I never met him, but always felt like I knew him

God is an intuitive concept.

If you were to take a child raised by agnostic parents (for they would be the only parents that wouldn’t try to impose their beliefs on their children: for the simple fact that they themselves have no idea what they are), and ask him whether there is any intelligence beyond us, a creator, an omnibenevolent omnipotent omniscient being, I’m sure he would likely say yes to one of the above.

In the end, we all want to believe that there’s a reason for everything. This is the main reason that religious doubters of any degree have such a trouble embracing their doubts: not only are they the minority, but what they think and observe is completely different from what they feel they should think and observe. This is the reason American Atheists calls this the “other closet.”

The question then, is whether we should or should not be more tolerant of other people’s beliefs, knowing that everything they hold dear hinges on this and how hard it is to break out of the cycle? My answer is in the form of a traditional Jack Bauer analogy:

Adriano believes that Jack Bauer from 24 is the greatest character
in existence.

Steve believes that he is Jack Bauer in 24.

Both are beliefs and both make complete sense (intuitively, if you will) to the people that hold them. Adriano’s belief is his and his alone. He could go around and talk about 24 and how great it is, annoying everyone he can. He could raise his kids with 24 and force them to see an episode every week. The most that we would do to Adriano is give him dirty looks and try to ignore his eccentricity.

Steve, on the other hand, is willing to kill Arabs and create a war for his belief. Steve should be prevented from reproducing, or at least locked up so that he’s not a danger to himself or others.

In the end, I rather like theists. They think they have someone to blame their troubles on (which I feel only hinders their personal growth, but still). Most of my friends are theists and, so long as they don’t try to change my beliefs, I won’t try to change theirs. In the end of the day, it’s all about cooperation and living a good life.

… unless they want me to sit down and watch an episode of 24…

About Pixel

Pixel Q. Styx refuses to talk about himself. If thou wishest, thou may infer from his blog what thou wishest.

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3 Responses to I never met him, but always felt like I knew him

  1. Mia says:

    I’m writing here for now instead of at Seth’s because I agree with what you’ve said, so this is easy, and I have too much homework to worry about debating my side.

    First, I have never seen 24, but my mom, dad, and sister are all hooked. So whenever the topic of 24 comes up, I’m completely out of the loop, while the rest of my family rambles on. Same with the West Wing. Only I would actually watch WW if I had time.

    I don’t care what religion anyone is, as long as they don’t try to force it on others, which kind of bugs me. I mean, at any extreme. I mean, you’ve got the people who will just tell somebody else that their beliefs are wrong and that they shouldn’t be following said religion, and then you’ve got Hitler. Both are obnoxious, and (in my opinion) both are destructive (I don’t think anyone’s gonna argue for Hitler here). But of course, most people are going to worry about Hitler (or Hitler-esque tendencies) more than the others, which is understandable. I think I’ve kind of gone off into a tangent here. Here’s what I want to say: Believe what you want, let others do the same.

  2. LJ says:

    I guess I agree that a person is allowed to believe what they want, though I do not think allowing self-deception to continue is humane.

    The part that bothers me about faith is that it is often inspired and perpetuated by dread.

    If true, then seeking to eradicate faith is actually an attempt to liberate someone from error and fear, which seems a good thing IMO.

    Of course there is also the posture toward the rest of the world that faith communities inspire and, though not always violent in a physical way, these enclaves do promote division. This division is an example of epistemology influencing ethics.

    It is evident faith enables one to belong to a group and feel accepted by the eternal unknown. Not bad side benefits seemingly, though they truly are if based on lies.

    So is it wrong to want to disabuse others of false beliefs? If these beliefs, though adding comfort, foster intolerance and constrain the mind of the individual, his/her offspring, and the residual communities in a halo-type effect, then yes: the sooner we can remove those beliefs, the better.

    Unless ridding oneself of error is not a valuable objective for which to strive.

  3. Seth says:

    But theists do impose their religion on others—their children. That’s why there are still so many theists.

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