Sunday, January 22, 2006

Insignificance: the short answer

Secular Capitalist writes:

dOES ANY ONE ELSE HAVE a problem with insignificance?? we are all just one individual out of 6 BILLION. and that's the .. of people who r alive. imagine how many more have lived and died. also imagine how smal we r when compared to the solar system, universe etc.... It bothers the shit out of me. it's probably why i was hostile to the idea of "god" even at a young age, way before i understood evolution, big bang etc...

My Answer:

It's been said that the man who can stare into the abyss and learn his true insignificance in the world and not go crazy, he is truly enlightened. This idea, of course, appears in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

I don't knwo how insignificant I am, but I don't generally "live" in the cosmos. I live in the world, and in my own world. All I can do is all I can do. There is no reason for this to make anyone depressed. It could make someone appreciate the fact that he is even alive--something that Dawkins wrote about. Since the chances were astronomical that you even exist, that should make you proud to be here. You, not trillions upon trillions of other people. That's better than being voted American Idol, Canadian Idol, Armenian Idol and all the other Idols all at once.

Christians think that without God, atheists must be depressed all the time. How could we be when we know that there is only one life we get in this big old universe, and we're too busy getting all we can out of it to worry about it--at least, that's what we should be doing. Getting our asses in gear and living--and laughing at those poor sons of bitches who don't know what they're missing.


Rev. Barky said...

The main thing I have noticed about believers is that they possess a strange kind of myopia with regards to the universe around them. A tendency towards black and white thinking that prevents them from weighing matters of degree and the likelihood of things. Not having an answer is a frightening thing for them.

breakerslion said...

Significance: That which the individual ego requires to feel needed and/or self important. I feel sorry for people who, upon pondering the scale of the Universe in any dimension, decide that size matters. That does not prevent me from teasing them however. When compared to the size of the entire known Universe, the size differnce between an adult human and a bacterium is ... INSIGNIFICANT!

The problem is one of using the proper tools to measure the thing being measured. There are rescue dogs that are far more significant to those whose lives they have saved than I ever will be. This is true no matter how much space I occupy or for how long.

Baconeater said...

I have no problem with insignificance.
Insignificance is a state of mind, and a choice. We are only as insignificant as we think we are. If you sit around and mope about insignificance, insignificance becomes your master.
Go volunteer, write a book, or simply buy a dog.

Dave said...

OK, so those who don't believe in a God may not be walking around depressed, but that doen't mean that Christians are "poor SOBs".

A former atheist once said, "We are halfhearted creatures fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Maybe the Christians are the ones playing on the beach while every one else is just playing in the mud, not knowing what they are missing.

Anonymous said...

And maybe if you clap your hands and believe really hard, tinker bell will come back to life.

Hellbound Alleee said...


Stop playing the victim for a moment. The "poor SOBs" I was talking about were young atheists like the one who I quoted. The nihilists and the solopsists. Your own nihilism is something else completely. And you'd better fucking believe I know what I'm "missing" from Christianity. Leaving it was the best decision I ever made in my life. I can live life instead of fretting over the "afterlife"--I mean, death. I don't have to worry about a god's whims, and I don't have to reject the world. How do you live in the world if there's a tyrant looming over it? I'm free. Christians happily admit to being slaves.

But what a great offer you talk about! It sounds too good to be true! YOu mean, if I reject the world and those nasty wordly pleasures like drink (Proverbs says to give hurting people alcohol, by the way). I can have an AMAZING FREE GIFT?!? But I don't get it until I'm dead? Wow! I thought fucking AMWAY or NO MONEY_DOWN real estate sounded god, but this takes the cake! Mayve I should get in on this NO-RISK OFFER! NOt on the receiving end, though. I'm getting ion on the top. I happen to have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Interested? Only, you can't receive the tollbooth money until you die. Sound fair? Excellent.

The emporer has no clothes.

Dave said...

By the way I drink alcohol, and I belive your right, the Bible doesn't say anything about not drinking, just not getting drunk. I don't find my ultimate pleasure in those things, the point CS Lewis was trying to make. However there are plenty of other pleasures that exceed getting drunk or whatever that I have NOW, not just after my death.

