Subject: Is there a god? It doesn't matter ... In <> Iain J

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From: Jarek Dabrowski Subject: Is there a god? It doesn't matter ... In <> Iain Jameson argues: >I have `rejected' religion and my life is not hopeless. Explain that >if you can! It's trivial. An atheist like you misses the whole universe of hope accessible to a person like me who believes in God: 1) You are deprived of truly free (independent of outer factors) will, so you cannot hope that your decisions are qualitatively different from decisions of a pre-programmed automaton. You must say "It's sufficient that my choices only SEEM free to me". You must say "It doesn't matter that it's the Universe that controls me, not me who may control even a part of the Universe". You must just give up any hope of any private contribution to the history of the world; it won't be YOU to affect it but the world itself will use you as a "programmed" tool (which feels "I am", but that's a side effect) to make either determined or random changes. That's the first kind of hope you reject: Hope for freedom. 2) You can't hope that you will ever know anything for sure. All your knowledge - until you die and stop knowing anything - will be always based on assumptions, will be always fragmentary. Answers to certain questions will be always beyond your reach, even if you live seven thousand years. You must either admit this or give up consistency of your views. You can't rationally hope this sitution will change, for this fragmentary character of human knowledge is a direct consequence of human local, fragmentary, stepwise perception. You can't hope to find even a piece of the absolute knowledge because no non-omnipotent beings (as we certainly are) can be ever sure that they're not mistaken if they don't obtain this knowledge from a being that is omnipotent. That's the second kind of hope you reject: Hope for full knowledge. 3) Your beliefs put you in a world with a lot of suffering, where most of this suffering is pointless. You can't hope that people who suffered and died forgotten may have gained anything by their pain; you need at least Buddhism to find this hope. In a truly "hopeless" situation you may choose between despair and (maybe wise) resignation, but any hope would require a change of your beliefs or would be a folly. That's the third kind of hope you reject: Hope when no physical hope is possible. 4) You're given a couple of days to stay in this world and you're dead. When you're getting old and the people you know and love are getting old, there's no hope for you - soon it's all over; actually, it's over now, it was over when you were born. You MUST either forget about it or decide that you don't care, but you may have no hope - you BELIEVE that you and they face a dead end. That's the fourth kind of hope you reject: Hope that love survives death. And what you may retain? Sure, you may hope that it won't rain tomorrow or that your girlfriend will visit you tonight. Or that you won't catch AIDS. Or that I'm stupid and you're wise. Or that one day you'll be the Director of the Institute of Physics, Adelaide, Australia. Or that your program is essentially bug-free. If something is physically possible, then you may hope for it. It's more than obvious. This hope is, so to say, built into the science; its another name is "missing data".


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