A life stance differs from a worldview or a belief system in that the term life stance emphasizes a focus on what is of ultimate importance. Life stance differs from eupraxsophy in that the latter typically implies a strictly non-theistic outlook, whereas it is essential that a life stance can be theistic or non-theistic.
In the frame of European religious thought, religions present a common quality, the "hallmark of patriarchal religious thought": the division of the world in two comprehensive domains, one sacred, the other profane. Religion is often described as a communal system for the coherence of belief focusing on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, tradition, philosophy, rituals, and scriptures are often traditionally associated with the core belief. Religion is also often described as a "way of life".
Humanism is an example of life stance which some consider to not be religious. Yet the Supreme Court of the United States has on several occasions recognized that a person's moral life stance or philosophy qualifies as equal to religious belief and must be honored and protected under the intent of the Constitution and public law.
What has ultimate importance may be explained by what has intrinsic value, i.e. valuable "in itself" or "for its own sake".
Another suggested definition of life stance is:
a life stance is a set of interlinked, articulated system of beliefs about life, human nature and our existence connected to norms and values that are derived out of this views
Not all life stances use this orthography.
For instance, the purpose in Humanism is, in the broadest sense, personality, determined by humans, completely without supernatural influence. For Judaism, on the other hand, it is to serve God and to prepare for the world to come "Olam Haba".
What is held as intrinsic value and purpose may differ substantially between individuals regarding themselves as belonging to the same life stance. However, the table below summarizes what is generally accepted as being the main intrinsic values and purposes of various life stances.
| Life stance |
and other views
|Main intrinsic value||Main purpose||Main manifesto|
|Humanism|| Multiple |
mainly humanism, human flourishing
|Enhancing personality (in the broadest sense), determined by humans, completely without supernatural influence||Humanist Manifesto|
|Judaism||Serve God and to prepare for the world to come "Olam Haba".|
|eudaemonism or utilitarianism||Happiness|
|Kantism||good will||act from duty in accordance with the universal moral law that the autonomous human being freely gives itself||Kant bibliography|
|rational deontologism||virtue or duty|
|Buddhism||Three_marks_of_existence||To help sentient beings end their suffering with Karma and Dharma methods.||The Four Noble Truths|
Some hold that all life stances have the same value.
This valuation may, however, may be on a theory-level and a practice-level. The theory of life stances may be viewed as being of equal value. At the same time, the practice of working it out in living may not. For instance, even the most evil and destructive life stances may be regarded as having equal value when only considering their theory, but, all in all, being of less value when considering also the practice of working them out in living.