By Mikel del Rosario

You’ve got a worldview. Everyone does.

Worldviews Shaping Culture Can You Name America’s Top 3

What’s a worldview? It’s everything you believe about what’s real and what really matters in life. Ronald Nash defines it like this in his book, Worldviews In Conflict:

A worldview is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) which we hold (either consciously or subconsciously) about the basic makeup of our world.

J.P. Moreland observed that there are three major worldviews dominating the debate in our culture today. Here’s a quick rundown of America’s top three:

  1. Historic Christianity

This is the main version of something called ethical monotheism. This is the idea that God’s real; that God created us and gave us a real moral law. And all people everywhere are obligated to obey the moral law—whether they want to or not. Some things, like loving your parents, are really good. Other things, like hurting a little girl for no reason, are really wrong.

The next two represent the major movements of the opposite camp.

  1. Scientific Naturalism

What’s this? Think X-Men. No matter how out there something might seem (like bending metal just by thinking about it), absolutely everything can be boiled down to physical processes (like a genetic mutation). This view says only the physical world is real. You’re pretty much just your brain. And everything you do is just the result of things like your genetics and how you were raised.

Another key idea: Science is the only way we know things. If you can’t measure something in a lab or use science to prove it, you can’t know it. So you can say you know Advil will help with your headache. But you can’t say you actually know God exists.

  1. Postmodern Relativism

For this one, think Oprah. All truth and reality is relative to you or your community: “That’s true for you but not for me.” It’s supposed to be a feel-good, politically correct worldview where no one’s perspective is ever wrong about anything—especially when it comes to spiritual things (unless you happen to think Christianity is actually true).

Another key idea is words don’t really mean anything. You decide what words mean to you. For example, it doesn’t matter if this post is about worldviews. Maybe to you, this article means I’m giving away iPads to everyone who shares this post on Facebook! I’m not.

Really, I’m not.

These two worldviews agree you can’t know things about stuff you can’t see, touch, taste, hear or smell. This directly challenges historic Christianity which teaches that we can know the truth (John 8:32). J.P. Moreland says: “We are in a struggle for the hearts and minds of the American people against scientific naturalism and postmodern relativism…Our religion is a religion that is based on knowledge.”

So, there you have it. The top three worldviews shaping American culture: Christianity, Naturalism, and Postmodernism. Which one most shapes your views?


Mikel is a Ph.D. student in New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, Cultural Engagement Manager at the Hendricks Center, and Adjunct Professor of Apologetics and World Religion at William Jessup University. 

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