Saturday, November 23, 2019
Part 4: Realistic Hope
1.Begin with Reason
2.Humbly Seek and Search
3.Base Your Actions on Moral Realism
4.Don't Start with Ancient Scriptures
5.Study Cosmology, Astronomy, and Other Sciences
6.Be Open to Discovery, but Cautious of Speculative Claims
7.Keep an Informed Mind and Hopeful Outlook
8.Avoid Confirmation Bias, In-Group Dynamics,
Fallacies,and 'Anecdotal Evidence.'
9.Speak Truth to Power; Work for Peace and Justice
10.Commune with Others in Awe in the Light
Live Oak Meeting House
PART #3: REALISTIC HOPE—Don’t Start with Ancient Scripture.
1. Begin with Reason
2. Humbly Search to Discover and Base Your Behavior Toward Others Upon Kindness, Meticulous Honesty, etc.
3. Don't Start with the Most Speculative or Ancient Scriptures
When one decides it’s time to think about the philosophical nature of Reality, beyond the truths of moral realism and basic reasonable living, then
one ought NOT
first seek guidance from ancient literature
such as the Jewish Bible or the Christian New Covenant. 1
INSTEAD, all human ought to study user-friendly academic books on astronomy, cosmology, and evolutionary biology.
Based upon those extensive facts, scientific discoveries, defended theories, and a general overview of basic reality, (along with reason and moral realism), a human can then begin
to make educated guesses as to the inherent or transcendent nature of God.
Always keep an open informed mind.
--Avoid confirmation bias,
--fallacies of thinking,
--popular anecdotal ‘evidence,’
At this point, one of the many reductionists or skeptics will probably jump in and emphasize that all of this worldview of Reality is built on presuppositions such as moral realism, the realness of the human mind, self-aware consciousness, and moral responsibility.
That, of course, is true.
No view of Reality begins without a few presuppositions which form the foundation. Heck, science can’t even function unless one accepts such presuppositions as that meticulous honesty must form the basis of all research.
And, it is possible, as the famous atheist, philosopher, and Nobel-winning writer, Albert Camus, wrote, that reality is “absurd.”
However, most scientists and thinkers do think that reality exists objectively, that humans are capable of meticulous honesty, and we are all morally responsible.
NASA scientists, mathematicians, and technologists have been able to repeatedly send probes into space, including all the way to Pluto, to land surveyors on Mars, and astronauts onto the moon, and to the International Space Station.
None of those achievements could have happened if math is "fictional," if the cosmos isn’t out there, and so forth.
So those basic presuppositions, based upon Enlightenment values, don’t seem like a quick-sand foundation.
2 Even if there is no reality out-there, even if moral realism is fallacious, even if all humans are “biochemical puppets,” (to quote Sam Harris), etc., Albert Camus wrote then
we humans ought to “rebel” against such an absurd existence.
Camus sought to live this out, living as if moral realism is true,
as if justice is real,
as if humans do have inherent worth.
He emphasized that slaughtering humans is wrong, that justice ought to be pursued, that even capital punishment of murderers is unjust!
1 IF the 66 books of the Bible (or other Scriptures including the Quran, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad Gita, Buddhist Sutras) had truly been revelations from God, then all of many horrific immoral, unjust texts wouldn’t have been included in such Scripture.
Think of all very evil slaughters, enslavements, thefts, lies, etc. that multi-millions of believers have committed in the last 3,000 years because of those evil verses!
As for the marvelous morally true passages, if led by God, his followers when reading and memorizing their holy books in a supernatural way, would have lived inspired moral just lives.
THE EXACT OPPOSITE HAPPENED MOST OF THE TIME.
Study the tragedy and absurdity of history of ancient Judaism and creedal Christianity (the Roman Catholic Church, Reformed Church, Lutheran Church, Evangelicals, Charismatics, etc.) . God believers have avidly persecuted, oppressed, abused, stolen, lied, even committed genocide, burned at the stake, drowned, tortured in the name of their God and his abstract doctrines and dogmas.
Very few—only a tiny number—of believers
have sought to live some of the great moral ideals of ancient Jewish writers and statements of truth from Yeshua and other writers in the NT.
Even today in the 21st century, rampant evil happens because of devout believers in God.
In the U.S. at least 78% of Evangelical Christians support immoral and unjust and unequal polices completely contrary to the very words of Jesus’ moral truths.
Millions of American Christians strongly support a government administration who advocates the violation of the Geneva Conventions, supports autocratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey (who execute, deny human rights and freedom of religion, and imprison many thousands of innocent humans).
This ‘Christian’ Trump administration emphasizes arrogance—U.S. FIRST, and it demeans, name-calls, distorts, lies, bullies, and sells weapons to unjust governments.
