Sunday, February 28, 2010

Forty-Two

"Everyone knows when you make an assumption, you make an ass out of you and umption."

Samuel L. Jackson as Mitch Henessey,
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)


Maybe you believe in the purposefulness of life. Maybe you believe that a god has plans for you and that your purpose in life is to divine those plans and fulfill them to the last letter of their ineffability. Or maybe you believe in destiny in the subatomic sense, that you're riding on a deterministic train along a track of sequential events led down from the beginning of the universe that is impossible to derail. Most - if not all - people want some kind of meaning in their lives. They want to know that everything they do is part of The Greater Scheme of Things.

"What is the meaning of your life?" he asked me. "You do not believe in God's plan, or that you're part of it. You do not believe in an afterlife. You came from nowhere, going nowhere."

I took a moment to ponder on his words.

"I think there's no meaning to a life that is not spent worshiping God - God who created everything and everything," he continued, while I was considering my response.

And I had to consider the question at length because I simply did not know where to begin. There were so many openings that I was simply spoilt for choice. I decided on simplicity.

"Uh, who said that life must have a meaning? And how do you know that there is a god? How do you know if god actually created everything? How do you know it's your particular god who did the creating?"

You tell me. Why do we take for granted that age-old decree that every life must inherently be meaningful? I too, like the rest of you, tried looking for the meaning and purpose of life once, but then I realised that what we've been wrestling with all this time is a fucking Zen koan. Asking yourself about life's meaning is about as useful as asking what the colour blue tastes like. There's absolutely no reason why anyone should assume that life has some kind of secret meaning we have to unravel.

I mean, we haven't even found out if life actually have a meaning and we're already asking what it is. It's reminds me how some people kept insisting that since there is a creation, there must be a creator - when it's not even clear if "creation" was even created in the first place.

"Did you think that the universe just poofed into existence on its own?" he asked. Or rather, he didn't. He was being rhetorical.

"Did you think that your god just poofed into existence on his own?" I said.

It's the same thing as the meaning of life question; a premise built on a cushion of soft, squishy assumption. Why do people automatically assume that since stuff exists, some omnipotent spook put it all here? Who created god anyway? And I've heard the so-called exception to the law of causality a million times, that god is the "uncaused cause", that god just is and has no need to be created. Why don't people just assume the universe itself is the uncaused cause? Save one huuuge step right there.

And whoever said that the universe must even have a beginning in the first place? Maybe, the universe undergoes a series of Big Bangs and Big Crunches cyclically. Maybe, as the universe expands till the distance between every particle in it approaches infinity (thus, rendering the universe into "nothingness" once more), another Big Bang will go off in it causing yet another new universe. Rinse, repeat. The point is, we don't know. But "godidit" certainly isn't the only - or even the best - answer. Assumptions, assumptions.

"Without God, how do you know what is good or bad? Moral or immoral?" he said. "God is our yardstick for morality. Without an objective standard, morality would be relative. People can make up whatever rules they want then."

I could go into the messy mire that is the Euthyphro dilemma (is something good because god commands it, or does god command what is good?) or point out that his god isn't particularly moral or objective either, but I didn't.

"Who said that morality must be objective?" I fell back on my good old sonic screwdriver of an argument. "Objective moral is only useful if there's a heaven and hell, or a karmic system of reincarnation. Why are you assuming heaven and hell, or karma exists? Why are you assuming that a god would care about our morality? Why are you assuming that god would be a yardstick for morality? Why are you assuming that a god even exists?"

People tend to ASSUME (there's that word again) that morality is an objective set of laws of the universe much like how the laws of physics is. Like everything else I've mentioned till now, there is no reason why it should be. While I can't say for sure that morality is definitely not objective, everything in life so far have taught me that morality is and has always been contextual. Killing is wrong. Killing in self-defense is a-okay. It's all relative. Only a Sith deals in absolutes.

"Your god is a Sith Lord," I said.

"Huh?"

"Disregard that," I coughed.

