Of dieties and beliefs

So, this is sort of a continuation of yesterday’s post. The question I’m going to address in this post is probably one of the oldest ones in religion.

If I have internally a sense of what I feel to be right and wrong with respect to God – and it disagrees with what the world’s majority religion says is right or wrong – should I think

a: I’m wrong

b: They’re wrong

c: Something is jamming my communications, hence I can’t hear them and/or they can’t hear me

d: Absolute right and wrong have no place in religious discussion [unless one wants a holy war or three], there is only relative right and wrong for each individual

Now, if you believe the Christians, this actually matters. It’s apparently not enough to just set the ‘I accepted Jesus’ flag high once and ignore it.. there are apparently some other things you have to do in order to qualify for not being tormented forever, although they’re a little unspecific as to what. But.. it seems *extremely* counterintuitive that the Christians could be right. Let me explain.

If I was created – as opposed to evolved, or always existing, or any of the other amusing possibilities for how I got to be here in this place and time – my creator presumably designed me to be, more or less, what I am. Which means that if I have a sense of instinct that says a religion is wrong, it probably is – that’s probably built in, as a sort of informational immune system, to keep me away from the occasional person who might otherwise use religion to control or abuse me.

The alternative is to think.. if you’re taking the Christian view of things.. that my creator created me with a set of beliefs and instincts that would lead me to being tormented eternally. Set me up to lose. If you take *That* view, then God is evil and we are all fucked. Oh, dear, there go my judgy jackels again.

No, this is a little worrisome. If I take the majority rule view of religion, ignoring my own inner voice, I’m killing myself in favor of something that, to be honest, doesn’t look that great. If I stick with my own instincts, ignoring the religious texts that feel wrong, it seems like it’s possible I will find the right answers, or at least stay away from the wrong ones. But it’s a scary leap to take, because I am basically ignoring what you’ve all said to me.

Another option is to look at alternate religions. After all, one doesn’t necessarily choose the best religion by democracy, any more than one chooses the best operating system or programming language that way. So, we have several stripes of Buhddism to investigate, including the SGI folks, the Zen folks, and the idea that one should just try and do whatever mental process Siddartha did to begin with.

[Honestly, chanting to a piece of paper that describes the shape of a loving universe seems considerably less whack than bowing down before a torture implement.. but  I digress]

Friends have suggested various Buhddist temples.. perhaps it’s time I got off my duff and actually showed up at one?

Anyway, back to the original problem, which is.. actually, probably one that’s more overarching than just religion. In general, if my gut and the data the world is presenting me disagree, should I go with my gut, or should I go with what the world is presenting me? I don’t have to tell you that this world has a lot of people with really questionable motives running around in it, or that the economic and social systems seem to be built up in such a way as to make it both a hazerdous place and a place where a lot of competition goes on.

Um, is my perception. Again, lately I’ve been toying with the idea that the world isn’t really what I think it is at all. The problem is that I know a lot of the things I’m afraid of (the IRS, the franchise tax board, eviction, etc) are real, and not just in my head. Um.. do I know that? I think I know that? I have this vision of me sending a letter to the FTB – “You don’t exist. Go away.”. [Bonus points for anyone who gets the operating system reference]

It’s a interesting.. not to mention somewhat upsetting.. possibility to consider that I am my own tormenter, that I always have been. I guess that’s sort of a Buhddist thing, though, isn’t it? If so, the question I have to ask, being a somewhat pragmatic Sheer is, great, how do I stop?

Anyway, once more back to the original topic, which is – the data the world is presenting me and my gut instinct disagree on something. Do I go with the data the world is presenting me, or my gut?

2 Responses to “Of dieties and beliefs”

  1. ClintJCL Says:

    The world has been and is wrong in many cases. We were once immoral animals, after all. And there are more human slaves today than at any point in history. Obviously some people don’t have a problem with it… And they’re wrong.

  2. Curious Says:

    Too tired to post a good reply to this, so I’ll leave you with:
    Michael Shermer’s Baloney Detection Kit –

Leave a Reply