Perspectives


On January 28, both the Freethinkers and the Interfaith Clubs will be participating in a panel discussion. The discussion is being put on by a popular Evangelical Christian group on campus. As such, the questions tend to reflect their beliefs. Here are my answers to their tentative question list:

What is your perspective on the meaning or purpose of life?

There is no intrinsic meaning or purpose of life. The meaning that life has is whatever meaning we give it.

What is your perspective on the nature of humans? Are we inherently good? Are we inherently evil? Why is the world the way that it is?

Humans are just humans. Sometimes the things we do are considered good, sometimes they aren’t. Most of the time the things we do are neither good or bad. We aren’t inherently good or bad, we just are. The world is the way it is for a number of reasons. The human element of why the world is the way it is is far to complex to discuss in any meaningful way. Some of it has to do with politics, some of it results from greed, but mostly it’s just the way it is because humans are a social species.

What is your perspective on morality? Do right and wrong exist independent of humans? How do we decide how we should live?

Do right and wrong exist independent of humans? That depends. If all humans were to die tomorrow, does right and wrong continue to matter? If yes, then morality is independent of humans, if no then it is dependent on humans. I would say that if humans ceased to exist, then right and wrong would lose all meaning. We decide how we should live as a society. I would go into what I mean by this further, but I have discussed this issue fairly in-depth in other posts.

What do you believe happens when we die?

Our bodies decompose.

What do you believe is the solution to all of the problems in the world, or to the problem with humans themselves if you believe there is one?

There is no single solution to any problem. Nothing is so black and white. There are a number of problems in the world, both related and unrelated to humans. Each problem needs to be looked at and solved individually. If God was the answer to any of these problems, then there would be no problems.

How do you believe we should approach the discovery of truth? Through science, philosophy, personal experience?
What do you mean by truth? There is no one right way to discover what is true. I don’t think that we can ever know what is true with 100% certainty, but I believe that we can be fairly sure whether or not something is true. Both science and philosophy are two great ways to discover whether or not something is true.

What is your perspective on sexuality? What is sex for and why should there be (or not be) any restrictions on our sexual behaviour?

Sex is for many things. Pleasure is an important aspect of the act of sex. Restrictions on sex should be for the purposes of protecting those who cannot consent.

How do you believe we should interact with those who hold different perspectives from our own? What is your view on tolerance of differing perspectives?

We should interact with those who hold a different perspective from our own as equals. We should be respectful of their beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t question them. I don’t think other beliefs should simply be tolerated. I think that we should encourage dialogue and understanding.

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7 responses to “Perspectives

  • Home And Spirit

    Great answers. I especially liked the last two! Personally, I think that last answer you gave would solve many of the problems of the world. If we all treat each other as equals..In fact if we all view each other as equals, then we’d have harmony.

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  • equippedcat

    “Humans are just humans. Sometimes the things we do are considered good, sometimes they aren’t. Most of the time the things we do are neither good or bad. We aren’t inherently good or bad, we just are.”

    Humans are related to animals in the sense that the instinctual direction is to only consider what is desired by self. Many can rise above that and put concern for others above or even with concern for self (to some degree). We tend not to consider animals to be “evil” for acting according to their nature while people are chastised for some of those same behaviors, and often rightfully so. The real trouble is that the very insight which allows us to suppress our nature gives some people the ability to inflict damage to others beyond what is beneficial to themselves.

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    • hessianwithteeth

      I’d suggest a more nuanced understading of instinct. While as living creatures our primarily purpose can be seen from a biolgical persepective of replicating and carrying gene around.

      What matters more, from the evolutionary perspective, is that those genes are carried on into the future. So selfish behaviour is not purely self-orentatied, but also external to those whom we share liniage with.

      Instinct to protect our children, our kin, our tribe is often just as strong, or stronger then our own sense of personal survival, and this is perfectly reasonable from an evolutionary perspective.

      These insticts also lead to odd behaviour like humans affections towards house pets which is probably largely an unintended consequence of our other altruistic traits.

      That said, it’s in our best intrest to chastize those in our populations which do harm to the group, because it’s in the groups interest and as social creature the group is generally more important then any single individual.

      You always get “cheater” or “leaches” but that does not necessary dictate the behaviour of the whole population. The truth of instincts, like many other things, is more complex then it first appears.

      Liked by 1 person

  • studentgonzo

    Is this the event that Christine is speaking at?

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