More thoughts regarding the nature of belief: (by now, you are in a deep, deep sleep)

Continued from: http://wp.me/p2NgWa-5E

Take, for example, a man who believes in economic theories for which, not only is there no proof, but for which there exists quite a body of evidence indicating the contrary. Such evidence–such centuries of mounting evidence–will not sway this man. However what he believes is clearly “damning,” if you will, not only to himself, but to you, me, the world at large. That is religion. That is using a part of his brain for that for which it was not intended. That… is Stalin. Or Hitler.

Now take a man of faith; a man who believes in God, and who believes in the promise of the Man whose Birth we are today celebrating; a man who believes firmly that that Creator has endowed him, you, me, and even his enemies with a certain set of inalienable rights. This is a man with which, at least regarding such matters as these rights themselves, you and I would wholeheartedly agree. This is a man who could not disbelieve in such a God, no matter the evidence–or in his case, the lack of it–we show him regarding the existence of such a God. Such a man has much more in common with you, than to that aimless soul I profiled above. That is religion used for that for which it is intended. That is faith. This is Reagan or Ghandi, or Bayes, whose fundamental work is the foundation for this century’s, and no doubt next century’s, thinking machines, both grand and humble in function.

Such men are grounded in reality, because their groundless belief, if you will, is employed elsewhere, although it does speak to the preciousness they perceive regarding all individuals. Individuals which, such a man incontrovertibly believes were created “In God’s Image.” That, I would say is “a pretty big deal,” so to speak, if you think of what those words actually mean. This makes such a man not just seem to, but to actually have, more in common with you and I, and individualists, such as Peikoff, Rand, etc., than with such people who believe, also incontrovertibly, that society can and should be engineered.

And make no mistake; one who believes such a thing, believes in a thing that is evil; and is, no matter how unwittingly or by default, an evil man. This is because he denies the individual importance of you to yourself, or me to myself, or even him to himself–not to mention the importance of any we hold as special or dear. It is evil to you and I, and others who believe that individuals are important in and of themselves; because it denies the primacy of individual men. It is evil to the man of faith, particularly the Christian, for the same reasons, and because he incontrovertibly believes every individual is unique and special to God; and therefore, is, perhaps unlike some atheist individualists, even willing to die rather than deny this primacy, and hence deny God. It is evil because it is tautologically inconsistent. It is not consistent with a man claiming “A or NOT A,” with a man claiming that a certain logical premise is true, or it isn’t; but with a man claiming “A AND NOT A,” with a man claiming that a certain logical premise is both true and false as the same time. One could simply dispense with the formal logical expression and call it insane. It is evil to willingly, whether knowingly or not, embrace an idea that is insane. It is insane to embrace an idea that is fundamentally evil. This shows us that the insane idea is itself an evil idea. A formal reduction would show a final result of evil being evil. Hence, evil ideas are evil ideas, and therefore evil as well.

I’ve met a number of men of faith who I truly believe would die, or at the very least, go much further on the rack–under torture–than I could before denying this primacy of the individual. History rather shows us that, throughout the centuries, many have done so. Those of us without so firm a moral compass who nonetheless believe in the primacy of the individual, are quite often lacking in such resolve. I am, in fact, very much aware of this deficit; as I am aware that I need to fill that void of faith with something that will support–that will cause me to insist upon–this primacy. Even under duress. I am sorely lacking in that in which men of faith, particularly men of the Christian faith, are quite wealthy.

This is certainly a topic for another post, to be sure, but this does seem to put into perspective why such evil men as I have heretofore described appear to single out the Christian faith as somehow being the “worst of the worst,” as it were, when clearly, even if one finds oneself critical of all religion, it is far from being. As evidenced by their unwavering zeal against it, it is almost as though these anti-theists, or so-called atheists, believe one particular thing that Christians believe, and with as much certainty as Christians believe it:

That Christianity is, in fact the true faith.

