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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Weltanschauung

As Bonnie Wurzbacher pointed out last week, she was able to bring meaning to her work with Coke only after she understood how it connected with the bigger picture of a biblical worldview.

When it comes to bringing meaning to work, having a handle on what a "biblical worldview" is, makes all the difference. You may have noticed the name of this blog is "Worldview Matters." This is also the name of the educational service organization my wife, Kathy, and I founded back in the year 2000. Your worldview really does matter.

I am convinced that the ability to make connections between the bigger picture of a "biblical worldview" and our everyday work is essential for bringing meaning to whatever we do. A "worldview" provides a larger frame of reference that enables us to make sense of everything around us. Without a biblically informed worldview, the task of bringing real and lasting meaning to everyday work is impossible. That's a strong statement, but let me support it by providing some definition to the word "worldview." 

The word "worldview" was first coined by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, in the eighteenth century. The word he coined was: Weltanschauung. As the Germans often do, Kant combined two German words into one: Welt, which means "world," and Anschauung, which can be translated into English as "conception," "idea," "opinion," or "view."

If two German children are resting on the grass looking up at the clouds, and one child points to a particular cloud and says, "Look at the horse!" and the other child looks at the same cloud and doesn't see a horse, he might reply: "That's your Anschauung!" In other words, that's "your take."

This brings us to a major characteristic of "worldviews." Everyone has a view of reality, but not everyone's "take" on it is the same. Some people see a Designer-Creator behind the existence of all things, while others (who are looking at the very same things, mind you) see nothing but impersonal matter, functioning by pure, blind fate. Some people see a Higher Law Giver behind "right and wrong," while others (who are looking at the very same issues) see only varying degrees of human preference. 

In the next few weeks, we'll take a look at the basic essentials of a biblical worldview, and how these essentials can bring remarkable meaning to all human endeavor.

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