EVERYBODY asks and answers THESE questions


Michael Emlet, in his excellent book CrossTalk, writes about worldview questions in the chapter “What’s Your Story?”:

A way to speak about the storied quality of human life is to affirm that each person (or community) asks and answers foundational questions about the nature of life, consciously or subconsciously. The answers we give to these questions characterize our “worldview,” our “take” on the nature of reality. The Bible itself answers these foundational questions and urges us to live in light of the Biblical worldview, the true story of the world. In fact, you might say that even asking these questions shows that we are God’s image bearers. As we will see later, the fact that we are broken, fallen image bearers means that we answer those questions in ways that compete with the biblical narrative.

Brian Walsh and J. Richard Middleton propose four basic worldview questions:

1. Where are we? That is, what is the nature of the world in which we live?

2. Who are we? Or, what is the essential nature of human beings?

3. What’s wrong? That is, why is the world (and my life!) in such a mess?

4. What’s the remedy? Or, how can these problems be solved?

These questions—and how we answer them—form the narrative backbone of our lives. They shape the way we interpret life events, from the mundane (no milk in the refrigerator for the breakfast cereal) to the horrific (loss of children in a car accident). They shape our view of ourselves and others. They shape our vision of what constitutes a meaningful life, even a meaningful moment. They shape our beliefs, emotions, and decisions every day. Everybody has an overarching story he or she lives by, moment by moment. Everybody is a meaning maker with categories for making sense of life. Reality does not come to us unfiltered but always through the lens of our perception. The real question is, What lens will we use? What story, what narrative will we use to see our world and interpret our lives?