Unnecessary Belief is Evil

Marquis
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Unnecessary Belief is Evil

Let's imagine a hierarchy of assuredness. At the extreme end we have things that are clearly impossible. Like for instance how you cannot fit a gallon of water inside a one pint bottle. Everybody understands this. Nor can you eat an entire chocolate cake and then throw it back up intact. Both those things are impossible (but for different physical reasons). The next step is to introduce things that are possible. This is the arena of speculation and belief. You wonder about how things might be explained. What causes existence to be? Where does life come from? There are a lot of "possible" explanations, but only a very few ones that will stay intact at the next level, which is that of being plausible. Lots of things are possible without being plausible. For instance, it is possible that my wife is cheating on me with the mailman but it isn't plausible. I don't believe that. This is by and large because I have faith in my wife. I have chosen to believe her when she says that she loves me and that she doesn't want anybody else in her life like that. I believe her. I even consider this a necessary belief. That is to say, an issue of trust. Do you see my point here? It is possible that my wife is fucking the mailman, but I don't believe that. It's not plausible. It doesn't harmonize with anything I am able to observe. 

However, I might in a dark moment think to myself... what if my wife is fucking the mailman? I know this is possible. I go to work and she stays at home. The mailman arrives during those hours. Who knows what is going on? I may choose to believe that she does. This is an unnecessary belief, a paranoid delusion. If I really thought that my wife was fucking the mailman, I would confront her with the idea and probably demand a divorce if she confirmed. However, there is no reason for me to believe that all things that are possible are actually happening. The evidence hat is available to me not only suggests that my wife is faithful and that she loves me, it also suggests that the mailman is just some dude that is delivering the mail; that my wife don't even talk to apart from the occasional and courteous "hello" upon accidentally meeting up in the hallway. I think the mailman hates his job. This is possible, even plausible

Where is God in all this?

 It is unnecessary to believe in God. It is possible that God exists but it's not plausible. It is a paranoid delusion on the same scale as thinking that my wife is fucking the mailman simply because this might be going on, inside the available matrix of possibilities. Yes there certainly might be a God. So what? This is not the point to the theist. The theist doesn't actually care about such things as evidence. He demands obedience. He demands that you should uncritically accept things that are no more than possibilities as if they were assured and irrefutable truths. Why?

Next, he will threaten you. He will suggest outrageous absurdities such as "you will go to hell and suffer eternal pain, agony and torments for not believing in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour!" Upon hearing this, you may shrug because this is of course possible, but not plausible. It's not much of a threat. In fact it is a little childish on the "my dad can beat up your dad" level. You may even giggle a little at the absurdity of this claim. Why would an all powerful creator have to resort to extortionist tactics that not even the intellectual underachievers of the mob would think was much to write home about? It's just absurd. But what can you do? You cannot argue nor reason with someone who has decided to believe in something which you don't have to believe anything about. Clearly, if God exists and have all that power he will be more than able to take care of business without you sticking your nose into it? I mean... does the CEO of Exxon Oil Company care whether you believe in his existence or not? Of course not. It matters not how ignorant you are. He will do what he will do whether you are on the team or not, right? And that's not even anywhere galactic ally near to omnipotence!

If God exists he equipped you with an imperfect mind. Yes it is a powerful mind, but it also has some hard limitations. There is not much you can "know" with absolute certainty. You are left with the possibility of choosing to believe this or that way about most things. The question is why do you choose to believe? I would have to say that I see very few noble motives in most believers. They more often than not seem to be motivated by fear... and manipulative, egoistical ways of sycophancy. "I believe in God just to make sure that I get to be saved and have eternal life!" Dude... That is not the stance of a man. That is the tactics of a bitch.

 

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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 This was an excellent

 This was an excellent post, I'm surprised nobody commented yet.  I'm putting it on the homepage.  

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Marquis
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Thank you for the

Thank you for the compliment.

However... if you are putting it somewhere, would you kindly do the red pen thing at some typo blemishes here and there that upon re-reading it is making me cringe? (I haven't figured out how to edit a post, whereas the comments have a link for this which was easy to find.) Thanks.

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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I made all the revisions

I made all the revisions that Microsoft Word picked up on.  Users don't have editing abilities, only mods.  If you want to make other changes send them to me via the contact form, and I'll get them posted.

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An enjoyable read.

An enjoyable read.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Vastet wrote:An enjoyable


Vastet wrote:
An enjoyable read.

 

Agreed i suppose nature is neutral

people just have to accept that  


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Marquis wrote:Dude... That

Marquis wrote:
Dude... That is not the stance of a man. That is the tactics of a bitch.

After I started reading more comments and blogs from free-thinking women such as Ophelia Benson, I'm a bit more sensitive to these kinds of unnecessary male/female value judgments. The same thing could have been said without the gender bias, and it would have worked just as well, if not better.

