Workshop: Worldviews and religiosity




Worldviews and religiosity: a non-theististic perspective on human experience, meaning and purpose

In this age of change, uncertainty, and confusion, many people experience the need for a coherent worldview that would give direction and meaning to their life, and that  would help them to feel part of a larger whole. Such feelings are sometimes described as "spirituality" or "religiosity", and are often used as a justification for a return to the traditional religions, such as Christianity, Islam or Hinduism. On the other hand, the philosopher Leo Apostel has eloquently pleaded for the development of an "atheist religiosity". We too would like to separate the experience of religiosity from the a-priori belief in a personal God(s), and investigate in the most fundamental way how an integrated worldview could give meaning to people's lives.

This workshop is intended to bring together a number of scholars who have worked on this issue from different perspectives, and to foster a constructive discussion.


 Workshop Organization


 Date:  Friday, Dec 2, 2011

 Time: 9.30-18.30h 

 Place: VUB Campus Etterbeek, Room 3B217 (building B, 3rd floor, end of corridor) 

 Organizers: Francis Heylighen, Clément Vidal & David A. Weinbaum (Weaver), Evolution, Complexity and Cognition group, VUB

 Participation: Free, but to facilitate the organization, please register by sending your full name & affiliations (if any) to Weaver. Registered people will receive an email with additional information (such as abstracts and references of the talks) as soon as it is available. Due to space limitations, we cannot guarantee non-registered participants a place to sit. Coffee and tea are freely available, but lunch is on your own responsibility.




Time Speaker Subject


Francis Heylighen & Clement Vidal (ECCO & Center Leo Apostel, VUB) Introduction: Worldviews and Meaning


Wim Van Moer (Dep. of Philosophy, VUB)   Religious atheism - a framework and a case study


-- Coffee Break --   


Jan Van der Veken (Prof. Em. in Metaphysics and Theology, KULeuven) From atheistic to non-theistic religiosity


David R. Weinbaum (Weaver) (ECCO, VUB)

God is dead, where do we go from here? 

Nietzsche and a post human perspective on spirituality


 General Discussion   


-- Lunch Break at the VUB Student restaurant --   


 S.N. Balagangadhara  (aka Balu) (Center for Comparative Science of Cultures, University of Ghent)

Who needs a World View? (Cancelled)


Anja Van Rompaey (Center for the Study of Religions and Secularity, ULB)   From exemplarism to representationalism: the difficulty of creating an atheistic concept of truth 


 -- Coffee Break --   


Francis Heylighen (ECCO & Center Leo Apostel, VUB) 

Animism, Evolution, and the Meaning of Life: 

how God helped to alienate us from our true nature 


Clement Vidal (ECCO & Center Leo Apostel, VUB) 

Cosmological Immortality:

Evolutionary Developmental Ethics on a Universal Scale 


 General Discussion   


Final announcements with an abstract and additional information will be distributed by email before the workshop.


Please contact Weaver with any question/request. 

The seminar room has an in-built computer projector and screen, so you can easily show PowerPoint or other presentations from your laptop (Do not forget the power cord of your computer!). If you don't bring a laptop with you, send us your file, and we'll save it on another laptop and bring it to the seminar room. You can also use transparencies with the overhead projector, or simply write notes on the blackboard.

You should prepare enough material for a 30 min talk, not more. With questions and discussions during and after the talk, this should result in a total talk duration of about 50 minutes.

After the workshop we would appreciate getting the outline or text of your presentation (PowerPoint, pdf, text or other format) to make available for downloading on this page. Even better would be if, taking into account the reactions you got at the seminar, you would elaborate your notes into a full paper, for our workshop archive.