Why do we care?

Posted by on January 2, 2010 in Thoughts | 5 comments

Logic. Reason. Rationality.

These are the 3 tools I use on a daily basis to make sense of the world. Without these tools, the world decays into a mess of suppositions and superstitions.

This means that whenever I look at the world, I have a lifetime’s worth of knowledge by which I can make assessments on what is good, right, real and tangible. For me, every moment, every event, every second that passes, all have come to pass because of past events leading up to it. Nothing just “happens”. The laws of physics, chemical processes, gravity and thermodynamics are the rules by which the universe functions, and these laws are unbreakable. Admittedly, none of these laws of processes are understood 100%, but they are a pretty solid basis for me, as a human being, to make this assessment. Add to that, that I am not a scientist, and my understanding of these processes is rudimentary at best. I am no expert, just a human using my resources as best I can.

When faced with a situation I don’t fully understand, it’s with these processes that I can decipher it, and come up with a rational explanation. Logic. Reason. Rationality.

It makes me comfortable to know my place in this universe. I know that as a species, we are highly isolated, surrounded on all sides by the unfathomable reaches of space. It brings me comfort to know that the universe will continue to exist long after I’m gone.  But for some this is exactly why they fall the other direction, into mysticism and fancy. If it’s too hard to explain or understand, then it must be the work of mystical beings.

But why do I care? What motivates me to write about religion, and about my vantage point on life, the universe and everything?

The universe we live in is amazing. Our understanding of the universe shows us an incredible history, our history, without bias toward one or another. Our history makes sense from a rational standpoint, and is the one thing we ALL have in common. Without exception. Denial of this leads to division of people into “us and them”. It leads to unfounded justifications and irrational thought. It leads to mania, exclusion and delusion. Denial of this is denial of humanity’s oneness with the universe, and places us above nature, above all else. This is a destructive and delusional way to be.

This is why I care enough to write about religion.

Why do you care?

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5 Comments

  1. “Logic. Reason. Rationality.”

    I agree. This is why, in spite of my supernatualist yearnings, i call myself a rationalist here.

    “Without these tools, the world decays into a mess of suppositions and superstitions.”
    Is this assuming the conclusion? “Unreason leads to superstitions. And superstitions are bad. How do we know? Reason tells us. And unreason leads to superstitions…”

    “It brings me comfort to know that the universe will continue to exist long after I’m gone.”
    I have never really understood this. Why do you find this comforting? I suppose this is why I find nihilism intellectually attractive. If I am an accident, then why care about anything else but me?

    “The universe we live in is amazing.”
    I agree. But an amazing universe is a conclusion, a value judgement and not a rational reason to preserve it, imo. An amazing universe is not proveable by reason, only enjoyable by an individual. Sadly, it’s not a powerful enough argument to stop people degrading our environment from reason alone. It’s quite reasonable and is in my interests for me to keep using oil, emitting carbon and polluting while encouraging others to stop doing it.

    I care enough to write about religion because it fascinates me, frustrates me, and has been the backbone of much of my life. I’m trying to find my way in the world, and sometimes mere atheism doesn’t seem rational enough. Sadly, though there are hopeful hints, I haven’t yet found anything better. So I’m an open agnostic.

    Thanks :)

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  2. If more people disclosed the humility you possess, there wouldn’t be an over consumption of cultural and religious bigotry. Good post.

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  3. I’ve just started following you on twitter, so thought I’d drop by and add why I care.

    I was brought up in a religious household, at one point even strict creationist. It took me a long time to clarify what was actually going on in my own head. These days I’m a scientist, doing my PhD in Evolutionary Biology.

    I find the utmost joy in trying to figure out how everything is connected (not spiritually, evolutionary). I hate being told that “God did it” or the “mysterious ways” crap that gets dished out when questioning evil etc. That, to me, draws the meaning and purpose out of ones own life and ascribes it to a faith which can only be fulfilling in the ignorance or denial of evidence.

    So there is a disjointed, brief comment of why I care.

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  4. Excellent post that made me think.
    I don’t generally write about religion. But, in the absence of religion, each individual interaction or experience I have has greater meaning to me. Without the promised afterlife to look forward to, each and every day becomes precious. When this is all I have, I have more reason to appreciate the wonder of the universe, as well as the wonder of my 3-yr-old’s logic.
    I care because I want, I need, to understand myself and my life as they operate within the framework of all living beings, to get an idea of where and how I fit. That’s just my logical brain trying to order and sort the input I receive from the world around me into patterns and meaning.
    Again, excellent post! Thanks for provoking thought!

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  5. Excellent post. It’s sad that a major chunk of humanity does not think this way. Most peoples logic is spoon fed to them, their reasoning is accomplished by some other person or group and this makes any rationality they might have false. It is like I’ve always said:

    If someone tells you something is truth and you believe it as truth with out questioning it to make sure it is indeed the truth, then you are as lost as you were before being told the so-called truth!

    Question/Think/Conclude

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