The subject recently came up via a blog article someone found on the web about how people like Glenn Beck and others often fall back on ‘God’ as the cause, foundation and reason for any number of things from laws, morals, ethics, etc. The intention of the web article was to discourage this and encourage the use of ‘reason’ as a basis for such things.
I have been saying this for years to anyone with any kind of belief system. Mainly, if you are relying on a system of ‘faith-based belief’ as a cause or purpose for things, you are only going to convince people that share your belief. Furthermore, your desires may fall on deaf ears if people are against your belief, and/or people may use challenges against your belief as a method of destroying your cause, even if it makes sense.
The most recent discussion of this nature was just over a month ago in response to a friend’s status message right here on Facebook and I thought it was worthy of posting with names removed.
Regardless of what you might believe or not believe, think or not think, support or not support, the point I was making in this conversation could be useful for you to think about. If you rely on a perspective, a belief, a hunch or some other non-quantifiable basis for something you wish to bring about, you will ultimately have a hard time gaining support for it. If the idea makes sense, fall back on ‘reason’….
Friend’s status message:
if we believe that our certain “unalienable” rights are granted by the grace of God…we are truly free people. If we believe that the government is responsible for our rights, we are then only as free as the government allows us to be. A government large enough to provide all of our needs is also large enough to take them all away, essentially en-slaving it’s population. Free or slave? You decide!
me: There’s only one problem with that kind of explanation. If rights are unalienable only because they are granted from God, then how do you get people with no religious or mystic beliefs to acknowledge the rights of others?
friend: You don’t necessarily…you just got to be smart enough not to vote THOSE PEOPLE into office
me: And then ‘those people’ will not vote for your guy because his only means to explain the ‘why’ of your rights is to point to the sky.
friend: I wasn’t aware God lives in the sky Scott…have you been there…do you know the way?
me: How’s about this take on it then. If we believe our rights exist only as a result of the grace of God, then who do we rely upon to tell us what rights God has deemed we have?
me: My point being there is a way to address the issue of ‘rights’ (by way of objective reason) that does not necessarily dismiss the individual ‘belief’ as to what ultimately underlies their existence. If you desire to see all creation as a result of a divine being, that does not dismiss the observable realities of our universe that make the notion of ‘unalienable rights’ not only necessary for men, but right and proper.
friend: Well…apparently…we have YOUR president…I mean he has all these grand ideas that we are entitled to everything…
me: By what objective reason can you demonstrate we are entitled to everything?
friend: Quit being a douchebag
me: Well I’m just wondering how that prior comment (which does not invalidate your beliefs) somehow equates to support for Obama and his policies?
me: To clarify, the recognition of observable, repeatable, explainable evidence in front of us does not dismiss any notion of ‘why’ such evidence exists. When speaking to people who do not share your belief as to how they came to be, you can still point to the evidence to support your premises and thereby your conclusions.
me: Life has value, human beings are curious and the human mind craves the ability to understand as well as to manipulate our environments for our own gain and the gain of those we each find value in. All those things ‘require’ the freedom to explore, to achieve and to enjoy the rewards of what we find and do.
Therefore any effort for which the intention is to limit that freedom, stifle the curiosity, limit that understanding or to claim ownership upon their rewards is fundamentally wrong.
It is then up to the individual to determine for themselves where their curiosity, ability to understand and capacity to achieve comes from.
me: I am not disagreeing with you, I’m merely suggesting a different approach that does not open your premises to criticism of your beliefs or otherwise excludes people who do not share them. And a way that does not deny those beliefs either.
To use ‘because God said so’ as a reason you must first:
- prove God exists
- prove God actually said it
- prove God was ‘right’
(and if you can prove #3, the other two don’t matter)