It builds a multi-million-dollar wall to keep out refugees--the illiterate, impoverished, and persecuted.
It falsely accuses most of these ‘huddled masses’ of humans as being thugs and drug cartel killers,
that is completely disproven by known statistics which show that most cartel drugs come through ports of entry into the U.S.
So many famous Christian leaders such as James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Evangelist Franklin Graham claim that God supports President Donald Trump. They claim that Trump is God’s man, that God put him in the Whitehouse! Some even state that those who didn’t vote for Trump are against God!
YET these same Evangelicals claim that billions of us humans are foreordained to eternal damnation because we don’t believe in strange abstract doctrines such as Original Sin, Penal Substitution, and the Trinity.
Thankfully, we don't need to live by ancient texts,
Part 2: REALISTIC HOPE
1. Begin with Reason
2. Humbly Search to Discover
3. When seeking what is true, don’t start with the most speculative, but with the here and now, daily life of human choice and creativity.
HOW DIFFERENT AMERICAN POLITICIANS, both REPUBLICANS and DEMOCRATS and THEIR CONSTITUENTS WOULD ACT if they first started with COURTESY,
NOT with their own in-group, political party, etc.
NOT their own particular worldview,
NOT their own philosophical beliefs about reality.
Think about daily details right in front of you, decisions you need to make today, how ought you to treat others, what you should do, and what you shouldn't, what is wrong for everyone to do.
When we have discovered how to live morally at this brief moment in this time and this place,
from that foundation, we can hypothesize, even guess, what may or may not be true about Ultimate Reality.
Notice in current events, and throughout history, most humans have instead chosen a life-stance/worldview concerning all of reality,
and then, based upon that speculative stance
have made their daily decisions. They’ve made ethical decisions based upon speculative beliefs.
Under that tragic system, humans hold that the end justifies means—so we show bias, will lie, steal, deceive, be cruel, will abuse, oppress, slaughter, even many thousands of civilians because God or the Absolute or Dialectical Materialism or the Historical Process or the Romantic-Nationalist Ideal wills the means to achieve the just end.
To be continued--
In the Light,
Friday, November 22, 2019
Once one has discovered the fallacious nature of organized religion, its superstitions, denials of verified scientific study, and illusions, where does one turn for new hope?
Definitely not to the nihilism and illusions of many non-religous humans who claim that moral realism is false, that the good, the true, the just, human rights, equality, meticulous honesty, inherent worth, meaning, and purpose are all “myths."
They claim all those values are delusions, not true, and that all humans are incapable of moral choice, are only “biochemical puppets,” and morality is subjective, a mere preference of a human or a society.
INSTEAD, we humans ought to start searching for what is true, good, and just. Study the thinking of the Enlightenment
(though obviously not the darkness of the French Reign of Terror or the hypocrisy of leaders such as Thomas Jefferson).
1. Reason is central to start one’s trek up toward that impossibly difficult climb toward God, Ultimate Reality (using Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary first definition of “God”).
A beginning caution, however, is immediately in order because all of us humans have a way of rationalizing/misguiding our reasoning. Or we start with fallacious presuppositions and thus our brilliantly reasoned conclusions are based upon a foundation of quicksand.
One example of how this happens is Benjamin Franklin’s famous example from his autobiography of how he managed to reason himself into anything that he already wanted to do;-)*
2. A realistic humility is very important through out one’s life. The older I get, the more I realize how little I (and all humans) ‘know’. We live, experience, think, test, hypothesize, revise, repeat… NO ONE KNOWS in the sense of certainty. How could a finite human primate, a brief blip /conscious spark in a cosmos of billions of galaxies, possibly KNOW?
I still am baffled and shocked how many creedal Christians, Muslims, orthodox Jews, and Atheists, etc. are sure--certain--that they ‘KNOW’ the ultimate nature of reality.
Famous scientists including Einstein strongly emphasize humility is the beginning of real learning and wisdom.
For, instance, Einstein wrote, “I am not an atheist...The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different languages.
“The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God.
“We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations.”
BUT billions of humans in the past and the present claim to be certain. Not, that such a certainty wasn’t an essential part of my own childhood faith in non-creedal Baptist religion. We were constantly told and preached at, that everyone can KNOW.
However, I never had such assurance. Though I sought that "assurance, "to KNOW," instead, I always had questions, doubts, could step outside of my genuine hope, and observe Existence and the Cosmos from other contrary worldviews and life-stances.
As I used to joke, I was born with a “why” in my throat, instead of the infamous spoon.
To be continued--
In the Light of the Good, the True, and the Just,