First Cause

It is remarkably clear, or at least very difficult to dispute, that the beliefs and worldviews of people consist commonly of nothing more than this: that they believe and espouse simply that which makes them most comfortable.

Deny this outright, if you will. Reflect upon the motivations of such denial, and deny it again, if you are able.



7 Responses to “First Cause”

  1. During my deconversion phase, I held beliefs I was deeply uncomfortable holding, because thought I ought to despite what I thought was reasonable. That, in itself, was unreasonable. So, one can, at least in that manner, believe things that are not most comfortable.

    Then, once the threshold of disbelief had been crossed, I fled back to the door through which I had just past, only to find the way barred to me–for what is known cannot be unknown. Despite my best efforts, I failed to get back to the comfortable life of the theism I could no longer tenably, honestly live.

  2. But you held the deeply uncomfortable beliefs because it was even more uncomfortable to throw the whole thing away. I only said most comfortable–not comfortable on the whole.

    Also, cognitive dissonance is extremely uncomfortable.

    Regardless, I am referring primarily to other ideas, here.

  3. I am less comfortable, now; that is, less soothed, less sedated, than before. So I’ve gone from comfortable dissonance to uncomfortable(-ing) reasonance[sic]. The position I now hold cannot, of itself, beget opiates of any kind, and so it cannot comfort me. Though it does have some advantages: like guilt-free orgies and baby-burgers.

    To relate a specific example, harkening back to the deconversion phase. Being aware that one is not simply heterosexual and also holding the belief that such a state of being is also worthy of damnation, per Levitical proscription. It would have been more comfortable to drop the Levitical portion and be bisexual(since I know of no way to change the my sexuality). Yet, I did not. I held the uncomfortable view that I was damned. Thus, even while Christian, I was forced by the twisted logic of my theology to “know” that I was a vessel of wrath. How is that in any way comforting?

    I’m not sure how a distinction can be drawn between most-comfortable and comfortable-on-the-whole, as I thought that a belief system, a worldview, was tantamount to an epistemology. Colour me confused as to why one is given a different status. I suppose I just to see any reason to believe that minds are like water, following the paths of least epistemic woe.

    Blah. Gotta run. Work calls.

  4. “. . . just *don’t* see . . .”

  5. The operative question regarding your story above is: why? Why did you do that?

    On an aside, however, I am very surprised that you believed that the mere state of bisexuality would have incurred damnation, as this seems to be a form of Christianity that even I have not come into direct contact with. Even the most basic, fundamentalist perspectives I have heard demonize the actions, and not the state of being.

    Nonetheless, I took care to use the caveat of “generally.” I believe it is possible to do otherwise, and perhaps you did so while Christian.

    According to what I have seen up until now, people walk up and down the street with general calm. They have beliefs and opinions about things, which allow them to do so. Few to none of these people are anxiously attached to beliefs–even on such base levels as politics–that make their lives miserable, or cast them as helpless and insignificant.

    The fact is, people cannot afford to go around believing things that make them superfluously uncomfortable. So for the most part, they don’t.

  6. “Why did you do that?”

    I am not Kierkegaard, so I don’t think I have a choice to believe something true that I believe to be false, or vv, despite how it makes me feel. Leaps of faith aren’t my forte. Rather, I follow a set of propositions to where they appear to lead; over the cliff or not.

    “Even the most basic, fundamentalist perspectives I have heard demonize the actions, and not the state of being.”

    From what I’ve been able to gather, people do not understand that Jesus amplified the law. Matt 5:28, taken with Rom 9:20, 21, does not paint a rosy picture for the fit-for-destruction. It’s the nature of humanity that damns them, not just their actions. I suppose, as the Christian scriptures have written it, a thought is an action is a crime. (What then of forgiveness? That question, central as it is to soteriology, is a giant kettle of monkeys that’d take a thesis paper to delve into, so I’m not even going to try, here.)

    “The fact is, people cannot afford to go around believing things that make them superfluously uncomfortable. So for the most part, they don’t.”

    I agree. If I could figure out how people stop at the point where a line of reasoning becomes damaging, then I would almost certainly be a lot happier. So would you, I’d wager.

  7. I meant “why didn’t you drop Christianity earlier on, if you found that belief so uncomfortable.”

    As for Kierkegaard (I sometimes wonder how many more years into the future he could have survived; he seems to have lived at the edge of the age when it was possible for him to exist), I submit to you that you do make leaps of faith that are less obvious to you, but nonetheless false, and slightly easier to put out of your mind. When we admit this, we play the dangerous game–to recognize untruth as a condition of life (as per Nietzsche).

    As I understand Matthew 5:28, the grammar still depicts that as an intentional action. Or so I heard, once upon a time. Given that such intentional actions are nonetheless unavoidable, it is indeed our nature, I suppose; but I fail to see how this would lead to the conclusion that the mere state of bisexuality would lead to damnation any more than anything else, of which Christians presume to be forgiven.

    A little man in a suit and tie has woken up inside my stomach, and he wants me to add that it is indeed humanity’s nature that damns us. This I see as the whole point of Christianity, and an undeniable reason for its prevalence: it is not a mere abstract conjecture that we are all walking around damned by our nature; it is a plainly observable problem, and denying the solution still leaves us with the problem.

    You wager correctly, but I should point something out: you may not have stopped your reasoning before the red line, but you have stopped it nonetheless, and certainly before the cliff. This I know, because you are still here.

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