Early in the process of thinking about this stuff I had a moment of equal parts eureka and kumbiyah where I supposedly stumbled over a way to get all this religion versus science stuff straightened out. If you’ve read my Reason and Spirituality pages, you know what that was: an understanding that all questions as to the nature of the universe, all matters of fact and objective truth, are the sole domain of Reason – which answers those questions with science, math, history, etc. Likewise, all matters of value, context, feeling, meaning, and personal truth are decided largely by what moves us and appeals to us, only limited by Reason insofar as to keep us from embracing irrational options.
If we do that, of course, if we handle our truths that way, we permit Reason to do what it does best and we permit ourselves to go beyond Reason where it is insufficient. It quite obviously, elegantly, and self-evidently works. It also allows people to still have spiritual beliefs, religions, etc, with only two stipulations: that just like Reason cannot forbid a true spiritual truth from being chosen or embraced, Spirituality cannot ever speak about the world of factual truth, and that our beliefs should still be free from contradictions.
So I ask myself, why hasn’t this already been done? I’m no genius, I certainly did not think of this first. What is it that gets lost if we do this that is so terrible? Why isn’t this already the way it is?
I think there are four things that get lost, that if we want to pursue a path of tolerance and of accepting the facts of reality, we are required to leave these four things behind – and they each are quite seductive:
- A feeling of specialness, or being “the chosen ones”
- The safety net of believing in life after death.
- The relief of believing that no matter the injustices of this world, the good will be rewarded and the wicked punished in the next.
- The inertia of thousands of years of belief and tradition.
We’ll start by looking at the first one in the next post.