The philosophy of the naturalistic worldview is very old, and in antiquity
included such groups as Skeptics and Epicurians (in Western tradition), and
in Asia the Carvaka and Lokayata schools. Early Western philosophers from
which naturalistic philosophy draws concepts take in Thales of Miletus,
Pythagorus, Heraclitus, Pericles, Protagoras, Socrates, Hippocrates, Plato,
and Roger Bacon. The freethought mold integrates reasoning from Omar
Khayyam and Akbar (Mughal emperor of India) along with elements of
Confucian and Buddhist teaching. Recent influences include Mark Twain,
Robert Green Ingersoll, Charles Darwin, Bertrand Russell, and Carl Sagan.
The Buddha was an Indian Prince, Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in the 5th
century BCE. He became known as the “Enlightened One” (the Buddha)
when he understood the cause of suffering and the way to end suffering.
The faith is named after Jesus Christ, who was born in Palestine circa 4
BCE and crucified circa 29 CE. Christians believe he is the Son of God,
part of the Trinity, and that he came to earth in human form to bring humanity
back to fellowship with God.
There are thousands of Hindu gurus, reflecting the huge variety of teachings.
A guru, or teacher, is someone who has gained enlightenment through
knowledge and practice. A Hindu wanting to follow a particular path of
prayer, meditation and devotion usually has a guru.
Islam means to be in submission to God, who is seen as its founder. There
have been numerous prophets who came to remind people of God's will,
such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus. The final prophet is believed to be
Muhammad who lived in the 6th-7th century CE.
Through the covenant with Abraham (considered the patriarch) and his
descendants, God chose the Jews as his special people. This covenant was
reaffirmed and consolidated with Moses, when God gave Moses the Law by
which the Israelites were to live.
Guru Nanak (1469-1539) was the first Guru of Sikhism and was followed by
nine more human Gurus. The tenth and last was Guru Gobind Singh
(1675-1780), who appointed the Scriptures, the Granth Sahib, as the final
There have been various figures, ranging from mythical emperors to
semi-historical figures such as Lao Tzu (5th century BCE) and Chang Tao
Ling (2nd century CE), who founded popular Taoism.
DEIST Worldview (of historical interest)
As it consists of emergent and changing doctrines of criticism and rational
thought, Deism has no prophets or founders. But, in evolving over the period
from about 1650 to the early 19th century, it drew upon the western
philosophers that had gone before and the currents of the burgeoning
scientific advances and Enlightenment thinking in Europe. Early names in
English deism include Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Antony Collins, and
Matthew Tindal. It is to Herbert we may attribute the naissance of a
rationalistic form of religion—the religion of reason. It began more as a
residue of truths common to all forms of positive religion, leaving aside their
distinctions, but progressed to depart from theism, particularly in its
emphasis that Nature ran its own course without God’s concern or
interference, and further from Christianity in that salvation was not reserved
to Christians alone.
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism