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Religion as Worldview

Religion as Worldview

Author: Ted Fairchild

Understand the relationship between religion and worldview and identify the worldview of a individual religious traditions

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Hello, welcome. This is a tutorial on Religion as World View. And with this tutorial, we're going to talk about the idea that one's religious orientation can have the effect of influencing every aspect of his or her life, and that often, the commitment to a religious path includes essential truths that cannot be compartmentalized and parsed out for one situation or another. Instead, some stable ground, a viewpoint, a world view, is held as a guide for being in the world.

How do you see it? You might ask your friend a question like that, when there's some ethical or moral issue on the table, like animal testing, for instance. Whether your friend is a religious person or not, he'll probably have an opinion, based on his religious or non-religious world view.

Say he loves animals, but he's not religious. So he's against animal testing. And he might act accordingly. He might sign a petition or make a phone call.

Maybe your friend is a vegetarian, because he doesn't believe in harming or killing animals. Perhaps he's vegetarian because his religion prohibits it and forbids killing and harming animals. All of these examples might play a part in a person's world view.

The underlying principle of respect and noncruelty will inform not just his decision to buy soy protein and seaweed, instead of chicken. But it's likely to extend into other areas of his, life to his treatment of friends and family and other people.

To look at an example from one of the religions, from Islam, many Muslims believe in the Supreme sovereignty of God of Allah. In the Quran, it says, none can command except Allah. Only a special advocate inspired by the divine truth of Allah is given the power to rule. And also in the Quran, it say, "Oh a Allah, Lord of power and rule, thou givest power to whom thou pleasest."

And also, there's a saying in Arabic, Insha'Allah, or God willing. And it could be said that this reflects the complete belief and trust in Allah, that Allah guides and controls and governs every aspect of life. All of causality is Allah, leaving human agency at a relative loss, perhaps.

And truly, when faced with various obstacles and challenges in life, any person with a religious world view, whether it's Hindu or Christian or Islamic, this person is going to express faith in the process of divine providence, of one sort or another. And also, someone with a non-religious worldview is going to have an optimistic or pessimistic view on things. This person, for example, might doubts the efficacy of human agency, in terms of cause and effect relationships, fate, et cetera.

It's interesting to consider the idea of divine agency and how different religious world views might place more or less emphasis, trust, and acceptance of this. The phrase God willing, which is expressed in many religious traditions in different ways, might be interpreted as a sound of hope or as an expression of resignation or fatalism or neither. From some perspectives or world views, it might seem that Buddhist and Hindu approaches to suffering reveal a sort of passive fatalism, given the profound acceptance of suffering as a core truth of existence. And suffering is something that dominates reality.

This is part of the world view of Buddhism. Suffering the first Noble Truth. But again, another example would be evil. Evil is present because of this problem of suffering, about which we really can't do anything, just keeps sitting.

But the subtleties of activity and passivity that this suggests are better explored from within the particular world views, in these cases, religious world views. So for now, we can review.

World view is a wide and usually all-encompassing understanding of the nature of the world, divinity, truth, and/or humanity. One can have a non-religious world view, and this most likely affects every action, every decision, every aspect of one's life. Similarly with a religious world view, depending on the fundamental principles and tenets of the religion, one will apply this to different areas of one's life.

We used the example of cruelty to animals, with foundational core belief in respect for life. And then we also used an example from Islam, in the idea that the Supreme sovereignty of Allah is a guiding principle and an underlying belief that affects the world view of many Muslims.

Terms to Know

A wide, and usually all- encompassing, understanding of the nature of the world, divinity, truth, and/or humanity.