Thursday 17 July 2014

Given that the 'evidence' is ambiguous, it is the primary assumption about Life which mostly influences the evaluation of whether existence is meaningful, or not


Does God exist, does Life have meaning and purpose? There is some evidence on both sides; the evidence is ambiguous...

Therefore, what is usually crucial is the assumptions we bring to the evidence - the assumptions shape the conclusion.

If we bring-to the evidence the inborn, spontaneous, natural assumptions (of early childhood) - the assumptions of animism (a living universe), the (theistic) reality of spirits, gods or God... then we become religious.

But if we bring-to the evidence the assumptions of modern, secular Leftist (hence anti-Christian) culture - then we become atheist, and indeed de facto nihilist in that we feel, suspect, believe and tend to act on the basis that reality is not really real.

Consequently, in order for modern secular people to become (really) religious, they must first recover their childhood assumptions.



Anonymous said...

I think it has much to do with abstraction.

Abstraction is a power famously late to mature, and also not a gift shared equally by all.

The adept abstractor cuts up one real whole - existence from its meaning, for instance. Children are much less apt than he to do this (as are most adults, for that matter).

But it is odd that at this moment his power often fails: separating the visible from the invisible, both become opaque to him (as if sensibly so) and he decides which he prefers is 'really there' - the meaning or the existence.

The real thing can be lost behind the phantoms. The mind bent to abstraction has to make an effort to abstract even more to see through his own distinctions, which are only in thought, and reclaim the real thing with which he started,, and which he never actually cut.


Bruce Charlton said...

@Bill - Yes. The difference is that historical people as they matured used to build the abstractions on the basis of spontaneous, inbuilt assumptions' of childhood; whereas now modern people reject the assumptions and try to build abstractions upon a foundation of... nothing.

daniel said...

The possibility of meaningless seems to be built-in aspect of man's freedom of will. Since man must not be compelled, but must choose to to love God and believe in Him, he also must be free to reject Him.
So this "flexibility" and "openness" is built into the Universe as God created it. But it is a terrible burden for man.

Bruce Charlton said...

My understanding is that God did not build in our free will - it is co-existent with God. And that we personally chose and volunteered, pre-existently, to become mortal incarnates - we could have stayed as spirits, but took the risk of coming to earth in order to attain bodies and try to become more like God.