Post # 637 LANGUID FAITH OR GENERATIVE REASON

We have consistently and with felt responsibility, promoted the recognition of well-deserved gratitude to Evolution, for its generous gift to homo sapiens of an advanced brain, with the admirable potential for learning and attainment of wisdom. As professed in earlier writings, we are loyal devotees of the epistemology espoused by the 19th Century philosopher, John Locke. Locke famously declared that man was born with a clean slate [“tabula rasa”], and that all knowledge is acquired by experience. We see his theory (“empirical school”) as more sustainable than those [rationalist school] who hold that man is born with certain innate knowledge. It is our fundamental credo, that belief systems, skills and perception are all learned and not inherited, or inspired, by some pre-birth agency. Based upon our best observation of history and contemporary life, factual reality is universally discoverable, tactual, physical, and discernable to the human eye; the latter, if necessary, with the aid of a telescope or microscope.

We do not denigrate the utility nor the propriety of traditional religious faith. The latter, an historical and sociological facet of every society and ethnos, can offer supportive assistance in times of crises, notably, familial mortality. In addition, to support in times of need, religious belief affords a desirable sense of personal identity and ethnic belonging. We might persuasively cite the traditionally existential role of the Black Church, in historically providing hope and needed spiritual sustenance to the African- American citizen, throughout so many generations of horrific race prejudice.

In stark contrast to its positive role, religion, generally and indisputably, has received an inauspicious report card in mankind’s history and, as well, in contemporary times. Religious and ethnocentric missionary zeal has comprehended inquisitions,  pogroms, warfare, prejudice,  Jim Crow, and injustice. Historically, uncountable numbers of scholars and philosophers were tortured and put to death on the grounds of “heresy”, in ignorant retribution for their espousal of enlightened ideas or findings. One revelatory instance of the numerous determinations of fatal heresy was the Middle Ages punishment for the belief that the Earth travels around the Sun [heliocentric theory] rather than the obverse, the latter as authoritatively declared in the Holy Bible.  It seems obvious, and empirically understandable, that traditional religion, grounded merely and exclusively in faith, is undeniably useless or worse, misleading, in the search for the comprehension of factual reality.

To avoid being misconstrued, we have admittedly observed that for individuals who possess the need for an abiding and supportive faith, one’s culturally acquired religious belief is a positive and personally enriching phenomenon;  but with two mandatory provisos: (1) that the religious adherent does not seek to impose his own reverenced faith upon others and, (2), he does not look to his spiritual proclivities as a reliable source of empirical knowledge. Subject to such two mandatory admonitions, religious faith can properly be perceived as an available and positive supplement to mankind’s temporal life.

By bright contrast, the use of faith as overriding, or as an alternative to, empirical fact, is necessarily fallacious and potentially harmful. It was the empirical practice of scientific research, that led to the recent development of vaccines to prevent Covid, as well as for diseases such as Polio and Diphtheria, that landed man on the moon and created digital science. Conversely, a sincere, faith-based use of devotional prayer as an alternative to penicillin will predictably, be of no discernable benefit in the case of a strep throat.  Religiously based consolation is positive, in that it is empathic and ameliorative, but cannot render any credible impact on the understanding or effect of human morbidity or mortality.

American citizens have recently been witness to a shocking, unprecedented, and dangerous insurrectional mob, assaulting the Capitol Building, wreaking havoc, and causing fatalities, severe personal injuries and damage to the Capitol building itself and its artifacts. Many violent insurgents wore red Trump MAGA caps, brought lethal weapons, banners and posters in protest of the determination of elective defeat of their leader and instigator, Donald Trump. Their loudly expressed assertion of purpose was to overthrow the results of the election. The riot was based upon their devotional faith in the unfounded, neurotic, and delusional assertion, of Donald Trump, that the election votes were tactically and fraudulently tabulated, and the election victory was “stolen” from him; such outcome to be made Constitutionally effective that day, January 6, 2021, by act of the U.S. Electoral College. In objective fact, three previously conducted, independent audits, had, previously, determined the undoubtable accuracy and the Bona Fidus of the election, in general, and, as well, its tabulation.

