alschroeder on March 15, 2015
Continuing a look at the origin of reality…largely inspired and derived from George F.R. Ellis' brilliant brief book, BEFORE THE BEGINNING. He is NOT responsible, though, for the liberties I've taken with his logic or how I've chosen to illustrate it.
Well. I have to be careful not to overstay my welcome, and that's what I wanted to say. DO check out the aforementioned book written by an eminent cosmologist who has cowritten with Hawking–one of the most brilliant I've ever encountered, and as you may have noticed–I read a LOT.
I appreciate all of you reading. In the wake of 9-11, the Charlie Haddo murders, beheadings in the name of an Islamic State, the pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church, it's easy to think that all religion is wrongheaded, and I can scarcely fault thinkers like Richard Dawkins or the late, lamented Christopher Hitchens in drawing that conclusion.
But as you can see–for me, at least, such a conclusion would be intellectually dishonest.
I thought about doing one more strip of misconceptions aimed by religion's critics at believers, but I didn't want to end it on such a note. I WILL note one or two misconceptions here through.
Believers turn to religion out of fear of death. Such an idea speaks very poorly of people's knowledge about religion. Jesus Himself debated with the Sadduccees–the “higher class” religious belief among the Jews of his day, often including the High Priest–who did NOT believe in an afterlife, yet were devoutly religious. The Pharisees were a little more middle-class.
Besides, most ancient religions had absolutely dismal afterlifes–certainly not worth hoping to gain. Homer had the ghost of Achilles say he would rather be a living slave than king among ghosts, reflecting the hopelessness of the afterworld the Greeks believed in–yet they were very religious. The early Jews had a similar belief, a dismal afterlife in Sheol–yet they were devoutly religious. No, sceptics must look elsewhere to “explain” the religious impulse.
I used to have an imaginary friend, but I outgrew him. Not so the religious. The obvious counter is that if you instead believe in a multiverse, full of unobserved and theoretically unobservable alternate universes to explain the anthropic coincidences in our own…then the choice is between one possibly “imaginary” Friend–as opposed to trillions of (possibly)“imaginary” lands, trillions of Narnias, Ozes, and Wonderlands–all similarly unevidenced—to explain the world we see.
I hate to rate degrees of irrationality, but of the two, I think sticking with the Friend might be less irrational.
Your mileage may vary.
This is not to insult the honest sceptic. I just want to make sure they've considered every aspect of what they may be rejecting–and hope to give them food for thought.
I obviously have my own ideas about religion, but I'd rather make a general case for Design here, since many of my conclusions on a specific religion has to do with historical records as well as logic, and others have done so much better than I.
I've enjoyed all your comments and criticisms, and hope you will recommend this stirp to anyone with intellectual curiosity and who might be searching for the truth, either spiritually or scientically.
Anyone wishing to can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for your reading.