Categories
religion science

Not So Fast

Wonderful article from Aeon here. Comments?

‘If the fruits for life of the state of conversion are good, we ought to idealise and venerate it, even though it be a piece of natural psychology; if not, we ought to make short work with it, no matter what supernatural being may have infused it.’

From The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) by William James

There is a long tradition of scientists and other intellectuals in the West being casually dismissive of people’s spiritual experiences. In 1766, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant declared that people who claim to see spirits, such as his contemporary, the Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg, are mad. Kant, a believer in the immortality of the soul, did not draw on empirical or medical knowledge to make his case, and was not beyond employing a fart joke to get his derision across: ‘If a hypochondriac wind romps in the intestines it depends on the direction it takes; if it descends it becomes a f–––, if it ascends it becomes an apparition or sacred inspiration.’ Another ‘enlightened’ enemy of other-worldly visions was the chemist and devout Christian, Joseph Priestley. His own critique of spirit seership in 1791 did not advance scientific arguments either, but presented biblical ‘proof’ that the only legitimate afterlife was the bodily resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day.

Categories
civilization religion

Can’t Help Myself

What is it about people’s faith when something bad or tragic happens? You always here about these kind of things “testing” someone’s faith. “Why did this happen to me/us?” “How could God allow this?”

What kind of God do they think they have?

You believe in God and an existence defined by someone else heavily dependent on ideas; not experience. Does this God promise that nothing bad will happen to you? How much of a child are you?

I thought it was about Heaven anyway. Why you concerned about this life?

It seems that your God messes with your mind.

My God is inescapable. There is no place you can be where it is not. There is no thing you can see that is not an expression of God. The resolution of evil rests with you. You are the evil. You defined evil in relation to life and love.

Evil is against life. Civilization is against life. We live evil.

It is hard on the self to live evil. You perceived separation from life into a realm inside your head grows to deal with the cognitive dissonance of your life. You define the condition as one that is normal for the human species. You create systems of thought that support the normality of “that’s just the way we are” to help deceive yourself.

You find how easy it is to tell yourself lies.

Easier still to believe them; and to build on them.

Soon, you have no thoughts other than those provided from outside yourself.

You and the machine are one.