In previous writings, we expressed frustration due to our inability, after several ruminative attempts, to arrive at some credibly acceptable motivation for the 6/ 6 insurgency. In a very recent post, admittedly written in a frustrated mindset, we exasperatedly expressed in an imaginative context, the sci-fi theory that Trump and his sycophants occupied and functioned in an alternative physical dimension, one which was blind to factual accuracy and to Trump’s delusional assertion, as well as his demonstrated incapacity and outrageously immoral behavior. After this morning’s two enlightening and inspirational cups of strong coffee, we were catalytically enabled to arrive at a considerably more incisive and rational explanation, the fundamental basis underlying this mini-essay.

Our caffeine-inspired, but confident, conclusion is that the responsive and uniformly loyal action of Trump’s underbelly sycophants, was founded upon their devotional, cultish/religious article of faith, in the Orange Demagogue. We have categorically stated, that while we are sympathetic and respectful as to the observed emotional and socio- cultural utility of “Faith,” we emphatically decry it as an overriding explanation of empirical fact. The faith-based, reactive outrage acted upon by the insurrectionists was not founded upon supportive factual or objective knowledge. It was, based upon an unwavering faith in the entirely unsupported, unresearched and egotistical false declaration of a stolen election by their faux “deity,” Donald Trump,[ historically termed, “The Big Lie.”] Their faithful acceptance of the accuracy of Trump’s false and egotistic response to his neurotically unacceptable loss, presumably derived some credible support from the numerous past instances of such worshippers’ willing acceptance of Trump’s arbitrary declarations, such as the salubrious ingestion of bathroom cleansers to cure Covid-19, his rant against the [liberal] intellectual coastal elite, and his charges of felonious criminality of Hilary Clinton.

We have expressed our opinion that man’s engagement in his inherited cultural folkways, and religion, randomly acquired by the accident of his birth, can be comforting, and socially meaningful with the stated provisos that they are not forcibly imposed on others and do not serve as a substitute for truth. The Sun is warming and life-giving, but there is no sun god, lightning is natural, dramatic static electricity, not a symbol of the wrath of a deity, the World and its complement of flora and fauna were not completed in six business days, conveniently, before the Sunday Sabbath. On the other hand, the existence of communal holiday celebrations, comforting personal sentiment expressed at funerals  and societally shared celebratory events, promote fellowship and acceptability,

By contrast, the facile acceptance of an arbitrary and irrational thought system, eternally based upon thoughtless and unquestionable faith in an infallible agency, mortal or otherwise, as the source of factual knowledge is entirely without redeeming merit. In the context of this writing,  cultish or religious homage to the sanctity and skewed personal image of an individual, such as the amoral, ignorant, and anti-societal, Donald Trump, evinces predictable social or psychological pathology. Perhaps the participants’ respective etiologies arise from, personal insecurity, lack of acceptable self-image, knowing incapacity or ignorance, need for group approval, deprived childhood, brutal upbringing, generalized feelings of depression or unhappiness, reductionist thought, mental disability, lack of independence, fear of mortality, cowardice, impotence, weakness, need for compensation for lack of skills or intelligence, jealousy, despair, or paranoid, or schizoid thought process. Who can speculate?

Thus, in our deliberative estimation, despite their loudly trumpeted, public articulation of a specific and unified cause, each participating protester, predictably, had his own distinct and separate, personally nuanced motivation. Our telling, and confident perception, was confirmed in that the needy and idolizing rioters appeared to be every bit as earnestly driven, as their worshipped, delusional Deity.

As indicated in the preceding essay, we are hopeful that all participants, organizers, and promoters of this vile, indecent, and existential threat to democracy, will receive adequate and deserved punitive retribution which will, additionally, perform the service of an enduring future deterrent.

-p.       

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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