Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do You Need Brains to Have Faith?

Bogus Religion and Bogus Science are remarkably similar.  Both are as easy to do as peeing on your shoe.  All it takes is to not pay much attention to what you are doing.

Make shit up, talk a bunch of crap, do whatever you feel like, and Presto!  Hypocrisy galore.  Or Pseudoscience galore.  Your choice.

Meanwhile, effective Religion, by which I mean a truly transformative, elevating experience both to the internal and the external life of the Human, requires far more brains than is popularly believed.  For example, to both a brainless god-botherer and a brainless atheist, the idea of Faith means just sitting around wishing for something to be.  It is held by those having no real understanding of Religion to be an entirely mental exercise.

I have always rejected this notion.  To me, when someone has the conviction of an untestable belief, rather than squint real hard while trying to think about it (or worse, try to convert someone else to your belief in order to feel validated), real Faith means going out and taking action.

Faith is entrepreneurial.  If your convictions don't drive you to innovate, then you don't really believe in them.  Faith means positive, decisive activity.  Do you think someone else going to do it?

Faith is adventurous and willing to try new things in pursuit of making the world a better place according to you.  You have as much right as anyone to decide what that means.

Faith is relentlessly creative, full of ideas, and free-thinking.  Faith is sometimes revolutionary, even radical, the voice in the wilderness hollering for change. Faith is the very Enemy of Conservatism.

Faith does not seek a return to an imaginary world that never existed to begin with.  Nor does it attempt to insinuate itself into the State.  It doesn't take a prophet to see that state-enforced religion leads to theocracy, tyranny, fundamentalism, eradication of freedom, slavery and descent into tribalism.

I happen to hold an untestable conviction that the democratic freedoms we now enjoy are a once-in-the-Universe opportunity for us to demonstrate through our choices just exactly what our real values are.  The choices must be between real, available alternatives rather than between complying with a law versus breaking a law.  If something is a sin to you, pray that it never becomes illegal!!!  Because then your non-sin will no longer reflect your deeper values, but will be little more than a lack of opportunity or a shallow desire not to be fined or imprisoned.  The future must therefore have far fewer laws, instead of the current trend we are following, a love-affair with laws as the purported solution to any problem, and an accelerating increase in their number, reach and restrictiveness. Where will it end?

If you think abortion is bad, then don't have one.  If you disapprove of marriage between two or more people conditional on what equipment they possess, then don't enter such a marriage.  The fact that other people have these choices available to them makes your personal choice infinitely more meaningful.  And remember, the purpose of life isn't for everyone born or unborn to have a perfect, long and painless existence, to never make a mistake, and to all be the same.  That of course is nonsense.  We are here to learn.  Specifically, we are learning to transcend opposition.  That purpose would clearly be futile in the absence of opposition.

Faith has confidence in its convictions and is not threatened by other people having different convictions.  In fact, it can only be strengthened when challenged.  Just like you or me.

Faith is scientific in its search for solutions to problems, sorting and testing them sometimes methodically, sometimes following a flash of insight.  Faith is also egoistic.  It does not fatalistically accept circumstances as "god's will."  If you believe that your talents are divine in origin, why not expand them and use them to combat disease, poverty, war, unconsciousness, enslavement of the human race, barbarism, cruelty, ignorance, suffering or contempt for life?  Assuming of course that these things are contrary to your values.  Everything is ultimately divine in origin, but the Divine really wants to know what YOU think.  It is awaiting your response to everything it has created!

Is Faith only relevant to deism?  The belief in a god?  Of course not.  Scientists constantly rely on their Faith to get them through the hard work of unraveling entirely natural and testable questions that are far removed from anything supernatural.  Recall that belief in the worthwhile-ness of doing Science is itself an untestable conviction.  There's plenty of evidence that in the past Science has been hands down and by about a million country miles the most useful thing we have ever done, but no proof or guarantee can be offered that it will continue to be so in the future.  We do it because we believe that it will be.  Our scientific actions are very much acts of Faith.

If you want to have a real experience with religion, then turn on your brain.  Explore the inner world of your convictions, and then put them to the test through action.  What will happen?  No one knows.  Living your life and testing your convictions is something nobody in the history of the universe has ever done before.  Good luck!


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