Killing the Antithesis
The New Year is soon upon us. It's a time to start anew, look back to what we've done and seek to improve. This blog was founded on the premise of attacking the Christian side of the materialist/Christian antithesis. Now I'm going to kill the Christian worldview, by driving a rhetorical sword through its heart.
I don't really worry about opposing opinions about this. Since Christians love persecution, sacrifice and death, I daresay that they should like this as well.
But first, is the antithesis really that important ? We obviously think it is, because that's what we write about. But I don't think we can really escape having a worldview, because we are naturally curious and have a need to take a position about the nature of our existence and our place in the universe. Even to deny that these kinds of truths exist and that we fabricate our answers using inter-subjective processes is in itself a worldview (post-modernism). So anyone who is the least bit interested in what life is all about takes a side on this issue, even though one may not necessarily know what these sides are all about.
As a fervent representative of the materialist side, let me tell you what both worldviews mean to me.
When the Christian says "materialism is false", he says this as a result of a worldview which places God as the metaphysical center of all things. More specifically, a worldview which considers man as the opposite and the enemy of nature and the natural, a special creation set apart from all the animals, where natural law and induction are nullified by divine consciousness, and where there is no morality, purpose and meaning, only divine whim. In the Christian worldview, man is inherently evil can only be "cleansed" by the divine whim, and is at the mercy of a divine plan he cannot possibly understand.
The Christian's place in the universe is that of both slave to divine whim and slavemaster to those inferior to himself on the social hierarchy established by Christianity (Jesus first, then the religious and political authorities, then men, then women, then their slaves). Man's place in the universe is that of a supernatural spirit which has no causal connections to the universe, and can only understand said universe because of the divine whim.
In the Christian worldview, this life is "wordly", wicked, useless, Satanic, immoral. Only a devotion to the supernatural realm and its "other life" can bring salvation and righteousness. Because of this, values do not exist. Our only moral role is to stop other people from living their lives in a non-Christian way (anti-values), and the only valid political order is theocratic, with Christian beliefs and anti-values at the core.
When I say "I am a materialist", I say this as the result of a worldview which considers man as part of a causal, knowable universe, where natural laws and induction hold (and are not subverted by some "supernatural cause"), and where morality, purpose and meaning are possible bececause of that very causality and knowability. My worldview says man is an animal, but a noble animal, capable of the highest good as well as the vilest evil.
It also says that my place in the universe is that of an epistemic agent no different from any other structure of matter in the universe, an animal with a genome that evolved like any other, but with the capacity of awareness and knowledge given to me through biological evolution, the most wonderful and powerful process in the universe.
In my worldview, this life is something to be pursued, because there is nothing else. People should not hate others or sacrifice themselves in the name of a non-existing "other life". I have no right to tell other people how to live their life, as long as they follow the same rule. All individuals should be free to pursue their lives, their personal values, in the way they desire.
And that's why, while I can appreciate the many Christians who are practical atheists and don't share the Christian worldview, I'll never have any respect for those who do. They are my cultural enemies. I know their epistemic malady comes from their education or life experiences, and I feel compassion for their botched lives, but compassion can never restore the peace and progress that Christianity and other monotheisms, polytheisms and pantheonisms have taken away.
Short blogging hiatus for me. Hope you had a good Christmas, and have a happy New Year. Keep peace and good will in your heart.