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Posted by Aurino Souza on August 10, 2001 16:10:39 UTC

Harv,

I don't think you believe in God. Apparently you think you do but your God is as close to anyone's definition of God as to be completely meaningless. I don't have a problem with that God of yours but I wonder why anyone would waste time with it. I mean, what is the use for your God? Does it answer prayers? Perform miracles? Talk to you? Makes any difference in anyone's life?

For all your talk, I don't think you really understand religion. God is not a thing that exists, God is just a myth. God is as real as Santa Claus or the tooth fairy, it only exists in people's imagination. Now the myth is very powerful and useful and I see no reason to stop cultivating it. The God myth has given us moral standards, great art, breathtaking architecture, dramatic literature, divine music. The myth can inspire and bring the best out of people, and that alone justifies it. In fact, that is the only thing that can justify it. Any attempt to define God, which is undefinable by definition, is just a waste of time. Let's get real once and for all.

The other day I met this guy who has a webpage on natural theology. His basic argument was that Jesus was not the son of God, never performed miracles, didn't ressurect or ascended to heaven, but was a very wise man nonetheless and his teachings are valuable for what they are, no supernaturalism required to follow Christ's words. Personally I have no idea who Jesus was or even if he existed at all but I do see a problem in that argument. If Jesus was not divine who cares what he said? There always have been, and there always will be, too many wise people around, wisdom alone is not enough to put one man's philosophy ahead of another, except if it's a matter of personal opinion.

So I wrote to this guy asking him that question, and he thought I was a religious person trying to convince him that Jesus was indeed divine, and he replied to me with the same nonsense (or rather, ordinary commonsense) I had already read in his webpage. When I replied again telling him that I wasn't concerned about Jesus, but simply about the philosophical problems in his arguments he simply dropped out of the discussion telling me that philosophizing is fine but pretty much useless. Can you believe that?

That's pretty much what I get from your arguments pro-God. You are trying to convince atheists that if you reduce God to a minimum that can be believed then you are free to believe. As it happens, the minimum that can be believed for some people amounts to natural phenomena plus nothing else worth worrying about. Why ask people to believe in something that cannot be known by definition, the "mystery of mysteries"? That sounds like nonsense to me.

I think it's time we grow up. We all know Santa Claus doesn't exist but we still teach our kids about it. Why? Because it's beautiful and it's harmless, that's all. And I do suspect that most religious people believe in a particular myth simply because the myth is beautiful, not because it's true. Reason cannot justify beauty but beauty justifies itself. The rest is just pseudo-intellectual foolishness, as Alex will remind you.

Wow, it must be a long time since someone criticized you so harshly. Nothing personal though.

Warm regards

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