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Monday, December 15, 2008                                                                                       View Comments

Filling the void

From B.R.

Christianity is an ethos that penetrates all of life and provides answers that are useful in some cases. For example, answers about how to deal with bitterness that otherwise in a bad case of bitterness would eat someone alive, like a bad cavity that eventually abscesses.

If Christianity is not true, and someone comes to recognize that, they still have the problems that Christianity tried to solve, but they are without a solution any longer. While Christianity may not have been correct, was at least practical and useful at some level (Christianity would not exist were it not useful at some level for solving the problems of the human condition. It transcends the mere critiques of Marx or Nietzsche for example). At the same time, I am not saying that we should follow a system, or indeed, give our lives for something that is not correct.

In fact, the formerly Christian and now agnostic's position in practical terms seems temporarily at least worse, and rather dangerous, because in addition to being, say bitter, about whatever he was trying to deal with through Christianity, he must now overcome his sense of bitterness and betrayal by a God who is not there, and sense of bitterness about having given decades of his life to a set of rules that are not actually required.

And by his doubt, he no longer has access to the ethical and spiritual tools he once used that had at least a practical effect. That had some utility.

So recognizing that utility is what is needed, the agnostic is confronted with a sense of loss, and can go in any direction. Nihilism? Machiavellianism? Nietzscheanism? Materialism? Utilitarianism? Meglomania? Sociopathy (since there is essentially little accountability)? For someone who has taken the idea of ultimate truth seriously, to suddenly find that they are in a world without any accountability beyond law and what it catches and holds accountable is stunning. There are both the internal, soulish (or psyche if you prefer) health problems, and the external behavioral questions.

So if we are condemned to freedom, how do we solve these? What direction are most taking? Is there an area of your forum that relates to these questions? What ethical system shall we adopt now? How do we deal with bitterness and a sense of betrayal? What limits are there or should there be on our new found freedom? Are there any other links you can suggest?

Thank you for your consideration. These questions are in earnest.

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