Introspection, Faith, and Death

Last week was an amazing week for me. I got news that I will be a published author, I wrote 5000 words in Everdome, and there were a few other pieces of news I can’t talk about yet.

Everything was going great then my body utterly crapped out on me. I had a major allergy attack (which for me is thankfully not anaphylactic) and I’ve spent this week feeling like I have cotton balls instead of brains and I’m fairly certain a kitten could beat me up.

There were also two celebrity deaths that have consumed my social media feeds. All of which kept making me think about death. I think Adam Ruins Everything can sum up the feelings I had.

Warning: This video shoves your mortality into your face.

I spent most of Monday catching up on Daredevil. The show has a few scenes where the main character discusses good and evil with a priest. It’s done in an introspective way that really speaks to me.

I was raised French Catholic. (Yes it’s tough not to say, “And with you” when I hear, “May the force be with you”) One thing I always hated about organized religion was the lack of introspection and questioning. In fiction people will say they are, “Searching for faith” or “Questioning faith” but it’s rarely explored. (On a side note, the lack of this exploration that probably soured me on the Exorcist.)

“Write a million words–the absolute best you can write, then throw it all away and bravely turn your back on what you have written. At that point, you’re ready to begin.”

David Eddings (Possibly referencing Heinlein or Bradbury)

As I’m approaching the mythical one-million words I’m starting to see themes in my work that I didn’t realize where there before. Dreams, intelligent villains, hope vs fear, sentience, and faith. If you’d asked me ten years ago if I’d have faith as a theme in my writing I would have laughed and said no.

However faith is more than just belief in a higher being(s) it’s belief if ourselves and those around us. It’s believing in humanity and hope. I’m sure, to some, it sounds overly optimistic or naïve.

In A Case of Synchronicity (one of the sequels to A Study in Aether), the main character (Elizabeth) starts doubting what she knew about her mother and what she knows about the world. She visits a church and speaks with the priest there about what is right and what religion means in a world saturated with magic. (Don’t worry the book also involves kissing, time travel, and scary vampires)

It’s a theme I’ve also been exploring a little with the Hal stories. (what is faith like in a galaxy where you know there’s a god living in the Sun?)

I’m always fascinated in characters that have faith without zealotry, spirituality without hate, or hope without fear.

I’m still not sure what I believe in the grand scheme of things (and I’m rambling little… sorry) maybe that’s why this sort of exploration and introspection appeals to me.

 

Do you think I’m being overly sentimental and naïve?

Éric

Morality Without God

I came across an argument on the internet the other day that stated that Morals could not exist without a God.

The idea being that Morality is intrinsically tied to Religion because of the authority of God.

I’m not going to argue the benefits of religion, atheism, or anything in between. Let’s stick to morals.

Merriam-Webster defines Morality as, “beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior” and defines ethics as, “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad”

There is also the philosophical discipline of Ethics witch, “deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior: a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong”

It’s extremely easy to get lost in a doctorate level of research into Ethics and Moral Reasoning. Let’s stick to a derivative definition that says Morality is the beliefs about what is right and wrong and Ethics are the rules around right and wrong.

Where do morals come from?

  • If morality is the purview of God than it should be unchanging and perfect.
  • If it’s the purview of man, morality is in constant flux.

One of the statements above is false.

Yep. Good job, it’s the first one. I don’t care what your stance on God is, humanity is flawed and it’s humanity that interprets God’s theoretical Morality.

It could even be argued that the changes in what we see as Right and Wrong are due to our own faults and not God’s.

If we take God out of the equation we have to assume that either Morals have a evolutionary survival benefit, or a societal benefit.

So that means that Morals come from one of two places:

  • Humanities interpretation of God’s morals, or
  • Humanities ideals on what is best for ourselves and each other

Either way Morality is the domain of humanity. Either we decide for ourselves or interpret God, the end is the same; Humanity chooses.

Aren’t Morals set in Stone?

No, and consider yourself lucky. The morals of the past included all kinds of crazy things. At several points in history it was considered Right to own people. It was proper to cut off genitals to protect royalty. In the days of the Witch Hunts you could be killed for being single and attractive.

