October 17th, 2018
CURT: CAN A SANE PERSON HAVE FAITH?
—“Curt, is it possible for a man to believe in Christian doctrine without being a borderline schizophrenic or a closet atheist with personal issues? Can a sane man of at least average intelligence believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God in good faith?”— Scott Cameron
Well, this confuses Sanity with Agency. Can a sane man do so? Well, evidence that sane and insane people do so. The question is can a man possessed of Agency do so?
I mean, for all intents and purposes I ‘believe’ in the characters of history although they are constructed through recursive narrative improvement into myths. That does not stop me, but helps me refer to them (imitate them) in disposition, frame of mind, and method of problem solving.
The question is, whether you are imitating a history, a myth, or an occult version of whatever it is, and the assumptions you have about the universe when you imitate each of those criteria. Ergo: are you Relying on Knowledge (techne/history), Seeking Wisdom (general rules), or Seeking false comfort (falsehoods)?
Christians tend to make pretty good people – a dumb christian is still a lot better than just about anything else because of its optimism (exhaustive forgiveness) which is the optimum group evolutionary strategy.
I’ll refer you to this post (Oath):
And this paragraph:
—“I am a christian if I have adopted the teaching of christianity: 1) the eradication of hatred from the human heart. 2) the extension of kinship love to non-kin. 3) the extension of exhaustive forgiveness before punishment, enserfment, enslavement, death, or war.”—
This is the element of ‘faith’ in christianity. And it turns out to be correct: exhausting opportunities for cooperation before retaliating is the optimum cooperative strategy – there is none better. Nearly all humans (and animals) will cooperate given enough time to learn its value.
Faith, in all its forms, is merely a way to circumvent problem solving when the neural (Bayesian) accounting (calculation) is beyond our capacity to reason. So faith allows us to ignore our intuitions and frustrations and calmly continue our efforts, with some semblance of piece of mind (confidence) in the outcomes.
The rest of christianity is just nonsense.
The act of ‘praying to’ (role playing with) a super-parent (fictional character) that you cannot lie to (omniscience) simply works by taking advantage of our innate abilities to self program our intuitions (pre rational searching).
Role playing with Gods (eternal, magical), Demigods (immortal), heroes (simple superiors), and Ancestors and parents (our own heroes as children), works for the same reason talking to priests, shrinks, and friends works: if we can train ourselves not to lie to ourselves the role playing will ‘work’.
We consist of a physical body, a set of physical (cognitive) biases, a set of intuitions that are limited by those biases, and our ability to reason, and speak. Speech allows us to program our intuition and therefore compete with our genetic biases that evolved under primitive circumstances of the pack and tribe.
THere is nothing terribly magical about this process. Nor need there be. The stoics learned how to do it without superstition. The buddhists did not. There is no reason we cannot ‘train ourselves’ in stoicism on the one hand, and role playing with heroes, demigods, and gods on the other, while not understanding what it is that we do.
It is far better than allowing ourselves to be constantly manipulated by priests, politicians, public intellectuals, and marketers of all kinds.
Fairy tales -> Myths and Legends -> Historical Biographies -> Histories -> Legal Histories + Economic Histories + Technological Histories -> The Sciences -> Mathematics.
I talk to my god every day. I largely do what he informs me. I do not however mistake his existence for his function.
The simpleton cannot do such a thing. But he can worship nature, ancestors, and not be taught lies.