But what a shame that, absent a deity of some kind, you feel life is meaningless.
As for me, I treasure beauty, love, justice, freedom, and truth. That’s enough religion for me. I’m okay with all of those evolving over time, refining, improving. The church isn’t, they claim they got it all perfectly correct thousands of years ago. I’d rather trust in the world of science (where one is lauded if able to prove previously held concepts incorrect) than any religious order (where it’s prudent to toe the line, best to not reject the Ultimate Authority, and smart to avoid that inherently evil Tree Of Knowledge).
The very idea that only a belief in a supernatural deity could make this worldly stuff worthwhile is so sad and frightening. I don’t need a personal god to find meaning in this life anymore than I need one to keep me from killing my son or selling my daughter (as had been previously commanded or permitted by your ever-loving and “perfect” god). Some people apparently do need such a deity. Oh well, if that’s the case then I’m glad they found something to keep themselves in check in matters of reality, evolutionary determinism, and the horrors that haunt Mankind… but as for beauty, I’d like to think we can all decide for ourselves what is beautiful without divine intervention. :)
apoplecticskeptic (emphases above by sds)
This is so confused I don’t know where to begin.
“Keep themselves in check”? To what? This presupposes an external standard of behavior that we should adhere to. You simply disparage those who have to use the “crutch” of “religion” to do so. But you haven’t answered the underlying question.
You write with passion about things you believe to be true, as if I should believe them too—for their own sake. You write with passion to condemn things you view as unjust or immoral, as if I should agree with you. But you cannot tell me why. Nor do you ground these ideas in anything outside of yourself. So why the hell should anybody care?
As someone once put it to Christopher Hitchens, if our morality evolved,Our “vague yet grand conception of human rights” might flat disappear just like our gills did […] Our current “morals” are therefore just a way station on the road. No sense getting really attached to them, right?
So why the moral passion, the verbal force, the absolutist-sounding exhortation, all for something that very well may change next Tuesday? Who knows, in a few years you might be criticizing people who don’t sell their firstborn to the climate change gods or something.
1. re: “keep themselves in check” … is there not an external standard of behavior — external in the sense that it’s outside of the individual — to which we all try to adhere (save for the insane or incapacitated)? Even as it evolves, it seems that this collective morality should be sufficient, and that when any individual acts in such a way to harm another member of the collective known as Humanity, that should be enough to warrant labeling the individual’s actions immoral. I don’t see how inserting a faith-based deity into the equation solves anything, and, as I’ve mentioned countless previous times, your deity’s own standards and “morals” have gone through significant evolution over the past few thousand years. The Biblical morals you proudly cite as sacrosanct and timeless have been shown, through the actions of your own deity and religion, as anything but.
2. re: my writing “as if [you] should agree” … I believe I have told you why, you simply declare that such a standard isn’t enough for you. You apparently require a magical holy book and an invisible spiritual authority that exists outside of the physical universe and time. Which leads to…
3. re: grounding ideas in something outside of myself … addressed above, in point 1. Further, we should care because how we treat each other and our collective experience here on Earth leads to either a better world for our fellow Man and eventual heirs or a worse one. That seems like a worthy goal, something worth pursuing without the promises of eternal rewards.
4. re: why the “moral passion, verbal force” … a) please remember that inferring tone on the internet is a sketchy enterprise, at best. b) because these topics are among the very few I find worthy of getting emotionally invested. c) because affecting the moral arc of history, in whatever small way one can, is the best we can hope for on an individual level with regard to immortality, and, I believe, is the most tangible way to support (and attempt to improve) this thing called the Human Experience.
5. re: disparaging those who use the “crutch” of “religion” … we’ll need to define “disparage,” I guess, since I don’t think my comments should be necessarily seen in such a negative light. When I rip Pat Robertson or Ken Hamm, sure… I’m absolutely trying to disparage and denigrate. What I’m referring to with my original point above about people keeping themselves in check… just that through whatever means works for them to make good choices instead of bad choices, it’s all good by me… if being accountable to your personal deity makes you a better member of the human experience, keeps you from harming others, pushes you toward contributing to the collective good even in passive ways, then I see that as a net positive. I don’t feel the need to eradicate all religion from the face of the planet. I think some belief systems help certain people stay on the straight and narrow, with regard to not harming others, living a positive and productive life. That’s all I meant, nothing belittling was intended.
6. re: selling firstborn children to the future climate change gods… I think Humanity is better than that, smarter than that. As I mentioned, I trust science in these matters more than any faith-based moral code. Because remember, at one point in time your deity commanded Abraham to kill his firstborn son, Isaac, not for climate change but because the Christian God got a little pissy and insecure. So much for timeless moral absolutes.
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