Worldview - Maturity Level - Impacts

Developmental psychology and wisdom traditions understand our consciousness or worldview can, ideally, continue to evolve or mature to the highest possible level. A few perspectives on worldview:

• "philosophy of life that answers all of the most fundamental questions of human existence"

• "tells us more about ourselves than any other part of our personal history and influences" how we perceive and how we behave

• " influences not only what (a scientist) investigates but how he perceives what he investigates. Kuhn wrote that two scientists with different views of the ‘order of nature … see different things when they look from the same point in the same direction … they see different things and they see them in different relations to each other.’ And we might add that they tend to see and to accept those data that conform to or make sense in light of that worldview.”

• anyone's "worldview can lead to selective inattention and influence what he or she perceives and how he or she interprets what is perceived.”

• "often the most important factor in life, with a key role in directing behavior, shaping relationships, and influencing attitudes toward (one's) vocation.”

Merely proclaiming (no matter how loudly, proudly or violently) to belong to a religious group obviously lacks transformative benefits. So, how does a difference in depth or maturity of worldview impact one's life?

“There have been a number of attempts to distinguish levels of religious or spiritual maturity, health, and devotion. Perhaps the most widely known and utilized in research is the concept of intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity delineated by Allport and Ross (1967). Extrinsically religious individuals are those who use religion for social reasons, such as status and self-aggrandizement; intrinsically religious individuals internalize their beliefs and live them out regardless of the personal or external consequences. These (intrinsically religious) individuals … show unselfish, committed behavior rather than self-promoting behavior. Research on religiosity can yield ambiguous results and obscure meaningful findings when it merges data from individuals with intrinsic religiosity with data from individuals with extrinsic religiosity.

However, even intrinsically held spiritual and other beliefs may be risk factors for the development or maintenance of psychopathology.”


“Koenig et al (1998a) described the effects of religious belief and activity on remission of depression in a group of medically ill hospitalized patients. They found that greater intrinsic religiosity independently predicted a shorter time to remission from depression. On the other hand, Koenig et al (1998b) found that some types of religious coping were possibly associated with depression. The type of religious belief and coping that seemed to increase as depression symptoms increased included an image of God as punitive, the passive practicing as a religion, and being dissatisfied with one’s own congregation.”


“Freud viewed religion as an unrealistic attempt to escape anxiety, but more contemporary research suggests that religion can serve as a buffer against anxiety. Perhaps one of the more intriguing findings is that there appears to be a negative correlation between intrinsic religiousness and anxiety and a positive correlation between extrinsic religiousness and anxiety. Cross-cultural research on Christians and Buddhists supports this observation.”

Josephson AM, Peteet JR, eds. “Handbook of Spirituality and Worldview in Clinical Practice.” American Psychiatric Publishing Inc, Washington, DC, 2004.

See also: "What is Moral Injury?"

Church Cove by Jon Wilkinson

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