Aside from that, pretty solid piece. I like the 'my dad can beat up your dad' reference regarding hell threats. It's so true.

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Marquis
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natural wrote:unnecessary

natural wrote:
unnecessary male/female value judgments

 

The word "bitch" denominates a type of behaviour that is gender neutral.

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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dingusdangus
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This is possibly the best

This is possibly the best post I have ever read on this website, and I have been here a long time. I won't go into that. I have read it a couple of times now. thanks.


Marquis
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dingusdangus wrote:This is

dingusdangus wrote:

This is possibly the best post I have ever read on this website, and I have been here a long time. I won't go into that. I have read it a couple of times now. thanks.

 

Why, thank you, Sir.

Just because you so shamelessly flatter my vanity, I shall reward you with this bonus:

(It is something that I wrote a while ago, on another website.)

 

Quote:

As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.

(Voltaire)


Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

(Andre Gide)


I don't believe in any static state of "truth". I only believe in perspectives of perception, differing opinions and experiences, added to vastly different personal dreams and desires. There can never be any state of general consensus with respects to "the truth". For this reason, the more strongly you feel about something as being your personal truth, the more discord the same something is likely to cause in the social space - unless you learn to express yourself in a way that doesn't exclude all else but that which you happen to believe in. Or, in other words, you have to accept that you don't actually know the truth, you only know what seems just and right to you. Others may not agree with, or even understand your position.

However, it is possible for everyone to form an opinion on what is aesthetically pleasing to them. What do you find inspirational? Being motivated by the creation of (personal) beauty is a more sound socio-ethical platform than being motivated by the quest for personal truths of what is "right" in a context of words and ideas. We all understand, quite intuitively, that personal taste is a futile topic of discussion. De Gustibus Non Dispotandum. Even so, it is easier to accept that someone has a very different set of tastes and preferences from yourself, than it is to accept that their entire view of what is good and right is vastly different from your own. It's easier to discuss taste than to discuss the truth. We tend to get upset when somebody is challenging the very foundations of all that which we believe in. But we get curious when we see that what they create is unfamiliar to us.

To some it may seem a nihilistic act to reject truth as a concept and thus practice atheism on the most pragmatic level. They may find it hard to imagine how anything can motivate you to deal with the terrible ambiguity of existence without having some strong symbols to believe in. The answer to that is that not all people need symbols. They merrily get by just on the beauty of existence. On love. Creativity. Reality. Common sense. Paradoxically, they will seek the truth but never really wish to find it. In the words of Albert Einstein, it takes thousands of experiments to prove that you're right but only one to prove that you're wrong. If truth is a static thing, evolution becomes an impossibility. But as far as we are able to tell from physics, there is no manifest form anywhere which constitutes any end product of the universal process of existence. The closest you can come is a black hole. Death. Life, however, implies change. Movement. Processes within processes that are colliding both on the macro- and micro scale, uniting destruction and creation in an eternal dance of "becoming".

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

http://www.kinkspace.com


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 Didn't need the punchline,

 Didn't need the punchline, just seems out of context with the rest of it.


Marquis
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stuntgibbon wrote: Didn't

stuntgibbon wrote:

 Didn't need the punchline

 

You mean the "bitch" bit? I had to put it there, because it's just too fucking funny.

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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Marquis wrote:dingusdangus

Marquis wrote:

dingusdangus wrote:

This is possibly the best post I have ever read on this website, and I have been here a long time. I won't go into that. I have read it a couple of times now. thanks.

 

Why, thank you, Sir.

Just because you so shamelessly flatter my vanity, I shall reward you with this bonus:

(It is something that I wrote a while ago, on another website.)

 

Quote:

 

 


I don't believe in any static state of "truth". I only believe in perspectives of perception, differing opinions and experiences, added to vastly different personal dreams and desires. There can never be any state of general consensus with respects to "the truth". For this reason, the more strongly you feel about something as being your personal truth, the more discord the same something is likely to cause in the social space - unless you learn to express yourself in a way that doesn't exclude all else but that which you happen to believe in. Or, in other words, you have to accept that you don't actually know the truth, you only know what seems just and right to you. Others may not agree with, or even understand your position.

 

However, it is possible for everyone to form an opinion on what is aesthetically pleasing to them. What do you find inspirational? Being motivated by the creation of (personal) beauty is a more sound socio-ethical platform than being motivated by the quest for personal truths of what is "right" in a context of words and ideas. We all understand, quite intuitively, that personal taste is a futile topic of discussion. De Gustibus Non Dispotandum. Even so, it is easier to accept that someone has a very different set of tastes and preferences from yourself, than it is to accept that their entire view of what is good and right is vastly different from your own. It's easier to discuss taste than to discuss the truth. We tend to get upset when somebody is challenging the very foundations of all that which we believe in. But we get curious when we see that what they create is unfamiliar to us.

