Critical Thinking Paper Instructions

In preparation for the Critical Thinking Paper and by completing your textbook readings you will be equipped to respond by objectively compiling information from a variety of sources to compose a Critical Thinking Paper. In this paper, you will identify the worldview beliefs of a non-biblical worldview and, applying critical thinking strategies, compare and contrast those beliefs with the biblical worldview (Syllabus MLOs: A, B, E).


Refer to the “Course Policies” in the course syllabus for the formatting expectations in this course.



  1. Cover page – This is the first page to be included in your paper (based on the formatting style that you will be using, see the sample paper in Blackboard).
    1. APA: For this course, a Summary or Abstract is not required.
    2. MLA: This format does not require a title page, but does have a specific format for student information.
  2. Content pages – These pages will contain your content and fulfill the requirements as listed below.
    1. Be sure to complete the minimum word count (500–1,000 words).
      1. Do NOT include the question as part of your word count. Use only your answers.
      2. Direct quotations must be short and limited.
  • Include your word count at the bottom of the paper.
  1. NOTE: Submissions totaling fewer than 300 words will not receive credit.
  1. Quotations and material used from other sources must be cited using current APA, MLA or Turabian format. You must include in-text citations and a bibliography/reference or works cited page.
  2. Check your work for spelling and grammatical errors.
  3. Be sure to do your own work; do not plagiarize.
  1. Bibliography/references/works cited page
    1. In addition to the in-text citations, a bibliography/reference or works cited page must be included.
    2. A minimum of 3 different sources is required.
      1. Use academic sources for your paper. (For example, do not include blogs, social media, opinion pages, or Wikipedia.)
      2. At least 2 of the sources must be outside of the materials used in this course (this would include the Bible, any required reading or videos, and the required textbooks).
  • Refer to the “Course Policies” in the course syllabus for the formatting expectations in this course.



  • Fulfill all of the requirements as listed above.
  • Select 1 of the following worldviews (Secular Humanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam) that have been considered in the course content.
  • Identify the worldview that you have selected on your title page.
  • Using course content and additional sources outside of the course, complete the following:


Note: This is a “Critical Thinking” assignment so you must go beyond just giving factual content, and demonstrate your comprehension of the material. To accomplish this, the assignment will be asking you to “compare and contrast” your selected worldview (Secular Humanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam) with the biblical worldview.

  • Compare: How are the 2 worldview positions similar or the same?
  • Contrast: How are the 2 worldview positions different?


In your paper, you must follow the outline and answer the questions below.


How would the worldview that you selected answer these 5 worldview questions:

  1. The Question of Origin – (What is the origin of the universe etc.? How did humanity come into existence?)
    1. How would your selected worldview answer this question?
    2. Compare and contrast this with how the biblical worldview would answer this question.
  2. The Question of Identity – (What does it mean to be human? Are humans more important than other living things?)
    1. How would your selected worldview answer this question?
    2. Compare and contrast this with how the biblical worldview would answer this question.
  3. The Question of Meaning/Purpose – (What is humanity’s purpose?)
    1. How would your selected worldview answer this question?
    2. Compare and contrast this with how the biblical worldview would answer this question.
  4. The Question of Morality – (What is meant by right and wrong? How is morality determined?)
    1. How would your selected worldview answer this question?
    2. Compare and contrast this with how the biblical worldview would answer this question.
  5. The Question of Destiny – (What happens when a person dies?)
    1. How would your selected worldview answer this question?
    2. Compare and contrast this with how the biblical worldview would answer this question.


*An overview of these specific worldview questions can be found in chapter 4 of Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World.


Submit this assignment by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 6.






Have you ever watched a TV talk show or news program and after hearing some dialog you started talking to one or more of the panelists because you were frustrated at their comments? You knew that they couldn’t hear you, but you still couldn’t help yourself! At other times you might agree with the host or their guest, and you want to add your ideas to the discussion. Debates of ideas are often articulated in these formats, and they provide viewers with the opportunity to hear various sides of an issue. The debates are often the result of differing frameworks that people bring to an issue. Two or more people disagree about a particular topic because they are approaching that topic with a different set of presuppositions (things assumed to be true, partially true or completely false) and perspectives that can be described as worldviews.



