Greetings all, I have an thought (not original) that has been running around my head for a while. It involves the proper actions we (as humans) should take if in fact some deity does exist. If there is a god I propose that we, as thinking creatures with the desire to live our own lives, should reject that god.
That is to say, if a god exists, we should say "thanks but no thanks". Despite how wonderful and benevolent or evil and capricious, we should tell this god we do not want nor require its assistance. I firmly believe that if we, as humans, want to truly grow we can not have any one looking over our shoulder. When discussing this I use the example of a father (evil or altruistic doesn't matter) and two sons. Son A, never leaves home and lives off of daddy's money and doesn't make anything of himself. While son B says, "thanks for all the help dad but I have to do this on my own" and sets out to make his fortune. I contend that while Son A is always going to taken care of, he never really grows up. He remains a child being told what to do and never thinking for himself. However, son B develops over time because he has to do it alone. He is forced to think and learn from his mistakes, that ultimately improves his character.
I say we should strive to be like son B. we should reject our "Father" and strike out on our own. Yes like son B we will make mistakes and take the wrong path and we might not even survive. This may be our destruction, but demanding to live our lives on our terms is the minimum we should expect.
At the heart of "Manliness" is the desire to stand on ones own, is it not? So if a god exists we should stand up and say "NO".
The assumption that "doing things on your own" or rebelling as learning mechanism, as the only path to knowledge, growth, manliness, doesn't seem that well supported to me. It is one path, certainly... but not the only one, and not even necessarily the best one... especially as we must coexist in societies where rarely is anything accomplished entirely on your own.
But since we have no evidence whatsoever that a god exists, much less which one or which rules we should follow - this is moot. Especially since it could hypothetically be that a hypothetical god would want us to rebel, or grow on our own... without specific instances of what god and what rules we would be rebelling against, such advice is meaningless.
I understand your point. I just don't know that it really is either necessary or well supported.
"without specific instances of what god and what rules we would be rebelling against, such advice is meaningless. "
My point is it doesn't matter what god or what rules existed, having big brother always there is the problem. As Hitchens says "...the impermeable faith that can't give way is a promise of something not worth having". Also just to clarify, by rebel i don't mean do the opposite of what this god says just out of spite.
I guess my point is two fold.
1. If it is demonstrated that there actually is a god, rejecting him outright, without knowing what, if anything he wants from us, is foolish. For one, he could want you to reject him. Hitchens was talking about living hobbled lives on the basis of faith and promises, not facts. In your hypothetical, it is a fact. Rejecting a fact, is usually unwise.
2. You are also assuming that the god would take a "big brother" aspect, and second, that anything you did was really your choice to make... depending on our understanding of hypothetical god X's power - that may not be your choice.
It's all still moot. Reject faith claims and vague promises... sure. I'm with you there. Reject what is demonstrated to be true in order to man up? No. Poorly framed hypothetical if that's what you are after.
no you misunderstand my point. I don't mean deny or reject the existence of god as in deny the fact that, he is. I mean to say if a god exists fine accept that but reject his authority over (sorry I didn't make that clear) us even if its Big Brother or a kindhearted deity. I contend that what the god wants does not matter. We must live our own lives based on our own terms. That's my point.
I'm sure you studied your Sinatra ..."I did it my way"
I do not think that "always rebel against authority - no matter who, what they ask of you, or their power over you" is a good policy.
It may actually be that obeying IS the best way. Doing it your way is irrelevant if it does not serve your own needs.
That is to say, rebelling, for the sake of rebelling, is a ridiculous reason to rebel.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” ― Marcus Aurelius
now, while i agree with both you and uncle Mark, there, let me play god's advocate here, just for yuks.
the possibility you don't consider in your post, Christopher, is that through knowing and worshiping a diety, we become fuller and better people, better men. Conan's prayer to Krom comes to mind. by comparing ourselves to a perfect being, we are driven to aspire, to become better ourselves.
yeah, i don't buy it either.
through knowing a perfect being it is possible to use its example as a measuring stick to judge ones self, I'll grant that. However, i'm sure you'll agree that doesn't make one worth of worship.
I don't know who said it but "Any god worthy of worship would not want it"
That's a great Marcus Aurelius quote btw.
the christian appologists i've read have countered the "god doesn't need worship" line by saying of course he doesn't; we do. i don't buy that, though it is neat to feel something larger than oneself.
something your discussion with Liam brought to mind: IF there was a creator god and IF we could know what he wants from us and IF we were sure he was benevelant...it would be pretty wise to at least see what he has to say. it's not unmanly to seek advice from wiser beings, whether they are men or aliens or gods or what have you.
I totally agree with you its not unmanly to seek advice but there is huge difference between asking for advice and worship.
I would want to know all I could about this God before I made any decision on whether or not to rebel against it/him/her.
If in FACT God existed and if in FACT he would send me to hell forever, for whatever reason, good or evil, I would avoid eternal torture, whatever the cost. This is where I do agree with "pascal's wager" in one sense (which, given this particular hypothetical is no longer a "wager" in the true sense). If it was true, and there was nothing I could do to avoid hell but worship, then sign me up. I'm not burning for eternity out of pride. Fuck that. Burn for a few minutes and then die? Maybe... depending on the situation I might take the martyr route, but forever? Nope.
Luckily, God's not real. :)