October 15, 2007

Empirical evidence

I got into a conversation with my girlfriend this weekend as we sat in
my parked car just about to go into the 10am mass together. She has a
hard time understanding why anyone would base their lives around a set
of beliefs that can not be empirically proven. For my part, I love some
hard evidence just as much as the next gal, but I'm comfortable filling
in the gaps where there is no proof with my faith. I couldn't really
get out what I wanted to say (I'm blaming the current mercury
retrograde), and only managed to defend my philosophy by spouting some
post-modernist retort about finding truth within many faith traditions
and taking what was valuable and disposing of the rest. That seemed to
heat her up even more, as she sees this kind of "cherry-picking" as the
source of all that is wrong with religion, because just as I am
interested in choosing what is valuable to me, others (and entire
faiths) seem to focus on values that are antithetical to anything I'd
relate to, and in many cases, are used for great evil in our world. Not to mention that my own beliefs are quite different than what anyone would regard as typically Catholic, yet that is where I show up every Sunday. I ended up murmuring something about not being a "sheep."

I want to write more about this soon. It's bringing up all sorts of questions
and ideas that I've wrestled with before — everything from the
existence of absolute truth vs. relativism to our human need to
discover what is sacred and mysterious outside of the world of facts
and evidence. I want to explore what role doubt has for the faithful —
and how a lack of doubt is what I believe is missing
within some faith traditions.

Stay tuned. I think I'm on to something, but I need a little time to work it all out in my head first.


vegan.mama said...

Well, maybe Feuerbach is a starting point for you two:

If therefore my work is negative, irreligious, atheistic, let it be remembered that atheism - at least in the sense of this work - is the secret of religion itself; that religion itself, not indeed on the surface, but fundamentally, not in intention or according to its own supposition, but in its heart, in its essence, believes in nothing else than the truth and divinity of human nature.

I can see her point of view, obviously -- but there also reaches a point where logical arguments hold no force in a debate over religion. It's kind of a personal thing, like which kind of ice cream is your favorite. Would you try to use logical arguments to convince someone else that YOUR favorite should be theirs? Uh, probably not. Spirituality is really the same way, for me at least. I have yet to see an argument proving god's existence, but that holds no weight to the person who feels a connection with the universe outside of themselves. And I think it's even possible to be an atheist and still feel that connection. It's all in the perspective.

Then again, what do I know?

Anima Sola said...

Thanks for the vauluable quote. The truth and divinity of human nature is what I'm after, for sure. Anyway, she keeps me on my toes. Philosophers need scientists to help them work out their rationale.
Oh, and btw, black walnut is the most superior flavor of ice cream, I am certain.;)

vegan.mama said...

No, factually speaking, the most superior flavor of ice cream is Chicago Soydairy's chocolate chip cookie dough. And I'll fight you to the death over that... ;-)