Everyone has a grid, a worldview – the set of basic beliefs and assumptions through which they see the world. But that grid is not perfect. There are gaps in everyone’s understanding, misconceptions and blind spots that can come back to bite you someday if you’re not careful. Broken relationships, money problems, wayward children, addictions or secret struggles, a general lack of peace – all of these are connected to your grid. The way you view the world affects the way you live in it, for better or worse.
Let’s look at a few basic ideas behind a secular worldview – and then contrast those ideas with the grid of Jesus as revealed in the Bible.
Secular Idea #1: Do what makes you happy
This idea is everywhere – in music, movies and friendly advice. It’s present in the Declaration of Independence, a sort of sacred scripture for the American way:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Do what makes you happy. You deserve it. Everyone does. This idea resonates in the soul of every human being. It’s not entirely evil, but taken to the extreme, it can be destructive. Jesus told a parable about a wealthy, self-sufficient man with this worldview (Luke 12:13-21). His goal was to “…eat, drink and be merry” – to do whatever made him happy. But in the end, said Jesus, that guy died a fool.
Luke 12:20 (NLT) “But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’”
Secular Idea #2: You decide what’s right
This idea creeps in as the natural result of the first idea. If your happiness is the ultimate goal, your morality will bend to satisfy your whims. You make the rules – and as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody, anything goes. Everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes. This, it turns out, is not a new idea. Even in ancient biblical times, moral relativism was present in secular society.
Judges 17:6 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
The result of this lifestyle is recorded in the book of Judges. A cycle resulted: the people sinned, destruction followed, God saved them… and the next generation returned to sin. While it promises happiness on the surface, moral relativism never delivers. In the New Testament, Jesus made it clear that only a worldview which embraces truth will result in genuine freedom:
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Jesus was laying the foundation for a biblical worldview. There is truth, and it’s found in Jesus. And when we find that truth, we need to submit to it with our whole hearts.
Secular Idea #3: This is all there is
The natural progression of a secular worldview starts with a simple pursuit of happiness and often ends up in God-less nihilism. A self-centered, self-determined existence inevitably leads to a lack of purpose, hope and joy. Stephen Hawking himself said that we “are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.” Not very inspiring.
But a biblical worldview offers a different perspective. There is a God, and he created us for relationship with him. His Son, Jesus, came to the earth to make a way for us to be right with God. This gives life purpose, hope, joy and so much more.
1 Corinthians 15:19-20 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
The world draws us into a grid that offers happiness – but the longer we buy into it, the more it leads us down a meaningless path, The Bible offers a grid that is trustworthy and true, leading to a life of freedom and purpose. At the end of the day, no one can choose your grid for you (see Joshua 24:14-15). Every individual is free to choose his or her worldview – and must accept the consequences of that choice.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is a worldview? How do worldviews influence us? Give an example.
- Make a list of a few ideas or beliefs you feel strongly about. Why do you have such a strong opinion about those things?
- “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” – give some practical examples of this philosophy in America. What are some countries that don’t have this as part of their grid? How can these American values be taken to a dangerous extreme? Give a few examples.
- Read Luke 12:16-21. What was the worldview of the rich man? What was the flaw in the rich man’s thinking? How would the rich man have acted differently if he had a God-centered worldview?
- Read Judges 17:6. Make a list of things that people think are right today, but they thought were wrong 50 years ago. What motivated these changes in our culture? Which ones are good changes and which are bad?
- What was your parent’s worldview? What is the worldview of most of your friends? What would people who only know you from work or school say is your world view?
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:19-20. What is the worldview in these verses? How does the truth of these verses change the way we live today?
- Be sure to take the Grid Challenge, reading a chapter a day and meeting once a week to talk with a small group or mentor.