I had lived my life from a worldview which was handed to me – through education and authority (parental education/influence) – and which I had never properly questioned. It was a world filled with the amazing discoveries of science, and a lack of a deity simply because there was no room for one. As I grew older, I became so content with my atheism and so disgusted by theism that I began to physically manifest that disgust (actual shudders, or rolling my eyes, or an audible expression) whenever I came across the slightest mention of “God” or “Jesus” or any of the Christian words/names/concepts (merely because I lived in a Christian-majority area – my aversion would have been the same had it been Muslim or Jewish or any other theistic religion). Understand that I never once suspected that ‘believers’ were in any way on to something that somehow the non-believers had missed. Instead it was an instinctive rejection in reaction to the condescending attitude most ‘believers’ had towards non-believers – they pitied us, which I found reprehensible; they acted so smug and self-assured because they felt ‘wrapped in the love of God’ or whatever turn of phrase the person would use. But that love somehow wasn’t unconditional – they were quick to reject anyone whose beliefs didn’t align with theirs, which smacked of hipocrisy which I wouldn’t accept (nevermind that I was oblivious of the hypocrisy in my own rejection of religions!). Today, I call that period my ‘atheist adolescence’.
The change of belief
But about five years ago I experienced a very banal event that still managed to spur me into actually taking the time to stop and question my worldview. My fiancée and I were watching one of those American sensationalist ‘documentaries’ (riddled with pre-commercial-break cliff-hangers as the American formula goes) on the topic of past lives. It was pretty-well constructed and seemed fairly… if not convincing, at least intriguing. And what got me thinking was this line of thought: “Suppose it was true… I don’t think my worldview can handle it. It has answers for everything but past lives. I don’t think I’d know how to fit it into my system of beliefs.” It then dawned on me that I didn’t actually know what my own worldview was – and so that set me off on a quest of discovery that has absolutely shattered my worldview and brought me such enriching insight that my life has been forever changed. Now I’m far more laid-back about other people’s beliefs. Now I respect the human being who expresses their enthusiasm for their god’s love. I see why they might think that there is a god and especially, I see that their ‘god’ is my whatever-I-call-it.
So how about you: Do you know what your worldview is? Do you understand how you understand? I dare you to find out!