Thursday, 3 February 2011

my response to "No one has all the answers, and the world is surrounded by contradictions."

my mormon friend wrote to me in a mail recently:
So now that you have found a new way of life, tell me what your purpose is. Do you now intend on trying to contradict all religions, or just the LDS Faith? No one has all the answers, and the world is surrounded by contradictions.

my response:
well, i don't have a purpose, i simply exist, but isn't everybody's *real* desire to do things that make them happy/give them pleasure?
i enjoy discovering and uncovering logical fallacies, yes, especially when they are a part of a belief/political system that tries to take away people's freedoms and pursuit of happiness, as long as THAT pursuit of happiness doesn't infringe upon others, etc.

> No one has all the answers, and the world is surrounded by contradictions.

this is exactly how religions full of cognitive dissonance want their believers to respond to things they are taught that are contradictory or things they don't understand:
"well, god understands it. he'll sort it out in the eternities. it's not relevant to my salvation."
"if it can't be explained then god must have done it"
"no one will ever be able to understand/explain that. god's ways are not our ways, his ways are higher than our ways"

on the contrary, science can explain A LOT of things; science has A LOT of answers. it's the BEST tool we have to understand the world around us. like i've mentioned before, just look at all that science ALREADY has given us answers to. we have, e.g.:
* microwave ovens
* atom smashers
* lasers
* virtual reality
* computers and the www
* organ transplants
* we've been to the moon

the list goes on and on.

there's a really cool debate between sam harris and michael shermer vs. deepak chopra about "the future of god". a really cool opening remark by shermer was that "we're only really talking about the future of the *belief* in god. belief in belief."

i know the church teaches you that you can only know REAL truth by "the testimony of the holy ghost", but when you think rationally about it, this is absolutely untrue, and the REAL world doesn't work that way. testable, reproducible and peer-reviewed scientific data is the only way people in the real world establish "truth". the FDA requires this in order to legalize medicine.
the only way poor kids get into ivy league colleges is a scholarship, granted on the basis of perfect grades and the highest test scores. and so on and so on.

when you look e.g. at the old testament's teachings, you can see that these were based on the knowledge (science) that they had at that time in the bronze age. we know that the earth revolves around the sun. we know the earth is not flat. we know there wasn't a global flood. we know that homo sapiens have existed for at least 100,000 years. we know what epilepsi is--we take our child to a doctor when he starts seizing, not a priest because we think he's possessed of the devil or a demon. we know that you don't stone your child if he doesn't obey you. we know you don't stone a woman if she commits adultery.

i know it might be hard to swallow (for me it was the opposite, i was excited when i understood all of this), and the natural reaction is to fall back on feelings you get, feelings/impressions you think come from god or the holy ghost, but like i've said before, suicide bombers believe in their cause even MORE than you believe in yours, because they LITERALLY believe that they will enter paradise and meet muhammad and receive their virgins enough to actually kill themselves (and others). most people in other religions have the exact same feelings/impressions that you have experienced. the simple explanation for this is psychology. and again thinking rationally about it, feelings and the supernatural never trump scientific facts. that's why no one has ever taken james randi's 1 million dollar prize for anyone who can prove he has supernatural abilities

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