To some it may seem a nihilistic act to reject truth as a concept and thus practice atheism on the most pragmatic level. They may find it hard to imagine how anything can motivate you to deal with the terrible ambiguity of existence without having some strong symbols to believe in. The answer to that is that not all people need symbols. They merrily get by just on the beauty of existence. On love. Creativity. Reality. Common sense. Paradoxically, they will seek the truth but never really wish to find it. In the words of Albert Einstein, it takes thousands of experiments to prove that you're right but only one to prove that you're wrong. If truth is a static thing, evolution becomes an impossibility. But as far as we are able to tell from physics, there is no manifest form anywhere which constitutes any end product of the universal process of existence. The closest you can come is a black hole. Death. Life, however, implies change. Movement. Processes within processes that are colliding both on the macro- and micro scale, uniting destruction and creation in an eternal dance of "becoming".

 

Consensus general or otherwise is not required for truth.

Truth : "Conformity to fact or actuality."

Either you are conforming to the facts and the actuality of our reality or you are not.

Our understanding of reality is flawed and we don't know everything but we strive to learn more and evolve our understanding or our beliefs which change.  Eventually, (hopefully) our beliefs do conform with fact and actuality.  The degree of conformity to reality is the degree to which we might be said to possess truth.  Truth is the grail at the end of the quest for the understanding of what actually is.

For instance before the science which discovered the fact that the solar system is heliocentric people's flawed understanding of the solar system was that the solar system (and indeed the universe) revolved around the earth.   The actuality was that the planets (including earth) always (so long as it existed) rotated around the sun.  People did not possess the truth even though they erroneously believed that they did. 

So, what happened when a scienctist(s) worked out  the laws of planetary motion?
They changed our understanding of the  facts and actuality.   They brought people's erroneous beliefs into conformity with the actual solar system.   The reality (and hence the state of truth) never changed just our degree of conformity to it.  By careful observation and calculation they were able to find more facts that led them to a more evolved understanding of reality.    People who believed in the geocentric universe did not have the truth.    They might have thought they did but they did not because they were not in conformity to the real (actual) situation.  During the time when the geocentric and heliocentric models were being debated it did not matter that there was not consensus.     The actuality was out there.   It just took time to bring people into conformity with that actuality.

I guess what I'm getting at is that what is is.

Either you're conforming with fact and actuality or you are not.

That people want it to be true or believe it is true is irrelevant.  What actually is is and if your beliefs don't match with actuality and facts then you do not have the truth.   This goes for geocentric universes, god(s), or anything else.  What we need to do is not put too much stock in preference and belief but be willing to make a calculated approach to analyzing and accepting facts instead of projecting our ideas apriori onto a situation and forcing the facts to match them. (This is a classic religious error.   IE - I decided god exists and now I'm going to go about using every fact to reinforce that notion instead of allowing my beliefs malleable to match the facts.)...

 

"What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!"  Robert Heinlein

"Lisa, if the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to girls sports, such as hot oil wrestling and foxy boxing and such."
Homer Simpson


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I like the essay in the OP,

I like the essay in the OP, but I have several issues with this one.

Marquis wrote:
I don't believe in any static state of "truth". I only believe in perspectives of perception, differing opinions and experiences, added to vastly different personal dreams and desires. There can never be any state of general consensus with respects to "the truth". For this reason, the more strongly you feel about something as being your personal truth, the more discord the same something is likely to cause in the social space - unless you learn to express yourself in a way that doesn't exclude all else but that which you happen to believe in. Or, in other words, you have to accept that you don't actually know the truth, you only know what seems just and right to you. Others may not agree with, or even understand your position.

I'm confused. Are you equivocating what people believe to be true with what actually is true? 

I agree that we can virtually never be 100% certain of any claim of reality. However, it does not follow, then, that reality does not take any precise states. For instance, I cannot be certain that light moves through a vacuum at approximately 3e8 m/s, but do you not agree that the photons do indeed travel at some exact velocity at every exact moment independent of our observations? Or, even if the whole scenario is a delusion, do you not agree that there is some reality which exists independent of this delusion? 

 

Marquis wrote:
If truth is a static thing, evolution becomes an impossibility.

Here, are you referring to the biological theory of evolution or change in general?

Either way, I assume we agree that populations of organisms evolve drastically over time. The human gene pool is not exactly the same as it was 10,000 years ago or 1,000 years ago or even 10 years ago. However, do you agree, that at any exact moment, the gene pool has a precise state?   

Edit: Ah, Sterculius, you said the same thing I said, except better. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare