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December 2014
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Samldanach [userpic]
What I believe...

I'm using Ello as a blog to collect my artwork, and now to explore some philosophical musings. However, Ello does not yet support the jump-cut. So, I'm dusting off the old LJ to post the wall of text here, and link from there. Which does mean I have to make all these posts public. Eep. Anyway, feel free to also follow along and comment wherever.

One of my favorite topics besides gaming is religion. I am a deeply spiritual person. I would like to be a deeply religious person, if I could find a religion that matched my beliefs. So far, no luck. Which, I guess, is a good segue for describing my beliefs.

I am an atheist. But atheism is not a religion. It's not even, properly speaking, a set of beliefs. It is a single belief. The belief that there are no divine beings. Period. (NB: Atheism is not a lack of belief. That's agnosticism. And a rant for another day.) So, I need to expand on that. The term I have chosen is mystic humanist (which I discovered, after inventing it, that it had been invented before).

Breaking that term down goes a long way to encapsulating my beliefs. First, I am a humanist. That means that I believe that humans belong to the highest category of life. Given sufficient time and resources, we are capable of, literally, anything. This is both good and bad. ("He Who Must Not Be Named did great things. Terrible, true. But great.") It also means that humans are fully capable of inventing, using, and enforcing their own moral code. We do not need some set of laws handed down from on high. Throw together a few basic aphorisms and you have a good start. ("Do what thou wilt, an harm ye none." "Love thy neighbor as thyself." "Take only pictures, leave only footprints.") This kind of humanism is what most people who claim "atheism" actually subscribe to.

The trickier descriptor is "mystic". I believe in magic. Both the inherent magic we all possess, and the existence of realms, beings, and experiences that we can only describe with mythic language. I expect to go into quite some detail on what "magic" actually is (most people are far too easily distracted by the SFX, and miss the core essence). To put it (far too) simply, magic is a result of the exercise of will over the common laws of physics. Faith, even the size of a mustard seed, is sufficient to move a mountain. And has, on more than one occasion. Magic does not need the trappings usually associated with witches and wizards or priests and prophets, but they help.

The existence of supernatural forces is simply obvious to me, in much the same way the existence of God is obvious to other people. It makes sense. It fits with my experiences. It is satisfying to me. It is empowering to me. So I choose to believe in them. Can I prove them? Of course not. If I could prove the existence of the supernatural, I would know it, not believe it. Does that make it any less true? Of course not. There are all sorts of true things in this world that we cannot prove.

"But wait!" I hear you (oh so conveniently) cry. "You said you believe in magical beings. But you also said you don't believe in God. How does that work?" I'm glad you (oh so conveniently) asked. Like any philosophical discussion, there is a very simple answer, and a very complicated answer. The very simple answer is that "god" as defined by most existing religions is being greater than humans. In the least case, by an order of magnitude. In most cases, by several orders of magnitude. In the case of the Abrahamic God, by all the orders of magnitude. I just can't buy that. Spirits that are essentially equivalent to humans? Those make sense. Spirits that are categorically more powerful than humans in every sense, i.e., divine? They would necessarily distort reality to the degree that their existence would be undeniable. Since I can deny their existence, it doesn't make sense that they exist. Obviously, there are big holes and loops in my logic there. That's where the very complicated answer begins to take shape.

I plan to post some more things in the future. Hopefully as short. And, please comment. I love to discuss this stuff, and am wide open to challenge.