Over the course of 10 years, as I tried to make sense of the religion I had left (Mormonism) and why I had believed much of it in the first place, I began to deconstruct the very notion of belief and knowledge, starting with the foundational question “what can we know?”
That process gave me a lot of insight into how to change my own life, but also how to understand why many friends and family even refused to engage me in meaningful conversations about the changes I was experiencing. “Knowledge” in a community such as Mormonism has more to do with social standing than it does with facts and figures. And, now that I was outside of the community, I had nothing to offer them.
The understanding of this made my transition into politics easier. The same principles apply in partisan debates. We tend to martial facts that support our position, and our position tends to be crafted to ensure our acceptance within our tribe.
This article explains more of this: How Politics Makes Us Stupid
…I will not let go. I cannot agree with the Buddhist philosophy of non-attachment.
I wonder at the value of internal peace and tranquility. While I understand that many seek after such, what value is this in a world that will always require engagement? Where children are hungry and homeless. Where wars rage. Might not a feeling of discontent be a sign of an engaged life, where one recognizes that there is work to be done, work which can break hearts? Perhaps tranquility should not be the highest goal.
THIS conversation is one that we should be having. We need to question what our own “democracy” and economic policies are creating.
Honest disagreement, open to real discussion, can energize a relationship, even where there are stark differences. But that can only happen in the context of arguing for an open philosophy that recognizes difference as natural, fundamental (e.g. democratic pluralism). But when you argue for and from a position of closed philosophies, a position that doesn’t recognize the validity of difference (e.g. most religious belief, platonism), then disagreement is always destructive.
“Two studies released last week confirmed what most of us already knew: the ultra-wealthy tend to be narcissistic and have a greater sense of entitlement than the rest of us, and Congress only pays attention to their interests.”
Asking whether one believes in God is a nonsensical, and ultimately, meaningless question. One would not ask “Do you believe in King?” God, like King, is a title, a political office. What matters is not belief in the existence of a being who claims the title, but rather, agreement with the political philosophy of any being who would assert power over us.
What is Post-Atheism?
I’ve coined the term Post-Atheist to convey moving beyond our current understanding of the title of god and our relationship to it. The common questions about god are nonsensical (do you believe) and impossible for finite beings to rationally consider (e.g. debating the attributes of god). Further, belief in a being is a simplistic calculation; more important is agreement with that being on fundamental governing principles.
Would the existence of an all-powerful creator automatically bestow a right to authoritarian rule? Of course not, just as my power to create a child does not bestow upon me a moral right to authoritarian rule.
Rather than our being defined by a best-guess at the existence of a powerful being (atheist, agnostic, believer), it is more important to define what is and is not acceptable behavior from any being who would seek our participation in their community.
Do you believe in God?
This question is nonsensical.
“God” is a title. Titles are descriptive appellations which convey rank, office, or status. For example, “king” is the title of a person holding a political office. A king may also have a personal name; e.g, King George.
Like king, god is a title. Defined generally as “the one supreme being, the creator and ruler of the universe,”1 the title of god conveys rank, office and status.