This also suggests that such people are far from atheistic–that, in fact, the term “anti-theist” is much more descriptive of their tenor, and that furthermore, that this term in large part describes the “religiosity” of such people. Otherwise… why single out Christianity–a religion that is perhaps the most benign or at any rate numbers among the most benign?

But enough about them. Let us concentrate instead on matters concerning ourselves and our fellow men of faith–those of us who believe in the primacy of the individual. Such a primacy is protected and preserved by people of faith in such a way, for example, that such secular advocates of the individual will often cite–albeit generically. We will insist that individuals acting as such, in a society which is as free and as unregulated as is humanly possible, one that respects this primacy–which this country once was and sadly is no more–will act much more efficiently to preserve and protect life liberty and property than could any of the aforementioned heedless souls engineer by forceful means. We cite proof, to give a further example, of such economic freedom causing medical services to be affordable, of which there is also plenty. We cite private charities which would, unfettered by forceful intrusion by such social engineers, much more efficiently provide care for the indigent–also a fact which does not require speculation because such was undeniably the case–particularly in this country–before such forceful intrusion began..

But even in the face of such forceful intrusion, we still see evidence of these things. But not in all quarters. Travel, if you will, to any city in this country. There you will find, for example, facilities with names akin to “Our Lady of Providence Hospital,” “Emanuel Hospital,” “Adventist Hospital” “Central Lutheran Hospital.” Conspicuously absent are “Karl Marx, Anti-theist Hospital,” “Central Valley Atheist General Hospital,” or even, “Von Mises Individualist Hospital.” So my question is this: Who has actual resolve to assert the primacy of the individual? The answer is rather a case of “Put up; or, shut up.”

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φίλει ἐμὲ for now | 0over0

The following is in response to this lovely account:

φίλει ἐμὲ for now | 0over0.

(I have reposted it here as per my rule of “write a novel as a comment; then you should probably republish it yourself also!”)

I love this story, sir. Your writing is very clear and beautiful.

By way of full disclosure, I should admit to you that I am an atheist–but… I am not “that” kind of atheist. In fact, one of my best friends has charitably described me as a “full Gospel atheist.” (as has Dear Mrs. Emeron–who most definitely is a woman of deep and abiding faith) He further, and perhaps with even more Christian Charity, draws the distinction between an atheist and an anti-theist. Even further, he insists that most atheists, so-called, are firmly of this second category–in this, he may be correct, I am not sure, for I am hardly a man of the world. Even more further, furtherer… he insists that this anti-theism is a religion in and of itself; in this I believe he is dead on.

Whether or not there is a God would not change the clear fact that we are “wired,” so to speak, for faith. (there is ever-growing scientific evidence for that) And it is my contention, and has been my observation, that when that “hole,” for want of a better term, in our hearts, or minds, if you will, is not filled with that for which it is designed to be filled, all manner of insanity will often ensue. People in such a condition end up believing in all sorts of nonsense–not the least of which is responsible for much human suffering–such as in the former eastern block, to give a ready example.

I therefore often caution people like me–as well as cautioning myself–to take great care regarding any unprovable worldly beliefs into which they may unwittingly fall. Belief is meant for God, not economic or political theories or unrepeatable scientific events.

Therefore, I am happy to pray with and for my Christian friends. I am happy–very thankful–if and when they pray for me. Saying grace at each and every meal helps me to see my fortune for what it is. And of course, He and His Son figure greatly in my published work for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that… well… how can 4000 years of liturgical tradition not colour, in fact completely fill in, all aspects in the whole of our culture–if not all of creation.

I was once a man of deeply held faith. I miss it. And truth be told, I dearly hope I am wrong and my Christian friends are right. I mean this with complete sincerity, and with all the humility I can muster, which I hope I have here conveyed.

Your writing, and your faith, are quite beautiful. Please do keep it up; and, if you have time, please do keep in touch.

via φίλει ἐμὲ for now | 0over0.