 10:30, Titus 3:4 & 6.

Humanists and Marxists posit Atheism for their theology. This is a logically self-defeating stance, which few even pick up on. They have to first posit the existence of God, theism, in order to then take their stand against it, a-theism. New Agers are pantheistic, believing that God is or is in everything.

The down-stream implications of any of these positions are quite dramatic: A Creator means a creation that reflects the Creator’s character in its workings, that is, in its biology, history, law, politics and all the rest and strongly implies a purpose to existence. No creator implies things just got here by themselves somehow and there probably is no purpose to anything, apart from whatever purpose you as an individual care to attach to things. No Creator, no God, means Man is the ultimate, if he so chooses, and can call all his own shots, a very popular philosophy among tyrants over nations and tyrants over their fellow kindergarten classmates. The Pantheist sees no distinction between the divine and the creation: they are one. So you are god, I am god, the whales and dolphins are gods, the earth is too.

Philosophy: A world view seeks to understand the nature of reality (ontology) and how one would determine what is real, what is knowledge, what is truth (epistemology). For Christians, all truth and knowledge are found in Jesus Christ, “The Logos of God.” John 1:1; John 14:6; Colossians 2:3. There is a material world and a spiritual world, both created good by God, but fallen into sin and corruption. So the world around us and everything in it, both material and spiritual, both natural and super-natural, is reflective of God’s glory, yet not as good as it was originally. There are things which are always true. Whatever we know to be true, we only know because God has revealed it to us.

Other views are naturalism, materialism and dialectical materialism which deny any spirituality or the super-natural. Because they’ve put on these blinders of denial, the first two are fairly fatalistic. Things are the way they are because natural or material forces, action and reaction, stimulus and response, pretty much determine everything. Dialectical Materialism is much more dynamic, and if you’re at the top, you can have a lot of fun manipulating others through the common acceptance of this process. When two ideas seem to be at loggerheads, just find the common ground and synthesize the two. This new idea will eventually come against an opposition, so, as before, look for the common ground and synthesize once again. There is no permanent truth in this process. Whatever works (for you) right now is true, is best. This is pragmatism with no parameters.

The Cosmic Humanist / New Ager is not exactly spiritual as Christians would understand it, but more like non-naturalism, that is, denying the reality or ultimacy of the material. The super-natural is all there is: “may force be with you” kind of thing.

Can you see the extremism of non-Christian world views? It is either all one or the other, totally materialistic or totally non-material, while the Christian is not so narrow minded as that and recognizes both! The others say all is run by the mind of man or determined by the blind forces of nature, while Christians see mankind given the opportunity to work with or against God, to be driven by or to harness the natural environment around him. If you want to do some reading on philosophy to find out a bit more, please be careful what you start with: a nonChristian work in this area can really get you totally confused and twisted up. And don’t start with “Christian Philosophy” where you get into arguments for the existence of God. For crying out loud, surely we’ll just take that as a given. It might be best to begin with some basic logic lessons: Christian Education Services, 55 Richards Ave, North Shore City,, ph. (09) 410-3933 and Geneva Books, 13 Tararua St., Upper Hutt,, ph. (04) 527-0565 have books in this area. And two home educated young men in the USA, Nathaniel & Han Bluedorn, have published material as well as a website dedicated to this pursuit; .

Biology: The origin of life on earth is an essential ingredient of every world view. The stance one takes here is not only determined by the previous disciplines (Theology and Philosophy) but also determines so much of other disciplines down-stream. Jesus is “The Life,” John 1:4. If God did not make life, but it made itself, then life is not sacred, it is simply impersonal bits of matter cobbled together,  and there are no areas of research / experimentation one should rule as off limits. If you have already ruled God out of existence, evolution is your only biological option. There are lots of excellent resources in this area: Answers in Genesis, PO Box 39005, Howick, Auckland, ph. (09) 537-4818, or do a web search on Creation Science.

Psychology: A worldview will explain the nature of man. Jesus reveals the evil intentions of man’s heart as a result of the Fall and indwelling sin. This is not the way man was created – he was created good – and man can be redeemed from this fallen state: not by his own efforts, but by the unmerited grace of God in Jesus Christ. So the Christian understands that humans are not innocent at birth nor do they live at any time on earth in a state of “normalcy”, but are always carrying in their bodies the cancer of sin which manifests itself in a tendency to rebel against all authority and to hate others. Jeremiah 17:9; Jeremiah 10:23; John 3:19; Romans 3:23-25.

