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**Guide to Answering 50 of Life's Big Questions** (version 2.0 and 3.0 based)

Fifty Questions for Use in Worldview Development--project Worldview's Approach

The free inquiry approach to helping you systematically develop your worldview that project Worldview  employs is based on questions in four areas.  In short, the worldview development goal is to get you to consider your relationship with 1) knowledge, 2) other individuals (including yourself: introspection), 3) groups of individuals (including society in general), and 4) the natural environment.  The questions for you to ask yourself are:    (Note: You can find the names of, and links to, all 81 numbered Project Worldview themes referred to below here)

I.  INDIVIDUAL <-----> KNOWLEDGE     (Diamonds) 

1) What is the basis for my knowledge?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 6, 7A, 9A, 10, 12, 13, 34, 38

2) How do I justify my beliefs?   Related Worldview Theme #s: 1B, 6, 9A, 15

3) With what level of certainty do I believe?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 1A, 2A 

4) To what extent will I promote my beliefs?  How tolerant am I of conflicting beliefs? Related Worldview Theme #s: 2B, 30, 36A, 39B

5) What tools or methods will I employ in seeking new knowledge?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 6, 7A, 7B, 9A, 12, 13, 30

6)  Why do I see what I see?  What reality generating mechanisms do I primarily rely on? Related Worldview Theme #s: 3, 4, 6, 7A, 7B, 9A, 12, 15, 36B

7)  What is the nature of Reality? Specifically, what are things made of? Is there more to Reality than visible (or potentially visible) matter and its interactions (materialism), and if there is, what role should a non-material / spiritual component of Reality (vitalism) have in my worldview?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 5A, 5B, 6, 7A, 12

8)  Do I believe in God?  If so, how do I conceive of God? Related Worldview Theme #s:7A, 8A, 8B, 10, 14A

9)  Do I believe that God shares knowledge with human beings?  To what extent are the sacred books of various religions representations of such knowledge?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 5A, 5B, 7A, 7B, 9A, 12

10)  How did the universe originate? Does it have a Creator?  Does the universe have a purpose? Related Worldview Theme #s: 4, 5A, 5B, 8A, 9A, 10

11) Should I expect the end of the world as we know it any time soon?  What will eventually happen to life on Earth?   Related Worldview Theme #s: 4, 9B, 23A

12) Why am I here?  How did I come to be? Is there purpose or meaning behind human existence? Related Worldview Theme #s: 4, 5A, 5B, 8A, 8B, 9A, 10, 14A, 14B, 25, 27, 44A

13)  Do human beings have real choice as to their actions / behavior, or is such behavior predetermined as part of a much larger scheme? Related Worldview Theme #s: 11A, 11B

14)  Is a reductionistic (breaking big problems into smaller more manageable ones) or wholistic (holistic) approach the best path to acquiring knowledge? Related Worldview Theme #s: 3, 4, 5A, 6, 7A, 12, 13, 25, 27, 46A

15) Do I see the universe as orderly or chaotic? Where do I see beauty? Related Worldview Theme #s: 4, 5A, 5B, 6, 7A, 7B, 8B, 9B, 12, 18B                                        

16)  Should free inquiry be encouraged? Related Worldview Theme #s: 1B, 2B, 9A, 15, 20B, 30, 31, 34, 35A, 50A  

 II.  INDIVIDUAL <-----> INDIVIDUAL    (Hearts) 

1) What is it like to be me? Am I too focused on me and on my immediate concerns? Do I pay more attention to lower level details rather than to higher level relationships or goals?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 3, 4, 41

2) Extending my perspective to consider my own death (and human mortality in general), what happens after death?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 4, 5A, 5B, 7A, 13, 14A, 14B

3) To what extent should my behavior be guided by religious beliefs of what happens to people after their death? Related Worldview Theme #s: 5A, 5B, 7A, 8A, 9A, 9B, 10, 14A, 14B, 16, 28A, 29A, 44A  

