Worldview: What's Up With That?

Our culture determines how we understand our world.

Edge of the World

Prince Henry the Navigator lived in the fourteenth century. Wanting to find a sea route to India, he hired a ship in Portugal.  He sent the ship to India, but it soon returned and reported that it had come to the edge of the world.

He commissioned a second ship but it soon returned. The captain reported, "we cannot find a route because we came to the edge of the world."

Over the next ten years, Henry hired 13 more ships. Each one returned with the same story, "we came to the edge of the world."

Shortly after leaving port, the fourteenth ship encountered a severe storm. After the storm blew itself out the sailors discovered they had sailed past the edge of the world.

A Huge Sandbar

The storm had blown the ship past a huge sandbar off the African coast. The water over the bar got shallow and changed the current and wave patterns. When the sailors saw the change in sea conditions they knew they had sailed too far—they had reached the edge of the world.

Ideas Have Consequences!

Those sailors couldn't sail over the sandbar because they knew if they tried, they would be swept over the edge of the earth.

If the captain had pushed them, a mutiny probably would have occurred.

But the idea the earth was flat would never have been mentioned. Why? Because it was so deeply ingrained in their thinking it was part of their subconscious––it didn’t need to be said––it was just assumed.

Worldview is an "assumption". It may be correct or it may be wrong. But it is an assumption we use to explain and react to the realities of our world.

Conclusion and Challenge

In the story of Prince Henry and his sailors, we can see:

  • Their assumption––the world is flat.
  • The reality––a sandbar.
  • Their interpretation of the reality––edge of the earth.
  • Their action––give up, quit, and go home.

Like Prince Henry’s sailors, we don’t think about our worldview but it impacts our daily life. I think that you will agree with me, we need to be more deliberate about understanding our worldview because it affects how we live our lives.

  • Do you have a problem with faith?
  • Do you have a problem with commitment?
  • Do you have a problem spending time in the Bible?
  • Do you struggle with developing a prayer life?
  • Do you...

In future posts I will look at the impact worldview has on these and other issues. We will explore why and how we must change our worldview if we are to experience the abundant life promised by Jesus (John 10:10).

Have you ever thought about your worldview––the assumptions that control your life?


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