Feb 13

THINK, for crying out loud, THINK!

In Brief— A plea to develop support for your belief system. It makes no difference whether it is religious, political or social, give honest thought to what you profess to believe.

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Many people are too busy to really think. If they are lucky enough to have a job, they may be working one, two or even three jobs to keep food on the table and the rent paid. They may be over 50 and looking fruitlessly for a job or they may be babysitting the overactive grandkids. They may be engrossed in American Idol, a sporting event or 60 Minutes. Whatever the reason, they are too busy with other matters to think about stuff that really affects their lives.

Think About What is Really Important—

Today, February 10, 2014, I happened to read The Stone, a column on philosophy in the New York Times. It was titled “Is Atheism Irrational?” and had a Notre Dame emeritus professor, Alvin Plantinga, stating his reasoning as to why belief in God was defensible against the arguments of atheists. As an atheist, I found his arguments to be sophistry and guesses. More importantly, at least Plantinga had given considerable thought to his belief system. Most have not. This applies to not just religious views, it applies to political and social views as well.

Staying in the vein of The Stone, in Sweden as in other northern European countries, many of the people don’t give much thought to God. If not atheistic or agnostic, they are at least part of the “None” group who, when asked if they have any religious affiliation, say “None.” However, when asked about their belief system, they can give no clear reason to support their position. To a person who has given a great deal of thought to his/her belief system, who has perhaps studied religions and philosophy, vagueness and lack of a philosophy is worrisome.

My plea to those who simply have a knee-jerk position on aspects of life is to THINK. If it’s a person who presumably disbelieves in religion, then I ask that person to develop a solid rationale for disbelief in a supernatural entity that is believed by many to have created the universe and all within it. Genuinely rational thought about the claims of believers will almost certainly result in the realization that belief in a Supreme Being is at best misguided. Even the divine watchmaker who is believed to have set the universe in motion then stepped back is a figment of the imagination. Whether deist or theist, their credulous belief is nothing more than lack of sufficient knowledge and wishful thinking.

To those who believe in God I say, if God gave you a brain to think with then he must have realized that your thinking allows you to reject him, otherwise you would not have been given the brain that you have. Would this good God then punish you because you used the brain he gave you in a way that leads you to deny his existence? There is no logic in thinking that God would punish you.

If you believe that this good God has placed a snare in which you can get caught by using his gift, then this God is devious, this God is not the good God you believe in. No matter how you rationalize such deviousness, it is still devious.

Regardless of whether you are a Theist, Deist or an Atheist, are a Socialist, Republican, Libertarian or Democrat, develop a well-thought-out rationale for your position, a philosophy of belief. The issues are many: Is Edward Snowden a hero or a traitor? Is inequality advancing or crippling America? Honesty and personal integrity are mandatory. Blind partisanship is out. Whether it’s prolonged pondering or twenty minutes a day every day, take the time that’s necessary to build the structure to support your view. You have a brain, use it! THINK, for crying out loud, THINK!