Is Common Sense Allowed in Religiousness?
Nothing to Prove, Nothing to Debunk
Just like in some other articles of a similar topic, I am not being driven by a naïve ambition to either prove or debunk the objectivity of god's existence. And just like in those other articles, everything that follows is generated by my playful logicalness about the subjective aspect of religiousness.
Thus, let us stay clear of all philosophizing over god's real existence - the one that would be independent of human brain's ability to form all sorts of beliefs. For after all, if god objectively exists, then it's not because this or that holy book says so.
And then if he doesn't exist, again, it's not because atheists haven't come up, as yet, with a convincing enough argument against his existence. Since this article is really about logic - or common sense if you will - let this introductory position give you a little taste of what is coming.
As I also announced my logic to be a little "playful", may we all give a little smile to the scholarly argument of religionists when they borrow that piece of logic from science to provide explanation for a lack of evidence of god's existence:
" An absence of evidence is not an evidence of absence".
Cute, isn't it? We might as well keep a smile on our face throughout the whole article, because no one is really about to be attacked here. Besides, a little of thinking on the side of believing never really hurt anyone. I hope not.
When a Camel Looks Appetizing
So let god be or not be, as our intellectual preference would have us believe - while we focus strictly on human subjective experience of the faith that includes him.
I don't need much of a proof that people are in a habit of projecting onto the outer reality most of the features of their inner reality. In other words, whatever we are daily preoccupied with - including our attitudes, beliefs, and pet theories about life - is bound to majorly paint the world in those corresponding colors.
I am not a neuroscientist, but those who are keep educating us with their evidence how our eyes don't really do any "seeing", it's our brain that does it, while eyes are merely providing a visual input. So, instead of the old adage "seeing is believing", we might as well use its reverse form that says "believing is seeing."
Referring to this finding of science, it could be fair to say that religious folks "see" their proofs for their god's existence everywhere they look. In somewhat milder examples, you have hairstylists who can't help but see hairdos around them all the time, and a doctor can't help but notice something suspicious in a pale face of a passerby, and a bald guy somehow sees hair or a lack of it on people around...and so on.
Again, whatever our mind is preoccupied with in one way or another, will find a lot of its equivalent "evidence" in our environment. To the extent that a religious person is bound to find zillion pieces of evidence about his holy book "speaking truth" wherever he looks - totally oblivious to all those details of life that may be calling for a completely opposite interpretation.
At this point I am reminded of a Sufi story (they always insist on a message of wisdom), where this ancient dude keeps telling his buddy how everything around him reminds him of food. So does that camel walking there, and that sand hill, and that puffy cloud...everything.
When asked by his annoyed friend how could all that remind him of food, he answers: "When I am hungry, everything reminds me of food".
Which Edition of "God's Word" Should Be Honored as "Right"?
While I am hearing verbal expressions of religious faith from believers of different religions, I can't but find it fascinating how they all talk with an identical enthusiasm and devotion about their gods. They will agree over so many things, let's say math or science, but when it comes to their faith, it's like they will say: "I reserve my right to believe in what I choose".
Doesn't that mere "choice of god" make that god something like a matter of intellectual taste, rather than an irrefutable truth? It's like someone in the world of fashion was proclaiming that "mini skirts were the only skirts worth wearing", and then another half of the fashion creators stated the same about maxi skirts.
And yet they manage in their minds to treat their preference with the same certainty they would treat the equation of 2+2=4. Some are even dying for their belief, totally oblivious to the fact that it's only their belief, not a fact.
Since we are perfectly capable of "converting" from one religion to another, or "losing" our belief altogether, I have to beg your pardon for mentioning the old saying that goes: "Beliefs are like easy women - you can have as many as you wish, but truth insists on marriage".
While there are no restrictions to what people choose to believe and how unwavering their faith may be, in a certain sense we have to start wondering how far is a fanatical belief from insanity. Really, folks, it takes a schizophrenic mentality to take for real everything that our mind is serving us.
