You have no doubt heard the term “worldview” countless times—but what does it really mean? Worldview is synonymous with “cosmovision,” a merger of the Greek words kosmos, ‘world,’ ‘universe,’ and “vision,” ‘point of view.’ Although the concept has become popular in recent decades, the term is not new. In the 18th century the word Weltanschauung, coined by philosopher Immanuel Kant, became popular in German idealism. The English equivalent, “worldview,” has been documented since 1858.

A worldview is a system of ideas, the frame through which a person perceives the world, the connection between the pieces of the puzzle. In summary, it is the particular way that a person or society interprets reality (see Sire, 2009, 18-22).

A worldview is formed by the sum of our beliefs, values, assumptions, data (knowledge), arguments (reasoning), customs, and experiences, among other things. Its scope is broad and affects the way we see cosmology (explanation for the origin and nature of the universe); theology (the existence and nature of God); anthropology (the identity and value of human beings); epistemology (nature and justification for knowledge/truth); axiology (the identity and nature of values); history (the pattern, importance, and direction of historical events); and destiny (what happens to people after death).

A biblical worldview is different, for instance, from a naturalistic worldview. The naturalistic worldview includes atheism (belief that there is no God), scientism (science explains everything), materialism (material matter is all that exists, and our perception of it is simply a material phenomenon), determinism (law of cause and effect, without divine intervention), and amoralism (there is no purpose nor judgment). The biblical worldview defends theism (God exists and is the center of everything), revelation (besides the book of nature, we have the Bible), divine intervention (God acts in history), and ethics (God established moral principles for all).

The apostle Paul’s words in Acts 17:22-31 present a clear synthesis of the Christian worldview. Paul discusses the origin and nature of the universe, the identity and worth of human beings, the nature and existence of God, the Christian view of truth, and human destiny.

We need to be careful regarding the influence of the secular worldview, for the postmodern way of thinking presents some challenges to the Christian, such as commitment to relativism; opposition to metanarratives, over-arching explanations of reality; the plurality of ideas and styles; erosion of cognitive, political, religious, and sexual (gender) boundaries; and the fluidity and fragmentation of life (called “liquid modernity” by the Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman).

Although the various worldviews have valid points, they also have shortcomings. Christians, aware of such flaws, must follow the biblical worldview, in which God is at the center of everything, knowledge comes from outside us, doing is inseparable from being, life is a totality, and “we” is more important than “I.” Paul said that “the god of this age” has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4), but you do not need to let the secular worldview blind you.


Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog. 5th ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2009.