Sunday, December 6, 2020

Practical Moral Realism versus Theists and NonTheists' Claims that They Know the Nature of Reality

Again, so many nontheists and theists are claiming to “know” the nature of Reality. Heck many of them state that even if the cosmos repeated a “trillion” times, I would still hit the wrong key for a word in the last sentence, the Civil War would be fought, and the Germans and Russians would still mass-murder many millions of humans, etc.

Either because the Cosmos itself is huge deep time determinism or because God foreordained/determined every future event, every movement of even one molecule before time existed.

In contrast, it seems that the Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh has a far better view: "Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth."

Thich doesn't mean that he doesn't speculate sometimes. I've read a bunch of his books and he does at times deal with metaphysical ideas—some even very esoteric. But for the most part Thich is concerned with living ethically at this moment and the next moment.

Notice two key points: Much metaphysical speculation is just that--intellectual guessing about what no finite human knows. I must admit as a thinker, I enjoy intellectual thinking games that theologians/philosophers engage in. They are fascinating. And in some ways they enhance one’s thought life. HOWEVER none of that has ever helped me be more compassionate or patient or just or kind.

No theologian or nontheist philosopher's claims-- either about what ultimate reality was doing before creation or in contrast claiming the cosmos is meaningless matter, energy, and chance has ever helped me live my daily life ethically.

Furthermore, I find myself wondering how the creedal theologians or the nontheist philosophers "know" so much about Reality considering that the cosmos itself is many thousands of light years across, and cosmologists think there may be even a multiverse, etc.

How do creedal Christians ‘know’ that God preordained most humans to eternal torment before the creation of the universe? That all humans are inherently evil?

How do Nontheists know that there is no purpose, no meaning, no ultimate reality to all that is? That all humans have no inherent worth?

I admit, I don't know Reality in this sense.

Rather, I have experienced that matter, chance, and energy are NOT the final word about life. Over 65 years, I have experienced that infants aren’t “in essence, evil.” But I don’t “know” in an intellectual sense.

Lest I take us down a dead-end side-trail, I will avoid giving detailed examples (though it is difficult for me as a retired literature teacher and creative writer not to; I am example-driven:-)

My trust that we experience Ultimate Reality in peak experiences, in altruistic actions, in just methods is only that. It’s not “belief” -driven like the claims of many famous theists and nontheists.

Notice Thich's last word in his wise sentence: "closer to the truth."

I do think that reason, communion, sharing, caring in the Light do bring us closer to ultimate.

But I don’t “know.”

Hope in the Light of Reason, Altruism, Justice, Honesty...

Dan Wilcox

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