It is widely accepted that the term, weltanschauung (worldview), was first coined by the Prussian philosopher, Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Judgment, published in 1790. Weltanschauung was later translated as “our intuition of the world.” According to David Naugle in Worldview: The History of a Concept, by the time the idea reached the United States in the mid-nineteenth century, the word was translated in English as worldview.


When you see the word worldview what comes to mind? A common response among our students is “a view of the world.” Although this is partially true, it does not encompass the real meaning of the word.


There are many different ways to define the term worldview. It is a word that encompasses a great deal of meaning, emotions, and potential consequences. Ken Hemphill in his book, Life Answers, says that “a worldview, whether Christian or secular, is the unifying perspective from which we organize our thinking about life, death, art, science, faith, learning, work, money, values, and morals. A worldview is our underlying philosophy of life.” Hemphill focuses our attention on the breadth of the term. A clear understanding of our worldview will help us make sense of the issues we are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Some may say at this point, “Wait a minute, I don’t have a worldview.” It is important to understand that we all have a worldview whether we know it or not. We are not necessarily consistent or coherent in how we apply our worldview, but we never-the-less have one. We also use our worldview in response to the issues that confront us.


Chuck Colson and Nancy Pearcey in their book, How Now Shall We Live, describe a worldview as “the sum total of our beliefs about the world. The ‘big picture’ that directs our daily decisions and actions.” Using their definition, when you are confronted with an ethical issue, how would you come to a decision about that issue? For example, if you were working for a company that markets a product and you were asked to lie about the product so that sales would improve, what would you think about that request and what would you do? How would you come to your decision? Would you be upset and question whether or not you should stay with the company, or would you lie about the product because you need the job? Would your perspective be, “Everyone lies, so what’s the big deal?” Or would you come to a different conclusion? How you think about that request and the decision you ultimately make, sheds light on your particular worldview.


In his book, The Universe Next Door, James W. Sire suggests that a worldview not only involves our thinking and decision-making but also the nature of our heart. According to Sire, “a worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions that we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being.”


A worldview, then, is a response of our heart or inner being: our intellect, emotion, and will. It is the total framework we bring to decision-making.


A worldview can also be described as a filter or lens from which one sees and interprets the world and all that it represents. For example, imagine you are in a classroom that is divided into three sections. The professor passes out green-tinted glasses to the first section, blue-tinted glasses to the second section, and red-tinted glasses to the third section. She then asks each student to put on their tinted glasses and respond to a question. She holds up a white sheet of paper and asks each section to identify the color of the sheet of paper she is holding up. How would each section respond? The first section would respond by saying, “green.” The second section would say, “blue.” And the third section would answer, “red.” Why? Because the color of their glasses affected how they responded to the question. In the same way, your worldview will impact your view about life’s most important questions. Your worldview will impact how you view and respond to issues such as abortion, gun control, the origin of the universe, politics, and the list goes on and on. Another person’s worldview will impact their answers to these issues as well. So in review, what is a worldview? It is:


a person’s philosophy of life.

a framework a person brings to decision-making.

a filter or lens that a person uses to interpret life and the world around them.


A person can develop a worldview from a variety of different sources. These sources may have different meanings and values to them and over time have varying levels of influence. Parents can be one of the greatest influences of a child’s worldview. They guide their children during some of the most formative years of their lives. A mother and/or a father’s personal beliefs and values are instilled and communicated to their children through their words and actions. These can be both positive as well as negative thoughts and actions that can shape a young person’s life for years to come.


For example, a child who grows up in a Christian home may be influenced to become a Christian by watching their parents live out their faith before them. They go to church together, pray together, and integrate Christian principles and practices into their daily lives. At some point, the child may make a decision for themself and choose to be a follower of Christ and His teachings. However, if children grow up in a Christian home in which one or both parents are not living their faith consistently, they may become disillusioned about what it means to be a Christian. This could be the result of legalism within the home. Rather than the parents modeling a personal relationship with Christ, they emphasize that being a Christian is about living by a set of rules—rules that do not make sense to the children. But unconditional obedience is demanded by the parents rather than giving their kids permission to question and seek clarification about this set of rules. When legitimate questions are raised, the children are silenced or told to “just believe.” Thus, they are not taught to think, but to simply have faith in whatever their parents believe. As these kids grow into their teen years, they can become angry and rebel, leaving the faith of their parents for whatever makes them feel good or works for them. They have come to the conclusion, “If this is Christianity, I don’t want any part of it.”


