Uncommon Sense

December 23, 2020

Making Shit Up, Part 12,691

Filed under: Culture,Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:15 am

You know religious faith when you see it, right? But how? Inspired by the writings of Napoleon Hill, the author of an online post came up with these ten “qualities of constructive faith.” The qualities or properties of something are how you recognize it. I also wonder why these apply only to “constructive faith” as that implies there is also “destructive faith” amongst other possible faiths (supercilious faith, wealth acquiring faith, etc.). In any case here they are.

  1. Possessing a definite aim in life supported by personal initiative and action.
  2. Taking one extra step in human relations and business dealings.
  3. Cultivating a Positive Mind Attitude (PMA) averse to rumor, gossip, hatred, and jealousy.
  4. Recognizing that every adversity carries with it the seed of equivalent benefit.
  5. Affirming your definite aim at least once daily in meditation or affirmation.
  6. Recognizing the presence of Infinite Intelligence, or Greater Force, which gives creative power to the individual.
  7. Participating in a support group or Master Mind alliance with people of similar values.
  8. Noting past defeats and adversities to identify patterns and blockages.
  9. Expressing self-respect through fealty to your personal ethics and sense of fair play.
  10. Recognizing cosmic reciprocity.

I don’t think these are much in need of discussion, although the author of this piece obviously did as he proceeded to do just that. But I take note of just two:
6. Recognizing the presence of Infinite Intelligence, or Greater Force, which gives creative power to the individual. and
10. Recognizing cosmic reciprocity.

Unpacking these is not easy but #6 seems to assume that there is a creator god and that all creative acts are based upon that god’s power passing through humans. So, when you fold a chewing gum wrapper into a little animal, a crane, say, your ability to do that you owe to this god.

I have written on this idea of “gifts from god” before and I consider the idea to be, knowingly or not, a con. By claiming that an ordinary human activity is based upon a gift given to you, it creates a sense of reciprocity, resulting in gratitude and money and labor being returned as a return gift.

I was aware of #10 as I have been around a great many people who think that if they “give” to the universe, it will give back. This is quite a lovely idea, with the possible exception that there is no evidence for it and, to the contrary, there are mountains of evidence as to the indifference of the universe to human beings. Victims of volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, and most recently forest fires hardly see those activities as being a return on their investment in good deeds. This is why so many TV preachers are quick to point out that such events are punishments for sinners, like gay people. Just like those who attribute their survival of such natural disasters to their god, they ignore the pain and suffering and deaths of all of the innocent others.

The universe doesn’t give a rat’s ass about us. It is entirely indifferent.

So, can you recognize someone, a person of faith, from these attributes? I would have a hard time attributing “qualities” such as #8 and #9 to many of the politically active evangelical Christians I see in the news today. Oh, and #3, too, yeah, that, too.

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