"Ethical Rationalism", follow-up by David G. McDivitt


To: egoism@maelstrom.stjohns.edu
Subject: (fwd) Re: religion/God
From: mcdivitt@springnet1.com (David G. McDivitt)
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 12:59:16 GMT
Subject: Re: religion/God
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 1998 05:52:51 GMT

OK, I'll do my best. The claim is pursuant to reductive reasoning and rational thought. This is easy only if a person makes rationality the highest priority. God concepts come by way of spiritual concepts. Spirituality is a vague and ambiguous thing. When we view the history of culture, spirituality is merely the representation of whatever social consciousness at any given point in time. Because of mystery, fear, and lack of identity, social consciousness becomes quite sacred. However, as human knowledge increases, especially through technology, worship of the unknown and random happenstance becomes less significant.

It is quite a step to declare there is no god. It's not easy to do because one totally ostracizes self from centuries of ritual. However, rational thought does have a sense of ethic, thereby demanding this departure from cultural heritage. It is plainly seen how god concepts are readily reduced in past societies. The question is: Is a person willing to reduce god concepts of present day society, after the same fashion, though we have not the privilege of looking back on who we are today, from the future?

It is the supreme test of ethical rationality in my opinion. Is a person willing to accept rationality for what it is, or continue giving in to mysticism?

It appears to be an ostracization from culture, but actually not. We can have the choice regarding what manner of culture to participate in, rather than obediently follow whatever social theme. It is a fearful thing to go against authority. God concepts represent the highest authority in our culture. Society may rule your behavior, but it need not rule your mind as well.

To be rational is a choice, allowing one to make social participation a choice, rather than edict.

Yes, it disturbs me that I may appear as a bigot, and narrow minded when I say there is no god. However, what negotiating posture does irrationality have with rationality, unless one allows it? It is my mind. I have the right to be as rational as I desire, just as others have the right not to be so rational. And so society, with its god concepts, continues. A rational ethic dictates one will stand totally alone, if it makes sense, and having a rational ethic one is willing to do that.

When I die I am quite willing to step into nonexistence, recognizing it to be so, while others comfort themselves with spiritual folly. Unfortunately, their avoidance of reality propagates into the way they live their lives as well. The fact I have a rational ethic just happens to give me greater satisfaction, and more peace, because I realize I don't have anything to seek out or find.

>David G. McDivitt,
>
>How goes it. In reply to your letter, your "detachment" suggestions I
>liked best. I have very similar ideas except I call it "perspective".
>And I call it perspective because every now and then, when I stop doing
>things and thinking about doing things and think about "my position",
>I'll get a sudden understanding, knowledge if you like, but most
>accurately perspective of my personal situation regarding my existence.
>But this only happens when I stop doing things. Know what I mean?
>Detachment as a term suits it very well too.
> Atheism is a belief that no God exists. It is no different to the
>suggestion that God does exist. Belief is a kind of knowledge. Now, if
>we lived devoid of societal influences (a difficult concept to grasp but
>one presented hypothetically) you are suggesting that no God would exist
>because no one has thought it and presented it to other people.
>
>"I would not know there is a god except by whatever cultural
>presentation. There is no evidence of god beyond that. As I learn to
>detach and gain my awareness, I am also able to detach from god
>concepts. My atheism is a separation from culture, only. It is not a
>separation from god, because there is no god to separate from."
>
>At least this is my interpretation of your last letter, and Iím having
>difficulty with it. You seem to have placed God and Culture in the same
>category - or at least God is simply a product of society. Thus, through
>detaching yourself from society you detach yourself from God. This seems
>a little narrow, especially for one who claims they are "detaching"
>themselves. Surely, if a God of some description exists, it is the
>society that is the product of God. Please, if Iím following an
>incorrect line, set me straight, because Iím having difficulty seeing
>how you hold the authority to proclaim that no God exists, and I'm
>greedy for enlightement. What do you do for a crust?
> - Matt M.


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