The other extreme can take place as well. Parents can claim the title “Christian,” but their lifestyle and actions do not reflect Christ. They may rarely go to church. Their home is not a place of worship, and the Christian worldview is not integrated into their life choices. Thus, the child grows up asking the question, “If this is Christianity, it is no different than the rest of the world, so becoming a Christian is meaningless.” These scenarios can be true about a child growing up in any religious or non-religious home. Parents can have a profound impact on the development of a child’s worldview.


Children and teenagers are also influenced through their friends or peers. Much to the dismay of parents, friends can have an even greater influence on their teenager’s personal beliefs. For whatever reason, friends may seem to be more in touch with reality than their parents. They are constantly communicating with their friends through texting, Facebook, e-mail, Skype and many other social communication mediums. They are talking to each other and sharing ideas and beliefs, but those beliefs are not necessarily based on knowledge. That is why it is essential that lines of communication remain open between parents and children. Children desire meaningful communication, but they want to do so in a nonthreatening environment. They need to be led toward seeking truth.


Teachers in school can also play an important role in formulating a belief system. Teachers express their worldview through their course content. Their personal attitudes and beliefs about a variety of issues surface throughout the school year. They can have a great deal of influence on children because they are seen as professional educators. As teachers build a rapport with a young person, their opinions are highly valued and trusted.


The media can also influence a person’s worldview. Young people spend many hours a day listening to music, watching television, surfing the Internet, etc. These mediums provide a constant barrage of worldview ideas, some of which can be confusing and create the idea that absolute truth does not exist. Ideas of right and wrong, true and false, become perplexing and in many cases non-existent. Truth becomes relative to the individual. Life can become convoluted and answers to life’s most important questions seem to be evasive.


Religious education can also impact the development of a person’s worldview. Because of the nature of religious beliefs and the potential impact they may have on life after death, a person can be highly impacted by such training. It can affect how they make daily choices, how they act, and how they treat other people. Many religions use sacred texts to guide their adherents to live a certain lifestyle. These texts can be a key source of information to inform the development of their worldview. For example, the Qur’an is viewed as the words of Allah and must be followed for a Muslim to potentially gain eternal rewards. In a similar way, the teachings of the Bible are to be followed by Christians. Second Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Bible is to be used to develop right beliefs and actions, correct false ideas and wrong actions and to help a Christian be fully equipped to live a Spirit-filled life.


The development and change of one’s worldview can take place throughout a person’s life. Young people are not the only ones whose worldviews are impacted by these and many more influences. Everyone’s worldview can be impacted, altered, or changed by external and internal forces.



Although there are many worldviews competing for prominence in our world today, there are three primary worldviews that are most prevalent. These worldviews have influenced the development of other worldviews with variant concepts, requirements, and conclusions. These three worldviews are naturalism, pantheism, and theism.



This worldview begins with the presupposition that God does not exist, and therefore knowledge and existence must be answered in natural terms as opposed to supernatural terms and descriptions. Naturalism can be divided into two main perspectives, that which focuses upon epistemology (What is knowledge and how can something be known?) and ontology (What exists and what does not exist?). The basic tenets of naturalism are that science is the source for what can be known and what does and does not exist. Only that which can be known through the senses exists. Mankind is autonomous, and yet through mutual cooperation and consensus progress can be experienced. Examples of worldviews derived from naturalistic ideas include secular humanism, materialism, and nihilism.



For thousands of years various forms of pantheism have existed. Whether it is Hinduism, Buddhism, or more recently the new age movement, all varieties of pantheism involve reverence for the Universe rather than for any creator being or personal God. Pantheists deny the existence of a personal God. Their basic beliefs include the concepts that all that exists is a part of god, used in the sense that the universe is sacred. Everything goes through a cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth until one reaches a state of nirvana, which is a passionless state of oneness with everything in the universe. Everything is sacred. There is a direct correlation and relationship between humans, animals, and everything that exists.



