This sampler succinctly highlights the diversity in human thinking about major
aspects of cosmology and our humanity. As you explore the sampler, you will
view an interesting spectrum of human thinking about significant matters.
You can examine elements of a particular worldview of interest.
You can learn more about the background and context of a given worldview.
You can compare how different adherent groups "understand" a certain
element (e.g., how each conceives of time).
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism
Categories and Qualifying Notes
Categories: This sampler presents the essence of nine worldviews.
Treatment is quite terse. There are generalities from the Nonreligious
Worldview (see reference 1, below), from seven major religions (see
reference 2), and from Deism (reference 3). Deism is a worldview that was
prevalent among many significant intellectuals at the time the United States
emerged as a nation. Although variants of deism continue today, the
elements presented in the sampler are of the Enlightenment era Deism that
influenced Jefferson, Franklin, Paine and others, and not of any modern
Qualifying Notes:  The sampler's “barebones presentations” can help call
attention to the diverse human interpretations of cosmology (e.g., time,
nature and deity, beginnings, life after death). However, they can offer at
best just archetypal rudiments of any tradition and name only the most
significant of the literature, rites, festivals, prophets.  It would be nice to be
able to give attention to U.S. religions with smaller representations and to
some of our indigenous religions. However immense diversity combined
with only limited resources precludes our doing so. Hence, the sampler
concentrates on major worldviews. It targets those religions having most
relevance to standard curriculum resources for "teaching about the world
religions" as well as those having a significant population of adherents in the
U.S. (e.g., Sikhs). And, it includes the third largest worldview group in the
U.S., those having a nonreligious worldview.
1 The sampler uses as its principal source for succinctly imparting the
Nonreligious Worldview the text, Freethought Across the Centuries, by
Gerald A. Larue (Humanist Press, 1996).
2 The sampler uses as its primary source for concise content on the seven
listed world religions The State of Religion Atlas, by Joanne O'Brien and
Martin Palmer (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1993).
3 The sampler uses as its primary sources for Deism the subsection
"Deism: The Religion of Reason," from "Chapter One: Classicism and
Reason, 1650 to 1770" in Tradition and Revolt by George K. Anderson and
Robert Warnock (Scott, Foresman and Company, 1967)