May 10, 2004

I wonder if this holds water?

So there I was. Roughly seven-tenth's of the way through assembling the awning that I spoke of in my previous post embarrassment, and this thought just popped into my head. "Isn't there a perceived link between Atheism and Liberalism?" (Don't ask me, I don't know where they come from either) From there the wheels have been turning. It makes sense to me when I look at it.

Let's just say that we all agree that atheism is rooted in logic, and religiosness is rooted in faith. I think that every human being has to have a little bit of both logic and faith to get along in life. After a person makes the decision that they are an atheist, what now? They suddenly have a whole lot of logic, but a distinct dearth of faith. If you think of this in terms of a percentage (say 50% L and 50% F, or 70%L and 30% F), then they have a certain part of themselves that needs to put faith in something, anything. So the "search"begins.

They wind up casting about all over the place trying to find something that fills the void. Crystals, communes, the environment, starving kids in Africa, pick your pleasure, or make up your own. Drugs (if you are talking about the hippy-type liberal) are therre to make the void more bearable, but don't fix the problem, and make them even more susceptible to "suggestion" from just about any source.

There is a distinct difference between the two sides here, and that is that the religious folks have a safety net to turn to. Instead of jumping up and down and wailing aobut the fate of the Universe, they (the more well-adjusted of them) can just sit back and say "It's HIS Will," and get on with their life. If not that approach, then they can say a prayer, and then say "It's in HIS Hands," which has the same effect. Watching TV is so much easier without all that guilt getting in the way of the plot of the "Friends" finale. The BIG GUY will handle it, is all they need to know.

Atheists don't have this sort of thing to fall back on, so a lot of them turn to the "We have to DO something" type of thinking. There's nothing else out there that will take the guilt away, so they resort to activism, and nutjobbery. Anything to fill the void of faith. Once the void is filled, whatever they chose to fill it with becomes their religion. If this person has a high "faith percentage", then they get to the same point as most of the "religious" wackos. Nothing you say to them will get through. Might as well talk to the wall, as it's more pleasant, and you get a lot better quality of conversation.

This is the type of stuff that rattles around inside my head while I'm doing menial labor, or driving for a long time.

Make any sense?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at May 10, 2004 09:14 PM

It makes a lot of sense.

I've often put it this way: "A man with no god thinks he IS one."

Which is exactly what you find - liberals playing God. You will know them by their fruits?

Posted by: Marty at May 11, 2004 08:52 AM

It goes a long way towards explaining some of the inexplicable behavior seen on the left side - the ability to idolize mass murderers like Stalin and arab suicide fascist hoodlums and REALLY MEAN IT.

Good insight, thanks.

Posted by: rick at May 11, 2004 03:50 PM

Heh. You remind me of ME.

Posted by: Acidman at May 11, 2004 04:04 PM

Once the void is filled, whatever they chose to fill it with becomes their religion.

You're right, in that a well-rounded person needs a balance between faith and logic. I see a more clear problem with the Religious Right/Islamic Extremist, in that they let their religion dictate how they behave. That's fine for an individual, but becomes problematic when you try and force your brand of morality on society. The Atheist-Left tell you to live your life as you see fit.

We're seeing now in the Middle East what can become of the West if the Religious Right continues to grow. It starts with book burnings, then moves to censorship on the radio, then censorship on the TV. What ever happened to the idea of adults being able to make their own decisions for themselves and their families about what they want to see and read? I'm much better equipped to determine what my children see and read, than some policy wonk in DC.

Posted by: The Other Mike S. at May 11, 2004 06:12 PM

Marty: "Fruits" heh. That's explains them to a "T".

Rick: Thanks for stopping by. Come back anytime.

Acidman: That's the best compliment I've had in a long while!

Mike: Nice comment. I think that this is why the liberals are so keen on the whole "Separation of Church and State" thing. They are afraid of that very thing happenning, and they're not exactly wrong. The problem is the fact that all we seem to see in the media are the extremes of either side, instead of the opinions of the "Well balanced" folks in the middle. Faith can move mountains, but too much of it can fuck up a country.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at May 11, 2004 09:35 PM

Hate to be contrary, but that made no sense at all. Sorry to the commenters that thought it was the greatest logical insight since _post hoc ergo propter hoc_.

Let me get this straight: Logic begets atheism, and faith begets religion. (The toledot are always easiest in the first generation or so, so sure.) Religion allows people not to think too hard about things, or do anything particularly meaningful, and still be comfortable looking themselves in the mirror. But atheists have to find a secular faith to preserve their state of mind, and find one in ... crystals, communes, and starving kids in Africa? Alright, fair enough.

But here's where you leave the tracks: This sort of thing, this replacement for religion, is supposed to _become_ their religion. Well, what happened to the logic / faith distinction at the beginning? Did that just go away? Is logic just a kind of faith, that crumbles after a while, leaving only the other kind of faith? Interesting metaphysics. But it would have been easier to see this idea in motion if you'd explained what, exactly, you were talking about. (It would have been welcome if you even understood what you were talking about.)

I don't want to leave you without at least one thing constructive, so I'll suggest a tip for future "arguments": If the logic you're trying to ascribe to another person creates a situation where that person would come to a conclusion, think thoughts, or say things that you could _never_ imagine an actual human being saying (in the absence of a really well-planned Monty Pythonesque mistranslated English-Finnish dictionary skit, or something)---please, stop, hesitate, rethink. Neither you, nor anyone you know, has ever met someone who idolizes "Stalin and arab suicide fascist hoodlums." At least not if they know the actual definition of all the words in that sentence.

Jesus, I feel dumber just for having been on this site. May God have mercy on you all.

Posted by: Tony the Pony at May 13, 2004 11:30 PM

Whatever the truth may be, it remains true no matter how strong the faith that contradicts it. Much of the truth is unknown; few have the humility to accept that.

Posted by: Brett at May 14, 2004 07:25 AM


Although your comment was very verbose, and decidedly pithy, there was something lacking. You say that my idea is incorrect, and that I didn't think things all the way through, and that may be, but you didn't provide an alternative to my theory. If you didn't grasp where I was going with this, then ask for a clarification. I'll gladly provide it. If you think I'm wrong, then state why, and then give me your version of what is right, and why. If it has merit, then I'll change my opinion. If all you can do is say that my writing sucks, and I don't explain myself properly, then just say that, and be done with it.

I appreciate dissent, but please do something productive with it. As you might have noticed from the title to this post, I was looking for a discussion, not an argument. It's called innuendo.


Well said! It's not what we know, it's what we know we don't know. I know that I don't know a lot, and I believe that it makes me a better person. To stop trying to know things that I don't know would make me a fool. I'm pretty good at predicting things (when I have enough information), but there are so many times I've been wrong, that I stopped counting.

Thanks for stopping by.

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