Theism is the belief that “God exists.” In particular, it is the belief that only one God exists. This God is usually personal and relates to humankind in an intimate way. Theists historically ascribe many attributes to their deity such as omniscience (all knowing), omnipotence (all powerful), omnipresence (present everywhere), sovereign (supreme authority), and immutable (unchanging in essential nature). Examples of theistic worldviews include Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.



As a student of worldviews, you will find many different approaches to evaluating or determining a person’s worldview. These approaches ask many good questions that help you identify what a person believes. The answers to these questions will also shed light on a person’s particular worldview. In this book we will suggest five key questions that can be asked to identify a person’s worldview. These questions will be answered through the three prominent worldviews listed above to provide an example of how to recognize a person’s worldview.



This question asks, “How did life begin?” and “How did mankind come into existence?” There are many different ways that this has been answered. Some have concluded that matter has always existed and given enough time and chance, the end result is what you see around you today (naturalism). Modern science is viewed to have the answers to the question of existence and any thought of God or gods is rejected. Scientists such as Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking have been proponents of such a view. According to the Humanist Manifesto II, naturalists “find insufficient evidence for belief in the existence of a supernatural.” Atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great and Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion also propose the idea that God is not necessary for life or morals, and the answer to mankind’s existence is found only in nature itself. According to naturalism, man is a machine, a product of deterministic conditioning. Man has little, if any real control over his or her existence, and when the machine breaks, life is over.


Pantheists claim that god and the universe are one and the same. Although there isn’t complete consensus with followers of pantheistic worldviews, generally god is not personal but impersonal. That is, god is not a personal benevolent Creator who cares for His creation and answers prayers, etc. Pantheism views god as an infinite, impersonal force. An example of this can be seen in the Star Wars series. This force is all around mankind, and it is only when one escapes the entrapments of this world and focuses on the reality of the force that one can finally cease the process of reincarnation and become one with this eternal essence or force. The pantheistic god does not create or have anthropomorphic characteristics. Thus everything has always been in existence and is a part of god.


Theism contends that everything that exists, including humans, is the result of God, the Creator God. God is said to have created ex nihilo, “out of nothing.” Although differing in their concept of His nature, God is the first cause, the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. For example, the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). Moses, the writer of Genesis under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet 1:21) identifies God as the first cause. The Psalmist, David, declares that God is his Creator (Ps 139:13-16). Most Christian churches teach that God is triune and all three persons of the Godhead were involved in the creation of the universe and mankind. Jews and Muslims are strict monotheists. They believe that God is One and is the Creator, but any concept of a trinity is blasphemy to the Jews and Muslims.



This question seeks to answer, “What does it mean to be a human?” and “Are humans more important than animals?” Since Naturalism does not accept supernatural events, they conclude that mankind is a product of evolutionary forces. The concept of a personal God is rejected. Scientific naturalism is committed to an empirical approach to reality and truth. They seek to discover truth primarily by observation and experiment. Scientific naturalism uncompromisingly leads to a methodological naturalism, which is the idea that the only method to understanding the nature of things is through accepted scientific theory. Thus Darwinism is often viewed, regardless of its flaws, as the only legitimate approach to understanding how mankind arrived on this planet.


Naturalism also sets up a paradigm for understanding mankind’s relationship to animals. Since they purport that everything has evolved, mankind is simply a more sophisticated animal but is not greater in value over the animal kingdom. Since man and animals come from a similar ancestry, mankind should not be viewed or valued as superior in species. Peter Singer, the Australian philosopher and current professor of bioethics at Princeton University was a major animal rights activist in the U.S. during the 1970s. His book, Animal Liberation in 1975 was very influential in shaping the animal liberation movement. In that book he rejected a new term that he coined speciesism, which is the concept that mankind should be privileged over animals. He has also created a controversy over his ideas regarding abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Singer contends in his books Practical Ethics (1979) and Rethinking Life and Death (reprint 2008) that children in the womb and those recently born do not possess personhood. In Practical Ethics Singer states, “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons”; therefore, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee” (Practical Ethics, pp. 122-123). Peter Singer and others continue to contend that life is not sacred. Since this is the case, these naturalists believe that abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia under certain circumstances should be de-criminalized where current law is in place.


