The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire:
The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire is one of my all-time favorite books. I am constantly getting into worldview conversations, and I have purchased several copies of this book to give as gifts to my siblings, adult children, and friends so that we will have a common point of reference for our discussions.
What’s happening is that people I care about are coming at me from vastly different perspectives. Because of The Universe Next Door, I recognize that they are arguing from different worldviews. Conversations deteriorate when competing worldviews collide (that’s not how worldviews change – read my book review on Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for a better understanding).
When both parties in a discussion recognize that they are speaking from the perspective of differing worldviews, it becomes possible to map out those differences. Genuine listening takes place, and when that happens, both parties in the discussion benefit. I deliberately use Sire’s worldview questions in my novel for Reflective Listening Visualization (RLV) sessions and the Structured Evidence Argumentation System (SEAS) reports that the protagonist David is assigned to work on. Here is a list of Sire’s eight worldview questions:
What is the prime reality – what is really real?
What is the nature of external reality, that is, the world around us?
What is a human being?
What happens to a person at death?
Why is it possible to know anything at all?
How do we know what is right and wrong?
What is the meaning of human history?
What personal, core commitments are consistent with this worldview?
The answers to these questions result in the worldviews such as; Theism, Deism, Naturalism, Nihilism, Existentialism, Eastern Pantheistic Monism, New-Age Spirituality, Postmodernism, and Islamic Theism. I encourage you to share the Worldview Survey and try having a conversation with someone close to you using these questions and map out your differences and similarities.