Too many and possibly most Theists, whether they be Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever, will state that they believe in their religion as being true, because it gives their lives meaning.
This is actually fallacious, because any application of rational critical thinking or philosophy, will show that there is no way that genuine Truth, equates to meaning of life.
They are so disparate in reality that their statement can only be considered as a naive comment from a fool, with no knowledge of reality.
Yet, after a little dialogue, I have only found Christians who think that Christianity is True, because it gives their life Meaning.
It comes from the same braindead idea that the universe was meant for us, therefore reality was designed by god to give our lives meaning, thus, if it gives our lives meaning, it must be true.
It is akin to saying that the sun was only created to make us healthy and warm, dismissing the fact that it also gives us skin cancers and death from dehydration.
Here is a typical Christian view of Atheism from that major league willy-cranker, Ken Ham.
>Atheism is the belief that there is no God and no afterlife. Atheists believe they simply cease to exist when they die and that the universe is simply the result of natural processes. I’ve pointed out many times before that, ultimately, atheism is purposeless and meaningless. Well, recently Tom Chivers, a writer with BuzzFeed UK, asked many different atheists this question: “If there’s no afterlife or reason for the universe, how do you make your life matter?”/span>
I would return with the question: How does giving our lives meaning demonstrate the truth of an Afterlife?
Fact: Giving our lives meaning, demonstrates nothing at all!
Ham is throwing in a conjoined, Red Herring, False Association and Strawman Fallacies!
So his statement is massively fallacious.
Philosophically when it comes to Truth Epistemology (How we gain knowledge of truth), the meaning it gives our lives is totally Non-Sequitur.
For an example (borrowed from Sam Harris): If a man was convinced by a psychic reading or a prophet that he was going to marry and have children with Angelina Jolie, and this gave his life great meaning, Then he may become so biased towards believing this that he dismisses anybody who tells him otherwise.
Can anybody ever say, that because the belief in marrying A.J. gives his life meaning that there is truth in it.
Truth in anything to do with reality, does not depend on how it affects human emotions.
Truth is oblivious to our existence and emotions.
To think that truth depends on your sense of meaning for your life is, measuring truth through appeal to Cognitive Dissonance. This should be classed as a Fallacy!
Appeal to Cognitive Bias/Dissonance Fallacy!
What do you think?
Do you think that something can be true, because it gives your life meaning?
As one Christian I recently had a dialogue with stated (the reason behind this blog):
"I believe Jesus died for us on the cross, because my life now has meaning as a Christian, where it did not have any meaning while I was agnostic."
Do you see any logical flaws in that statement?
Did he prove to me that Jesus actually died on the cross, because he gets meaning for his life from believing it?
What do you think of his level of intelligence after such a statement?
I kid you not!
This is common Christian logic.
Though it is also common in all other religions, so it is common to Theism in general.
People often wonder why I consider Christians as really stupid?
I really cannot think much else, when I consistently get this kind of irrational crap.
Ken Ham fell in the same stupidity hole.
TV/Youtube evangelists constantly make the same claim for truth, such as Pat Robertson, Eric Hovind and Ray Comfort.
It is so obvious the level of intellect Ken Ham is aiming his comments at, it is the standard issue
If people rephrased their interpretations and stated that they considered their religion to be true because it gave meaning to their lives, then I’d find that perfectly reasonable. Faith, with its requirement of belief, closes the door on any reasonable understanding they may have about what they actually mean when they say ‘’I believe’’.
When someone tells me ‘’I believe in biblical truth’’ it registers in my mind that they assume biblical truth and no more. When your interlocutor told you he believed because it gave his life meaning I think in reality it was just an assumption based on his egocentric ideas about the power of thought. They’re convinced that they wouldn’t believe these things if they were not true, and the feeling they get of fulfilment is confirmation of the same truth. It’s a merry-go-round of self-deception.
Even if I could be shown conclusively that Jesus lived, taught, and died on a cross solely to rescue me from an earned fate, I wouldn't be affected by the knowledge. My sins aren't sufficient to require a human sacrifice; no thinking deity (an oxymoron?) would want a sacrifice, or would accept a substitute; if one part of a triune god sacrificed himself to another part of that god it ... doesn't make enough sense to be worth consideration. Trying to get rational thought from a new-earth creationist is more a waste of time and energy than plucking petals from a daisy.
I think it comes from flawed metaphysical thinking.
It's kind of like the now out-dated and fallacious scholastic thinking, where thinking and feelings influence reality.
Sort of the major fault with Descartes, Hegel, Plato, Aristotle and all theologians.
The type of thinking demolished by Hobbes, Hume and Russell.
Thomas Hobbes was right all along.
"A man's conscience and his judgment is the same thing; and as the judgment, so also the conscience, may be erroneous."
When religion gives "meaning to people's lives" it is because they cannot find a meaning on their own. What is the "meaning of life?" It's whatever you want it to be. The theist doesn't understand this. They believe because it gives them all the answers. They have to know but cannot understand that nobody has "all" the answers.
In a recent conversation with a theist I'm seeing him put a percentage on all the worlds knowledge. This cannot be done unless you personally are aware of all the knowledge in the world. Maybe he does this by proxy because he believes and his god has this knowledge. Why would any person think that this was possible?
If my sins require a human sacrifice then maybe the Myans were right. Did all those who have died in wars do so religiously? After all, they died so that the rest of us might live. When the fighting is over is there any forgiving of sin? Who were the war victims substituting for? Maybe the living.
Back to ideas of god substituting himself for us in a death sacrifice and you have the most rediculous thing anyone can ever imagine. Now you have your cake and can eat it too, but you are still going to die. You just live in some other made up reality, doing it through "faith."
True Michael, it was all done for us, as we are so important to the universe, because a magical man we constructed said so!
We are here because billions of stars died to produce the carbon we were formed from.
I see this as far more significant than the sacrificing of other humans for us.
A star dies every second, and sometime in the future, that will be our star that dies.
We will be contributing carbon to perhaps produce life somewhere else in our universe.
What you are saying here is the true essence of how we came from outer space. Too many want to add the supernatural to that but all it does is make TV shows and bad ones to boot. Our DNA attests to the truth of what you are writing.
Actually, I think this entire concept of equating meaning to humans with truth, is actually a product of the argument from ignorance fallacy. Or personal incredulity fallacy.
Because I don't understand it, or feel it is true, then it must be false.
It is only true, if I feel it to be so.
So, it is a product of fallacious reasoning.
But, if you have been taught that in childhood let's say, and it is the only 'truth' you have known...you will believe it is the only truth.
Rational Critical Thinking can dispel such notions of sensibility being connected to truth.
Indoctrination will still cause feelings of guilt, as some friends still feel guilty when they pass their old church for not going in.
Indoctrination pushes them into having subconscious guilt at a young age for irrational things, like not going to church or not putting money into the church bowl as it is passed around. Essentially religion is about making money, not belief in god.
Atheists can still feel such guilt.
But, once they acquire and practice rational critical thinking, they can understand why they feel such guilt and dismiss it as irrational.
They then understand that reality has nothing to do with how it makes them feel.
Truth is truly oblivious to human emotions.
The universe has no interest nor investment in the lives of humans.
''But, if you have been taught that in childhood let's say, and it is the only 'truth' you have known...you will believe it is the only truth''.
''Rational Critical Thinking can dispel such notions''
That's the problem DD after the childhood inculcation of these 'truths', 'Rational critical thinking' only seems to verify what's been taught. Once one begins with a false premise as did Descartes etc, all the rationale of a sage will yet lead one up the garden path.
Not if considered properly Gerald.
I think you are talking about just Rational Thinking (RT), which in the case of indoctrinated individuals, they learn to rationalize everything, including their own nonsense.
William Lane Craig is a perfect example of this, as a man who can eternally rationalize BS, and wonder why others question him. He thinks those questioning him are incapable of rational thinking, because he considers himself as a Rational Critical Thinker, RCT, when in fact, he is just a Rationalizer.
RCT done properly is a more involved process than mere rational thinking.
The Critical part is where you seek to validate it against all sources of evidence and then critically investigate those sources, to ensure they have credibility.
The proper approach to RCT is to question your own values and seek validation for those things you have always held dear.
This is the basis of RCT training. Question your beliefs and question the questioning of your beliefs. It is a recursive process, that if practised properly, will rebuild much of your system of beliefs on a basis that can be verified empirically.
So it is difficult to apply RCT to indoctrinated ideas and still consider them valid.
This analysis and applying RCT to my own Christian upbringing is why I found the Bible abhorrent and the beliefs my parents held as irrationally idiotic.
I see where your coming from but RCT would need scepticism about ones beliefs. Since belief is an intuition and not a decision, it's hard to see people becoming sceptical about what they intuitively believe to be true without some outside influence. Ironically, the creationists legal challenges to the education curriculum in America is resulting in a bonanza for the promotion of evolution, and concomitantly naturalism, as creationism has its incredibility exposed in the full glare of the media. More of the same public challenges by the church would help to demystify the concept of science and religion being two equal alternatives.