There is no better motivation to get off your ass than everyone around you doing it first. That’s how it seems anyway. Procrastinating blogging is easy enough. Been doing it now for years. I won’t bore anyone with the biographical details that usually accompany introductions. You’ll catch some of that in the “about us” section if you care to look. If you hang out on the site for a while you will probably pick up more than you want to know about my life anyway so it seems counterproductive to scare you away now. For now I will simply say…Hi, my name is Jarreg and this is rant number one.
Since WilloNyx was kind enough to start out this little shindig I will tip my metaphorical hat to her and follow the general theme of her first post. I’m going to deviate a little though. Without further ado, a few words about atheism and the people fortunate enough to call it their own.
In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.
Writing in the nineteenth century, Heinrich Heine understood what many of us have to come realize today. Faith is not an effective path to truth. One could protest already that faith isn’t a path to truth at all. It is an assurance that you already have the truth. It is comfort. People of faith claim that the vehicle of their wisdom is revelation. We of a more rational persuasion can clearly see how unreliable revelation is. It has given us Islam and Judaism in their various and often contradictory forms without even having to mention the thousands of Christianities that only seem to stop fighting among themselves long enough to elect morons to office or wipe their asses on the constitution.
There are true things that can be discovered in the world. As people approach true things from different directions their understandings converge toward consensus precisely because they are getting closer to truth. If two scientists are looking for the age of the earth and they are using good methods they will both find themselves agreeing before long. Try that experiment with the revelations from “supernatural” forces. Luckily that experiment has been done hundreds of times already. Print a list of religions and denominations sometime and see how that worked out.
It should be enough to simply live a life where truth is a virtue and be respected for as much. I know everyone says they value truth but if you believe that I have a couple of experiments for you. The next time you find yourself talking to a person of faith, say a Bible believing Christian for example, ask them what evidence would convince them that their faith was misplaced. Ask them what would convince them that their god wasn’t real. After they answer that question ask them this: “If God wasn’t real would you want to know?” Do that experiment a few times with faithful people who throw the idea of truth around and see what you get back. It is enlightening.
It isn’t enough though. Of course it should be but that is the difference between living in a fantasy world and living in reality. It isn’t enough for us to try and live our lives according to our virtues. Not in this world it isn’t. We live in a world where people try and legislate deception and ignorance and outlaw reason. I don’t care if you call yourself an accommodationist or confrontationist. What I care about is that when someone spouts some superstitious nonsense with the full expectation that everyone agrees with it, I expect someone, some sensible person to object. Do it politely if you must. If you feel you need to piss them off then go right ahead. Just don’t keep your mouth shut and stare at your feet. Superstition deserves no respect but people often do. If you have to show irrational beliefs some small bit of deference in order to more effectively undermine their effects in our world then give it to them. Just let yourself be heard.
The blind old men don’t know the dawn is breaking. How could they? They will have to be told.