Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The triune god of our age

The triune god of Luck, Chance and Fluke is a powerful one in this universe. We are told that he created this universe and guides all things to his own will. I say "he", but really it should be "it". Luck, Chance and Fluke is not personal, nor fair. They are what they are. You can thank them if you want, you can side with them if you want, you can even defend them if you want, but really they don't care, they can't care.

Now having our universe run by Luck, Chance and Fluke has it's positives- if they decided to favor you. Born in the Western world in this time period is straight up one of the best blessings they bestowed upon you; and you do not have to thank them or pay them back for this blessing. They do not ask for anything in return, they don't want anything anyway.

You can create whatever you want and do whatever you want. You don't have to listen to anyone else tell you that you are a sinner, your choices are your choices. You are worth it. You are not accountable to anyone or anything, you can beat your own drum to your own tune. Beauty and morals are what you make of it. You are free to do what you want - provided the gods have given you the DNA, freedom, means and abilities to do it - if not, unlucky.

Being ruled by Luck, Chance and Fluke does have it's negatives; mainly your life is pointless and there is no such thing as right and wrong. Since our universe has come from nothing and is going to nothing and is not guided with any purpose, it is hard to boot strap any meaning or telos into it. 

If by chance you have a sense of fairness and justice you may well seek to empower those that Luck, Chance and Fluke have overlooked, but you don't have to. There is no obligation for you to care. It doesn't really matter what position you take on anything or if you are going to be "on the wrong side of history" because everything ends with the heat death of the universe anyway. Liking a sunset over a gang rape really comes down to personal preference. Beauty and morals are what you make of it. You are free to do what you want. You can use your "choice" to murder fetuses - only to the extent that you understand that "choices" are an illusion. Really your preferences are all based on your biological urges that were made by Luck, Chance and Fluke. You are merely dancing to the DNA that they have given you.

Alex Rosenberg presents a fine catechism of this faith at the front of his Atheist's Guide to Reality:
Is there a God? No.
What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
What is the purpose of the universe? There is none.
What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
Does prayer work? Of course not.
Is there a soul? Is it immortal? Are you kidding?
Is there free will? Not a chance!
What happens when we die? Everything pretty much goes on as before, except us.
What is the difference between right and wrong, good and bad? There is no moral difference between them.
Why should I be moral? Because it makes you feel better than being immoral.
Is abortion, euthanasia, suicide, paying taxes, foreign aid, or anything else you don’t like forbidden, permissible, or sometimes obligatory? Anything goes.
What is love, and how can I find it? Love is the solution to a strategic interaction problem. Don’t look for it; it will find you when you need it.
Does history have any meaning or purpose? It’s full of sound and fury, but signifies nothing.
Does the human past have any lessons for our future? Fewer and fewer, if it ever had any to begin with.

I like that Rosenberg used his will to write a book putting forward ideas that he thinks are right and worth telling others about, despite the fact that his ideas undermine that he has an intent and that it is not possible for him to be right.

I also like that in question five Rosenberg calls luck "dumb" because Luck can not speak. The silent god out there is a good one, for it demands nothing from us, even if we are nothing.

While the triune god of Luck, Chance and Fluke is a persuasive one, it is not a fulfilling one.

There are at least two large stories trying to win your attention and your life.

You are either ultimately meaningless and only the sum total of your self-expression and experiences and you are "free" to do what your DNA is dictating; or you do have intrinsic worth and value beyond yourself, your life has meaning and that morals, standards and beauty exist.

The story that wins means you have to deal with the living, listening, speaking God who offers grace, mercy, forgiveness, and standards, or you appeal to a higher god above Luck, Chance and Fluke whose name is Convenience.


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