07 August 2007

My Empirical disaster.

Here, now, is my simple defense of Empiricism.

Two religions make equally irrational claims. I say irrational not to tap into all the negativity surrounding the word, but to tap into the true nature of religious claims of the big three and Mormonism that are, at their core, not rational. Muhammad talks to an angel. Abraham talks to God and God chooses a whole nation of people to bless, excluding others. Jesus rises from the dead. Golden tablets come from heaven. All of these things are irrational, and we don't accept them easily because we don't (or can't) experience things like this. They are outside of anything we know or can know.

Now, irrational claims are okay. I'm not going to say religious folks shouldn't be religious or that faith is not a worthwhile endeavor, so long as it is understood as faith, and not knowledge. Because the truth is one can never really know if Muhammad was spoken to by an angel or if Jesus rose from the dead or if Abraham talked to God or if there were any golden tablets. If you ascribe any of these beliefs, you are acting on faith, not on reason.

The problem is, I think, when two religions, both making irrational, non-empirical claims both demand that you follow their message or face damnation. Because, if you take rationality out of the equation, how do you choose? If you leave it up to the 'spirit' (however you conceptualize of it), people will end up choosing all four religions depending on where they were born and how their culture gives them access to or excludes them from the irrational message of the faith group. The spirit tends to act pretty predictably within party lines.

Might I throw my metonymical hat into the metonymical religion hat, uh, ring?

The message of these faiths is that there are two boats in the water. One will sink when you get in it and the other won't. Once you get in, you can't get out. In both boats you have people shouting that theirs is the right boat. You see people getting into both boats. Everyone is shouting that all you need to do is trust your heart.

Kirk Cameron and that Australian guy have said to me on several occasions, 'So what, do you want some cold scientific world where everything is dependant on what can be proven? You will just be trusting scientists then and we all know how much they have to gain from leading you astray.' The vision is of a Maoist wasteland with no art or music or love. Well, no, I don't want that. What I want is for people making irrational claims to cut the rest of us some slack and realize that faith and knowing are two different things and pretending that one is the other is ridiculous.

Honest and clever responses are necessary.
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