Can one ignore a worldview? Of course not, the
very idea is ludicrous. It is not possible to divorce one's
deepest beliefs from everyday life, only applying them in certain
circumstances or to important decisions.
What is a worldview? It comes from the German
Weltanschauung, meaning world (Welt) and view (Anshauung). Merriam
Webster describes it as "a comprehensive conception or
apprehension of the world, especially from a specific standpoint."
The American Heritage Dictionary puts it this way:
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets
2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held
by an individual or a group. Both are known as Weltanschauung."
To simplify, one's worldview is the way one sees the world and
the events in it.
Everybody has a worldview. It is not possible
to exist without having a standard by which one interprets everything
around him. One's worldview is shaped to a large extent by his
circumstances, experiences, and education.
A worldview permeates every thought one has,
every action one takes. It is dictatorial in the way it controls
a person and every aspect of his life. Someone who was poor
as a child will weigh monetary cost against everything he does
or every activity he participates in. Someone who was abused
as a child will have a hard time opening up to other people
in certain circumstances. Someone who was brought up to see
a cause, a people, or a government as evil or good, will find
it nigh impossible to change his viewpoint later on, no matter
what the evidence is. The examples given are rather large examples
very evident in the world today. But a worldview governs one
to the point that he doesn't even think about most things he
does. In this way it can betray him when he espouses viewpoints
in which he doesn't really believe, and then turns around and
acts contrary to what he said. Many people may not always realize
it when their espoused worldview contradicts their real worldview.
The doctor who smokes or drinks excessively (these things are
bad for your health), the Christian who supports abortion (his
God commands him not to murder), the politician who abuses his
office to further a truly good cause (he is a servant of the
people), and the atheist who thinks there is any ultimate purpose
in life, or that he is anything but a brilliant amoeba (his
worldview precludes all possibilities to the contrary on both
counts), all are examples of this.
A person's worldview is religious because it
is the driving force in his life. It is his standard, what he
follows, what he obeys, and it dictates his perceptions of the
world around him. In effect, one's worldview is one's religion.
This is easy to notice and point to in openly religious people
(the Christian, the Muslim, etc...), but perhaps not so easily
noticed in others. Yet this does not mean they are not religious,
but merely that their religion avoids the outward trappings
and public gatherings that one often associates with a faith.
For the atheist is just as religious as the Muslim. True, he
doesn't attend a mosque, follow a written creed, or adhere to
certain given teachings, but that doesn't mean he does not follow
his beliefs any less devoutly than the Muslim. For the atheist
has a worldview, and this is that there is no proven God (so
life probably ends at death), and that this life is all there
is (so we must make it fulfilling). Based on his beliefs of
what is fulfilling, he will obey his worldview to the letter,
and go out and live what he perceives a fulfilling life: be
it in community or public service, perhaps by making friends
and having a large family, or maybe by partying and living it
up. The Humanist, Christian, Hindu, Agnostic, Satanist, Nihilist,
and all those who's personal beliefs have no categorical name;
all these people are deeply religious, their God is their worldview,
and they follow it without swerving right or left.
When one is forced to avoid religious issues
and arguments in the writing of a paper, one is effectively
shackled against writing anything persuasive at all. He is told
"avoid religious issues and arguments." He asks himself
"how?" For that begs the question: one cannot divorce
one's worldview from one's life, and all worldviews are religious.
He is maybe instructed to write about a political cause, or
perhaps a subject so insignificant that it doesn't involve religion
or a worldview. But how can this be? If he were to take the
example in the handbook, of arguing that people should ride
bicycles to work, it would still end up being religious. For
why would he have an opinion on why people should ride bicycles
to work? Because his religion, his worldview dictates how he
thinks. The factual benefits are that riding bicycles to work
helps keep us healthy and stress free, and that it's good for
the environment. The Christian and Muslim would say people should
promote and follow these ideals to honor the God they believe
created both body and creation (they are stewards of each, they
must take care of them). But the Atheist and Humanist would
promote the same ideals for entirely different reasons: the
earth is our only home, we must preserve it for our posterity.
So what alternative is left to a person, to
anybody? He has been basically boxed in to the point that he
cannot write any persuasive paper at all. For again, his religion
defines the entirety of his perception of the world, and all
that is in it: he cannot state any opinion without also speaking
his religion. By being banned from expounding on religious issues
or arguments, he has been banned from stating any opinion on
anything, be it one associated with an established religion
or not. Perhaps he could write a paper trying to show how he
cannot really write a paper because of this crucial problem:
that he cannot use religious issues or arguments (which is by
now, well-known to be impossible). But that can only work once.
So his potential as a writer, and his career in his class has
been strangled, all because he cannot divorce his worldview