Harv, you just succeeded in giving me my dose of depression for the day. :) The kind of society you described may be a happy one, but if we all took Prozac we'd be happy too.
Your father is (was?) a wise man. By living a meaningful and passionate existence with a belief in something Greater than yourself, you are able to find a great deal of meaning in life. Meaning is something that humans need.
Though I'm sure you didn't mean it, this statement rang incredibly coldly cynical to me. (and I thought that was my job) You are essentially saying that belief in something greater leads to happiness, but it doesn't matter whether or not that greater power exists. All that matters is that you find "meaning" in life. Well, I'm sorry Harv, but meaning apart from reality is hollow and dangerous. Christian Fundamentalists finding meaning in their lives may eventually lead to the banning of the evolution from public schools. Is it so worth an imaginary pat on the back from the universe that we sacrifice all else in favor of satisfaction?
Humans are such a narcissistic species. We can't quite grasp the idea that maybe we just don't matter. Maybe the purpose of the universe, if there is one, does not involve us at all. Maybe the universe itself has no purpose, and we're all part of the same headless monstrosity. People can't accept these notions. Human love, human compassion, the joy of staying out until five in the morning with friends, the thrill of your first kiss, the magic of watching your first child born, these things aren't enough for us. We aren't satisfied to appreciate ourselves for our own sake, now we want the universe, too. How incredibly sad.
Without meaning our lives become pointless and depressing. The onset of depression is often caused by a lack of meaning in one's life.
Maybe so, but to use this to support the existence of a universal meaning is ludicrous, so again I assume you're not defending the existence of the meaning, but simply the belief in it. If so, Harv, you are a calculating pragmatist beyond compare. Belief for its own sake. I've heard your argument used before, and I can never fathom its foundations. (no offense) To come out and say that "Yeah, my belief is probably wrong, but it makes me happy" is the most doublethinkful statement in the history of the world. I never regret my occasional depression. I would never give them up in favor of an acknowledged placeholder.
humans become confused and feel that they must make a choice between God and science. Agnosticism and atheism are often the result.
If you ask me, I would say that reason and faith are mutually exclusive. At least, the philosophical approaches are. Observation and deduction versus intuition? I am perplexed. Sure, most everyone combines a bit of both into their worldview, but at its core, theism and rationality exist in two seperate universes. You can combine the two, only if you really feel like using doublethink again. If you can show me how faith and science are compatible, I'd appreciate it (and be suprised)
Anything that doesn't move society forward to a point that aids in human survival must be seen as ignorance. If this implies that a secular perspective is ultimately ignorant, then it must be avoided at all costs.
In this case, we have differing views on the word "ignorant." You say it's anything that hinders survival, I say it's anything that hinders knowledge. I have to say, your definition of the word makes me suspect that you're a closet nihilist. Shouldn't we, as a species, take our head out of the sand every once in a while, even if it means the sun will burn our eyes after centuries of darkness?