Worldview Analysis Project Instructions

Foundations of Christian Thought

As a reminder, here is the description found in the syllabus:

Task 7: Worldview Analysis Paper

Weighting: 15%

Possible Points: 100 pts.

Description: 1,000-1,200 word paper that (1) examines a piece of media (e.g., song, film, novel, painting, etc.) which expresses a non-Christian worldview, (2) analyzes the role that this worldview plays in this cultural artifact, and (3) critiques the artifact from a Christian worldview perspective. Detailed description available on Canvas.

Assessment: Assessed according to fulfillment of assignment description, cogency of analysis, clarity of thought, and writing quality (including grammar, spelling, etc.). Rubric available on Canvas.

Note: No late papers will be accepted without prior arrangement. Papers 1-3 days late will be docked 10 points; papers 4-7 days late will be docked 20 points; papers 7-10 days late will be docked 30 points; and papers more than 10 days late will receive a grade of 0.

The remainder of this document provides details about this project.

The Assignment/Purpose: 

Do the following: 

1.     Choose a worldview that you are interested in from the following list (Note: If you want to choose something that is not on this list—e.g., Scientology—email Dr. Pickavance for special permission. If granted, be sure to include a note in your paper that you were given special permission to write "off the list." You cannot choose Christian Theism.)

·       Naturalism (you can choose simple Naturalism, if you choose… That is to say atheism)

·       Naturalism: Nihilism

·       Naturalism: Atheistic Existentialism

·       Naturalism: Secular Humanism

·       Deism

·       Pantheism (Particular eastern religions are fine: Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.)

·       New Age

·       Postmodernism

·       Animism (or ancestor worship)

·       Islam

·       Political worldviews (communism, marxism, etc.)

·       Any other world religious viewpoint (Sikh, Hare Krishna, etc.)

2.     Select some cultural artifact (song, film, visual art, poetry, commercial, etc.) that illustrates or embodies this worldview. The artifact can be a book, short story, song (lyrics or instrumental), painting, movie, short film, sculpture, commercial, billboard, YouTube clip, etc. The artifact cannot be something discussed/shown in this class or something used in a sample paper.

Banned List (you cannot use any of the following):

  •   Disney’s Pocahontas 
  •   Disney’s The Lion King
  •   Disney’s Brother Bear
  •   Mulan
  •   Star Wars
  •   The Truman Show
  •   Avatar (the James Cameron Film)
  •   The Matrix
  •   Momento
  •   Inception
  •   Winter Light 
  •   Eat, Pray, Love
  •   Life of Pi (film or book)
  •   Fireproof, The Passion of the Christ or any other overtly "Christian films"
  •   Beatles’ songs that are Eastern in influence 
  •   John Lennon’s Imagine 
  •   Literature written by Jean-Paul Sarte 
  •   Walt Disney Concert Hall
  •   Visual art from Elaine Bradford
  •   Visual art from Daniel Chang
  •   Visual art from Yves Klein

3.     Write your paper. In your paper, you must analyze and evaluate the chosen worldview as it is expressed in the artifact.

(A) Statement of thesis

Tell me in the first few few sentences what you intend to argue (no later that the end of the first paragraph). For example, "The Truman Show serves as an example of atheistic existentialism by creating a false world and having the main character make meaning for himself by choosing to leave that world."

(B) Exposition of the chosen worldview

After your thesis, you will need to give a brief exposition of the chosen worldview and its major tenets, using at least three sources (for suggestions see Mind Your Faith Appendix). 

Guidelines for sources:

  • These must be academic, peer reviewed sources (not Wikipedia or other popular, non-academic websites). 
  • At least one of your sources must be sympathetic to the worldview (e.g., Sartre on existentialism, Dawkins on Naturalism) or at least neutral (e.g. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)—not written from a specifically Christian perspective.  
  • No more than one peer reviewed online dictionary of philosophy (the Stanford Encyclopedia is the standard, but the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy is also peer reviewed).
  • At least one printed book.
  • Only one source may be used that was assigned for the class (Horner, Sire).

