|The material universe
is all that exists. Reality is 'one-dimensional'. There is no such thing as
a spirit, soul, or the supernatural. Everything can be explained on the
basis of natural, physical laws, and reason alone.
||Humankind is the
chance product of a biological process of evolution. Man is entirely
material, as well as autonomous. The human species may one day pass out of
||Truth is typically
understood in terms of scientific proof or logical deduction. Only that
which can be observed with the five senses, verified scientifically, or
grasped with logic is real or true. Science and Reason are the guides to the
||No objective values
or morals exist. Morals are only individual preferences, socially useful
behaviors, or political expediencies. Morals are subject to evolution and
change. Relativism in moral and ethical realms is reasonable.
A revolt against modernism
A growing new form of thinking in Europe and America
world must be interpreted through each individual's language and cultural
"paradigm." Since, reality is "socially constructed," these
realities can also be "deconstructed."
||Humans are 'nodes' in
a particular cultural reality; they are a product of their environment. The
idea that people are autonomous and free is a myth; they are 'puppets' on
their respective social stage.
||Truths are mental
'constructs', meaningful only to each individual within a particular
cultural paradigm. They do not apply to other paradigms. Thus, reason and
logic are simply expressions of European / American cultural bias.
||No objective values
exist. Morality, or lack there of, is part of each social paradigm. A
politically-correct tolerance, freedom of expression, inclusion, and refusal
to claim to have answers are the only universal values. Relativism
|An infinite, personal
God exists. This God created an extraordinarily large, yet finite, material
world. Reality is both material and spiritual. The universe as we know it
had a beginning and will have an end. Ultimate accountability exists; it's
just a matter of timing.
||Humankind is the
unique creation of God. They were created "in the image of God," which
refers to attributes of intellect, emotions, and will, and with the
possibility of 'spiritual' relationships. Due to the Fall, mankind became
aliened from God.
||Truth about God and
reality is gained through both general and specific revelation. God has
'selectively' and supernaturally revealed His existence. Truth about the
material world is gained via observation using the five senses in
conjunction with rational thought.
||Moral values are the
objective, propositional statements of an absolute Moral Being -- God. He
has revealed these standards throughout history. This position is
incompatible with relativism.
|Allah, the deity mentioned in
the Quran, is a unitary caricature of the Biblical Yahweh. Allah has
personal attributes, but transcendent and unknowable. Muslims profess,
"There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad his messenger."
||Islam rejects the truth of
the Fall and views humankind as essentially "good." Humans are weak,
limited, and forgetful. Through self-discipline and obedience to
Quranic law, Muslims can become morally acceptable to Allah. Islam is
||Truth is synonomous with Quranic
revelation, which is understood as the final and inerrant Word of God.
The texts of the Bible are said to be incomplete and corrupted, in so far as
they contradict the so-called revelation given to Muhammad by the angle
||Values and virtue are set forth
in the Quran, with obedience to Allah's will and devotion to the Islam law
central. Religious devotion consists of: profession of faith, prayer,
almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage, and Jihad (holy war). Error is
everything which is not Islamic.
|Only the spiritual
dimension exists. All else is illusion, maya. Spiritual reality,
Brahman, is eternal, impersonal, and unknowable. It is common to say
that everything is a part of God, or that God is in everything and everyone.
||Humans are one with
ultimate reality. Thus man is spiritual, eternal, and impersonal. The belief
of individuality is an illusion since mankind is just a part of the Whole.
||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 Western
civilization cannot show us reality.
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. Relativism
Tribal and so-called "native" religions
|The world is
inhabited by spirit 'beings' who govern what goes on. Demons and gods are
the real cause behind "natural" events. Material things are real, but they
have spirits associated with them and, therefore, can be interpreted
||Humans are 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 and reward
them or can punish them.
||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 evil spirits as it is good ones.