“Today I don’t have to think about those who hear “terrorist” when I speak my faith.
Today I don’t have to think about men who don’t believe no means no.
Today I don’t have to think about how the world is made for people who move differently than I do.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m married, depending on what state I’m in.
Today I don’t have to think about how I’m going to hail a cab past midnight.”
“Today I don’t have to think about whether store security is tailing me.
Today I don’t have to think about the look on the face of the person about to sit next to me on a plane.
Today I don’t have to think about eyes going to my chest first.
Today I don’t have to think about what people might think if they knew the medicines I took.
Today I don’t have to think about getting kicked out of a mall when I kiss my beloved hello.”
“Today I don’t have to think about if it’s safe to hold my beloved’s hand.
Today I don’t have to think about whether I’m being pulled over for anything other than speeding.
Today I don’t have to think about being classified as one of “those people.”
Today I don’t have to think about making less than someone else for the same job at the same place.
Today I don’t have to think about the people who stare, or the people who pretend I don’t exist.”
[More . . . ]
For the other philosophy geeks here, the Onion has got another humorous story you’ll enjoy, rooted in existentialist themes:
In an ultimately futile act some have described as courageous and others have called a mere postponing of the inevitable, existentialist firefighter James Farber delayed three deaths Monday.
“I’m no hero,” Farber said after rescuing the family from a house fire on the 2500 block of West Thacker Street, and prolonging for the time being their slow march toward oblivion. “Like any other man, I am thrown into this world, alone and terrified, to play a meaningless role in an empty life. In my case, that role happens to involve charging through towering blazes to pull helpless individuals from a sea of flames before they suffocate or are burnt alive.”…
What is truth?
Big question, right?
It’s something philosophers have been pondering for as long as there have been philosophers pondering. I’m not going to pretend to be able to answer it here but I would like to list a few things that truth is not.
Belief is not truth.
Faith is not truth.
Desire is not truth.
Hope is not truth.
Vague prophecy is not truth.
The other day a believer in a religion forum conversation I was a part of told me that he hopes that some day I learn the “truth” and get saved. I am always wary when a word is willfully and consistently misused. There is an Orwellian doublespeak creepiness about the mis-use of the word “truth” by believers that is disturbing to me whenever I hear it.
People often speak of a personal truth and I suppose that concept has some validity, but all too often that personal revelation, which ends up being called truth, is applied to humanity as a whole. In other words, “My truth must be your truth”. That is a very myopic viewpoint and one thing about belief in God that has always rubbed me the wrong way.
That same believer more recently posted that because he knows the truth no one will ever be able to change his mind or shake his faith. He is mistaken if that’s what he thinks the non-believers are trying to do by arguing against certainty. Why would I want to take away from him his life’s philosophy that he has worked so hard to discover? Conversely, why would he want to deny me mine?
As an atheist all I have ever wanted from believers is respect. Respect for my doubts. Respect for my journey. Respect for MY personal “truth”.
Does belief rule out respect and understanding for other paths of life? I don’t think so but if that is the case, that is just one more reason that I would prefer to hold on to my doubts.
Today I share a few pearls from philosopher AC Grayling, writing for The Guardian.
A human lifespan is less than a thousand months long. You need to make some time to think how to live it.
The democracy of blogging and tweeting is absolutely terrific in one way. It is also the most effective producer of rubbish and insult and falsehood we have yet invented.
When I was 14 a chaplain at school gave me a reading list. I read everything and I went back to him with a question: how can you really believe in this stuff?
Christian churches and Muslim groups have no more right to have their say than women’s institutes or trades unions. The government has actively encouraged faith-based education, and therefore given a megaphone to religious voices and fundamentalists.
Science is the outcome of being prepared to live without certainty and therefore a mark of maturity. It embraces doubt and loose ends.
I’m not sure it is possible to think too much. You don’t refresh your mind by partying in Ibiza.
That single sentence: “science is the outcome of being prepared to live without certainty…” says more about my own views than an entire caffeine-fueled screed ever could. It’s said that brevity is the soul of wit; those nine words illustrate that it can also be the soul of wisdom.
Certainty seems to be the single most important thing that separates the devout believer from the atheist, the agnostic, the deist & the doubter. It’s fine to say “my god, and my way of worshipping my god, will see me rewarded in the afterlife.” I have no issue with that claim on the surface. But you can’t be certain of it – certainly not certain enough to damn or pity people who disagree with you or dare to shine lights on the holes in your story. I can’t be certain my direct ancestors had opposable big toes and could manufacture their own vitamin C or that our universe is thirteen billion years old, but that’s the direction in which the evidence points – convincingly, with a giant pointy finger. No, I’m not certain at all, but that’s where I’m putting my money. The holes in those converging storylines are not nearly as glaring as those present in the many, certain alternatives – and they’re getting smaller all the time. All those from the “certainist” camp can do is rationalise (ironically enough) the size, shape and positioning of their holes – or look at their stories from such an angle that the holes aren’t visible. Well, I prefer a story that makes sense no matter how you look at it.
In this lecture on TED, Jonathan Haidt discusses his approach, which involves “five foundations of morality.” Haidt also explains that, in our attempts to better understand morality, too many of us are trapped in a non-ending cycle in which “everybody thinks they are right.” We are in need of humility, and the best way to get moral humility is to escape moral righteousness by striving to step out of the struggle. We need to see that liberals and conservatives both have something to offer to the conversation of change versus stability.
Discussions in the comment sections of many posts on this site chaotically tend toward the strange attractor of one generally off-topic issue: Why does Creation/Evolution seem correct to you? It is usually a discussion between Creationists who believe that the scientific conclusions are based on faith, and Naturalists who believe that the Scientific Method is […]