Morals vary from society to society. What is considered Right for some is considered disgusting by others. We don’t eat Cats, Dogs, or Horses but in some societies that is considered ok. Stop to think logically and figure out why a Cat or Dog is morally superior to a chicken, pig, or cow.

But everyone in my society has the same morals

Nope! Ask a friend who’s a proud vegetarian and then go talk to someone who’s a proud carnivore and tell me everyone in your society has the same morals.

Conclusion

Morals can exist without God. It’s up to us to think about what is Right and Wrong and not just accept what someone else says.

Doubt and critical thinking are the best friends of Morals. Always think how your actions affect others and how they affect the world.

If we all do this we’ll live on a much better planet.

What are your thoughts of Morality?

Éric

 

Faith

Oh what a troubling word. Faith can mean many things to many people. At its core it means to believe in something. It’s often associated with religion or spiritual belief.

It’s a beautiful concept, to believe in something but I wonder if it’s that simple. It often seems that devoutly religious person would have the strongest faith and that the non-practicing wouldn’t. I think that’s wrong.

I think faith, as an integral belief which you whole heartedly honour, isn’t only the purview of religion. I think faith, in one form or another, is present in everyone. I’d go as far as saying faith is not only pervasive but essential to a healthy life.

Difference Between Having Faith and Needing Faith

There has to be a distinction made between having faith in something and needing faith in something.

You can have faith in God, Science, or Humanity. There’s a lot more but the point is that you can even have faith in yourself. How you’ve gained this faith or why doesn’t matter. The power of it, is that you have it.

Needing faith, is how you get to your belief. No matter how much you study you’ll always need faith that there is a God. But, if you spend a couple of decades training and testing theories, you can prove evolution through fossil and empirical evidence. You don’t need to have faith in something for it.

I suppose you need to have faith that the scientists that did the work, did it while respecting the scientific method. But you don’t need to have faith in evolution, just in the people who have proven it, over and over again.

The difference is simply in the method. Needing faith is a path to belief. Having faith is the last stop on that path but reaching the last stop can always be done through another path.

Why I think it’s important

I think as human beings we need to have a certain amount of stability in our lives and beyond that we need hope.

Faith, in every form, is about hope and the belief that things are going to be ok. As an example let’s take the afterlife.

Christian religion tells us that we will be judged and either go to heaven or hell (or the in-between places). Science tells us that we will decompose and that our atoms will return to the earth and help spring forth new life. Eventually our world with be destroyed and our atoms will float through space until they are used to create a new planet, sun, or other astral body.

Are both of them true? Who cares, that’s needing faith part. Are they both beautiful? Yes to a certain extent. Heaven can sound down right horrifying to some (That’s a whole other post) while the idea that we’re made of “star-stuff” might seem cold and unfeeling to others.

Having faith isn’t about what other people believe it’s about what you believe and how it make you feel.

My Beliefs (Cause I know you care)

I believe in stories and I believe if humanity. Although it’s not always easy I have faith that humanity is genuinely good.

I believe in being nice to people. I believe that life is a beautiful and magnificent thing that needs to be cherished. I have faith in the power of words, love, and kindness. Most of all, I believe that the pursuit of knowledge should be the goal of our lives.

What are my thoughts on the afterlife? I hope there are further challenges after our bodies stop working. I believe that the consciousness, or soul, must be bound to the laws of physics that say no matter or energy is ever created or destroyed. What it becomes after death is a great mystery to me but I don’t think it disappears completely.

I also believe that you live on in the hearts and minds of your friends and family. And they say the internet never forgets.

If you need to label me, this all means I’m Agnostic. Meaning I’m not sure what to believe but that we should keep trying to find out.

 

What do you have faith in?

Hal the Sun Speaker – Part 1

Hello Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I have bought a house and are in the middle of moving and setting things up.

Since I don’t want to neglect you any more than I have, I’ll be posting a multi-part story. It was recently rejected by an anthology but I plan on resubmitting it.

I really like this story. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

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