Saturday, December 5, 2009

What hasn't changed

I figured I should clarify some things since my search seems to be taking on a new direction. It might seem that I've done some sort of theological 180, but I haven't. I'm no more likely to believe supernatural explanations for events in India than I would believe someone claiming that Jesus appeared in a grilled cheese sandwich.

Here are some of my beliefs that haven't changed:
  • Separation of church and state FTW!!!! (Duh.)
  • Science is the best tool for determining the facts of the world around us.
  • I have a serious problem with people who do harm in the name of religion.
  • I highly doubt that there's some sort of omnipotent being in the cosmos that worries about the minutae of our sex lives.
Here's a really interesting talk given by author Jennifer Michael Hecht on what she calls Poetic Atheism. She talks about the need for ritual and having some outlet for feelings of transcendence. She also mentions the need to remember death and that life is not fair. I'm glad that there are groups out there trying to meet those needs, but I just don't see them in the freethought groups in my area, unfortunately.

Hecht uses the phrase "drop by and lie" to refer to people who use religion for various social benefits. That phrase may sound like she has contempt for such people, but that's not the case. She's fully aware of the needs that this behavior serves. Naturally, I wonder on a regular basis if that's what I'm doing with Vedanta. But those thoughts are voluminous and complicated enough to require their own post, so I'll save them for later.

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