Nonreligious Worldview

Nature and Deity

No recognition is given to any metaphysical forces or god-like beings. There
is the natural world only—no divine power. [Without scientific or substantial
evidence of “something else” (supernatural) existing, the natural is taken as
“all that is.” Human pronouncements are discounted as valid sources of truth,
and it is only human statements/writings—which do not cohere—that exist as
verification for claims of divine entities.] For example, the Brights define
themselves as: A brights is an individual who has a naturalistic worldview,
free of supernatural and mystical elements.

Understanding of Beginnings

There is a scientific view of the beginning of our universe. (This
understanding continues to advance as science progresses and new data
are obtained.)

Recent portrayal. Evidence from science indicates that at a distant point in
time all matter was located at a tiny point source of energy/matter, which
“exploded” into a series of events/materials that resulted in our current
universe (a physical event popularly described as the “big bang”).
Observation of the movement of celestial bodies clearly indicates they are
all moving away from each other.

Conception of Time

Time is perceived in a scientific way—as a function of universal principles
and physical laws and increasingly well described by theories and

Scientific depiction: Time in all normal events on earth is linear. In extremes,
however (e.g., in linear accelerators, space travel), time can flow more
slowly or quickly or, as in the case of black holes, time can cease to exist.

Mortality (and Afterlife)

There is one life for an individual, and no afterlife. “When you are dead you
are dead” captures the notion that, at death, the body simply decays. Some
rationalize “living on” through progeny, or through the consequences of
actions taken during life (e.g., good works). Some would characterize death
as a rejoining with the universe. Broadly held is the concept that the single
life span “is all there is,” and so whatever time is available had best be used

Venerated Literature

No writings are sacred. Much authoritative Western nonreligious literature
draws from great minds of philosophy (e.g., Plato, Socrates, Spinoza,
Hume, Locke, Russell), from major contributors in science (Einstein, Darwin,
Huxley, Newton, Copernicus, Galileo) and from writings of actors in
Enlightenment era politics (Voltaire, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Paine,
Jefferson, and Ethan Allen). The nonreligious have a tendency to be
voracious readers of all types of literature, including influential religious

Prophets and Founders

The philosophy of the nonreligious 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
nonreligious 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.

Rites of Birth and Death

There are no special rituals for birth or death, but there may be distinctive
observances consisting of secular elements excerpted from familiar
customs of the cultural surroundings. For example, in the United States,
holding a solemn gathering and eulogizing the deceased person is
commonplace. More frequently, friends and/or family may arrange for a
“joyful celebration of life” memorial event in addition to or in lieu of a
cremation or burial ceremony.

Festivals and Calendar Events

Absent holy days (there are none), persons may nevertheless engage in
festivities and commemorations (for examples winter and summer solstice
celebrations, or Darwin's Birthday). In the United States, freethinkers may
commemorate “Freethought Day,” the anniversary date of a ruling by the
colonial governor of Massachusetts that outlawed use of spectral evidence,
thereby helping bring to an end the Salem Witch trials. There is a fine
overview of festivals and calendar events at the Secular Seasons website.

Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism