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Dallas Willard on the Main Worldview Questions

Critical Reflections:

How should we understand the concept of worldview? In this video, Dallas Willard proposes three “Main Worldview Questions”:

  1. [What is] the nature of reality?
  2. Who is really well-off?
    1. Blessedness
    2. The Good Life
  3. Who is a “really good” person? 

Willard’s first question reflects an accurate apprehension of the essence of worldview: it is the cognitive and affective orientation of an individual (or group) toward the nature of reality. Worldviews function as matrices of foundational presuppositions that analyze, evaluate, and systematize the data of human experience. They are dynamic, pre-theoretical interpretive frameworks—a priori mental models—that operate in the formation of a coherent and unified conception of the world.

On this definition, a person’s worldview may be identified by his or her answers to Five Fundamental Questions:

  1. Origin: From where did we come? Who or what made the cosmos and gave rise to life?
  2. Condition: What is the source of suffering and injustice in the universe; and furthermore, why does the world so often seem indifferent to our deepest concerns? How do we account for our desire to experience an enduring sense of purpose, worth, and identity?
  3. Redemption: Are there viable solutions to the foregoing problems? Can the human condition be redeemed, and if so, how?
  4. Morality: How do we determine ethical standards by which to live? Are there objective moral values and duties, or is morality constructed by individuals and society?
  5. Destiny: What happens when we die? Do we survive death; and if so, in what form will we exist?
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