Uncommon Sense

December 3, 2021

What Was to Be Said . . .

Filed under: Philosophy,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 11:43 am

I was reading the preface to Will Durant’s final book, Fallen Leaves, and the preface writer asked the rhetorical question: “What was to be said for religious faith, after Darwin and science had toppled God from his throne in heaven and put nothing in its place but the gloomy angst of existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre?”

This was one of many questions the writer thought Will Durant could have expounded upon but had not, at least until the manuscript of this book was found. That particular question, however, resonated with me for some reason. I mean, how dare Darwin and science take away our warm, fuzzy, reassuring religion and replace it with Gloomy Gus philosophies such as Sartre’s! How dare they!

What struck me is that this betrays a very unbiblical attitude. Where is the righteous anger . . . against those who sold us a false religion? The Bible teaches us that such people are despicable, the worst of the worst. How dare they teach us about a false god. And where is the gratitude that should be shoveled, heaped upon Mr. Darwin and, well, science for showing people the error of their ways. Believing in false gods may be a road to hell, don’t you know?

Instead of gratitude what did we get? Protests like “You Proved Our God False, We Don’t Want Your Stinking Science Taught to Our Children!” and disparaging comments about Darwinism and scientism.

Where is the righteous anger against those who taught the wrong god and threatened us with punishments by a god that doesn’t exists? Isn’t tar and feathers too good a punishment for those charlatans?

And why are these whingings always posited as we were all warm and fuzzy in the comfort of our religion, so why did you take that away, and only replace it with depressing reality? I never expected freed slaves to be whinging about how much they missed their old master. Think about the freedoms you now possess. Instead of tithing 10 percent of your income to a false church, you can donate to charities that actually spend their money on charity. Your church tithes went everywhere but to charity; they went to the preacher’s salary, paying the staff, maintaining the grounds and buildings, paying for utilities, etc. Less than 10% (usually much less) went to actual charity.

You can go do things on Sunday morning without guilt. You can wear whatever clothes you wish without criticism. You can dump your boyfriend of husband if they don’t measure up. You can take classes in evolutionary biology to find out what you missed. You can listen to music that isn’t broadcast on a Christian radio station. You can watch any movie you are inclined to view and discuss them with your friends.

And you don’t have to feel sinful, dirty, and depraved just because you are a human being.

I am not a fan of Sartre, but existing is, to say the least, interesting. Everything in the universe seems to begin, continue, and then stop. All living things are born, age, and then die. Now you fit right in. So, what happens when you die? All kinds of things happen, they just don’t involve you. In fact, for 99.999999+% of the world, things go on just as if you were still there because there or not, you had no effect upon their lives. Isn’t that a relief? You can die without a “to do” list still on your mind. And just so you feel part of the circle of life, when you die, it will be exactly as it was before you were born, remember that? No? Well you won’t remember being dead either.

And, to make things even cheerier, when you die, your atoms get recycled to be used by other living organisms. By dying you make room for others to live. If we all lived forever, we would have wrecked this planet millennia ago. Every continent would be covered with human beings with barely a place to stand. So, not existing is a civic duty you owe to those who died to make room for you to live.

To say otherwise is the equivalent of saying a Merry-Go-Round isn’t worth a ride unless you can ride forever. That is just plain silly. Take a ride, enjoy yourself, and allow others to do the same. It is great fun and you may be one of the lucky ones who lives a good enough life that you can die with a smile on your face, not because of a delusion that you are going to meet Jesus or some other nonsense, but because you had a good ride, had a good time. You enjoyed your time on Earth and helped others to do the same as you. Now that seems a perfectly happy outcome, no?

2 Comments »

  1. Sartre gets a bad rap. He isn’t all that gloomy and depressing. I read Being and Nothingness back when I was fourteen or fifteen. I’d just finished Finnegan’s Wake and needed some light reading to improve my mood. I didn’t end up warped and twisted or anything like that. The brain damage was actually relatively mild…

    Like

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — December 3, 2021 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, and I don’t remember any atheists walking around apologizing for killing their god and passing out Sartre’s books with a glib “Here, this should help fill the gap.” That substitution seems a bit contrived, no? :o)

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — December 4, 2021 @ 8:10 am | Reply


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