Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Believers Don't Believe


”I'm a believer,” The Monkees sang in 1966. They meant a believer in love, but mostly the term is used for and by religious people, sticking to convictions that common sense dismisses. But the term is a paradox. The use of it reveals a lack of belief.

The Monkees sang that they thought love was only true in fairytales, until:
Then I saw her face, now I'm a believer
Not a trace of doubt in my mind
I'm in love, I'm a believer


But wait a minute. If you believe in love, there's still room for doubt. Otherwise you would regard it as a fact, not a belief. So, the boy of the song is not sure enough to do more than believe in the love by which his heart is overcome. What he's really saying is that he hopes he can trust love. He's taking the chance.

The same is true for religious people claiming to believe in this or that. They don't claim it to be a fact, they don't say they know it. They believe it, which is really confessing that they shouldn't, if they listened to reason. They reveal that they insist on something, although they can't even convince themselves of it.

So, every statement of belief is a confession to the contrary.

Those who say that they believe God created the world a few thousand years ago thereby admit to its absurdity. They confirm this by saying that they don't believe in evolution, which is a way of admitting that they know better. Those who believe in Heaven and Hell as the next destination after death admit that they really don't expect anything but bodily decay after their last breath.

Mostly, people say they believe in this or that god. Again, that's admitting such an entity to be highly unlikely, to say the least. What else could they say about someone (or something) so elusive?

It would be different if they said that they know this god exists, but that would be preposterous. They could say that the god is possible, which is as hard to deny as the opposite. Or they could be perfectly honest and say that they hope the god exists.

It's all about hope.

Atheists in heated debates with religious fundamentalists insist that they are stupid for believing, but that actually proves they are not. If they claimed knowledge, certainty, they would be. But by using the word belief, they hang on to their own reason and common sense. And they know it.

The true driving force of religious extremists is the fear of admitting to themselves that they have doubts, serious doubts. So, they try to silence what their minds are whispering to them, by taking a fanatic position and committing to it as blatantly as they are able. They hope that by this commitment they will finally convince themselves.

That's nothing but fear, of course. The fear of losing hope. It's the cause of much anguish in the world – and far from only to the ones stuck in this conflict of emotions.

6 comments:

  1. The true driving force of religious extremists is the fear of admitting to themselves that they have doubts, serious doubts.

    I don't know about that. Even Marxists and other Socialists, Anarchists are extremists and they blow things up and kill. Logic dictates consistency. Socrates would ask that if this is true of "religious extremists" would that also be true of Marxist extremists that attacked the Russian Tsars and the murder of Tsar Alexander?

    What about the Black Hand Anarchists that shot the Austrian Prince in Serbia? What about John Brown at Harpers Ferry? John Brown is an extremist. What about the Weathermen here in America? Leftist are extremists.

    Does "Love" enter into the picture? Love of God. The Bible says, "Zeal for your house consumes my soul". King David had this. Zeal for the House of the Lord. What you call "extremism" is really religious zeal.

    It says, "Defend the Widow and the Orphan". What religious man would not take that up and do it. Religious extremists do NOT have serious doubts. Their extremism is about Love of God and their passion of it. Passion.

    Passion moves religious extremists as well as Leftist ideologues. It is done across the board, left or right, commie or Catholic. For they believe.

    Even Marxists are true believers, trying to make a Commie Utopia--that is Fiction. No commie has ever lived in a true real-life Utopia, but they all work for one!

    On the basis of the Doric elanchus, the thesis does not pan out.

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  2. WLW, I didn't deny that political extremists have the same traits. I just didn't discuss that. But I'd say that there are differences making them hard to compare.

    As for love and Christianity, I'm frequently struck by the paradox that a religion preaching love and forgiveness has so many very intolerant and hateful agitators.

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  3. Jesus said, "You can not serve two masters". That is a Law of Nature. All things have ONE for their object.

    To be a philosopher, requires "The reading of nature". Inside nature, is such a thing as "sense of belonging" and "sense of volkenhass". It is in animals and in insects. Ant colonies of even the same species attack each other.

    I don't know if you read the Bible, but in Genesis, God said, "I will put enmity between good and evil. Good will hate evil and Evil will hate good".

