The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107407   Message #2256036
Posted By: Bill D
07-Feb-08 - 12:19 PM
Thread Name: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
Subject: RE: BS: Still no gods 2008 (continued)
..having faith in a personal god or any other "higher power" is, at best, just plain silly.

Well, Mrrzy...I have to disgree. I am not religious. I am 99+% sure that it is just myth and wishful thinking. But it is far from 'silly'.
The philosophically *1st* question is "why is there something, rather than nothing?"...and humans have puzzled over it as long they could frame the question.
Religion is one way of answering the question and coping with the mystery of it all...and for most of the history of humanity, religious answers were the norm, and only the details were debated. Very complex systems have grown up around some of the attempts to sort it all out, and entire cultures are predicated on various of the answers...with VERY compelling and intense emotional hooks to sustain belief. (who is not impresses by cathedrals and requiem Masses?)

   Now, even though there are, to some of us, clear reasons for doubting the reality of the supposed inspiration for religious systems, they are nevertheless buried deeply in most human psyches....and simply stating that they are 'silly' or 'contrary to logic' is not going to impress someone who has guided their life by the basic concepts.

*IF* you & I are correct in our skepticism, we need to realize that it is close to impossible for most humans to simply 'change their minds', and that only a gradual alteration over generations through education and gentle setting of good examples is likely to be effective.

   In the meantime, we MUST find a way to co-exist with believers....while resisting regular attempts by certain groups to **impose** some religious views and rules on society at large. We must codify and enforce 'separation of church & state'...politely but firmly... while allowing those who are committed to a religious perspective to practice and worship freely, and to respect them as honest people, as long as they are willing to respect us similarly.

Do I see the problems with this? Of course I do! A religion that commands "..go forth and become fishers of men" will have adherents who test our resolve. *wry smile*...but I don't relish trying to restrain them except by orderly means. Remember...they BELIEVE they are doing us a favor!

What more can I say? An aphorism? "You can catch more files with honey...etc"? In any case, ridiculing folks deeply held beliefs only hardens their defenses and creates enmity. People believe...partially...because it feels good; and partially because they are afraid not to. That's a lot to ask folks to give up.

In many ways, 'belief' in a 'heavenly answer' is by FAR the easiest way to cope with misery, poverty, death and the unknown. There are other ways...but not easy ones to explain to those who can barely grasp why you're trying and see you as just a surrogate of the 'devil' they were taught to fear.

It's complicated...and it's important... but there's a lot to be gained by a more compassionate approach.