Pantheists consider all life to be sacred or spiritual in nature. It is man’s essence, or soul, that is important to consider. Historical pantheism teaches that man’s soul is eternal and when she or he eventually reaches a state of nirvana, their soul (Atman) will become one with Brahman (Hinduism’s concept of eternal soul).


Pantheism customarily teaches a life cycle called reincarnation. A person’s future state rests primarily upon one’s good or bad actions in this life (Karma). Karma is basically the idea that “what goes around, comes around.” Although significantly different in its application, its basic idea is similar to the biblical concept of sowing and reaping (Gal 6:7). If you do good deeds, then you will be rewarded; but if you do bad deeds the end result will be negative in your life. In pantheism, good Karma results in moving one closer in a future life form to gain nirvana. Bad Karma results in being reborn into a lower life form, extending the cycles of reincarnation.


Humanity is only considered as a higher state in relation to reaching nirvana. Thus, humans and animals have a similar essence and should be regarded as partners in search of eternal oneness.


Theism views God as eternal and that mankind is a special creation of God. In Judaism and Christianity, God created mankind above the animal and man was created, “a little lower than the angels” (Ps 8:5). Male and female were both created “in the image of God” and were given the responsibility to rule over the animals and to be their caretakers (Gen 2:15). Although the earth and animals are not to be worshiped, mankind is responsible to take care of God’s creation. In reality, Christians should be leading the charge as environmentalists and animal rights activists while at the same time appropriately reaping the benefits of the earth for its natural resources and animals for food.


In Islam, mankind is also a separate creation from animals, and Adam and Eve are real people created by Allah. Adam was first created. “He began the creation of man from clay, and made his progeny from a quintessence of fluid” (Qur’an, 32:7-8). Eve is said to have come from Adam, “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her in love” (Qur’an, 7:189). However, there is also some acceptance for an evolutionary creation. This is based upon the interpreted passages in the Qur’an. It can be argued that theistic evolution is a part of their response to the issue of creation. According to the Qur’an,


What is the matter with you, that you are not conscious of Allah’s majesty, seeing that it is He Who has created you in diverse stages? See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (glorious) lamp? And Allah has produced you from the earth, growing (gradually) (71:13-17)


Allah was ultimately in control and was sovereign over creation. It did not happen by evolutionary forces alone.


Animals are also not to be abused. They are believed to praise Allah though they do not do so like humans, “The seven heavens and the earth and whatever is in them exalt Him…” (Qur’an, 17:44). Muslims are not forbidden from eating animals. Though vegetarianism is practiced by some, it is not a traditional practice.



The question of meaning or purpose asks, “Why does mankind exist?” And more specifically, “Why do I exist?” These are some of the most fundamental questions which mankind seeks to answer. They are questions with significant consequences. The answers to these questions have enormous implications for our lives and how we perceive ourselves and others.


Naturalism does not have a real basis from which to answer these questions. If mankind is a product of evolutionary forces and not a special creation of God, then man’s real purpose is ambiguous at best. How can something that evolved from the impersonal and insignificant and whose existence ends without significance (death is viewed as the end of life) have any significance or value in-between? That does not mean that many who believe in naturalistic theories don’t try to explain a concept of significance. For example, humanism sees mankind as a highly evolved animal and through reason can conclude that man has the right and responsibility to give meaning and value to her or his own life. This is accomplished through the development of ethical systems based upon human values. Man’s value and purpose is seen in his or her ability to leave a positive impact on others and the world around them. But on what basis do they presuppose that man has any value or significance? Since man is a machine and ultimately not in control of what happens, life cannot have any real value or significance. Any notion of such is simply an illusion.


In pantheism, man’s purpose is to end the cycle of reincarnation so that the soul can achieve the state of nirvana. Nirvana is not a “place” like heaven, but it is a state of liberation from the bondage of this earthly life.


