We’ve been asking ourselves why the Covenant isn’t already front and center in our lives – as I am surely not the first person to have thought such things. So we ask ourselves, what is so scary about the Covenant, about keeping our secular and spiritual worlds separate? What gets lost when we embrace the Covenant?
In the last installment, we talked about one thing that gets lost: the ability to arbitrarily call oneself “special” or “chosen”, and get a big albeit unearned ego boost. Let’s proceed with the next thing we lose along the way when we embrace the Covenant.
- The safety net of believing in life after death.
This is a big one, although it is quite simple. We all know that one day we will all die. Most of us really don’t want to die, but we can’t change that. So what many do is simply choose to believe that somehow they will go on, usually with some “life after death” scenario. Because without that belief, all we have is a big scary “I don’t know” about what or if anything exists post mortal death.
This is the simplest to diagram of all of the four things lost:
- Only secular truths can speak about the factual nature of reality, according to the Covenant.
- The Skeptic’s Principle applies to all secular truths, so this means we have no right to claim any life after death exists with justification, without proof that it is necessarily true.
- That proof is obviously not present.
- Therefore, embracing the Covenant means embracing not being able to claim to know that life occurs after death.
The only way to avoid this sequence is to embrace the opposite of the Covenant: the idea that wanting something to be factually true, or believing that something is factually true, is enough to claim it really is factually true. And that’s probably one big reason why some folks run screaming from the idea of the Covenant – it strips away our ability to pretend the world is the way that we wish it was.
The same issues apply to the third thing we lose when we embrace the Covenant:
- The relief of believing that no matter the injustices of this world, the good will be rewarded and the wicked punished in the next.
To put this another way, this is the belief (or desire) of a cosmic force or entity who (among other things presumably) spends time making sure to balance the scales of universal justice, one who rewards the good and punishes the wicked.
It is comforting to think this. All too often life mistreats us, and much of the time there’s not a lot we can do about it. Believing in some kind of cosmic justice is a coping mechanism to handle the sometimes blatant unfairness of life, combined with possible circumstances that do not empower us to address it.
Nevertheless, the same issues above that applied to believing in life-after-death factually applies to believing in cosmic justice factually too. Now, I’m not saying that the wicked never get punished and the good never get rewarded, because I do believe that what goes around comes around, and we do tend to get back from the world what we put into it, up to a point. But believing that our choices are their own punishment (or reward) isn’t so much a factual belief as it is a value or context – which is perfectly allowed within the Covenant. Just so long as we don’t imply some kind of supernatural corrective force out there making things better, whether that “better” be fixing things in this life or promising the good heaven and the wicked hell in the “next” life.
So why would people not want to embrace the Covenant? Because if they did, they would lose the idea that cosmic justice is factually true – because that is a secular truth, and from what we can see, it can’t be defended.
There is one more thing lost in embracing the Covenant, which we will address in the next article, What Gets Lost, Part 4. See you there.