NonChristian psychologies see man in a state of innocence and normalcy. He may be able to order his own ways, individually or collectively, toward certain goals or he may be destined to no more than what his personal genetics and material environment allow. If collectively man could eliminate those things in his environment that cause him to do evil (poverty, illiteracy, ideas about competition to get ahead of others, superstitions about being sinners) then we would live in a paradise on earth. Christians know that only God can usher in a paradise, and that only after Judgement Day and the creation of new heavens and a new earth.

Study Romans chapters 1 through 8, chapters 1 and 7 especially. Get a hold of Martin Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” (it is online at: Or read up on the doctrine of sin or the doctrine of total depravity (a lengthy article and a book on these subjects are at: and .

Ethics: The basis of ethics, from whence it derives its authority, whether it is unchanging or developing, are key issues in every world view. Jesus is “The true Light that gives light to every man” John 1:9. Love for God first and for others second is the command of God guiding Christian ethics. Matthew 22:37-40. It is totally “other” centred. And there are unchanging absolutes of right and wrong. Other views which have abandoned God of necessity embrace evolution, see selfishness as normal and therefore are stuck with an ethics of relativism, doing whatever you like as long as you don’t harm others or impinge upon their freedoms. For a practical exercise, just watch TV for a while and see how the concepts of right and wrong, good and bad, are handled or how the virtues of truthfulness, fidelity, chastity, honesty, faithfulness and any altruistic or “other” centred motivations are dealt with in entertainment programmes and in advertising. Read the newspapers and listen to our politicians in the same way. You’ll see we’ve come a long way….a long way from Christian truth.

Sociology: What is the foundational relationship in a society, the basic unit? Jesus endorses marriage of one man to one woman as the family, as the building block of society. Matthew 19:4-6. It is prior to and more basic than the state or the church, for the family can and has survived a collapse of the state or the church; but neither the state nor the church could survive the collapse of families. Yet the nuclear family is under attack. Scan the papers for a week and note the comments, the reports, the economic and legislative propositions that tend to put the traditional family in a bad light or at a disadvantage while promoting alternative arrangements as normal, legitimate or preferable.

Worldviews with man at the center instead of God will promote any ad hoc arrangement of individuals, ultimately including animals, as a “family”. In addition, such worldviews swing between the ultimacy of man as an individual and man as the collective. Sometimes the individual is more important than the group, and so a family composition can morph from day to day if desired or even remain unconsidered since it is a collective concept of lesser importance than the individuals within it. At other times the group is more important than the individual, and so individuals are expendable for the sake of and preservation of the group’s equilibrium: abortion, eugenics and euthanasia become major tools for preserving sociological health and well-being.

Only Christianity has the perfect balance between the one and the many, between the importance of the individual and the importance of the group and their interdependency and responsibility toward one another. This reflects the perfect balance of our Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Law: The ultimate source for law is a worldview issue of paramount importance. The questions are, “Who’s in charge here? And who says so?” Jesus acknowledges the central importance of law. “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20.

False views of law started in the Garden when the serpent cast doubt on God’s authority to make the law by asking, “Did God say…?” and then by contradicting Him by saying, “You will not die.”. Eve fell for all this, and took us all with her, when she decided she could get into this law-making business for herself and make her own version of God’s law, suitably modified to suit her own personal tastes.

Some see the Old Testament as having three areas of law: the moral (the 10 Commandments), the civil (for controlling the society) and the ceremonial (that connected with the Temple worship). Some of these say that Christ’s sacrifice and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost have replaced the ceremonial law and that the civil law was only for OT Israel and that we only need follow the moral law. Some of these then include the 4th Commandment (the Sabbath Day) and others leave it out. Others say we are still bound by both the moral and the civil laws. It is certainly true that all of Western Society has basically written the OT civil laws directly into their own civil law codes. (And they seem to be busy these days systematically going through the statute books to eliminate or pervert any Biblical statutes: abortion on demand, no-fault divorce, de factoes and homosexuals living “in the nature of marriage” getting property and inheritance rights being some examples.) Still others say that the Old Testament is old and thoroughly discarded today for Christ came to bring something entirely new. This is a form of dispensationalism that I personally reckon to be well off the track, very dangerous, indistinguishable from most types of secular humanism which also scrub out the past and make up their own rules as they go, loosely based on their interpretations of various parts of the New Testament only, and characteristic of cults I know well such as the Cooperites in the South Island. The bottom line is that we must all be clear about 1) the source of law and 2) the applicability of Biblical law today. Jesus said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), which obviously includes the entire Old Testament and the entire New Testament.

