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The New Pragmatism

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Young people are turning away from religion. The future may be a view not to “atheism,” such an awful word, but to “pragmatism.”

The basic flaw of all but the simplest of religions is that they involve a belief in the suspension of basic principles such as cause and effect, and a counter-productive need to believe in the irrational, unseen, and unproven. Some philosophers of a religious bent might see that any belief in miracles is a belief in disorder, and chaos. Predictability is an essential human need, and it flies out the window.

As our understanding of the world and our ability to look into the past increase, we are apt to come upon ideas incompatible with the ideas put forth by religion.

It is often stated that wars, deaths, killings, and injustices all come from conflicts of religions.

The faithful say we can’t get bad fruit from a good tree, nor can we get good fruit from a bad tree. To modern philosophers then, a belief in religion is inconsistent with the highest principles of religion.

Most of us have our good days and our bad. We swing a pendulum, from devout belief, to complete disgust with believers. And as I once wrote here, just when I try to persuade myself of the virtue of pragmatism, some inexplicable wonder occurs that makes the mind reel.

I think that man has an inborn need to believe in a loving, influencing creator. Maybe that very belief provides evidence that it is true. But it is also true, I assert, that a man can never quite confirm either case. Is there a God; yes or no? It’s painful.

A little bird, a worm, a butterfly, a tiger in the night; none of these has the hope of understanding its existence. It is beyond them, and we might humbly concede it is beyond us.

Modern astrophysicists and astronomers now agree that the universe started at a seemingly arbitrary point with a “big bang.” But that has not always been the case. At times scientists believed the universe was Earth-centered. As centuries go by, theories come and go. Some can remember a time when philosophers agreed that time and space are just as they appear – infinite and absolute. The point may be, however much we are driven to understand, we simply don’t possess that capacity. Just as the birds and worms can only hope to see the beauty in that which they can’t understand, so it is with us.

I myself think our best hope is to let God do his work unfettered by our pleas and thanksgiving. If we trust in life, and love the babies, we can get through it all. If we feel alone and helpless, a glance at the moon says we still can go on. It’s a great life, we only need to live it.

Photo: 10000birds(dot)com

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • John Lake

    In fact the scientists say the Bang was not anywhere. And at a point so small as to be non-existent. Positive matter, negative matter; the mind reels.

  • Dr Dreadful

    “… just when I try to persuade myself of the virtue of pragmatism, some inexplicable wonder occurs that makes the mind reel.”

    Just because a wonder is inexplicable when it first occurs or is discovered doesn’t mean that it will always be inexplicable. This really is the key point at which science and religion bifurcate.

  • roger nowosielski

    Does an atheistic viewpoint necessarily require that we purge ourselves of any sense of wonder?

    Just askin’

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    A fair reading of the Bible, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls would provide much information and perspective about today. Part of the story of Christ was lost in the Great Fire of Rome in 63AD. It would have been interesting to have a correlating Roman record of the events around the time of Christ. Apparently the Roman Emperor at the time wanted to eradicate any records that could contradict his exclusive claim to absolute power, as well as the historical record itself.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Romans in 64 AD (the year of the Great Fire, not 63) regarded Christians as an obscure Jewish sect who were fun to beat up on. It’s highly unlikely Nero saw them as any threat whatsoever to his power: they were merely a useful scapegoat and a convenient means of deflecting consipracy theories to the effect that he’d started the fire himself.