Monday, February 28, 2011

Life in a Post-Theological World

"Our Humanity, Naturally - A Club for Humanists." 
Psychology Today article (02.28.11) by Dave Niose:

I think there are many out there that would disagree about this being a "warm and fuzzy" article (mainly the credulously-inclined).  Most "benefits" of theology tend to be misguided, as they can be obtained by other, far more direct means (mindfulness, meditation, good deeds, humility, a focus on innate wisdom and compassion, etc).  If humanity approached the world from a humanistic standpoint (i.e.: with a focus on what Sam Harris would call "the greater good of humanity" vs. "Gods will"), I don't believe we would have an equal abundance of such theologically supported horrors.

Unfortunately, the ideas presented in this article will continue to be unpopular for the most who strongly hold dearly to their spiritual narcissism.  Such ideas will inevitably be seen as being elite, arrogant, inciting, etc. - missing the point completely.  The bigger picture will likely be missed due to innate, credulously induced fears and a dire need for an erroneous sense of control (which is one of the main errors of such a person, as any control we believe we have in this world is merely a wishful delusion). 

Needless to say, here's the main points of this article which I happened to find refreshing, if not completely obvious to anyone who has had ever the opportunity to transcended their own egocentric and grandiose delusions at the root of most theologies:

* Our ancestors needed answers to the big questions. Lacking the scientific knowledge that could provide explanations, all human societies developed creation myths, supernatural entities, beliefs about death/afterlife, etc. to provide these answers.

* Humanity doesn't need creation myths anymore due to our evolving scientific understanding of how the Earth formed and how life evolved on our planet.

* We don't know what, if anything, caused the Big Bang, but there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that it was some kind of "super-being with intent."

* Intent itself is something that comes from a brain, and that a brain is a product of (not a cause of) the natural world.

* There is even less evidence that a "super-being with intent" has revealed Absolute Truth to ancient prophets (as many major world religions continually claim).

* The post-theological individual is not deprived of the positive benefits that were derived from theology.

* There is lots of room for awe, wonder, and profound thinking without religion (just ask Richard Dawkins).

* Since this one life is our only certainty, the need to live a moral life is a much better motivator than fear of eternal punishment from an angry mythological God.

* Proven well beyond any reasonable doubt, the theory of organic evolution renders a higher power completely irrelevant and unnecessary.

* With the need for theological explanations of the natural world eliminated, many good, ethical people simply see theology itself as completely irrelevant and unnecessary.

* Although defenders of theology will continue to "play the morality card," there is much empirical evidence from various branches of science that humanities capacity for morality is undoubtedly innate (i.e.: not from God).

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