Posted: Feb 23, 2012 3:14 am
by igorfrankensteen

You are just at the very beginning of the search you are on, and you are making some common logical errors, relative to what I think you set out to accomplish. I recognize what you are saying, I think, because I set out to do something similar many moons ago.

Right off the bat, I would commend you to read about Descartes, and what he was trying to accomplish when he arrived at his saying "Cogito ergo sum," or "I think, therefore I am." he too, was trying to find a reliable, rock-solid starting point, from which to build a fresh, and logically independent philosophical system. You seem to be trying to accomplish the same general thing, to establish for yourself, a solid set of basic principles which you will feel confident you can defend from all who might challenge you.

I think you've gone in a couple of loops, and have labeled as starting points, things that are not actually stable things themselves.

For one thing, you seem to be trying to START from concerns about a dynamic: the reason(s) for why you criticize religion. It's not possible to establish a stable, rock-solid bit of ground, on a moving target like that. Opposition can only be stable, when what one opposes is stable, and religions are living, evolving things. You will never find a single, always valid reason to oppose something like that.

You in turn, seem to have half realized that, in that you have begin to recognize that religions are not actually out to "get" people all the time, but your response seems to have been to experience a sense of guilt at having been mistaken before, rather to pursue a corrective regimen of logical inquiry to correct yourself. Jumping into the maelstrom of relativism about Truth, is exactly the opposite of what you want, and going to it as an explanation/excuse for your doubts, is an incorrect application of it.

Your problem is not that [some] "Truths" are indeed dependent upon other beliefs, your problem is in identifying the difference between stand alone facts, and dependent ones.

Someone else pointed out that things like the laws of physics are independent facts, to all except those who insist on claiming to believe that "it's all a matter of perception, and nothing is actually real." However, it is very difficult indeed, to develop an entire formula for ones's personal life, starting from the firmness of the speed limit of light.

Descartes started by declaring that he existed. From there, he went on to validate reason as a tool, and perceptions as reliable sources of factual information (within specified limits). He went on from there to build his own life philosophy. We might not agree with every choice he made along his way, but the PROCESS he chose was excellent.

As for why YOU criticize religion, it is likely not the same reason why I do, or why other people do. The fact that we have different reasons isn't pertinent to what you are trying to discover here, but you seem to think that it might be. It is important for what you are after (a sense of personal stability and a source of personal philosophical confidence), that you figure out exactly why YOU criticize religions, but it is also important for your purposes, that you not insist that this coordinates with anyone else's reasons. Your reasons are not dependent on anyone else's.

You are not suffering from a remnant of religious thinking. Just because religious people seek stability of belief, and confidence of belief as you do, does not mean that you are therefore secretly religious in any way, any more than it means that they are secretly in doubt about their own beliefs. A desire for sense of place in the universe has nothing to do with what avenue one seeks it upon.

Most of us who decide to say "religions are false," do so to escape the captivity of thought that LOCAL(to us) self-proclaimed believers are thrusting upon us (usually as a part of their own struggle for certainty). Because each person is unique, the exact reasons and details of this initial "Anti-belief" will vary from one person to the next.

But once you do effect this INITIAL "escape," you will reach a new stage of thought, and that's where you are now. Why continue to bother putting effort into opposing other's beliefs, once you are free of their domination?

Excellent thinking. However, it is not necessary or logical for you to at that point, conclude that because you won your freedom, and did it fairly easily, that you were wrong to have gone for it, or that because you feel free, that you have accidentally proved to yourself that religious belief was never really that big of a problem to begin with.

What you need to do now, is similar to what people who have tried for years, to leave their home town have to do. Being free, is closely akin to being lost. Hence your desire to establish new road signs for yourself, and hence your fear that you are merely creating a new, equally fallacious religious belief system.

I struggled with that myself, but found what I think are satisfactory, entirely NON religious ways to handle my view of the universe. I borrow some of the WISDOM of some religious believers, without taking up their gods, or their rules systems. I wont go into my own solutions here, as it is enough to let you know within the scope of this thread, that you can answer your own questions, both without resorting to any religious-like beliefs of your own making, AND without simply allowing everyone to claim their own version of reality is equally valid.