Ethics and Worldviews

1417 Words Sep 27th, 2008 6 Pages
The Universe Next Door:
Ethics and Worldviews

A worldview is the set of beliefs that is fundamentally grounded in each person’s heart whether they realize it or not, whether they hold true to it or not. Put simply, it is the basis on which a person lives his/her life. Therefore, ethics, the defining of right and wrong in life, is a crucial aspect of each worldview. Some would say ethics is based on feeling, others would say religious beliefs, while still others would say ethics is based on the law or the standards of behavior accepted by society. The absence of ethics is also a theme in some worldviews. While James W. Sire discusses several different worldviews in The Universe Next Door, the ethical beliefs held by each worldview
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As aforementioned, God is the foundation of values in Christian theism, but for naturalists, values are created by human beings. The problem is, without any transcendent standard of good or bad, how does one derive what “ought” to be from what “is”? Naturalists believe that all people have a sense of moral values acquired by intuition and authority or picked up from their environment. For them, good action is the action that promotes harmony and survival within the community. This is the view held by postmodernists as well, where society determines what social good ought to be. Ethics thus becomes autonomous and situational rejecting the need for any theological sanction. At the very core of naturalist beliefs however, matter is all that there was, is, and ever will be. The implications of this take on reality is that humans are merely complex machines, a result of evolution. How then, can one be sure that what one thinks to be logic and reason is really significant at all? Ironically, naturalism began as an Age of Enlightenment based on the affirmation of human intelligence, but a truly consistent naturalist leads to what is called a nihilist. Nihilists realize that they can place no confidence in knowing anything at all. In an attempt to escape the hopeless vacuum of nihilism, existentialism emerged, accepting all the propositions of naturalism except those regarding human nature and humans’

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