For, normalcy means that we have a well functioning principle-of-reality built-in that's filtering the factual from imagined/believed out of the raw material welling up from our subconscious automatic pilot programs.
That is not implying that every belief is insane, but every belief should certainly stay far away from its blind extreme. Namely, our mind is known to play all kinds of tricks on us - if we let it.
I don't know about other holy books, but rumor has it that the Bible, for instance, has been altered a few times. And I don't mean by those same folks who wrote it, but some centuries later when all those fine prophets were already extinct from the human race, and all that was left was a bunch of us ordinary eating-sleeping-crapping humans.
Why did that holy truth need to be edited and doctored by the church authorities? You know what I mean? If even the "Word of God" is allowed to be altered, then what "version" of believing is correct?
From a more Mundane Logical Perspective
Like I mentioned in all of my articles with a religious theme, I believe in a universal intelligence, but refuse to elaborate on its "real" form simply because I don't think that humans are wired in their brains to fathom the mind-twisting nature of it. It's approximately similar to expecting a toddler to understand calculation of income tax.
So, again, all this is not against the existence of that "higher" realm in the creative scheme of cosmic events, but the focus is on what people are making up around all that in an absence of a truism that would be axiomatic like the equation of 2+2=4 and as such accepted by everyone the same.
From the psychological perspective, a positive belief, whether it's wrapped around a deity or it means a hope and optimistic attitude is more than beneficial. Where it starts being less than that is in its elaborate storytelling with mythological characters - especially those pertaining to "evil" and Satanic worshipping.
Sticking for another moment to psychological aspects of it, there is something like psycho-pathology which examines all deviations from normal experiencing and behavior. People are more of "real characters" in those textbooks than Satan is a "real character" in the Bible.
So, all abnormalities in this world generated by human mind's malfunctioning are not to be ascribed to "people being possessed by devil". No, we should still seek a professional help when we are overly depressed, rather than hire an exorcist.
In my view, the popular science is not acknowledging enough the fact that at those lower brain centers we have all kinds of purely animalistic urges heavily attached to our survival instinct. Hence all that need for power, territoriality, aggression, hoarding of the means of survival, and jealousy (animals can be jealous too).
Well, when "god gave us a free will", he obviously forgot one little detail - to make us so perfect that we would never use it against ourselves and each other. But then, like the Good Book keeps reminding us: "We are not to question god's reasons, as he works in mysterious ways" - which somehow includes innocent children suffering, while god is to be understood as a celestial entity equivalent to unconditional love.
Every Day like Christmas
Before I round up this search for any sign of logicalness in religious belief - guess what - my multicolored, up to ceiling Christmas Tree is again at its usual place by the balcony window. Have I suddenly turned religious? No, my tree is artificial just like my interpretation of its use is deliberately chosen by my mind style.
This tree signifies my willingness to join the festive mood of the people around me. Finally, after another full year people are again "allowed by the tradition" to chill out a little. I don't go by the tradition. I buy my wife flowers at other dates than her birthdays and Valentine's Day when it's "prescribed" by society to honor those that we love.
In short, I don't need another eating-sleeping-pooping human being to think for me and tell me when it's appropriate to start feeling good about life and about those I love. Every morning we have a little hug for a celebration of a new day, honoring that what we have between us. And every day I chat cheerfully in the elevator with my neighbors, while they regularly show their appreciation to find me in there.
We might as well say that I am celebrating Christmas every day, reserving this time for decorating my home with this symbol of my love for my fellow-men. Am I doing it to appease a god? No. Am I doing it do deserve a "salvation"? No.
And yet, counting on your open mind, or at least one that's open ajar enough to figure it out - I am not against anybody's interpretation of these December festivities. I don't even mind it being so commercialized; let all those businesses make extra buck - if that's what they need to feel better.
Merry Christmas everyone!