For me the words of Marcus Aurelius sum up the conversation worth having. Leading a good life and the virtues to cultivate in doing so. Debating the existence or none of God clouds the issue – and detracts from the conversation. Because we can not experience an entity or concept beyond cause and effect, time and space, we end up having a meaningless conversation about something beyond our imagination.
It ends as a draw because you cannot win by saying I really cannot comprehend what happened before the Big Bang. I cannot anymore than someone can claim to know the mind of God and impose their dictates on others.
Meaningless becomes pointless when something we observe like the entity Homo sapiens is so profound they must have a cause by an even more profound entity that does not have a cause. Pointing this out as nonsensical ends up with further assertion from incredulity.
To believe a “God of the Gaps” resolves the issue of why there is something rather than nothing is more extraordinary, miraculous if you like, than the problem it needs to resolve. It is a reason most atheists will not say “There is no God” but rather there is no way to demonstrate there is such a being, let alone that he has appointed someone on earth to tell me not to jerk off, or revealed I should really be minus a foreskin to seal a pact.
As Aurelius states if there is such a being that comprehends like us virtue and the good life then they will understand my conclusions. I will not live my life fearing an unjust celestial being that needs appeasing by frivolous tokens of submission to outrages gestures. My intention is to try and live a good life without such an entity.
I do not say I have the answers, or anyone did thousands of years ago, nor take kindly to twisting ancient texts to somehow fit what we do know now. That actually mocks how those people tried to understand the world they lived in – we can try and be true to their thoughts and beliefs for it is a part of our human history. Revisionism and being an apologist for is to deny them to speak as they did in antiquity.
The conversation worth having is how we get to live on this ball of rock hurtling through space in an expanding universe. It is a human discourse which should concern everyone.
That discussion requires free speech, freedom of expression, free assembly, religious freedom and freedom from religion. Beware anyone that wants to stifle the conversation by denying these universal human rights we need for such a dialogue.
They are against humanity and most certainly not serving the interests of a just God.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog