Belief (Part 3 of 3): The Simplicity of The Ancients

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It has been said that God makes sages out of fools, that the intelligence of the intelligentsia will become their own stupidity; the simplicity of the fool will become his path to true wisdom.

 

While pondering these words I couldn’t help but compare ourselves, living in the age of over-abundant skepticism, to our more straightforward precursors.

 

Think of the times of the Romans and the barbaric clans who surrounded the refined Roman borders. Or of the ancient Jews who were a seemingly insignificant people in the ancient historical records. Or of the ancient pagan civilizations of the Middle East, Indian, Mesopotamia, Egypt etc.

 

Perhaps you have no experience of these cultures? Allow me to entertain you with a few ideas of these times.

 

The people in Old Testament biblical times were pretty straight forward about their gods. You worship the god you need to worship in order to avoid being fried from the earth. Simple. If some passer-by could introduce to you another god who visibly and tangibly displayed his power, then by all means you were forced to believe in this new god.

 

There was a certain poetic practicality to their believing: believe and worship the right god, get all the good stuff, avoid destruction.

 

Though not perfect, I can admire this mentality. Where they have one up on us, is that they actually looked for signs of the power of another god, they even had recorded competitions between their gods.

 

These people, through not experiencing the delusion that they had mastered the world via modern science, still understood their powerlessness. They still understood themselves within the most awesome perspective of mystery and wonder.

 

This reality has not died, but man in his limited scientific success has deemed himself deity of the world. It may come as a surprise that curing illness does not grant man supernatural power, like creating something from nothing.

 

Likewise, none of our technologies, bound by the laws of the universe, are capable of anything beyond the predictable reality of the universe.

 

We cannot even create one speck, one atom, one iota of the most fundamental part of every person’s, every animal’s, and ever living thing’s existence: life.

 

Admittedly we may borrow the faculties which have been given us to create life via the known methods of procreation, but even then we only take the seed and the egg which have already been given us. No man or woman has ever truly, from nothing, produced life.

 

I digress: Do you know why science is often very exhausting? Because some prune has the audacity to claim that he has mastered some field of the universe! When he truly is nothing more than a careful observer.

 

Yes, I know that many a scientist exclaim regularly about the great realities and mysteries of things like quantum physics and black holes and relativity. Yes they say these things, but something like atheism would never exist if they didn’t believe in their hearts at a deep fundamental level that everything left unknown is just more stuff to be discovered; like finding more species at the bottom of the ocean. Even when considering the awesome possibilities of worm holes or parallel universes, you can’t help but get the impression they are just describing an ultra-complicated jigsaw puzzle that has a simple, materialistic explanation after all.

 

Fairy tales are not interesting because they present impossible realities for the fancies of children. If that were true no adult would love a good sci-fi or fantasy novel. We love fairy tales because they resound with the mystery which resides daily in our hearts.

 

No scientist, philosopher, or everyday thinker should ever claim to understand the universe, or to be at the verge of understanding it, or something so inane as that science is about to break the boundaries and understand all things.

 

Nothing could be less scientific.

 

One man once said to me that ‘science was on the verge of proving that God does not exist’.

 

I could say in reply, “It is fairly definitive that your curiosity does not exist.”

 

It should be remembered that without curiosity, a hunger into knowing the unknown, a field like science would never exist.

 

In knowing our boundaries we discover mystery, and in knowing mystery we begin to open our eyes to the places and parts of the universe which cannot be found in telescopes, microscopes, or in the tired fancies of egoists.

 

Everyone who’s ever read a good fairy tale knows that the things that cannot be seen contain the greatest powers and are integral parts of every great adventure. What would happen if we all had a little more simplicity like our ancient brethren and awoke our eyes to see beyond the veil of being “masters of our universe”?

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6 comments on “Belief (Part 3 of 3): The Simplicity of The Ancients

  1. “Likewise, none of our technologies, bound by the laws of the universe, are capable of anything beyond the predictable reality of the universe.”

    So what? You don’t even know that there IS something beyond the universe and already you make it sound like a horrible tragedy that we cannot go there.

    “We cannot even create one speck, one atom, one iota of the most fundamental part of every person’s, every animal’s, and ever living thing’s existence: life.”

    So what? A hundred years ago, you could have written “We cannot even accomplish what many animals can: Flight.” The answer to your statement would be the same: “Not yet.”
    Personally, I’m quite confident that we will figure it out some day, another puzzle piece – but of course, just one.

    And, of course, if someones tells you, that science will disprove god, then you can simply tell him, that he’s wrong, because science can, per definition, not disprove any non-falsifiable hypothesis. It’s in the definition of god that he cannot be disproven – of course, that’s not a point in his favor.

    • Adam says:

      Greetings Atomic Mutant,

      The scientist who refutes anything he hasn’t proven yet would be a bit silly, don’t you agree?

      Prehistoric man didn’t need a scientist to discover the properties of gravity to know how to utilize and protect himself from it’s effects. Likewise, people don’t need God in a test tube in order to believe in Him. Just to be able to act and react to His presence. I don’t claim that their IS something beyond the universe because I made a fanciful guess, it’s because of my experience of this thing beyond the universe.

      “Personally, I’m quite confident that we will figure it out some day, another puzzle piece – but of course, just one.”

      This is precisely that attitude to which I am writing: “Science is on the verge of discovering everything.” Granted you do allow for an indefinite time period in your statement, but none the less that attitude is the same.

      And besides, what if this assumption is wrong? What if its not just a matter of more pieces but a whole different puzzle altogether? One that is not solvable or willing to subject itself to our experiments?

      All the best AM.

      • The person who accepts and believes everything that hasn’t been disproven would be even more silly – and quite busy. I hope we agree on that, too. The point is, that I really don’t get how it get’s better just because that person chooses some stuff randomly to believe and other stuff not to believe.

        I don’t believe you had any such experience, sorry. I think it much more likely, that your brain is deceiving you, as much as the brain of Scientologists is deceiving them into believing that stuff works. Or the brain of followers of Zeus that this goat really spoke to them, etc. Human error seems like a much more plausible explanation than a very, very specific version of a god.

        And if my assumption is wrong, then we will be ignorant in this regard for all eternity. This still isn’t a reason to believe in god, as it is a god of the gaps argument and an argument from ignorance, which are both fallacies.

      • Adam says:

        Hey AM,

        True, to believe everything that is unproven would be very silly indeed. You use the word random, and with this I cannot agree. As I stated, there is nothing random of my beliefs, but they are carefully thought over decisions based on real life experience.

        For some it may be a matter of chance, location, or randomness, but for those who sincerely seek truth, it never is.

        How can you be so certain I haven’t had these experiences, if you have no proof? We might even agree that you do believe in things unproven. 🙂

        None the less, we can both agree that the likelihood of an event doesn’t equate equally to it’s likelihood of being true. Sometimes yes, but not always.

        Even so, wouldn’t the existence of a God explain much better human kind’s unceasing obsession with God for not only all recorded history but even the present?

        “And if my assumption is wrong, then we will be ignorant in this regard for all eternity.”

        This is only true if all this extra, unseen, and untestable parts of our universe are in fact just “more stuff”. More matter, more objects, etc.

        What if it’s more? What if “it” can cross the span which we cannot?

        All the best!

  2. Richard King says:

    Our limited scientific success has done more for humankind than any religion ever has. Discuss.

    • Adam says:

      Welcome Richard,

      You’re separating two things that are not separate.

      The actions of human beings within science cannot be removed from the actions of human beings as religious devotees. These two things are complexly intertwined.

      You cannot quantify either accurately, for who could possibly quantify “good achieved”?

      Both religious and non-religious people discovered medicine, but it was religious devotees who ran the hospitals, the schools, the orphanages, and the institutions to care for the homeless for the last two millenia. Even now in an age of secularism, where are the non-religious soup kitchens feeding the suffering, the hungry?

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