The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews

April 21, 2003
Veritas Forum at the University of California, Los Angeles

University of California, Los Angeles
2003 Veritas Forum

The Forum theme was “The Relevancy of Christianity as a Non-Compartmentalized World View.”  

Many thanks to our friends at The Veritas Forum for allowing us to post this video. Want more? Visit the Veritas Forum YouTube channel


The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews

What is a worldview? What are the main worldview questions? And why is this concept so crucial to understanding what truth is? Dallas discusses the worldview that the university teaches, tied in with the genius of Jesus. His training in philosophy, theology and science shines brightly in this engaging and thought-provoking presentation.

The Nature and Necessity of Worldviews

Worldview: Our assumptions about the realities and values that govern us and the world in which we live. It is a biological reality, built into our usual actions and responses.

Knowledge: Our ability to represent things as they are, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience.

This is what our universities are devoted to. But knowledge requires TRUTH.

Truth: A thought or statement is true if what it is about is as that thought or statement represents it.

The Main World View Questions:

  • What is the nature of reality?
  • What counts as knowledge of reality?
  • Who is really well-off?
  • Who is a “really good” person?

In the university setting  the dominating world view is expressed through what is accepted as research and what counts as possible knowledge.

How A World View Is Taught: 

  1. Mainly by body language, facial expressions, tones of voice and inflections, 'looks', off-hand remarks about people and events; By what is permissible; By example--how we treat people (in class, out of class, colleagues); By who gets rewarded or punished in various ways in the academic or other context, etc.
  2. Rarely by explicit statement.  Explicit statement is only used to reinforce what is taught indirectly as above indicated.


How Does UCLA (etc.) Answer the Four Great Questions?

  1. Reality is the natural, sense-perceptible world.
  2. The spiritual is not real and/or not knowable.
  3. You are your body
  4. Well being is physical/social well-being: success, money, health.


These ‘Answers’ Are the Assumptions of What We Do and Do Not Do...

  • … and HOW we do (or do not do) it.
  • They are the assumptions of the training, professionalization, socialization of our faculties.
  • They are not the outcome of rational research.  No one has DISCOVERED them, found them to be true.
  • They are not knowledge.

How Does Jesus Answer The Four Great Questions?

  1. Reality is God and his activities, including the natural world (physical, social)
  2. The person is well-off who has a life deriving from God and his “kingdom”
  3. The good person is the person pervaded with God’s kind of love: AGAPE love.
  4. You become a good person by becoming an apprentice of Jesus Christ.


Where We Now Stand:

  1. The answers of Jesus constituted the world view of the universities well into the 20th Century.
  2. We have been locked into a sociological, not an intellectual reaction.  (See Julie Reuben, The Making of the Modern University.)
  3. The disappearance of LOGIC from the campus.  Your argument is now judged by your conclusion, not your conclusion by your argument.
  4. The answers of Jesus have not been shown false and the now prevailing answers true.

Where to Now?

  1. Recognize that our world view assumptions are what govern life.
  2. Assume the “burden of proof,”  be a rational skeptic.
  3. Thoroughly consider the teachings of the Bible and the record of Jesus’ people.
  4. Put his teachings to the test of life.
  5. Do the same for the world view teachings of the current intellectual.
  6. Then honestly compare.  Don’t just rest in your “intellectually respectable” prejudices.