Dear reader, have you build your entire worldview upon the soft, buttery foundation of assumptions, stacked perhaps, on even more assumptions? Do you believe in things unquestioningly without any good reason to? Search your soul today. Try and see how shaky all the "truths" in your life really is. I'm not asking you to buy into my opinions wholesale. And I'm certainly not the one telling you to believe that a stack of scribbles written by Bronze Age shepherds are the literal Word of God.

I'm merely asking you to Question Everything. Anything worth believing in should be able to stand up to scrutiny.

Now, I won't reproduce that conversation I had in its entirety here, but I can tell you how it ended - and it with the same last words I use to end every dialogue of such nature;

"Even if your god should appear to me in all his glory, banishing all doubts I can possibly have of his existence, I'd reject him even more vehemently than I am now. I have read the official handbook on him and if everything in it is true, then he is a cruel, bigoted, inconsistent, racist, misogynistic, megalomaniacal, genocidal, schizophrenic tyrant who sucker-punched humanity in the crotch yet still demands that we love him or he'll torture us for eternity. He deserves to be rebelled against because no truly righteous person can be expected submit to such a terrible being. Because, it's the right thing to do."

That usually kills any interest in saving my soul in a heartbeat.



P.S. The above conversation really took place, just not in the exact same words.

P.P.S. I do not believe in pussyfooting around the subject. Any idea - especially religious ideas - should be open to dispute. No one's ideas should ever be sacrosanct or protected from criticism merely because they are religious. The Spanish Inquisition was a religious idea. Hitler's Endlösung der Judenfrage and notions of a divinely-favoured master race (and an Aryan Jesus) were also religious ideas.



Exercising his free will,
k0k s3n w4i

9 comments:

février said...

hitchhiker's guide to galaxy ! hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy !!

"42."

"What was the question?"

février said...

oh !! heeheehee just got your title xD it didn't make sense obviously when i first looked at it without knowing the content of post

阿光 said...

Sorta popped by, hey i like your blog, it's pretty interesting and nice to read. Anyway considering that you are talking about god in this post, i just thought that i could introduce you this really nice book called "conversations with god", not really about religion, but pretty enlightening

~*caryn*~ said...

yes, i do not see the point in worshiping someone who says love me and go to heaven and go to hell if you don't. that's just sort of sick once you think about it. at least in the karma theory you reap what you sow, not just because you chose to worship someone or not.

~*caryn*~ said...

and if that person having that conversation with you were talking to me instead, i don't think i'd be able to hold that conversation that long with him. i'd be so irritated that i would've broken out into profanities and declared him not worthy of my time and walked away :P

k0k s3n w4i said...

beve: There's at least two other pop culture references in this post I bet you never got. DO you always comment on posts you haven't read -.- ?

阿光: It's much less about god (or gods) than it is about metaphysics in general. I'll look up that book as soon as I got all the books I have in my Book List first (and it's a pretty long list).

~*caryn*~: Well, he wasn't talking about his own god really - more about a supreme creator in general - but the thing is, the stuff he attributes to a possible god is coloured strongly by many assumptions and presuppositions found in his own religion. And there isn't a law of karma - or at least, there is no evidence of one. I used to be a Buddhist myself (and still hold many Buddhist ideas) but I realised a while ago that I too was holding on to a lot of baseless, unfounded ideas. I find the idea of karma to be almost as deplorable as the idea of the Original Sin. The fact that a person reborn has to suffer the consequences of the actions of his/her past reincarnation (while retaining no memories of that life and is therefore innocent) is too much like how Christians believe that everyone is born sinful because Adam ate a fruit. But that's not my reason in disbelieving karma. My reason is that there is no good reason to believe it exists in first place - which is the point of this post.

février said...

what are you talking about -.- two other pop culture references that i didn't get ? you think i won't get them? if you think i won't get them why would i read the post? -.- i stopped reading after the first few paragraphs xD another one of your religious rants

Anonymous said...

You should write more about religion and the existence of God.Your arguments are neat and very eloquently put.

k0k s3n w4i said...

beve: rant is when i'm angry. this one's a simple proposition T^T. and i'm sure you won't get the references, even if you read them.

Anonymous: i can't refute the existence of god anymore than a theist can prove his/her existence - but religion is a special pet interest of mine. mainly because they scare me.