In Hinduism, life is to be viewed as maya or illusion. Like a dream or a mirage, our life and everything around us does not really exist as we know it. An example of this concept can be found in the movie, The Matrix. Mankind’s perception of reality is not authentic and to achieve oneness with Brahman, one must eliminate all desire and that which enslaves him or her in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (reincarnation). The purpose of man is to understand that life and all that seems to be real is an illusion. Man needs to understand this as quickly as possible so that this cycle can end. What keeps man in this cycle is known as karma. Although good karma (doing good deeds for others) can have a positive effect (can help you reach a higher caste system), it is still viewed as a curse since good and bad karma keeps a person locked in this life cycle of reincarnation.


In Buddhism, life is not viewed as an illusion. One of the key teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (the one who became Buddha) is that suffering is not an illusion. Suffering is viewed as real and the source of man’s entrapment to the cycle of reincarnation. The purpose of man then is to eliminate suffering by eliminating desire. Man should stop craving that which is temporary and follow the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Noble Path to end all desire and reach a state of nirvana.


Theists believe that the purpose of mankind is to know God. However, the way this is interpreted varies greatly within theistic worldviews such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


For example, Jews believe that man’s purpose is to know God by following His commandments. Although there are several Jewish sects today, traditional Judaism teaches that man is to love the Lord and serve Him with “all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut 11:13) and to “love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Lev 19:18). This is accomplished through keeping the commandments in the Torah, which are the first five books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).


Christianity is about a relationship with God and not simply following the tenants of a religion. Religion is viewed as man’s attempt to reach God. Christianity interprets the Bible as God’s plan to reach man. The purpose of mankind, according to John 17:3, is “that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” This is salvation in Christianity. It is about having a personal intimate relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.


Muslims believe the Bible was corrupted and that God needed to communicate His plan for mankind through His final prophet, Muhammad. The Angel Gabriel is said to have communicated the Qur’an to Muhammad over a period of several years. Muhammad then communicated what he was told to his followers to write down. Mankind’s purpose is to know that Allah is One and to obey the teachings of the Qur’an. This would include following the Five Pillars of Islam. According to Sunni Muslims, these would include:


The Confession of Faith (Shahada)

The Daily Prayers (Salat)

Giving Alms or the poor tax (Zakat)

Fasting especially during Ramadan (Siyam)

The Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)

Shia Muslims follow a different set of Five Pillars which is to be followed by ten additional pillars. Islam is a works-based religion, so the purpose of man is to do enough good works in order to appease Allah and earn the right to enter paradise and avoid hell.



This question seeks to know “What is meant by right and wrong?” and “How should I live?” If a person does not start with a presupposition that God exists and that He has communicated His will for man through some type of revelation, how does he or she determine what actions are right and which ones are wrong—if right and wrong even exist?


Among naturalistic theories there is no consensus. Most would fall into the category of relativism. Relativism rejects the idea of absolute truth (something that is true at all times and at all places). Relativism teaches that truth is dependent upon the individual or society and is subject to change. What is right today may be wrong tomorrow. It is relative to internal and/or external influences. Internal influences would be found in worldviews such as hedonism, egoism, and situational ethics. External influences can be found in worldviews such as utilitarianism and conventionalism.


In addition, an emotivist would argue that right and wrong do not exist in the way humanity typically thinks of it. When declaring that something is right or wrong, one is just expressing an emotion rather than stating a fact. One can see that diversity exists in naturalism as to how these questions are answered.


Since pantheism believes that everything is god and god is everything, morality and ethics (in a practical sense) are how one should act toward itself. This would impact how a person would treat other people as well as animals, insects, and plants. In Buddhism, ethical conduct (Sila) is taught within the Eightfold Path through right speech, right conduct, and right livelihood. However, man must look to the god within to determine what is right and wrong and ultimately the distinction between the two is uncertain. One must let go of desire and ultimately be freed from this mind-set through mental discipline.


In pantheism, man is autonomous, and morality is subjective and relative. Man’s actions will return to him or her (Karma), and it is up to the individual to determine what those actions should be and how they should be carried out. Unlike Judaism, Christianity and Islam have specific absolute standards of morality.