4) How should I treat other people?  Helpful or Hurtful?  Forgiving or Blaming?  Accepting or Threatening? Related Worldview Theme #s: 1A, 16, 17A, 17B, 21B, 29B, 36A, 39B

5)  To what extent should what I do (my behavior) be based on my head (reason) or my heart (feelings)?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 15, 17A, 17B, 18A, 18B, 29A, 29B

6)  When and why should I restrain my behavior? Related Worldview Theme #s: 9A, 14A, 23B, 28B, 29A, 34, 38, 42, 44A, 45B, 47B  

7)  Why is some individual freedom limited?  Is this right? Related Worldview Theme #s: 15, 24, 32, 33A, 33B, 45A, 50A, 52  

8)   What makes a good family? How should I treat my family? Related Worldview Theme #s: 3, 34, 38, 39A  

9)  Can I accept and love both myself and other people close to me?  In "the dance between separateness and unity" which do I value more: my own accomplishment and ability to function as an independent individual, or the growth and feeling of wholeness I experience in my relationship with a significant other?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 16, 17B, 35A, 38, 39A, 41

10)  All people need a sense of hope, self respect and self determination, right?
Can I empathize with people who are different, perhaps handicapped in a way that I am not?
Related Worldview Theme #s: 16, 21B, 24, 33A, 33B, 41, 52:

III.  INDIVIDUAL <-----> GROUP    (Clubs) 

1) What economic system is best?  Do I prefer the competition of pure capitalism or an economic system based on co-operation? Related Worldview Theme #s: 19, 21A, 48, 49A, 49B, 50A, 50B     

2) As I participate in society, do I trust and identify with common people or the elite? Related Worldview Theme #s: 20A, 20B, 21A, 21B, 36B  

3) On what basis should people be governed?  Can democracy work? Related Worldview Theme #s: 9A, 20B, 30, 31, 32, 46B, 49B, 50A, 50B 

4) Should I value and fit into society as it is or work to change it? Related Worldview Theme #s: 9A, 21B, 34, 35A, 35B, 46A, 47A  

5) What is human nature? Do I have a positive or negative view of it?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 14A, 16, 21A, 21B, 29A, 29B, 36A, 36B, 39B, 42  

6)  Where do I belong? Do I feel allegiance to a particular group? If so, to whom? Who are these people?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 27, 35A, 37A, 37B, 38, 39B, 46B     

7)  What is the purpose of education, and how can that purpose be best achieved?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 30, 31 

8) What should ethics and morality ultimately be based on? Can I accept ethical decision making that equally values all human beings as global citizens? Related Worldview Theme #s: 6, 8B, 9A, 13, 14A, 16, 22B, 23A, 25, 29A, 32, 34, 37A, 37B, 38, 42, 44A, 45B, 51   

9) How should I live? Should I be self-centered and look out for me, or be other-oriented and promote the common good?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 3, 4, 14A, 16, 19, 21B, 23B, 25, 26B, 29A, 29B, 32, 34, 38, 42, 43, 44A, 49B, 50A

10) What makes a good society? Should society be organized in a community-based, decentralized way which values appropriate technology and the principle of subsidiarity?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 22A, 22B, 34, 38, 46A, 48, 49A, 50B, 51

11) To what extent should governments interfere in the economy and in people's lives?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 19, 20B, 22A, 22B, 26A, 40, 43, 49A, 50A, 50B, 51  

IV.  INDIVIDUAL <-----> NATURE    (Spades) 

1) Can I get beyond an egocentric perspective? Can I fit my experience, and the human experience in general, into the much larger content of space and time? Related Worldview Theme #s: 3, 4, 10  

2) Which is more important, short term economic growth or long term efforts to build a sustainable economy?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 19, 22A, 23A, 40 

3) Should powerful nations or multinational corporations be allowed to extend their power and influence over poor nations or powerless people?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 22B, 24  

4) To what extent do I empathize with those engaged in a struggle to provide life's basic necessities?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 16, 21B, 24, 39A

