In my previous series we saw all roads don’t lead to heaven. What should follow in our thinking is which belief system has the truth?
How do you know if a worldview is true?
What is a worldview? It is a belief system that operates as an information map to navigate through life. Everyone has one. It is a personal system of belief to process facts we encounter. Examples of belief systems include the Christian, Jewish, and Hindu worldviews. Each is unique. They may share some similar moral beliefs but are different theologically. We answer life’s toughest questions through our worldview. If the map is good then we can accurately answer life’s tough questions. If it is bad then our view of life will be skewed. We need to make sure we are holding a worldview that is true.
I will present four tests to help to reveal the truth of any worldview. You will see how we unconsciously use tests like this to evaluate beliefs all the time. I will use the acrostic REAL to aid in remembering the content of the four tests.
1. Reason – Are there contradictions in the worldview? Do their teachings violate logic and rationality? Some worldviews fall apart because they self-destruct. An example is skepticism. This system of belief says nothing can be known. The skeptic says truth is impossible. What is interesting is the skeptic is quite certain he knows that no one can know anything. It is like saying “I can’t speak a word of English.” It is self-defeating. If a view is self-defeating there is no possible world where this view could be true. All roads lead to heaven is self-defeating and needs to be abandoned. Many worldviews struggle with the laws of logic and rationality.
2. Experience – Does what we see in the world match the beliefs of the worldview? The view must fit with the world as we know and experience it. Here are some examples to consider:
- Pain and death are an illusion. You and I know this is false because of the pain and suffering we have endured. Yet, this is taught by the Christian Science worldview (Mary Baker Eddy).
- All humans are born good. As a parent and grandfather I know this is false. Have you ever battled the will of a 2 year old? You don’t have to teach a toddler how to be selfish. All we have to do is search our own heart to see the darkness within. Both of these examples go against what we experience and see in the world daily.
3. Authority – What is the foundational authority for your worldview? Why should you or anyone else trust that authority? What evidence do you have to support your authority? Evidence can be in the form of scientific findings, historical writings, and archeology. The Book of Mormon has a problem with both DNA and missing archeological artifacts for an ancient people group. The evidence goes against the historical reliability of the Book of Mormon. Why should anyone trust it?
4. Living –Can a person live by his or her beliefs? For example I have close relatives where they believe everyone is born neutral, neither good nor bad. They raised their first son with that belief in place. For about 7 years, when he misbehaved they talked to him about his bad behavior. They reasoned with him. As you can guess he reached the point where they couldn’t handle him. Finally, in frustration they called my wife and said “Help, we can’t control our son.” She advised them to stop the discussions and to begin to give him consequences to curb his “sinful” behavior. The advice worked.
Their second son was raised borrowing from the Christian worldview and not their New Age beliefs. Here was an example of where a worldview fails in the real world. Believing all kids are born with a neutral nature can have dire results in raising children. Christianity predicts kids are going to be little monsters and the Bible gives us guidelines on how to lovingly discipline them and give them the structure they need.
As you look at your worldview, think of REAL. Are my beliefs reasonable? Do they explain the world as I experience it? What authority am I basing my beliefs? Can I live by the teachings of my worldview?
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