A question to ask…

So I have posted quite a few essays about religion and am slightly interested in who actually reads the essays.  I have been using christian beliefs as the foundation of what I talk about but that is only because I have studied Christianity more than other belief systems.

So let me know the beliefs that you have.

BIGFIX01

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Published in: on August 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Reality

Reality.  What an interesting subject, reality.  For ages man has wondered about reality, does it exist, is it all around us, or is it just a figment of our imagination?  Tough questions, that is probably why they are still unanswered today.  Will they ever be answered?

Reality is the world we live in.  It is what we all believe exists around us.  Honestly, it is hard to imagine a world behind the one we see everyday.  Many different philosophic ideas center around the notion that there are more than one reality.  Our visible world is just a screen hiding the real one.  Others believe that there is nothing around us at all.  We are just minds floating in nothing, just imagining the things we sense.  These are all argued for ideas and none of them can be disproven, yet neither can the age old idea that what is around us, is….around us.

The idea easiest to imagine for most people is the idea that what we see is really what is in front of us.  The things that we see, the things that we hear, the things that we taste all point us to believing that everything around us is actually there.  The closest distance between two points is a straight line.  What we see, hear, sense is the straight line pointing us in the direction that our senses are giving us correct information.  That there is only one world and we are living it day to day.  This is the notion I find myself believing until I start doing thought experiments, but for the record it would be hard for anybody to function in society if they didn’t believe anything was real or any of us were here.  Some may consider a life like that, a person like that socially unavailable.

Religion has us take what we sense and ignore some of it.  Religion tells us that the universe is run by a Being that none of us can see, hear, taste, and sense at all.  Religion tells us that there is another reality that none of us have ever seen.  That is not a straight line, but yet a majority of people believe that the world works in a different way then the straight line of reality.  By no means is that wrong, I can’t prove that there is not another world, I can’t prove that this world is the real and I am not just a ball of mind floating in a sea of nothingness.  The only thing I honestly believe I can prove is that I exist.  The Descartian way of “I think therefore I am.”  Personally, it is interesting that most of the world follows a path that deviates from a straight reality line.  If I was to ask someone if they believed that the chair they were sitting on was not really a chair but a greater idea of chair.  That they did not know what they were really sitting on only the chair really understands what it is to be chair.  They would look at me like I was fresh out of the loony bin.  But yet, the same person believes in a Being that is invisible, unable to be proven, all knowing, all powerful, and able to be anywhere and everywhere at once.  A Being that really only knows what it is to be itself.  We have no idea, but this person believes that he or she knows this being.  That a book written by the hand of man is the word of God.

To believe in science and to believe in religion are two different things, but people will have you believe that they are not.  Both are belief systems.  Both are parts that make up reality for each one of us.  I person that believes in religious Beings must make a leap into their reality just as a person that believes in science does.  The difference lies in how far the leap must be.  Take Christianity for example.  A person must believe in an all powerful Being, that’s 1.  That person must also believe that the bible was written by God, that’s 2.  The third is that if the bible was written by God then they must believe everything in that bible.  Which brings us to the fact and belief system of the Christian believer, the bible.

Now lets look at the same person who believes only in science.  That person needs only make one leap, and a leap that all functioning humans make in their daily lives.  Now if you were not to make this leap it would be almost impossible to function in our current human society.  What must we believe?  The answer is simple; that we can know the world around us.  To use science as a belief system all we need to believe is that we can know the world around us.  Once we make that jump science opens itself to the masses.  Quite a straight line.  There is yet another theory that also comes to mind in situations like this, where we need to explain our reality, it is Occam’s razor.  It states that all things being equal, the simplest solution is the best.  Fancy that, but when you think about it, when talking about reality, there is never anything equal about it.  It is close to impossible to apply the razor to a belief system because you are limiting yourself to believing in a belief system that includes Occam’s razor.  That being said a religous belief system just cannot function on a foundation that includes Occam’s razor.  We would always come to the conclution that we can know the world around us, being that, the world can be known and God cannot it is a far simple and shorter conclution, and as far as the universe goes, not one person knows God.

