Six Worldviews

Mention the word 'diversity', and most people today think only in terms of race, gender, age, or economic status. However, far greater are the 'worldview' differences which separate members of our society, one from another. People are often surprised to learn that these diverse viewpoints fit into six major categories or 'paradigms'. While some in society may successfully co-mingle ideas taken from two or more categories; most unconsciously strive to live their lives within the singular context of one of the categories below.












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 existence. 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 future. 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

Cultural Marxism

The one-dimensional 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 rules!

Historical Christianity

Traditional Judaism

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.
Aberrant Theism


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  works oriented. 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 Gabriel. 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.




New Age

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. 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.  Relativism demonstrates enlightenment.
Spiritism and


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 spiritually. 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.

Adapted from - The Crossroads Project

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