5) Should human beings act as if they belong to nature or have mastery over it?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 22A, 23A, 25, 27  

6) Which do I value: freedom to consume or freedom to limit consumption?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 16, 22A, 23A, 23B, 25, 26A, 26B, 27, 29A, 42, 43, 45A, 45B, 48 

7)  What obligations do people have to protect the natural environment? How can the market economy be reworked to value environmental health?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 22A, 23A, 25, 27, 40, 49A 

8) To what extent should an effort be made to limit the human population?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 22A, 23A, 24, 25, 27, 42, 44A 

9)  To what extent do I believe that life is sacred and should be protected? Related Worldview Theme #s: 5B, 42, 44A, 44B

10) To what extent is debt--monetary, personal, or ecological--justifiable? Related Worldview Theme #s: 26A, 29A, 45A, 45B 

11) Does technology typically improve the quality of life? Should its use be limited--if so, how?  Do I prefer technological fixes or attitudinal fixes? Related Worldview Theme #s: 13, 24, 40, 42, 46A, 47A    

12) In resisting evil, is my approach more militarist or more pacifist?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 17A, 17B, 29B, 39B, 46A, 46B, 47A, 47B 

13)  Does globalization need an ethical dimension?  Related Worldview Theme #s: 22A, 22B, 24, 32, 37B, 40, 42, 43, 50A, 50B, 51 

The order in which questions are considered is important since it will determine (to some extent) the order in which one goes into worldview theme shops in The Reality Marketplace.  Of course inside a particular shop there is no telling what will capture one's interest and where (both on the website and the worldwide web in general) one will head.  It seems reasonable that many will take at least some time and explore worldview themes diametrically opposed to the one(s) featured in the shop--those can be readily accessed by clicking on the shop's "Related Words, Beliefs, Background".  Any such opposing themes will be noted near the top.  Realizing that no one will go through the shops in The Reality Marketplace in the same way, nonetheless one can imagine a certain reasonable path that might be taken.  The specific questions within each of the four areas that are presented above, are order based on the imagined reasonable path.  Of course both reading over these questions first (and perhaps whetting one's appetite for more with respect to a particular question) and clicking on the "forward to next ( ) theme" prompts provided at the bottom of each worldview theme page may rein in one's web surfing quite a bit!  

Questions for Use in Worldview Development--Other Approaches

A)  In addressing the question, "What is a worldview?", the Principia Cybernetica website, citing the work of the Apostel group at VUB in Belgium, identifies seven fundamental components of worldviews and presents questions associated with these components: 1) A worldview should provide a model of the world, and answer the question, "Who are we?" 2) A worldview should provide an explanation, and answer the questions, a) "Why is the world the way it is?" b) "Where does it all come from?" c) Where do we come from? 3) A worldview should provide a futurology, and answer the question, "Where are we going to?" 4) A worldview should provide a theory of values and answer the question "What is good and what is evil?" 5) A worldview should provide a theory of action, and answer the question, "How should we act?" 6) A worldview should consider knowledge acquisition, and answer the question, "What is true and what is false?" 7) A worldview should build on fragments of worldviews as a starting point. 

B) In The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, (2nd edition), James W. Sire provides seven basic questions that he believes one's worldview should address: 1) What is prime reality--the really real? 2) What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us? 3) What is a human being? 4) What happens to a person at death? 5) Why is it possible to know anything at all? 6) How do we know what is right and wrong? 7) What is the meaning of human history? 

C) Tracy F. Munsil identifies seven questions that she says are used by many Christian worldview related resources. They are: 1) Is there a god and what is he like? 2) What is the nature and origin of the universe? 3) What is the nature and origin of man? 4) What happens to man after death? 5) Where does knowledge come from? 6) What is the basis of ethics and morality? 7) What is the meaning of human history? She goes on to note, "It doesn't matter how many questions you use, just that you begin asking the big questions of life in four key areas-deity, origin, nature and rules- and then answer them based on Scripture."

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