Soul Searching For Godless Heathens

I was recently asked about my worldview. Specifically I was asked what I find lacking in it. What do I see as flawed with it?

I've thought about this. I think by its very nature, my worldview is ideal for me. I don't see any flaws at all. But first, let's define it.

Worldview: 1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world. 2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group.

So,  it's a very comprehensive set of beliefs about the world. And I'm very happy with the worldview I've thoughtfully developed. I will say it was a process, though, which is ongoing and, like all critical thinking, open to new information that can alter it.

Mine is based on Naturalism - a scientific account of the world in terms of causes and natural forces that rejects all spiritual, supernatural, or teleological explanations; Humanism - a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity; and Nature - nature is awesome and humans are responsible for taking care of the world to the best of our ability, and to be humane to other living creatures.

In those respects, science is very important to me because it's how we understand and progress. Through science the Universe gets to know itself (rough paraphrase from my hero, Carl Sagan), and we get to know our world and everything in it, including ourselves.

Science isn't everything though. There's also humanity and what we have developed*, such as consciousness and cognition, justice, beauty, love, humaneness, compassion, morality, genius, and on and on. (*note that there are animals that have some consciousness and self awareness, which is amazing and awesome. It shows that we are on the far end of the continuum, but still connected and an integral part of the animal kingdom!)

My worldview has been cultivated and formed over my life, but especially in the last 10 years since I've become an atheist. In other words, I've really thought about this, it isn't something told to me by anyone. And I think that's important for finding that it's complete and comfortable for me.

I thought I'd turn the question over to you. What is your worldview and do you feel yours has any flaws in it that bother you, that you find missing or less than fulfilling?


  1. A person can have a worldview that functions well (able to explain the world), but can't or won't act on that worldview. For example, I may know what's right, but I choose not to act on it. Or my worldview is correct, but I lack the ability to get from where I am to where I need to be. Or that I have a valid worldview, but my confidence in that worldview creates a sort of arrogance that hobbles my ability to do good.

    Me personally? My worldview seems sound. It's the execution of the worldview that's the issue.

  2. That's interesting food for thought, Andrew. Thank you very much!

  3. Yes, Frans, I hold the same view. If something that seemed supernatural were found to exist, it would by its nature then be natural.
    But I'm talking about the things that people call supernatural now - psychic powers, ghosts, etc. They don't exist. They aren't real. But if they did, you're right, they'd just be natural.

    Yes, I'm between you and your father. I'm neither optimistic or pessimistic. I'm pragmatic and realistic. I don't think that humanity is necessarily on the right track in a lot of ways.

  4. Oh, optimist is a bit too strong a word for me and pessimist too strong for my father; it was a bit of rhetorical license for demonstrating our differences, but forgive me if I mislead you into thinking that we're near-opposites. At any rate, as far as my parents go I align more with my mother, who I'd also call more "optimistic." ;)

  5. I agree with you about both science and humanity. However, I think that the actual processes by which many people live their lives are often more related to superstitious, cultural and even evolutionarily instinctive behaviours than they are to rational thought. There is an irrational component to our humanity that actively resists science and rationality (and compassion in many cases). Sadly, the result has such an effect on our world that it impacts upon us all, and needs inclusion in any comprehensive world view. I hope I'm wrong...I'll fill the glass for the cat.