A worldview is a way of viewing or interpreting all of reality. It is an interpretive framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life and the world. – Norman Geisler, William Watkins
It was 1988, the year that Pat Robertson, Jack Kemp, and Pete DuPont ran against George H.W. Bush for the Republican nomination for president. The moderates were out in force at our Republican county convention. However, there were more conservatives than moderates in attendance; I know this because my husband was elected by the convention to serve as convention chairman—over the moderates’ choice of the man who had been elected county chairman. As you can imagine, it was a very tense convention—especially for me.
I was sitting in my seat, minding my own business, when somehow the woman in front of me figured out that I was Tim’s wife. I was later to learn that she had served on the local school board in the past; it did not take me long to realize that she was from the other camp.
This woman turned around and verbally attacked me. She angrily started talking about sex education: “I can’t understand how you people think it’s OK to not teach kids about sex! They need to know about these things and learn how to protect themselves!” and so on. I am sure that I just sat there, looking like a deer in headlights. I was thinking to myself, “I can’t understand why you people think we should teach children about sex and how to do it, and why you don’t understand that teaching them how to do it is going to lead to them doing it more!” Fortunately, a good friend, who was sitting next to me and who was much better prepared for such a discussion, chimed in and took over, allowing me to escape and calm my nerves before I completely fell apart.
I came away from that experience not understanding exactly what had happened. The woman and I had used some of the same words, but they did not always mean the same things. Neither of us could understand what the other was thinking and how in the world the other had come to the conclusions that she had.
A few years later I attended a conference at which the speaker was David Noebel, who was then president of Summit Ministries. It was from him that I first learned about the concept of worldviews. In his book Understanding the Times, Dr. Noebel defines the term worldview as referring to “any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement, or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world, and man’s relations to God and the world.” He explains that “worldview” refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which an individual, group, or culture interprets the world and interacts with it—the glasses through which people look at the world, issues, and circumstances, so to speak.
I came to understand that situations like I experienced at the county convention happen because two people with opposing worldviews can discuss issues, but it can seem like they are speaking on different planes . . . or maybe even in different dimensions! They can use the same words, but the words mean different things. It is because they start off with different sets of presuppositions or foundational truths.
Though we like to think of America as a Christian nation, the Christian worldview is not the most prevalent in our culture. As we are bombarded by media, advertising, movies—even the government—most of what we see and hear on a daily basis comes from a secular humanist mindset. A major reason many of us home school is we do not want our children taught that ideology. Secular humanism is the prominent “religion” now taught in the public schools and in colleges.
In a time when more than half of young people from Christian homes walk away from their faith when they attend college, it is important, especially if your child intends to go to an institution of higher learning, to give him the tools to recognize from where different philosophies come and to where they will lead. Our children need to know what the Bible says and why that is important, or they become easy targets for those set on indoctrinating our culture in anti-Christian thinking.
Not long after I heard Dr. Noebel speak, I met Jeff Meyers for the first time. He was working with Summit Ministries and traveling around the country, speaking to college students on different campuses. (Jeff, now a nationally known speaker, is the current president of Summit Ministries.) I asked him how many colleges/universities he would say at that time taught from a Christian worldview. His very discouraging answer was that he could count them on one hand.
What can we as home schoolers do to learn about the different worldviews and to make sure that ours is in line with scripture? Is going to church enough? How do we teach our children to think biblically?
When your children are young, teach them to memorize scripture. Begin to help them see how scripture applies to every area of their lives. The reason that one should not hit his sister and that the one hit should forgive is because God says, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV) The reason our children must be respectful and obedient is because God says that we should honor our fathers and our mothers (Exodus 20:12).
As they grow, teach your children that scripture is the inspired, infallible word of God and the final authority for all truth and practice. As the issues of life become more complex, in each situation go together with them to the Bible to see what might be God’s direction and/or His principles that apply.
When your children are teens, teach them about worldviews. Send them to a camp at which they will learn these principles. (See sidebar for some suggestions.) My children took a course based on Understanding the Times in which they studied about differences between the worldviews of secular humanism, Marxism, Christianity, and others. They learned how to stand against challenges to their faith by those who have philosophies different from theirs.
As Dr. Noebel exhorts at the end of that book, “Go on the offensive! Light a candle. Pray (2 Chronicles 7:14; Colossians 1:9-14). Study (2 Timothy 2:15). Understand the times (1 Chronicles 12:32). Rebuild the foundations (Psalm 11:3). Spread the word. Truth is our greatest weapon. . . . Perhaps most importantly, Christians must shore up our worldview and teach it to young people. We must immerse ourselves and our children in Christian theology, Christian philosophy, Christian ethics, Christian politics, Christian economics, Christian psychology, Christian sociology, Christian biology, Christian law, and Christian history.”
Home educating my children was one of the toughest things I ever did. It was also one of the most rewarding. I wanted to do all that I could do to ensure that the evil one did not snatch away the seed that we spent so much time planting and tending. Giving them a foundational understanding of worldviews and teaching them to think biblically were the best ways that I knew to prepare and thus protect them.
Some helpful Christian worldview resources:
A non-denominational organization dedicated to helping Christians to think and to live in accordance with a biblical worldview so that they will serve Christ and lead the culture. Holding more than 20 camps nationwide, Worldview Academy reaches out to students aged 13 to 18 from across the United States and Canada, training and equipping them to understand and apply their faith in Jesus Christ. They also hold church and family conferences for all ages.
An educational Christian ministry whose existence is a response to the current post-Christian culture. Part of Summit’s goal is to challenge Christians to stand strong in their faith and defend truth, equipping them to have a positive influence on the society in which they live. Summit’s Student Worldview Conferences are intensive, two-week retreats designed to teach students how to analyze the various ideas that are currently competing for their hearts and minds.
Understanding the Times by Dr. David Noebel
Both the book and the curriculum outline the differences between Christianity and the other prominent worldviews vying for allegiance in Western culture: Islam, Postmodernism, Secular Humanism, Marxism, and New Age. This class will help students clearly understand the tenets of the Christian worldview and how it compares with the tenets of other leading worldviews of our day: Islam, Secular Humanism, Marxism, New Age, and Postmodernism. In book and video curriculum formats; intended for high school students.
An extensive website resource that provides audio, video, and written content from some of the most respected Christian leaders. The Christian Worldview is a nationally syndicated radio program hosted by David Wheaton. Featuring compelling topics, notable guests, listener calls, and sound bites, the program focuses on current events, cultural issues, and matters of faith from a decidedly biblical perspective.