Theists answer the questions of morality and ethics primarily through special revelation or their religious texts. Ethics is based upon the nature and character of God. Right and wrong are not relative to man’s perspective, but are based upon God’s holy standard. This is not to say that theists are consistent and always live holy lives. Jews and Christians believe in the fall of Adam. Adam knowingly acted against God’s will by eating the forbidden fruit (Gen 3). As a result, mankind is in need of redemption. How this happens then differs between Judaism and Christianity. In Judaism, man is in a right relationship with God through good works (Exod 20:6). People are morally neutral with the capacity to do good or evil. Evil is defeated by observing the Law found in the Torah. Christians believe man is born a sinner (Ps 51:5) and cannot save himself. The salvation of mankind is only achieved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not by one’s works, but works inevitably follow true salvation (Eph 2:8-10). The biblical worldview answers the question of morality by using the Word of God, the Bible (II Timothy 3:16). The Bible is the filter used to determine what is morally right and wrong.


In Islam, muslims obtain salvation through their religious texts known as the Qur’an (primary) and Hadith (secondary). By studying these texts a muslim lives a moral life. Hammudah Abdlati in his book, Islam in Focus, articulates Islamic morality by stating:


The concept of morality in Islam centers around certain basic beliefs and principles. Among these are the following: (1) God is the Creator and Source of all goodness, truth and beauty. (2) Man is a responsible, dignified, and honorable agent of his Creator. (3) God has put everything in the heavens and the earth in the service of mankind. (4) By His mercy and wisdom, God does not expect the impossible from man or hold him accountable for anything beyond his power. Nor does God forbid man to enjoy the good things of life. (5) Moderation, practicality, and balance are the guarantees of high integrity and sound morality. (6) All things are permissible in principle except what is singled out as forbidden, which must be avoided. (7) Man’s ultimate responsibility is to God and his highest goal is the pleasure of his Creator, (p.40)


Following the Five Pillars, as mentioned earlier, is essential to right living as a muslim. These pillars must be obeyed if one is going to live a moral life before Allah, and based upon Allah’s decision a muslim may enter paradise upon death.



This final question asks, Is there life after death? What will happen to me when I die? Will I have to answer for the choices I made and how I lived my life? The answers to these questions can have immediate results as well as eternal consequences. Your worldview can affect how you act on a daily basis and direct the legacy that you leave behind. It can also potentially influence your eternal state.


The Naturalist is not concerned about life after death since death is final. When a person dies, the material stops functioning as it did, and the process of decomposition begins to take place. Only what one has done to impact the lives of others and the world around them lives on. And that can and does impact some within this worldview. Community service, philanthropy, environmentalism and other types of meaningful activity become the naturalist’s heritage in which the planet and people will be impacted after they are gone.


Other naturalists such as determinists and nihilists have come to the conclusion that they have little, if anything, to do personally with the choices they make. Life ultimately is meaningless. Since life is meaningless the real question that needs to be answered is, Why am I alive? Unfortunately, some who hold this view cannot handle their concept of reality and attempt to mask the pain through pain killers, cutting, drugs, sex, alcohol and other addictive behaviors. When these are not enough to ease the pain, some end their lives. Death becomes the ultimate escapism.


Pantheists are very interested in answering these questions because they want to end the cycle of reincarnation. They believe that the choices they make while on this earth will have a direct effect on their future eternal state.


Hindus believe that one’s karma determines the caste you enter at rebirth. As an example, if a person has bad karma, it will result in being reborn into a lower caste or even worse, as an animal. It is only when one reaches the highest caste, the Brahman, which is comprised of religious teachers and nobility, that one has the greatest chance of reaching nirvana.


Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) rejected the caste system he grew up with, and he declared that everyone had an equal chance of reaching nirvana. He retained the concept of karma and believed through good karma and the denial of desire one could enter the state of nirvana. They would then leave the bondage of this world and enter a passionless state where one feels neither love nor hate. Nirvana literally means “extinction” which is the summation of a Pantheist’s struggle.


Theists also consider these questions to be vitally important within their worldview concept. In many Jewish sects, one’s eternal state is dependent upon faith and good works. How a Jewish person lives their life and the choices they make are essential ingredients that impact eternity. Salvation or saved are not terms that a Jewish person would use to describe their current or future state. They believe they are already the chosen ones of God and have been saved through divine preference. Their current standing with God then is directly impacted by their choice to follow the Holy Scriptures and that which He has prescribed for them to follow.


