Christianity is often touted as the way to “save” men – not in the ultimate sense of their souls, but in the sense of fixing what’s “broken” in them. A person “finds” religion and reforms, putting behind them some of the temptations of the flesh. Often times, connecting with the ultimate source of good can help people who are struggling – but not always. And so, sometimes the apologist is challenged with a question like one I was asked not long ago:
“There are many people out there who hold other world views that are perfectly satisfactory to them. I’m sure there are others who don’t have any world view at all and are fine with that. Christianity claims to have all the answers, but if that’s the case, why are there so many people who seem perfectly content without it? In other words, why should I adopt your worldview”
This is a challenging question, because it is quickly apparent that success in the material or worldly sense does not require one to be a Christian, or even to act like one. After all, selfishly pursuing one’s own interests can work to one’s advantage for quite some time. So, if this present life is all there is, then Christianity has nothing to offer that the world does not already have. But to a thoughtful person, there is more at play than simply what pleasure he might obtain today. An adequate worldview must answer more than how to maximize one’s earnings, or one’s pleasure. It must make sense of the tough questions that haunt us in the still and darkness of the night, questions such as: “why are we here?” “what’s next?” “how should we live?” and “what is required for salvation?” Many people today live lives not of reflection but of hyper-stimulation. They may never have taken the time to examine their worldview, and as they bounce from one activity to the next, they push away the nagging sense that something is missing. So it is that they may not realize, at least not for a very long time, that they are operating on a very “stripped down” view of the world, one that highlights pleasure and power, but ignores those things that endure.
But a worldview is not like a car. A driver may be perfectly satisfied with a stripped down model because he doesn’t want comfort or elegance, just the ability to go fast. But there are no “stripped down” versions of reality. A worldview that can’t answer the important questions of life is misguided, regardless of whether one realizes it at the time. A good worldview is one that corresponds well to reality. It’s worth adopting because it approaches the “true.” We see this, of course, when we consider life’s necessities, things like food, shelter and companionship. Following a view of reality that is false will bring pain and misfortune, as each of these good things can be dangerous if not chosen wisely. The importance of avoiding poisonous food or disloyal friends is apparent to all, but a worldview goes beyond simply the basics. The best worldview to adopt, then, is the one true one, the one that completely conforms to reality.
Given our limited abilities, no one can know with clarity if their worldview is that perfect one. In the end, though, a worldview either corresponds to truth, or it doesn’t. To the extent that it doesn’t, it is inadequate and one should keep looking. This investigation can be difficult, because knowing anything with certainty is itself difficult, but it’s worth the trouble. As a person continues to investigate, they should start to be able to draw some conclusions about the historical reliability of the events – the truth claims – upon which Christianity is based. They should see as well the soundness of Christian doctrine, as it makes sense of the human condition in a way that other worldviews cannot. Christianity doesn’t promise a perfect life in the here and now. Indeed, following Christ is guaranteed to bring trials and hardships.
But if what you want is a worthy life now – a life well-lived – and the guarantee of being made perfect by the One who defines perfection, then the Christian worldview will be your ultimate destination.
Posted by Al Serrato