Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"So What"--Really?, Part II

So you've seen all the numbers last time. And you've heard some of the stuff these "So What" people are saying. One guy, who attends the Catholic church to hear his mom sing in the choir, but for no other reason says, after reading neuro- and evolutionary psychology concludes that "we might as well be cars(!) That, to me, makes more sense than believing what you can't see." I don't suppose anybody has bothered to point out to this deep thinker that you can't see psychology either, nor atoms, nor truth, freedom, etc., etc. Maybe he doesn't believe in these things either, but I rather doubt it.

The thought processes that dismiss the validity of spirituality are broken and shallow, in my opinion, at least judging by the kind of comments the article contained. Here's another: "God? Purpose? You don't need an opinion on those things to function." Well, no, I don't guess you do. But you will function as what? Some creature of the consumer culture whose sole purpose in life is to acquire and to amass. And then there's this: "There may be unanswerable questions that could be cool or fascinating. Speculating on them is a fun parlor game [sic], but they don't shed any meaning on my life." Well, of course they don't, Bozo, because the meaning of your life is determined for you by the consumer culture that envelops you. And in fact, by making such a statement, you're basically saying that your life has no meaning. If you're good with that, than you're even more hopeless than you appear at first blush.

That gets to the root of it. The whole problem with discarding the big questions as irrelevant to one's life is that it makes one's life meaningless by definition. And if life means nothing, than there is no barrier to rationalizing the worst human behaviors imaginable. All the suffering we inflict upon one another, the injustices, the screaming inequalities, the stupid waste of resources and human lives--all of this can be justified if our lives are defined by nothing other than the accident of our being here.

I'm not claiming to have any answers to the big questions, no way. And I can certainly sympathize with those who execrate the baleful effects of organized religion in human history. Not a single one of them is blameless. But because religion is imperfect, grossly so, it seems to me, throughout human history, does not therefore mean our lives have no meaning other than what the world says. Hell, if that's the case, I'll take religion at its absolute worst. For at least they, in their halting, sometimes infuriating, sometimes scandalous and cruel ways, accept the concept of something bigger, something beyond the grubby, greedy self.
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