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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Critique Of Beliefs

I have been thinking about beliefs a long time.

One thing about beliefs is the fact that a belief may be proven to be incorrect.
This is pretty much how we use the language: beliefs may turn out to be false.

Plato made the distinction between opinion and knowledge and that is pretty much the same as hypothesis and fact.

Since I do not conceive of God as an hypothesis, God is not subject to belief in my way of looking at things. God cannot be proven to be false. Hence, I do not believe in God, as I say, but I expect God. I live with the anticipation of divine immediacy... on the edge...
I am not "one with God", but I am on the "verge of falling" into eternity.

We are all on the edge of eternity, in one sense or another. We shall all die, yet that reality does not make us live in terror, just as the immediacy of God need not cause us to act like desert anchorites or medieval mystics.

If you do not believe in God and, thus, cannot use the concept of God to cobble together a "belief system" and philosophy and morality, how does one cope?

I think step 1 is to learn virtue.
This resembles the way our society held that sports were important for children to inculcate loyalty to the team, selfless altruism in playing for the common benefit of the team, perseverance in the face of adversity, etc.
Of course, over the past 40 years (funny how everything seems to go back to about the time Reagan was President...) we have seriously attenuated this learning by subjecting children to the spectacle of parental squabbling and even violence at Little League games, as well as a trampling upon most of the old-timey virtues which has led us up to the present Wolf Of Wall Street type of society we have.

Step 2 is to choose.
At some point we must choose what path we shall follow.
Shall we follow the ways of religious geniuses? Shall we serve Mammon or God? Shall we ignore the visionary world (I am trying to use "visionary" as a replacement for "supernatural", a term I do not cotton to.), or shall we give it one day out of seven, or just throw it into the dustbin?

Shall we follow the spirit of the Sermon On The Mount, or shall we follow the casuistry of the Pharisees, who gave their goods over to a common treasury (no doubt still maintaining some claim upon them) so that they could tell their parents they had no funds to support them?

Once we chose our path, we set out using the orienteering skills of virtue.
We shall continue to learn, and we shall continue to choose.

However, none of this process requires a wordy and verbose philosophy of jibber-jabber about the nature of religion.

Those who talk and write of religion with a serious belief that their words mean something in the ultimate play of Creation are like those who think their fantasies are a replacement for hard work.
They end up legends in their own minds and frustrated in their highest desires.


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