Politics: Civil government, as part of God’s creation order for man, is consistent with some kind of worldview. While the Lord Jesus Christ did not come as a political figure, He nevertheless is King of kings and Lord of lords, the One to Whom everyone will give account, the One before Whom every knee will bow and every tongue confess to be Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). John 19:10-11; Romans 13:1.

The civil government, or central government or Parliament, is only one government among many, and not the most important one. Sound strange? Then you have imbibed a nonChristian world view in the area of politics. The first government is the self government of the individual. Then there is the government of the family, with dad at the head carrying the lion’s share of the responsibility and catching all the flak and shielding mum and the children. Mum carries a fair measure of the family government and the children are all under Dad’s and Mum’s authority. There are the church governments and the government of your workplace. Each government has its own legitimate sphere of influence.

The problem with nonChristian politics is that most of them see no problem with the civil government extending (unilaterally without so much as an invitation or by the manipulation of another nonChristian concept of the democratic ballot box) its influence, nay, its controlling power, over the spheres of influence of other governments, in particular the government of the family and that of the individual. State-funded compulsory schooling is a major body-blow to the government of the family, weakening it considerably. Home education of any description is a very strong political statement, for here you have families taking the government back away from the state.

Economics: The stewardship of both the natural resources and created wealth is done in every society according to some sort of world view. Jesus recognizes the legitimacy of taxes and of private property as well as the importance of individual and familial economic responsibility. Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:4; II Thessalonians 3:10; I Timothy 5:8. Collectivist economies tend to deny the concept of private property and personal responsibility, which means the individual is not motivated to take risks in development for he does not keep the fruits of his labour. Historically such cultures remain poor and underdeveloped. Home educators can have some great experiments with economics: Toss the weekly budget money on the table and democratically divide it up among all family members. Let each one feed him or herself for that week. Later let each take turns being responsible for feeding the entire family in subsequent weeks. If the family wants to upgrade their stereo system, for example, have a family pow wow over the usual food, power, clothing, entertainment and petrol bills and work out ways to save money in each. Over several months let the money saved be put into a special fund. Notice how money can be saved and an expensive item purchased with simple lifestyle changes over time. Or simply budget so many dollars less each month, redirecting the balance straight to the stereo fund. Notice in this case how one’s lifestyle very quickly adjusts to the realities of the funds available. Ensure that the children get plenty of regular chores without pay and extra chores for pay with the opportunity to spend their earned cash on whatever they like. But also build into their earning and spending patterns the habit of tithing to the Lord His 10% plus laying aside another 10% for their own future, specifically money they will not touch until needed for buying a house.

History: History is His Story as He works out His purposes among men. History culminates in Christ. It is not a collection of interesting yet unconnected and purposeless occurrences over time. John 20:30-31; I Corinthians 15:3-4. Neither is history cyclical or aimless; it is linear, with both a beginning and an end. Christians know a lot about both the beginning and the end and can therefore order their ways accordingly.

A fascinating study on your own life history is to draw a personal timeline, giving yourself 80 years (be optimistic!) Note the length of time you were a child, a teen, independent and single, married. Note the times when the children came along and approximate when they may leave, showing a solid block of your parenting years. Note also your retirement years. Somehow show that after death your final state as alive in Christ and with Him extends forever in that one direction. See how it puts some things into perspective: that most of life is lived as married: that’s number one. Then as married with children or maybe married and retired is longer on your timeline. Either way, note how insignificantly long are those “youth” or “teen” years that our culture seems to portray as all-important. Note also that those years are or should be used to prepare for the next section: that of being married. Make timelines for your children too, and help them see where they are in relation to what is most likely up ahead. The perspective this kind of project can give is great for forward planning. If you are 28 and plan to be a fully credentialed auto electrician and mechanic plus own your own business with two staff and earning enough to allow you to put in only three days a week by the time you’re 45, you can map out the kind of progress you’ll need to make. How available will you be for your children’s education during the build-up years? How essential is it to “be there” at 45 if it means you really aren’t going to be available for your children during those all important formative years. How many more children are you likely to have between now and then? Will it mean your wife is going to need your assistance more than you would like to hit your goals by age 45?

Other world views ultimately see both history and the future as irrelevant to self, so the tendency is to live for self today: the old “eat, drink and be merry” syndrome.

Only a systematic Christian faith (as opposed to the usual smorgasbord variety) has a world view which is comprehensive, cohesive, consistent and complete. With such a world view Christian home educators can more than cope with the world; we can conquer it.

From Keystone Magazine

November 2002 , Vol. VIII No. 6
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