(C) Short description of the chosen artifact and how it embodies the chosen worldview

Tell me what artifact you have chosen and why you have chosen it. You will likely need to give a very brief explanation of the artifact in case readers are not familiar with it. (Keep this short; do not give me the entire plot of the film, for example.) Give only a brief summary of the work; do not fill the space of your paper telling what happened in the movie. If you use a song or poem, do not include the text in your paper. You must analyze the worldview’s role in the work. Then you will need to state clearly how this artifact embodies or illustrates the chosen worldview. Note: you will be graded on how well you connect the worldview and the artifact, not whether we agree or disagree with your claim. (This is the fun part of academic arguments; you can make a crazy argument, but if you do it well, it is still a good argument). Be sure to tie the artifact to your exposition of the worldview—that is, if you emphasized postmodernism as a kind of relativism in your exposition, it is best to emphasize how your artifact also emphasizes relativism.  

Questions to ask yourself to get ideas for how to do this assignment well: 

  • Is the fundamental worldview lying behind the “message” of the work?  
  • Are there characters in the story that have different worldviews, which are expressed in the characters’ lives and actions? 
  • Is there a conflict of worldviews? 
  • Does the artifact show the “consequences” of the worldview “ideas”? 

(D) Analysis and critique of the worldview as it is expressed in the artifact

Finally, evaluate the worldview as it is expressed in the work. Do not write a movie or song “review” or merely give your own personal interpretation or impressions of it. Analyze it thoughtfully and carefully from a worldview perspective. Become a culture analyst. If you use sources to help you analyze the work (which is also encouraged), you must cite them appropriately. Ultimately, however, the analysis must be your ideas and insights in your own words. Be sure to include some biblical analysis of the worldview as it is expressed in the artifact. Not everything in your analysis must be explicitly tied to Scripture, but I need to see evidence that you are attempting to think biblically in this assignment. (For example, "The hopelessness expressed in this nihilistic film is nowhere to be found in biblical Christianity. Instead, the Christian knows that God has given us a hope from Jeremiah 29:11 and that hope is grounded in Jesus’ work on the cross.") Note: (D) is the most important part of your paper and therefore should be your longest segment. It also holds the most weight in the rubric for content.  


  • If you choose to use a film as your artifact, resist the temptation to spend too much time summarizing the entire plot.  
  • If you choose to use a film as your artifact, It is OK (perhaps preferable) to focus on one character or scene for your paper
  • Feel the freedom to think broadly– you can use advertisements, reality TV shows, comic books, etc.
  • If you want to include a copy of your artifact in your paper, it is OK but not required (such as an image of a piece of art, the lyrics of the song, etc.)

Guidelines for Citations:

  • Use Chicago/Turabian format for citations.
  • I advise you to use footnotes, but you may use endnotes if you choose (footnotes/endnotes not included in your total word count).
  • Include a bibliography (not included in the total word count).
  • The Biola library website and the librarians are available to help if you have questions about this kind of academic formatting.
  • You must cite all three of your sources somewhere in your paper.
  • You must use at least one word-for-word citation and at least one not word-for-word (or thought-for-thought) citation.  

Grading Details for Content:  

The chosen worldview must be understood and explained properly. The explanation of how the artifact serves as an example of the worldview must be clear. The analysis of the artifact and the worldview must be analyzed, showing that the student has thought biblically about the worldview as depicted in the artifact. All explanations must be accurate and coherent.

Formatting Details:  

Your paper must be between 1,000 and 1,200 words, and you will lose points if it is not within this range. At the end of your paper include the word count, i.e. 1,150 words. It must be double-spaced with 11- or 12-point font. Use a non-monospace font with serifs. (You may need to look up what that means, but acceptable fonts include Garamond, Palatino, and Times, but not Arial, Helvetica, or Courier New.) Submit your paper on Canvas as PDF file.

WARNING: This paper requires citations so be sure to cite properly.

100-96 = Exceptional

95-90 = Very good

89-80 = Good

79-70 = Average

60-60 = Poor

59-under = Failing

Late Penalty:

Note the late penalties as specified in the syllabus. 

Submit Assignment and View submission:

You are required to submit these papers on Canvas (I will not accept any emailed papers). Note the syllabus policy on paper submission formats: All papers must be saved and submitted as a PDF document. If you do not submit in a proper format, your paper will need to be re-submitted. 

It is your responsibility as student to view your submission to ensure that that document you intended to submit actually went through. Technical problems are not an acceptable excuse for late submissions.

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