    This is the way of the cosmos. Even Socrates says the life of a philosopher is a "Lover of Truth" and a "Hater of lies". You can not serve two masters. Either you must love the Good and hate evil---or Love what is evil and hate what is Good.

    That is your paradox. As a Farmer, no farmer has any tolerance with pests and diseases. He eradicates them. I once was at a family gathering in Alabama. A wild dog came and started attacking his chickens. The man grabbed a pistol licktey-split and was after that dog with a vengeance.

    There is no such thing as "tolerance". That is an "enlightenment" lie. The Left most certainly does not subscribe to that! The intolerance of political correctness on any college campus is absolutely stifling to any breach of its ideological ethics! And they preach "tolerance".

    Love and forgiveness operate within the community, not outside it. Tolerance is not a Christian value. Never was. Plato called for the interdiction of atheists in a community. Christianity can be said to be Platonic. St. John in his letter says never to greet a heretic---not even to say hello.

    The reason: From Meander, St. Paul quotes him: "Bad company destroys good morals". It is the Agrarian quote, "One Bad Apple destroys the Bushel". No farmer can not tolerate one bad apple! This is a paradigm of life. Life is war; Life is war between the Good and Bad.

    Have you read your Aesop? This is primal wisdom literature. Nowhere is this tolerance and diversity. Aesop preaches the Agrarian stance. I point you to the tale of the Frog and the Scorpion. The Frog had tolerance. What happened? Fools die.

    A philosopher accepts without question the Cosmos. It is an ideologue that wishes to "fix the world".

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  4. Well, Christianity is a big and not very homogenous thing, but my interpretation of Jesus as he is presented in the Gospels is one who praises what we call tolerance. Not tolerance of all things, for sure, but many that his society hurried to condemn.

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  5. Christ in the Gospels uses the metaphor of Shepard/Sheep to describe himself and people and the relation between Him and his people. The office of bishop carries on this paradigm of Jesus. The greatest example of this is the Shepards crook that all bishops have, both Orthodox and Catholic. I like to call it the "Law of Sheparding". The Shepard does not let the wolf into the flock. The same can be said about the Bishops and the stewardship they must have over the flock of believers. This paradigm is what guided the Church.

    Furthermore, what is the definition of Love? Well, in the LXX is a definition of Love. "Love is the care of discipline and Love is the keeping of her commandments". Discipline is very much a Christian thing. That is a huge parameter of what Love is. This is what a Bishop as a Shepard must do.

    The Roman Church acted like this and suppressed any heresy out there. That is its job as "Shepard of the Flock".

    "Tolerance and Diversity" is solely a product of the Enlightenment and Protestant Reformation! Even the Protestants couldn't live together and with the multiplicity of sects, they had to teach "Tolerance and Diversity" to live amongst themselves. It is a corollary of Protestantism. It is also a product of the Atheist influence in the so-called enlightenment.

    Wisdom teaches the Shepard/Flock paradigm. Tolerance and Diversity are tools to undermine Christianity and when the Left does end up in the Horse's seat, it then turns around and adopts censorship and intolerance.

    Christ approached the sick and healed them. Where Jewish Law of Cleanliness interdicted much in the way of helping the poor and sick, Christ attacked this materialist reading of the Spirit in Judaism. What is evil for Christ is in the thoughts of man, not his physical condition. In the tale of the Good Samaritan, a priest and a levite both passed a man that was covered in blood. Jewish law dictated a huge period of a cleanliness ritual to purify oneself from contamination of blood. The priest and the Levite did not want to delay themselves by touching something bloody and therefore becoming unclean. They had to pass this guy up. The Jewish Law of ritual purity, of physical parameters, this was what Jesus was undermining. He came for the sick. But then he added "....and Sin NO more". That is the kicker.

    And on top of all that, Christianity is based on "Right Belief", on "Ortho-doxa", (Right opinion). Truth is not very easy. Christ did say, I've come to bring a sword. Truth is not a path of leisure or easy. Violence naturally attends Truth. It is the way it is.

    Before the so-called "Enlightenment" or Protestant Reformation, Christianity never taught "Tolerance and Diversity". It is an innovation of heretics and infidels. And for some reason this innovation has now supplanted Wisdom.

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  6. "And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

    They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

    Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

    This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

    So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

    And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

    When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

    She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
    (John 8)

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