Saturday, April 16, 2016

More Thoughts on God is a Question, Not an Answer

Previously I discussed the futility of arguing the existence or non-existence of God (April 4, 2016, Some Thoughts on God is a Question, Not an Answer). This is not the same as discussing the merits of a belief in God’s existence.
        When Voltaire wrote “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him,” he was not saying that he doubted God’s existence; in fact, the statement was made as part of a piece that he wrote condemning and refuting an atheistic essay called The Three Imposters. He was concerned that the essay was an extremely dangerous work since it questioned a notion that was useful for society: the idea that criminals would be punished in the afterlife. I think Voltaire’s view was too small.
         Let me digress to discuss the concept of a worldview, which, according to Merriam-Webster, is a comprehensive conception or apprehension of the world especially from a specific standpoint.
         Everyone has a private worldview. We begin to assemble it in infancy, and it undergoes continuous transformation throughout all of our experiences. As a spice transforms a dish and becomes a part of it, so does every experience transform one’s worldview and becomes part of it.
         Although one’s worldview is constantly changing, it is unique. Every new experience is filtered through our individual worldview before entering into it. Your worldview and mine may intersect through the sharing of experience, but each performs its own unique transformation.
         Our senses extract some outside events from the passing universe; our individual “reality” is what is left after the sensory impressions are filtered through our worldview.
         Because of the huge variety of experiences, it is obvious that some worldviews will reflect reality more correctly than others. For this reason, it is advantageous for each of us to experience life to the fullest extent possible. Worldviews theoretically can be brought into closer alignment with reality; it is probably wise to begin conflicting discussions of an event with something like, “It’s my impression that…” We might learn something.
         All worldviews contain a religious component, either sacred or secular, usually some combination of both. The sacred version includes a belief in some god, the secular one does not1.
         Regardless of whether our worldview contains a sacred or a secular religious component, the most we can hope for is to be satisfied and happy with it. (More on this later). As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.”
            1.    The Oxford Dictionary defines a secular definition as “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance,” and lists a few examples:
            a.     Consumerism is the new religion.
            b.    It's the backdrop because football is considered a religion worldwide and the most viewed game.
            c.     We've been told time and again that cricket is a religion in India.
My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback or Kindle at Amazon.


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