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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Why Worldview is Important

Photo courtesy Franz Schuier
It seems that Hollywood has fallen back in love with the 3-D movie. A big draw in the 1950s, they faded to obscurity until after the start of the new millennium. Now, some of the biggest movie titles are filmed and marketed in 3-D, even though the cost to make and show such movies is significantly higher. The reason for the cost increase is because it takes special equipment to make a movie look like it's popping off the screen.

In order to achieve the 3-D effect, two images of each scene are superimposed on the screen, each shot with a slightly different perspective. The 3-D glasses have two different lenses with a filter tuned to each of the different images. That way, when you watch the movie with the glasses, they block one image from one eye and the other image from the other. Since you look at the real world with two eyes, each having a slightly different perspective on an object because they are spaced apart, your brain automatically tries to put the images back together and assumes that the difference it sees between the images is because of depth and you therefore see the images jump from the screen and feel like they're right in front of you.

I've personally never been a big fan of the format, and that's mainly because of the glasses you're required to wear in order to see the 3-D effect. The effect isn't perfect (it still feels forced in many places) and the glasses affect the hue and clarity of the picture. Wear the wrong kind of glasses and you get a distorted picture, one that's out of focus and off color.

Looking at the world through our own set of glasses

It's not only the imaginary world of movies where this kind of distortion can occur, though. Every person on the planet receives information about how the world works from innumerable sources. All of your experiences, interactions, movies, books music and more feed you with information on how the world works and how we should understand reality. As each of us receives this information, we process it and try to relate it to other experiences in order to make sense out of all that we've received. The sum total of how we suppose God, life, the world and all of reality work is known as our "worldview". These are our "glasses" so to speak; the ideas that shape our thinking about what is true and what isn't. Its how we anticipate what may happen or what should happen. It is, you might say, our biases about the world.1

It's important to note that everyone has a worldview. Everyone has some type of bias. There's just no way to live your life with any degree of sanity without being able to associate some cause (such as reaching towards a flame) with an effect (such as the pain from a burned hand). Even though people may have never heard the term "worldview", they still have beliefs on how the world works so they hold to some type of world view. The "glasses" of their worldview can be quite different from yours or mine and it colors the world quite differently for them. Different glasses affect their understanding and they will approach situations with a different attitude.

Understanding worldview is important in apologetics. If we are presenting ideas or arguments that are tuned to a different set of glasses, the person we are speaking to will only see a distortion, and one that is probably not pleasant to look at. So think about how you can adjust your discussion to take worldview into account. By so doing, your arguments will seem anything but two-dimensional.


1. Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door (Downers Grove, Ill: Intervarsity Press, 1999) 16-20

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