PostHeaderIcon The Basic Fallacy Of ALL Belief Systems

Today I propose to you that all belief systems share a common fallacy when, instead, they should share a common truth.

Let us imagine that I am greatly troubled (as I sometimes have been in the past) about the origin of this universe. So, seeking a quiet place to ponder, I find myself in a place reserved for the practice of Judeo-Christian worship. As I sit there pondering, a priest/minister/rabbi of that particular sect approaches and asks me the nature of my obvious pondering. I explain and receive the apparently definite answer that this universe, and all it contains was created by a being they call God. Have I received the ultimate answer to the mystery of this universe? No. Only I now ponder about the origin of God.

Later, I find myself in the presence of a renown scientist. One who has truly delved deeply into the physics of this universe. I repeat my yearning to know the origin of this universe. The scientist treats me to a lengthy description, most of which is quite beyond my ability to comprehend, about how all the material that existed started to collapse upon itself due to an ever strengthening gravitational force. Finally, all that matter is condensed down to almost nothing – to a state where, rather than condense further, all it can do is explode in the greatest explosion this universe has ever seen. Then, as the detritus from that explosion started to cool, it started processes that ultimately produced this universe. Do I now know the ultimate answer to the mystery of this universe? No. Now I am even more confused because I have no idea where that matter came from to begin with much less how gravity came to be.

Several years ago, I read a book titled “A Universe From Nothing” by Dr. Lawrence Krauss. While the part that I could understand was quite interesting, I found myself far from enlightened. You see, Dr. Krauss’s “nothing” seemed to me remarkably like “something” and the origin of that “something” was still beyond my ken.

(Note that in this article, I am including science as a “belief system” for purposes of discussion.)

I have never discussed the origins of this universe with an educated proponent of any of the other major religions nor have I read their literature in any detail. Yet, I suspect if I had, I would still get only another degree of regression (OK then, where did “that” come from, etc.) instead of enlightenment.

Then it occurred to me, as it has to countless others, that, no matter the belief system, none of them can provide a true answer other that the one absolute truth: WE DO NOT KNOW.

And, the reason we (as in none of us) knows is because, in the current condition of this universe, WE CANNOT KNOW. To be able to know would be to have clear insight into whatever exists outside this universe. And, I am absolutely confident that no living, thinking creature on the Earth can possibly have such insight.

This being absolutely true, as it certainly seems to me, then I ask, why cannot all the living, thinking creatures on the Earth agree that we share a great truth (that WE DO NOT KNOW)? And, that sharing such truth negates virtually all of the excuses we come up with for abusing each other and for denying each other the fundamental rights that accrue from simply existing in this universe?

Having agreed on the one absolute truth, then I see no insurmountable problem if particular groups wish to fantasize over what MIGHT be beyond the great unknown, so long as they recognize their fantasies for what they are and do not no use them in an attempt to gain false superiority over anyone else.

Can it really be that hard to accept the obvious truth that none of us can actually know the answer to the ultimate question of this universe? I find that it troubles me not at all. Indeed, it is a relief to be spared the effort of trying to know what cannot be known.

Troy L Robinson

10 Responses to “The Basic Fallacy Of ALL Belief Systems”

  • ◄Dave► says:

    At the risk of provoking your ire, I will point out that the insurmountable problem is that “we” have not agreed on your “one absolute truth,” and simply never will. Alas, for the vast majority of sheeple, empirical evidence is not required to come by ‘truth.’ Revelation will do nicely. In fact, they don’t even need that. They readily accept the hearsay that someone else received the revelation. That is what makes phony prophesy profitable. 😉 ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      First, it is impossible to provoke my ire over a theoretical discussion in which none of us actually knows what he/she is talking about.

      Caring not one whit what the “sheeple” might be willing to consume, if YOU think my “one absolute truth” to be false, please offer evidence.

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        Of course I don’t think it is false; but where does that get us? I am not the one abusing others, because of a belief that this is what a deity expects of me, or trying to deny others their fundamental rights. ◄Dave►

        • Troy Robinson says:

          I did not mean to imply that my absolute truth would mean anything to those sheeple who have their heads to far up their collective butts that they cannot see or hear anything.

          I believe that the only truly wise thing I have ever heard or read was when Pogo The Possum said “We have met the enemy — and he is us.”

          The sheeple did not get that either.

          Troy

  • Chris says:

    Your post brings to mind a revelation I had a long time ago. Why does there need to be a belief system and more specific religious belief systems. To drill down to the absolute root it’s not even a “we don’t know” situation. It’s a we are unable to comprehend situation. There are two things the human mind has no ability to perceive and is therefore prone to reject for something it can. They are “absolute nothing” and “infinity”. It is impossible to comprehend either in any meaningful way. Even pondering “nothing” forces assigning characteristics that are something. You see there are things that even science will never explain even if it tries to the end of infinity….. Oh wait.

    Not understanding “nothing” and the resulting fear necessitates the belief in an afterlife into perceived infinity. A lot of the dogma of religion for the most part came about to temper human interaction in a time when by todays standards humans were barbarians. A reason to obey rules other than the wrath of the offended was needed and as much as we think ourselves enlightened is still needed by most.

    At some point the human race may find that we are nothing more than a tiny speck of random energy on a trip through infinity. Or maybe the manifestation of some far away deity with a warped sense of humor and a science project kit. Or maybe in the end just a figment of our own imagination. At any rate we should probably take ourselves a little less seriously. Nobody lives forever. Maybe.

    • Troy Robinson says:

      Why does there need to be a belief system and more specific religious belief systems.

      Well, the universe has no such need but, evidently, some individual humans think that they have such a need.

      I think there are several reasons for this, some of which you touched on:

      Man fancies himself the “great explainer” and has trouble accepting that there are things he cannot explain.

      Man seeks some relief from the certainty of his own death – even if he ultimately cannot believe his own fantisies.

      Some men seek to control others and religion offers an excellent method. What could be better than a scheme whereby you have a super-companion, all seeing, all knowing, always on the job and ready to smite the disobedient? If I believe this, I have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide so I had best obey whatever super-companion’s minions here on Earth tell me to do (or not do).

      Some men find comfort in having other men in the same situation as themselves rather than using their own brains to better their situations.

      Troy

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Cool Revelation, Chris. Thanks for the hearsay. 🙂

      I think you are on to something here. Primitive and/or simple minds appreciate others doing their thinking for them, and providing pleasing answers to difficult questions. Shamans and prophets have always been highly regarded.

      Scanning for the hidden flaw in your hypothesis, I notice that my own mind has no difficulty grasping the concept of a perfect vacuum, or that things exist beyond the horizon, which are unperceivable by my limited senses. I have noticed any attempt to reach the horizon is futile, because there is always another one behind it. These may not be perfect examples of nothing and infinity; but they suffice to prevent my mind from being boggled by, much less fearing, either concept.

      As a godless heathen, I don’t have the luxury of belief in life after death, so I have had to come to terms with my mortality. I believe I have adequately done so, and have no fear whatever of my inevitable demise. Frankly, I never expected to live this long, so fate has been kind. One purely selfish thing about it, is that once my infinite dirt nap arrives, nothing I ever concerned myself with will matter anymore. Absolutely nothing. How’s that for not taking myself too seriously? 🙂 ◄Dave►

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