BIGFIX01

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 5:54 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Ethical part of Ethics

Could this post be about ethics? Well, yes. In philosophy ethics are a giant umbrella of ideas. Medical ethics, personal ethics, ethical treatment of animals, and many many more. What I would like to focus on is how we use ethics and if they really mean anything at all. The ethics of ethics…

So do ethics hold any bearing on our decision making, or really should they hold any bearing on our decision making. This is a question we can only answer when we have made up our mind on a couple key questions. The debate is probably over if you do not believe ethics are a human creation. If you believe full heartedly in an all powerful Being then the will of god should take precedence of ethical belief.  God’s “will” is always ethical, no matter what. That means you really take ethics out of the equation. As long as what you do is in God’s “will” it is always correct.

Now, if we throw out the all powerful being then we can truly look into ethics. There are so many different kinds of ethical belief systems. Pragmatic ethics, Utopian ethics, Kantian ethics, etc. Being that there are so many ethical systems how do we know which one to follow, or should we follow any at all? In this question we can see why I titled this post the ethical part of ethics. With so many choices why should we believe any ethical system?

Ethics is a way we live our lives. It is how we make decisions that affect our lives as well as other’s lives. The argument I would like to make is that we should not base our life on any ethical system. The reasoning behind this statement is the fact that ethics are a belief system made up by man. There are so many different ethical beliefs how can we put our life behind any of them? Men have tried to create systems to base our society off of for the best possible outcome. What we have seen from the past is that most all encompassing ethical systems fail because we cannot have an answer for every logical question. In Utopian ethics we see that the wellness of the masses is much better than the wellness of one person.  One big problem with this system is that we take away the rights of the individual.  In Kantian ethics Kant tried to fix some of the major issues with Utopian ethics but still failed. So how do we make decisions without an ethical system?

Well, we do have somewhat of a system of ethics. It is based off of society. Our decisions are made based on what the masses do. In fact in the US the supreme court actually makes almost every decision based on what our society thinks is right and wrong. Only in extraordinary cases does the supreme court rule against society. These are times of cultural change.  Our system of decisions is always changing so can we say that our ethical system is ever ethical?

I do not think we can. 150 years ago it was OK to enslave blacks, to buy and sell another person for a white person’s personal gain. How is that ethical? Well by todays standards it is not, but in the past in most cultures this was quite alright. So how can ethics ever be ethical if they are always changing? They cant, right?

Ethics are a funny thing. Really they are a dream thought up by man. Something man can use to make decisions, but not only to make the decisions but to prove that the decisions they make are correct, backed up by facts and solid ideas. In truth, the decisions man makes will always be unethical. This is quite a statement. Every decision I make can be considered unethical. How is that possible? It is possible because there are an infinite amount of ethical belief systems. Because time is infinite there will always be a different ethical system and in any one of those ethical systems I could be wrong based on the system. I am always unethical no matter what.

So then the only truth I can know is that any ethical system is, in reality, unethical. This point is easily seen by looking into our past. Many decisions we made believing we were in the right, by todays standards are unbelievably wrong. They are wrong in every respect we can think of. So then how do we make decisions? How do we know what to do, what is right and what is wrong?

This is a question we cannot answer. Today society makes our decisions for us. Whatever the masses believe is what we believe is correct. If you disobey society they throw you in prison.  Different societies have different beliefs, and different beliefs, as we see in history, start wars. There is no way to get around the fact that people will always believe different things. A vary unsettling fact, that there is no correct underling right answer. Maybe this is why people argue for an all powerful being. To bring order to chaos.

BIGFIX01

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 6:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Religion and Aliens

So a post on religion and aliens, what, even remotely, do the two have to do with one another. Well, I raised the question in the new questions part of H.E.P. If aliens were to show up one day with no idea of what god is, does that mean god does not exist? I find this to be a fascinating question. So what does happen if aliens show up? Do we through out our belief in an all powerful being?

Some religions, I would have to think we must through out right away. Religions that say we are in-fact all made in gods image. Well, what do we do then when a group of little orange things start communicating with us telling us our beliefs make no sense at all. Spooky. If we were so lucky as to be visited by beings from another world, that are nothing like us, it really would be an appifiny for our society. Some people would tell us that the end of the world is now coming, others would want to do anything to join with the extraterrestrials. People would probably tell me that this is the work of the devil and we should not believe it. I do not have a lot of faith in “people”.

The funny thing is I am not so sure we could go on believing in our religions the same way we do today. The fact of the matter is that if we every do come across beings unlike ourselves with no belief in afterlives and gods we really have to look upon ourselves to do the same. Religion has really been based on an earth centric belief system. As time has gone on and we have been able to explore more and more of the universe we have integrated new beliefs into our religions. For example god create earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Now we believe he created the universe in 6 days and rested on the 7th. Also now that we as people have moved on from the earth centric views of the universe we do not believe that god created everything in 6 literal earth days.

