Re: Bill Moyers: There is no tomorrow
> Damon Agretto <garrand.geo@...> wrote:I'm
> > [I think Nick wrote:]
> > I ask myself, what provokes widespread irrational
> > beliefs -- what are
> > these people reacting to? Some sort of vast sense
> > of helplessness?
> > Intuition tells me that fear underlies this, but
> > not at all sureastrology,
> > what fears are playing big roles today.
> The first thought that comes to mind is fear of the
> future, which by its nature is uncertain (and can be
> frightnening). As human beings we have a number of
> methodologies for dealing with this fear, from
> planning "contingencies," being proactive,
> and yes even religion. So I would argue that theseincreasingly
> people are coopting religion in such a way as to
> give them greater comfort in light of an
> uncertain future...I think another fear involved is that of feeling/being
inferior. I have no studies to back this, but the
sample of extremist fundamentalists I personally know
*definitely* feel insecure about their own worth.
What separates an 'extremist' from a 'purely'
fundamentalist, in my view, is that the latter tries
to increase their sense of self-worth by changing
themselves; the extremist seeks to rise by stomping on
others - whether figuratively or literally. The
figuratives are bloody annoying; the literalists,
just plain terrifying.
What so puzzles me about those who need/demand
Absolute Certainty, is that my own faith - while it
_can_ be comforting - constantly challenges my
personal 'zone of comfort.' It is a goad when I feel
complacent, a prickle when I become too smug...it
doesn't tell me that I am superior, but snaps that I
can be better than I am now.
Heretic Lutheran Deist Maru ;-D
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- On Apr 19, 2005, at 12:03 AM, KZK wrote:
> Nick Arnett wrote:From the perspective of the microorganisms?
>> Warren Ockrassa wrote:
>>> That's a good point. I'd ask you to think about something else,
>>> though -- why do you consider yourself religious? I mean, if you
>>> have some kind of faith, *why* do you have that faith?
>> Well, there's the question. An honest answer has to include, "I
>> don't know." I choose to regard it as an undeserved gift. A
>> self-centered answer is, "I'm happier." A non-rational answer is,
>> "It feels true."
>> A quasi-evidentiary answer is that it has survived the millenia.
> So has malaria and the clap. Are they forces of "good" too?
Certainly from the human point of view such things are pestilence. But
from a survival, life-over-all perspective, they're working.
I think it was Carl Sagan who commented that yeast has been very
successful over the millennia -- it's taught the apex predators on
Earth how to replicate itself for myriad purposes, some of which
include intimate infections, some of which we regard as beneficent,
some of which are of debatable value.
Alfred Nobel was forever torn over his invention. Dynamite was -- and
is -- good for lots of positive applications, as well as more than a
few negative ones. Does that mean that dynamite was and is
incontrovertibly evil, or even arguably so? Or is it safer to suggest
that it's the human capacity for finding a cloud in virtually every
silver lining that's really to blame?
I can be very harsh on religion; I know that. But I also recognize that
*faith* -- not necessarily religion -- has been a source of solace for
untold millions, possibly billions, has given meaning to lives that
otherwise might have seemed unnecessarily nasty, short and brutish.
Nick and I have traded a few Buddhist ideas. I'm not officially
Buddhist -- never taken a refuge vow -- but I do like some of the
philosophies of the system; I like how it's non-theist and doesn't have
a specific doctrine of a soul. One of its major adherents has said more
than once that to the extent science uncovers new realities about the
world, it is Buddhism that will have to change to suit itself to our
The reason I bring it up is that a core tenet of Buddhism is that
suffering should be reduced. If someone's faith in a deity reduces that
person's suffering *and* does not contribute to the suffering of
others, I find it hard to see that faith as invalid, worthy of mockery
or something that needs to be "outgrown" or discarded.
Scientific findings have also been used to great evil over the
centuries. Should we argue for discarding the scientific method and its
fruits? In order to be consistent with the message that religion is a
source of evil and should be cast aside, that question becomes very
important, doesn't it?
Warren Ockrassa, Publisher/Editor, nightwares Books
Current work in progress "The Seven-Year Mirror"