Saturday, February 12, 2005

Meta-Atheism

Check out this interesting discussion of meta-atheism, the principle that most people who think they believe in god actually don't. It is this type of analysis that, to me, makes philosophy worth doing. If anyone ever makes the mistake of asking me if I believe in god my general response is, well, that depends on your definition of "god", and your definition of "believe", and, for that matter, on your definition of "you"... As I said, the question, itself, is a mistake.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm underestimating (under-understanding?) this fellow, but I find his reasoning to be smugly simplistic. He seems to be saying that because people don't behave in completely absolutely consistent ways, then their beliefs must be questioned and, in fact, they're probably not even valid beliefs.

Alas, if it were only that easy . . .

I might be what he terms a true-believer, but if I have one iota of doubt, that might influence me to do "non-believing" things like, say, use a seatbelt. Does that then make me a non-believer? No, just a true-believer who's not dumbly adherant.

But less theoretically -- there are myriad reasons why people would be sad if a loved one died and why they would make efforts to extend their own lives, and none of them would cause me to question their beliefs (or belief in their beliefs).

When my kids go off to college, I'm happy for them, but am I allowed to be quite sad for myself as I contemplate that they're now out of the house, I won't see them on a daily basis, etc.? Does that mean/prove that I don't believe that they're going to a better place? Might the grieving widow be happy for the eternal bliss her hubby just departed for, but be overwhelmed by sorrow as she contemplates the rest of her earthly life without him? Does the blogger really think that her joy ought to drown out any sorrow, and the fact that it doesn't means that her beliefs can't be valid?

As for his car accident theory -- I'm no expert in religious teachings, but isn't "doing good on earth" or some variation thereof a basic tenet of almost every religion? So even though I might be comforted by (and eager for) the thought of what's in store for me in my next arrival station, aren't I being truer to my beliefs by trying to stick around this mortal coil and doing as much good as I possibly can? I mean, I'll get to the good place eventually -- what's the hurry?

9:21 PM  
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8:39 AM  

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