I do not believe we will be able to so easily incorporate aliens into our religions. Of course I say this because religions I am more familiar with (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) would not jive very well with extraterrestrials with no beliefs what so ever. I have not done enough investigations into the other great world religions but I have a feeling most would be turned upside down if something like this were to happen.

Assuming someday that we are visited by aliens do we then try to push our religious beliefs onto them like we did in the new world? I am sure it would not work out quite as well as we would hope. Do we change our religion into one that says only earth peoples have a god and we are the only ones that get to abide by the Almighty’s wishes? That doesn’t sound quite right. So when you get down to the nitty gritty the question it really is a interesting question. At first look someone might say, “Duh of course this doesn’t change any of our beliefs why would it?” but when you look into the question yes, a lot does change.

If you would like to comment please do so, and also remember if you would like to answer the question of aliens and religion it is in the questions part of H.E.P. and you can answer the actual question there.

BIGFIX01

Orange Alien
Published in: on February 6, 2008 at 11:05 pm  Comments (6)  
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New Page: Question of the Month

I would like to add a new page to the site. Question of the Month. Once a month I will post a deep thought question, just something to think about. It should draw some very interesting answers and comments.

At first look some of the questions may look really stupid and easy to answer, but what I want is people to think quite deeply about them before any answers are given. When you think through the question the answer should become somewhat harder to answer. There are no right or wrong answers – that is the point of the question.

I will post the question on the first of the month on the front page but you will need to comment on the question of the month page. The first question is this: If aliens were to show up on earth tomorrow would that mean god does not exist? Take into account that the aliens have no perception of a so called “god.”

Published in: on January 16, 2008 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Freewill and the Future

I thought I would post again on the argument of freewill. In my first post I had some responses and carried on the discussion on another blog you can find that here. What I would like to talk about is a point that came out of that discussion.

The point that was made was our basic definition of the word “future” points us in the direction that we have no freewill. By using the word future we are saying that something will happen. It was also pointed out that atheists, agnostics, and religious people in general all would have to believe that they have no freewill, by the mere fact that our whole explanation of what we believe the future is.

Now I do not believe this at all. Future or our idea of what the future is has nothing to do with if we have freewill or not. The fact of the matter is that we have this word future which means things that have not happened yet but will happen. By using this word we are implying that the events are going to happen but not that they have to happen. For example in the future, lets say tomorrow I will go to work, sit at my desk, and type a letter to a friend. Now I know I am going to do this because I said it will happen in the future. We can go into the argument saying I am destined to do this but we are not to this argument yet. I will first dismiss the fact that the word future or our idea of the future has anything to do with freewill.

So tomorrow rolls around and I wake up and feel absolutely terrible. I call work and tell them I am not coming in. The future has changed. I no longer did what was set for me in the future. (This is not the best argument but it is a simple demonstration of the principle that there are infinite amounts of possible futures.) Our idea of the future has no bearing of the physics of what is really happening. This means that we can dismiss the argument that just because our idea of the future implies we do not have freewill then we do not have freewill.

I could also get into the argument that the future really doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as the future. We know there will be time in front of me but it is blank. It is the absence of anything. I think when this argument was made against me for freewill some of this was mixed in with our definition of the future. But if the case is that there is no such thing as a future then there cannot possibly be an omniscient being and there is no possibility of a freewill argument.

You see, if there is the absence of anything in “the future” then we cannot have a freewill argument. The fact that nothing is written out “per say” means that we will do anything at anytime. There is no way to know what will happen so there is no possible way we do not have freewill. Now you can say we do what we do and there isn’t a possibility of that changing. That argument now has no bearing because once we do something it is the past. Once something is in the past thats it, it has been solidified and is never changing. That in no way says that we would have always done it that way because then you are implying that there is “the future”.

No I am in no way arguing the fact that true Christians do not have freewill. If someone is educated on what Christianity trully is they will have no choice but to agree that they do not have freewill, only the illution of such a thing. What I am arguing is that someone that does not believe in the christian ideal of a god still has the possibity of freewill. I believe that this post argues the point very well and I invite challenges to the idea that a athiest or agnostic does not have freewill.

BIGFIX01

Published in: on January 6, 2008 at 2:21 pm  Comments (4)  
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