A term I often use is ‘worldview’, and I thought it would be helpful to consider what that means. The term is derived from the German Weltanschauung – composed of Welt (world) and Anschauung (view or outlook). It refers to a network of presuppositions, not verified by the procedures of natural science, in terms of which every aspect of man’s knowledge and experience is interpreted and interrelated. A worldview describes a consistent and integral sense of existence and provides a framework for generating, sustaining and applying knowledge.
Everybody has a worldview. Whether or not we realize it, we all have certain presuppositions and biases that affect the way we view all of life and reality. Our worldview is formed by our education, upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and films we are exposed to etc. Often it is simply something absorbed ‘by osmosis’ from surrounding cultural influences, without a second thought. But it is worldview nonetheless, just as an atheist has a belief structure and a faith in his belief structures.
A Biblical worldview is shaped by several fundamental truths regarding firstly God’s existence, secondly His nature and thirdly, the way in which these truths shape our lives. Truth is absolute, not relative, and can only be understood through the prism of understanding more about the One who said, ‘I am the way, the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ (John 14:6). While Christianity is believed by faith, it is a reasonable and rational faith, addressing questions of the mind and the heart. We all live by faith. Some have faith in themselves. Some have faith in the government or a prospect of world peace. Others have faith in money, education or career. All of these things are temporary and can change. They can all let us down. Our health can fail; we can lose our job; a relationship can end. But God can be depended on through it all, as He changes not.
Just as we all hold a belief structure and worldview, many influences do communicate a worldview. This does not just include the ‘obvious’, for example religious or philosophical teaching, or that relating to ethics or evolution. Subtle messages about ourselves and the world we live in are communicated, and absorbed, many times a day. The developing minds of our children can be subtly, and harmfully, influenced by conflicting and unhelpful influences.
Through home education, we can help our children form a correct worldview. Critics may misunderstand this as ‘not living in the real world’, but instead, I would see it as living ‘IN the world’ but not being ‘OF the world’. Rather than cloistering our children, or brainwashing them into a rigid belief structure, we seek to help equip our children with the necessary tools to weigh up and fairly assess situations, circumstances, facts and feelings. We want to provide them with the skills and resources they need to live in this postmodern world where anything can be seen acceptable if it suits the individual involved. Far from being sheltered, we seek to teach, discuss, debate, warn and encourage our children to weigh up all things but from a Biblical perspective.