A common enemy


“Faith-based belief is the root problem our species must reject if we are to survive. We have run out of time to afford this idiocy to continue to motivate and justify the kind of reality-denying thinking you endorse in the name of love. It’s high time each of us stopped this childish way of insisting our wishful thinking was equivalent to good thinking, responsible thinking, intelligent thinking, that our wishful thinking should not be adjudicated by reality but held exempt because of pious considerations. That’s beyond idiocy now; it’s delusional and it threatens all of us. And it’s time more people were confronted by this brute and harsh reality that our collective actions really do have knowable negative and pernicious consequences even we try to call it love. It’s not love. It’s not about love. It’s about growing up and leaving our imaginary garden behind, saying goodbye to Daddy, and learning how to take responsibility if we want to be a part of the solution to global problems rather than a central pillar of causing the problems. Faith-based belief and the thinking it involves is a luxury we cannot afford to keep. It threatens all of us.”

Tildeb, the author of the comment above, has some very strong examples of why “faith based belief … threatens us all”.  And much of what he writes I agree with.  Those who see global warming stats as a conspiracy theory are a real and present threat.  As are  those who insist historical and cyclical global change is relevant – we are not in the past we are in the present.  But I see “faith based belief” not as “religion”, and not the “only belief” I live by.

I see instead “those who need to be right” arguing with “those who need to be right”.

So if I live by “fact based reality” then “faith based belief” is wrong and I am right.  And if I live by “faith based belief” then “fact based reality” is wrong and I am right.  Which makes life very simple and very confrontational – and is a real threat to change.

Why?

Tildeb is worried – and he is right to be worried.  Global warming and the consequences of a tipping point – whose aftermath will certainly exclude “us” – is a reality.  Yet to blame (and alienate) the millions of “faith based belief” human beings is also a threat.  Faith based belief did not bring about global warming.  The consequences of global warming are not biblical or God dictated. They are you and me dictated.

How?

I have a family.  We use a lot of stuff.  There are consequences to all that stuff being used.  And unless we, as a family, can sustain that usage there is a “tipping point” and consequences.  And the consequences are all around us – the homeless, the angry, the desperate, the poor, the hopeless, the despair, the darkness.  So when “we” have been stripping the earth of all it has AND chucking the toxic faeces back without a thought – then global warming is not a possibility – it is a certainty.

Tildeb makes a strong case for me being the problem.  He describes working on ice-core samples and what they showed. And then this about a “faith based belief” colleague: “To keep his religious beliefs intact, he denied the yearly process perfectly understood and claimed divine intervention altered the ice to make it appear to be older than it was, that a divine agency inserted modern pollen into it and somehow physically altered the specimens to look ancient.”

And this: “This was not the first time I encountered such intellectual intransigence based on a faith it must be so. The first time was in South Africa when I encountered what Apartheid looked like in action, and the second was when I visited Auschwitz: this is what faith-based belief looks like in action. It produces this bizarre notion that pretending reality is other than what it actually is means doing things contrary to and incompatible with it. It showed me that the beliefs about some faith-based ideology will be treated by people as more important than the welfare of real people in real life. “

I agree with everything he writes: global warming is a reality right now … an academic who rejects evidence in his hands because the bible is “inerrant and infallible” is a liability to me and my family … and apartheid (as with the “colour issue” still today) the same … and as for “the Jewish Solution” we have learned little – we still think we have a right to dehumanise those we label (as they did in the bible AND science): unclean and unworthy.

I agree with tildeb on so much. Yet for this: my faith based belief (which tildeb requires to be his definition of “faith based belief”) is not the problem.  Love is not the problem.  God is not the problem.  Science is not the problem.  Evolution is not the problem.  Global warming is not the problem.

We are the problem.

We live here.  We eat and drink here.  We sleep here.  We wash here.  We defecate here.   We reproduce here.  We demand our rights.  We expect our rights to be delivered.  We take up arms to defend those rights.  We go to war to keep you from having our stuff.  We NEED a common enemy to unite against.  We NEED a reason to stop bickering amongst ourselves.  We NEED a reason to be “the bigger (wo)man”.

I am on the same side as tildeb.

