On Faith: Find out what’s real in the worldEveryone has a worldview. A worldview is the way that we see the world around us.
By: Pastor Jim Joseph, Living Waters Fellowship, Lake County News Chronicle
Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is the way that we see the world around us. It comprises our core beliefs and values and is fundamental to our nature. Our worldview is so integral to who we are that it is impossible to consistently live in violation of these core beliefs and values. It permeates every area of our life.
I will explore the disciplines of philosophy and ethics in order to answer the questions, “What is real?” and “What is right?”
There are six ways of gaining knowledge: reason, culture, intuition, experience, revelation, witness. Each has its place in helping us determine reality and moral behavior.
Reason is dependent on the individual. As I ponder a question it seems reasonable or unreasonable to me based on the other areas and how they have impacted my life. That is why two perfectly reasonable people can look at the same set of facts and come up with virtually opposite interpretations.
Cultural norms affect our perception of reality and morality. Individuals bring their biases and viewpoints into the melting pot that makes up their culture. Cultures differ in key areas such as the rights of the individual versus the rights of the whole, the beginning and end of life, and acceptable moral behaviors. While culture can teach much about a society, is it a reliable way of knowing?
“I just know” is often used as a guiding principle. These “feelings” are influenced by circumstances and can change rapidly. The Bible teaches that every person has a conscience that speaks truth to them, which would be the source of intuition. It also teaches that the conscience can become skewed by past actions and decisions. Since, intuition is so subjective, it is an unreliable universal source for judging reality and morality
Experience, revelation and witness go hand in hand. Revelation is the revealing of truth from a source outside of human reason, culture, or intuition.
There are two kinds of revelation: general and special. General revelation is found in nature and the human conscience (Psalm 19:1 & Romans 2:15). Special revelation comes in the form of the Bible and ultimately in the person of the Jesus Christ.
It is through revelation that we come to understand the universe in which we live. Someone has said that it is as if our universe were a box, completely closed and impenetrable. We live within the box, speculating how it came into existence and how and why we are in it. Through reason, culture, and intuition we try to figure it out but knowledge is always incomplete.
God, the Creator of the box, reveals Himself to us in increasingly specific ways culminating with His Son, Jesus becoming a man. Jesus is such a complete revelation of God the He could say, “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
Once we experience God’s revelation of Himself through those ways we become witnesses of that truth to others. We share what we have learned and experienced to be true. To experience God and His absolute truth, we must be engaged in the study of the Bible and have a personal relationship with the Jesus Christ as it clearly teaches. This experiential knowledge allows us to know and to make moral decisions based on the principles of God’s Word.
David, king of Israel wrote, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! (Psalm 34:8). The more we experience the truths God reveals for ourselves, the more we will be able to live in conformity to them and share them with others.