Christians believe in two eternal states for all human beings: heaven or hell. Heaven and hell are both literal places where people exist eternally either in the presence and blessings of God in heaven (Rev 21:1-7) or in a state of separation from God, being punished in hell (Rev 20:11-15). The choice of receiving Christ as one’s Savior or not making that choice while on this earth determines a person’s eternal state.


Christians view good works as a result of their salvation (Eph 2:10) and not as a means to it. Good works are seen as the evidence of an internal change of heart. How a Christian lives their life reveals their spiritual condition. Jesus uses the analogy of fruit in John 15 to describe how good works occur. Followers of Christ who are connected to the vine (Jesus) bear fruit (good works). Those who are not connected to Christ do not bear fruit and are cast away like a dead branch and thrown into the fire (John 15:1-6). What will happen after death is dependent upon a person’s choices and their personal relationship with God.


Muslims also view two eternal states called paradise and hell. Paradise is gained by doing more good works than bad, thus salvation is based upon human effort. The muslim view of paradise is ultimately indescribable pleasure. Following the Five Pillars of Islam, mentioned earlier, is essential to gain eternal rewards. Ultimately though, Allah is sovereign and controls the eternal state of humans. A muslim does not know for sure until death whether or not they have done enough good to earn Allah’s favor and enter paradise.


If a person does not accept the oneness of Allah and follow the teachings of the Qur’an, their eternal state is damnation in a place that can be understood as hell. However, hell has different levels in some muslim teaching. The level of hell one reaches is based upon a person’s particular beliefs and lifestyle. For example, hypocrisy is detestable and muslim hypocrites are punished in Hell. The most dangerous sin is shirk. It is the belief in polytheism (belief in many gods), or the belief that God has partners (Qur’an 17:111). This would coincide with the Christian view of the Trinity. Muslims think that Christians believe in three gods and, therefore, are polytheistic. Anyone who commits the sin of shirk will receive intense punishment in hell.


There is a great deal of diversity in the answers to these five questions. Although the responses you hear from a person may not be consistent, they become an important guide to knowing and understanding a person’s worldview. Understanding a person’s worldview can help you communicate with them better as well as help you understand what they believe and why they act in a certain way.


From a Christian worldview perspective, understanding the differences in worldviews can also aid in evangelism. When a Christian meets a non-Christian and they know and understand the framework of where the non-believer is coming from (worldview), it can help the Christian know how to share their faith using the appropriate approach with love and care. It can also help the Christian to fulfill the Scriptures. Specifically we are to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet 3:15). We should be able to articulate what we believe and why we believe. The “defense” spoken of here is the apologetic approach we will use to communicate the truth of Christianity with those who are desperately seeking the truth.



At the beginning of this chapter we addressed the issue of a conflict of ideas. Those conflicts often occur because of the framework (worldview) that individuals come from which affects their beliefs. However, worldviews not only affect a person’s beliefs but these beliefs can also affect their actions. That is why it is important for you to know not only what you believe but why you believe it and to challenge others to do the same.


Have you ever heard someone say, “Live and let live?” That sounds like a very kind approach to humanity. To say that everyone should believe and do what is in their best interest as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else seems refreshing and tolerant. However, because we are not isolated from others, and we live in community, how can a person’s actions only impact themselves?


Our health care system is an example of why this idea just doesn’t work. If a person chooses to eat or drink whatever they want and as much as they want, they might become ill. If they become ill and need medical attention, then their private actions potentially impact insurance rates and/or our health care system. Can a person’s private actions have the potential to impact others? Yes, absolutely!


Think about it. How many ways can a person’s worldview positively or negatively impact themselves and others around them? History can provide a plethora of examples of how worldviews positively and negatively impacted individuals, communities, nations and the world. Worldviews can make an enormous impact and by studying them it can help you to identify a worldview worth embracing and a worldview worth sharing with others.


As we have stated, your worldview is the framework upon which you base each and every decision that you make on any given day—whether or not you realize it. In this chapter we have looked at three prominent worldviews and how each one of them answers a few specific questions. With that background, the next step is to further investigate the biblical/ Christian worldview. What is it? Is it a valid worldview? Does it stand up [Lew Weider (2015). (p. 76).


Finding Your Worldview: Thinking Christianly about the World, Revised Ed.. B&H Academic. Retrieved from]