I want us to stop the bickering and do the fixing.  And I can unite with tildeb even though he sees me as the enemy.  Because he is right: we have a common enemy of mutually assured (self) destruction.  He sees it as faith based belief and I don’t.   I see it as greed and complacency and fear.  And if love unites where “faith/fact based belief” divides – then I am for love.

Because this planet is heating-up.  And I have children.  And I am hard-wired to love them and protect them.  And if you love your lifestyle, your fear of change, your God, or your science – whatever you need to hold onto at the expense of my children and yours – then you have woken something deep and primal in me.  You are the problem.  No matter your “god” no matter your “qualification” no matter your “position of power”.

Tildeb’s view of me:  “Yet here you are tossing into this ‘conversation’ an idea of doubt, that this knowledge is really just a vague kind of arbitrary belief that might turn out to be the case. But, hey, maybe not and really, who cares if it’s somewhere in the future. We can’t know exacting details for certain, so let’s pretend we don’t really know anything at all.”

Here’s where the rubber meets the road:

What I believe tildeb believes of me is irrelevant (as I hope to convince tildeb) because there are no sides in this.  There is only a tipping point fast approaching.  And if we unite globally – and very soon – against a common global enemy called “The Tipping Point” – then just maybe …

BUT we each have to allow.

(because “What About Me” is why we are where we are – no matter our “beliefs”)

.

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2 thoughts on “A common enemy

  1. Yes, yes, yes, human caused climate change is a problem we all share. That’s not my point because this is only ONE effect. We can all get together, have a group hug, and try to address this ONE effect. We can try. We’ve been trying for nearly 50 years to convince people to allow reality to arbitrate our beliefs about it regarding the human contribution that is driving climate change, causing trillions of dollars in damage, causing widespread suffering, causing a global threat to life on Earth. Yes, that is a problem, isn’t it? Gosh, I wonder how we ever got to this moment where we find burning the seats and carpeting from the back of our space shuttle actually causes negative and life threatening effects to those of us living at the front end. Hmm. I wonder if we can ever be certain about what level of self-destructive behaviour should be allowed? But until then, let’s keep on burning!

    My point is that we need to grow up and address the CAUSE of not just this one effect but ALL the effects that share a root CAUSE.

    My point is that the fundamental cause is trying to accommodate faith-based beliefs as a legitimate reason upon which to act, upon which to not act, a root problem that continues to cause MANY unnecessary pernicious effects.

    My point is that because faith-based belief is a root cause of MANY unnecessary pernicious effects, we cannot effectively address these effects until we address the root problem, legitimizing and supporting faith-based beliefs as a reasonable accommodation.

    It isn’t. It’s really quite stupid.

    By analogy, imagine trying to address each of many pernicious effects in medicine that shares a root cause but being held in check from addressing the root cause by some policy or fundamentally accommodating principle that insists the shared source for these symptoms be left alone. Imagine how effective would be such medicine that only dealt with symptoms but never, ever, the common source causing them. Simply put, the problems would manifest over and over and over and over with never a cure in sight. This is responsive treatment, symptomatic treatment, not curative. This is exactly what we find in treatments that operate not to cure but to maintain a profit margin for businesses that offer symptomatic treatment. This is what we find in ‘alternative’ medicine, in ‘complimentary’ medicine, in anti-whatever medicine. But this requires people to be fooled into thinking that because this kind of symptomatic treatment is necessary and sometimes helpful alleviating pain and suffering, we can therefore justify not seeking a cure because it may affect our symptomatic treatment! This is pernicious. This causes additional harm under the guise of care and compassion of symptoms. And one of the biggest selling features for symptomatic treatments is this notion of love, of caring, of compassion. This is the selling feature of alternative and complimentary treatments that do not address, cannot address, the underlying cause… what we call ‘real’ medicine, the kind of medicine that can demonstrate efficacy, that can address the cause and cure the symptoms once and for all. THAT is how you cure ALL the symptoms. It is pro-active treatment and not responsive treatment.

    This is my point about faith-based beliefs: they operate by maintaining the problem – faith – but pretend to offer a cure when it treats only symptoms! And promoting and supporting ONLY symptomatic treatment under the guise of demonstrating care and compassion is deceitful because although it appears to be the case, in actuality this approach, this method of treatment, actually maintains the never-ending symptoms by thwarting the need to find a cure.

