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Four Worldviews

"I believe in [Christianity] as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." -- C. S. Lewis

Atheism and Naturalism

Humanism; Agnosticism; Existentialism

The material universe is all that exists. There is no such thing as a soul or a spirit. Everything can be explained on the basis of natural law. Truth is usually understood as scientific proof. Only that which can be observed with the five senses is accepted as real or true. Morals are individual preferences or socially beneficial behaviors. ("The greatest good for the greatest number of people.") Even social morals are subject to evolution and change. Man is the chance product of a biological process of evolution. Man is entirely material. The human species will one day pass out of existence.

Hinduism; Taoism; Buddhism; much New Age Consciousness

Only the spiritual dimension exists. All else is illusion. It is possible to say that everything is a part of God, or that God is in everything and everyone. Truth is an experience of unity with "the oneness" of the universe. Truth is beyond all rational description. Rational thought as it is understood in the West cannot show us reality. Because ultimate reality is impersonal, many pantheistic thinkers believe that there is no real distinction between good and evil. Instead, "unenlightened" behavior is that which fails to understand essential unity. Man is one with ultimate reality. Man's belief that he is an individual is illusion. Man may progress to a greater oneness with the universe, in a process of reincarnation.
Monotheism or Theism

Judaism; Christianity; Islam

An infinite, personal God exists. He created a finite, material world. Reality is both material and spiritual. The universe as we know it had a beginning and will have an end. Truth about God is known through revelation. Truth about the material world is gained via revelation, observation, and rational thought. Moral values are the objective expression of a perfect moral being. God is the Lawgiver. Man will be judged according to adherance to God's law. Humankind is the unique creation of God. People were created "in the image of God," which means that we are personal, eternal, spiritual, and biological.
Polytheism and Animism

Various Tribal Religions

The world is populated by spirit beings who govern what goes on. Gods and demons are the real reason behind "natural" events. Material things are real, but they have spirits associated with them and, therefore, can be interpreted spiritually. Truth about the natural world is discovered through the shaman figure who has visions telling him what the gods and demons are doing and how they feel. Moral values take the form of taboos, which are things that irritate or anger various spirits. These taboos are different from the idea of "good and evil" because it is just as important to avoid irritating good spirits as it is evil ones. Man is a creation of the gods like the rest of the creatures on earth. Often, tribes or races have a special relationship with some gods who protect them and can punish them.

Common Fallacies:

Cultural Relativism
Truths and values are mental constructs meaningful only to individuals within a particular cultural paradigm. Tolerance, freedom of expression, inclusion, and refusal-to-claim-to-have-the-answers are the only universal values. ("too much doubt")
The "Word of God" (in whatever form) is the last word on all matters. No argument, criticism, contradictory evidence, or unauthorized interpretation is allowed. ("not enough doubt")
Fatalism or Determinism
All events are predetermined. There is no "free will."

(Adapted from and