We often talk about worldviews, but do we know how they were formed through history? Professor Glenn Sunshine wrote a great book entitled Why You Think the Way You Do: The Story of Western Worldviews from Rome to Home.It helps us see the influence of worldviews through history. He defines worldview as “the framework you use to interpret the world and your place in it.”
He begins by discussing the worldview of Rome. By the end of the book, we return to that same worldview. Western civilization is a product of ancient Roman civilization plus Christianity. Glenn Sunshine argued that once you removed Christianity, modern society reverted back to Roman society and a recovery of the ancient pagan worldview.
Like Rome, we value toleration as the supreme virtue. The Romans lived in an oversexed society. So is our society. Rome practiced abortion. So does our society. Rome was anti-natalist and made a deliberate attempt to prevent pregnancy. They focused on sexual enjoyment and did not want to bother with kids. In our modern world, birthrates in most of the western democracies are plummeting.
So how should Christians live in this world? Of course, we should live out a biblical worldview. Every generation is called to live faithfully to the gospel, and our generation is no exception.
This is especially important today since we are facing a society that is not willing to accept biblical ideas. In many ways, we face a challenge similar to the early church, though not as daunting.
From history, we can see that the early church did live faithfully and transformed the Roman world. Christians produced a totally new civilization: western culture. By living faithfully before the watching world, we will increase our credibility and earn the respect from those around us by living in accordance with biblical principles.