    Climate change is a symptom. Anti-vaccination is a symptom., Alternative medicine is a symptom. Apartheid is a symptom. The holocaust is a symptom. Electing Trump is a symptom. Public funding of religious hospitals and private schools is a symptom. These few examples are of symptoms of a common root problem. And that root problem is basing action on a belief that is held exempt from legitimate arbitration by reality. That is what faith-based belief is: belief based on faith.

    This approach, this method, is also used to create doubt about the cause of the specific symptom, create doubt about effectively addressing the specific source. By thinking this way, by empowering with an undeserved respect for beliefs supported only on faith, people then misunderstand or refuse to accept how evidence links effects with a knowable source. By casting doubt on anything less than certainty, the faith-addled majority don’t act responsibly towards a cure but get fooled into thinking addressing this symptom or that symptom is preferable. This accommodation of faith can manifest in two ways: by failing to act and by acting only by symptomatic treatment.

    This is the case in all the examples I listed above: failure to act responsibly, and acting only to treat symptoms rather than causes. Both are rooted in faith-based methodology contrary to and in conflict with evidence-adduced methodology.

    My point is that this widespread acceptance of faith-based methodology, faith-based thinking, faith-based actions, faith-based inaction not only share a root problem – supporting respect for faith to play such a central role – but is always pernicious, always irresponsible, always a threat to everyone even when done in the name of love, even when done with care and compassion.

    And this raises my central criticism: supporting faith-based justifications is very much part of the problem in the same way that NOT recognizing a problem translates into the very first problem that must be overcome before any responsible action can be taken for addressing the actual problem. This is my accusation against you. You are not recognizing the root problem but trying very hard behind the shield of love to not address the common problem, the root problem that keeps on producing pernicious effects,namely, respecting faith-based belief. You want to burn the back of the shuttle in a more loving way, by including everyone to gather in fellowship and love for each other sharing the flames, trusting that all of this is somehow okay because you BELIEVE on faith that there will be a celestial docking after death and some new adventure begins so let’s just love each… to death and destruction because you believe GSHJ wills it.

    Well, sorry Paul. I see your belief as part of the problem and I call on on being irresponsible to every future generation for not trusting more in what reality is telling us over and above the beliefs you wish to hold in the name of love. I think you’ve fooled yourself. Yes, we’re in this together, but I’m after a cure while you’re busy thinking your treatment suffices.

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    • That word pernicious. You use it repeatedly. You use it in a way that becomes evidence for your belief in another belief. My belief is pernicious whereas yours is not. Your pious elevation of your own belief above mine has similarities with those you accuse of putting religion above evidence. And you are as blind to that as thise you accuse.

      Right-eousness is not just for religion, it is a pervasive and pernicious trait across all categories and cultures, all sociological and economic categorisation. And, for me, right-eousness is the greatest danger facing our survival as a species simply for that reason.

      I worked on a grain store years ago. There were cats to keep the mice and rats in check. One day we found a young wild rabbit stock still with two young cats watching it. Rabbits were not seen as were rats and mice. But that was not the reason for me mentioning it. What I can still see were both its ears eaten away almost to its head. Not a drop of blood. No signs of a fight. Nothing of any savagery and “the kill” – nothing orher than silence and something else. The cats were so focused on the rabbit and controlling its fear – they ignored us. Usually they kept their distance.

      I see that – in different scenarios – in us humans. Controlling fear. In a pernicious way and often as a by-product for the greater good. Probably an unintended by-product – but that is a judgement call.

      That is a symptom of right-eousness. And nothing to do with faith based belief – but everything to do with “belief based belief”.

      I see that in you. And, like all beliefs, it is a choice driven by – what we all must believe – is our own objective evidence. And that is the identical twin of “faith based belief”. And that is why I don’t see you as the enemy. But I do see this as very time-wasting and no different to the same “religious right-eousness” you dismiss.

      So keep compiling your lists of “pernicious enemies”, but please make sure that you add your (chosen) pernicious intransigence to the list. It’s a lesson in evolution and the ability of each of us to adapt or not.

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