What Happens When Two Wordview Collide?

What happens when two individuals with two opposing worldviews interact?  Paul Hiebert answers this saying,

“We are similarly largely unaware of our own worldview and how it shapes our thoughts and actions.  We simply assume that the world is the way we see it, and that others see it in the same way.  We become conscious of our worldviews when they are challenged by outside events they cannot explain.”[1]

Until a person’s personal worldview is held up in comparison with another, they are relatively unaware of their own point of view.  The interaction with an opposing perspective of reality causes the individual to self-reflect on their own lens making them attentive to their own point of view.  Furthermore, when these worldviews are challenged by events and situations that are too difficult to comprehend, great anxiety can come forth.  Hiebert comments on this saying,

“To question worldviews is to challenge the very foundations of life, and people resist such challenges with deep emotional reactions.  There are few human fears greater than a loss of a sense of order and meaning.  People are willing to die for their beliefs if these beliefs make their deaths meaningful.” [2]

Worldview conflicts do and should happen in the church.  As parishioners interact with each other, there will be point of view collisions.  Furthermore, as a pastor when you preach the Scriptures and apply the Word to the flock you will be laying forth a particular way of viewing the world that has been shaped by the truths of the Scriptures.  The grand meta-narrative of the Scriptures will continually form your parish as well as your own worldview.  Therefore, don’t be surprised when the Scriptures come into conflict with assumptions in the church, due to worldviews that have not been solely formed by the Bible.  Keep in mind that many times worldviews of parishioners are formed by the Scriptures and a variety of other influences in life such as: personal experiences, cultural norms, the media, traditions, folk Christian theology and so forth. 

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[1] Paul Hiebert, Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding Of How People Change (Baker Academic, 2008), 47.
[2] Hiebert, 85.


Ron Voss said…
Pastor Matt,

Any thoughts on how one moves someone from a humanist, atheistic worldview to a Christian (biblical) worldview?