Seven questions, six possible answers for each question. Choose the answer you’re closest to yourself. Let’s begin…
What is really real?
- Material things we can touch or see, objects, possessions. Nothing else.
- Hatred, competition, struggle – these are the realities that truly shape our lives.
- The power and love of God, who creates and enlivens the universe.
- The material world, and that’s enough for us to make a good life with our own wisdom.
- Mysterious, hard to know, but so what? Float free through life and be open to the spiritual.
- The ultimate reality lies behind all we can see or sense, and its power is seen in the spiritual forces that shape life.
What is the nature of the world around us?
- It’s best seen as a machine which runs by itself.
- It’s a pointless and meaningless blip in an accidental universe.
- The world is God’s creation, given in love to humanity as our home.
- It’s a brilliant expression of the genius of evolution.
- It’s a wonderful place to be born, even if the arguments about its purpose can’t be settled.
- The material world comes out of the mind of the ultimate, circles round endlessly, and will return to its beginning.
What is a human being?
- Humans are a collection of biochemical elements, without clear purpose, but very precious to each other.
- We’re a random product of an accidental universe, without any higher purpose.
- We are children of God, created for a life of love.
- Humanity is an amazing gift from who knows where or who knows what – so enjoy it.
- We’re a remarkably evolved product of natural selection and the survival of the fittest.
- A spark of the divine flame living in a body that’s temporary – but the spark never goes out.
What happens when you die?
- We well never know about ‘life after death’ until it happens to us.
- We die and rot – what else could happen to a pointless being?
- We’ll find ourselves directly in God’s presence – some call this heaven.
- We continue in the memories of those who love us. Our material bodies return to the biological ground of the earth – where they started. We don’t need to be scared of this.
- I don’t know, but all sorts of spiritual possibilities are out there.
- The divine spark leaves the body like worn out clothes, but finds a new body to enliven.
Why is it possible to know anything?
- We have scientific skills, highly evolved, and the ability to work things out rationally.
- It isn’t possible – and we don’t know anything really. Knowledge is just an illusion, like all the ‘good things’ we are persuaded to believe in.
- We are created rational, and we live in a rational universe. God made the laws of physics so we could work out what is true.
- The human brain has evolved in conditions where knowledge has survival value: we learn because it makes life easier.
- I don’t know why human knowledge is possible – maybe some great force behind our lives makes it like this.
- Through spiritual discipline and training, true knowledge can be discerned by the wise.
How do we know what is right and wrong?
- Thinking hard about happiness for others as well as for ourselves.
- We don’t. ‘Right’ is just whatever the powerful people try to make the rest of us do for them.
- God is the source of the Good, and shows humanity through our consciences how to treat others with love.
- Humanity is the guide to ethics – we can tell from human relations what is good and right.
- Everyone can find the good path for themselves by attending to their feelings and the feelings of those they’re close to.
- Live harmlessly, love the truth, do your duty – is this so difficult?
What is the purpose of human life?
- Take life’s pleasures, avoid life’s pains, and try to think hard about the good and then do it.
- There’s no purpose to life. It’s a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing (Shakespeare said that).
- Life’s purpose is to sing the song God gives you to sing, and sing it well.
- Do the greatest good for the happiness of the greatest number.
- Everyone is unique and we can all find our own star to follow without making up a big ‘meaning of life’ for everyone.
- Free the self from desires, free the ego from attachments, look for liberation.
See what number answers you got for each question and then use this to find out your philosophical orientation:
Mostly number 1 answers = rational agnostic
Mostly number 2 answers = nihilist
Mostly number 3 answers = theist
Mostly number 4 answers = optimistic humanist
Mostly number 5 answers = spiritual post-modernist
Mostly number 6 answers = eastern world views
My Philosophy class was given the quiz the other day and my result was that I’m a nihilist with a tendency towards being an optimistic humanist. According to Wikipedia, nihilism is “presented in the form of existential nihilism, which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value. Moral nihilists assert that morality does not inherently exist, and that any established moral values are abstractly contrived.”
It sounds grim, but I think that loosely sums up my views accurately. I was the only nihilist in my class – everyone else was mostly an optimistic humanist. My teacher said she was close to eastern world views.
So, what’s your philosophical orientation?