Atheism is a Worldview
By Roger Browning
If I’m going to say that atheism is a worldview, I better start defining terms before I find myself on the wrong side of my own issue. So, the first part of this post will be defining “atheism” and “worldview.” Once I do that, I’m going to give an analogous depiction of life incorporating the definitions and then draw a conclusion to affirm the title.
Atheism. Two distinct definitions come to mind. The first is the literal definition based on the original Greek. ‘a’, meaning ‘no’ and ‘theos’, meaning ‘god’. In the strictest sense, atheism literally means no-god. But, literal translations don’t always carry over to current word usage. The word “joystick” for example, hardly means rejoice peg. The second definition is more popular with a lot of atheists at the moment, and that is: a disbelief in god or gods. I’ve written a lot on why I think these two definitions are the same (here and here). Nate has also discussed this here and here, and there are some great external links for good measure here and here). Since a lot of ground has already been covered on the second definition, I’m going to move on.
Worldview. Until about 6 months ago, I didn’t really think this word needed a definition; it’s pretty straightforward, actually. The word “worldview” is simply a view of the world. But, in good faith, we will grab a more accurate definition for our friends at Google: “a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world.” This definition actually works to my advantage, but we’ll get to that.
As a quick recap, atheism is either a belief in no god or a non-belief in god (because these are not the same?? I digress) and worldview is the perception of reality as it pertains to origins of the world. Can we agree to these two points? Leave some feedback below.
Now, an analogous incorporation of these two terms.
Life is often compared to a maze. Marriage and Family Therapist and contributor to Huffington Post, once wrote to the point, “In review, we see we have taken wrong turns, hit dead ends, lost time, meandered in wrong directions and twisted and turned at unexpected places. We thought we were going one way and had to head another. We are born into this maze”.[i] Deveric’s post goes on to describe the purpose of life and how to navigate the labyrinth. She goes on to write that the maze is navigated by perceptions and expectations, comfort and belonging, and other mental constructs. But, she writes, “No location within the maze can be the end goal because time will forcibly move you and death will take you out.” With this in mind, let’s examine worldview like a maze—an ever changing perspective but steadily moving…
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