You say you left the religion and I think that is all that you left. You couldn't have had the God of Christianity, for if you did, you would understand what I am talking about. Their is a difference between religion and God.

God/Jesus never rejected the world. As a matter of fact someone once asked what Jesus was doing eating with all the sinners. I don't reject anyone or anything, but love all unconditionally. More than I can say for the attitude you seem to have for me.

By the way, I don't see God as a tyrant. I don't think the Bible describes him as such, unless you take scripture out of context. Maybe the church you attended was teaching things out of line with the Bible or maybe you just didn't understand them (no fault of your own). The Bible says that I am the one who is free. It says that I am free from the bondage of sin, free from death (spiritual). I definately don't feel like the slave you say I am.

I don't have any hard feelings to any of you. I don't even mean to be argumentative, but just want to tell you where I think you are misunderstanding the teaching of the Bible. Or it could be that you completely understand and still reject it, and that's your choice. I can't twist your arm into believing and wouldn't want to. I just enjoy the banter.

It does make me a bit disappointed at the way you share your thoughts. You have decided that my beliefs are such that you can treat me like dirt. So much for a tolerant world. Althought I guess I did come in here uninvited and start sharing my thoughts, but isn't that what a blog is for?

By the way, yesterday I did clap my hands really hard . Peter Pan appeared and said there was no such thing as Tinker Bell. Man that sucks!

Hellbound Alleee said...

First of all, Dave, stop with the out of context bullshit. If I say the God of the bible is a tyrant, it is nothing but context. That's really lame, Dave. Read the bible. That's all you have to do. Read it. It's there. Stop pretending.

You are making a hell of a lot of assumptions--which is what Christians are good at. Stop that, too. What I know about Christianity has nothing to do with the church I went to as a child. What I know has everything to do with your bible. If you don't know that God told the Israelites that if they didn't do what he asked, he wuld cause men and women to have to eat their own children, and not share the afterbirth with some of the surviving children, that's because you son't know the bible. You can yell "context!" all you want, but there's nothing in the bible or anywhere else that can justify that kind of cruelty--and you knwow that, Dave. Context is a word you might have heard other Christians using, Dave, but you don't know how to use it. You haven't provided any context that justifies this cruelty and tyrrany, and you won't find it. That's because it would be immoral.

sing the bible to justify the bible--that would be a good trick, Dave. I don't use a lie to justify a lie. Snap out of it. God isn't there. There is no one there. DOn't buy into it because you were told to. You already know what's right and wrong--don't let that evil nonsense cloud your judgement. Is it right to allow tyranical leaders to stay in power? Is it right to tell your followers to kill entire cities full fo people and keep the young girls for yourselves? Is it right to stone a child to death because he mouthed off? Is it right to kill someone because he pulled out before he had an orgasm? WOuld you be proud of doing those things, Dave, or would it be better to remove you from society?

For fuck's sake, kid. Stop parroting this nonsense and think like a reasonable human being.

Hellbound Alleee said...

By the way, kid. I am not treating you like dirt. I am trying to help you. You are going to have to understand that am attacking your religion, and I am trying to help you. You are not owned by your religion. If you feel you are being treated like dirt because your religion is being attacked, then you are letting yourslef be defined by it.

You want to be treated like dirt? Try being a character in the bible. How about you be one of the concubines, or one of Sampson's conquests, or the woman who was raped and then cut into pieces alive by a "righeous" man in order to punish the wrong tribes of Israel? Or the children of the man who took Babylonian items and were stoned to death by association? That's dirt, my friend. Give yourself a kick in the head. Read the damned bible--for real, then tell me I'm treating you like dirt. No fair reading only the parts you want to read. Then ask yourself, "is this right? Is this good?"

Obscure said...

I'd like to know what is wrong with treating Christians like dirt? After all, they believe that they come from dirt. Adam just poofed out of a dust cloud, you know? Presto! Oh, damn. That's one of those blasted interchangable allegories again.

breakerslion said...

"I don't use a lie to justify a lie."

If this is true, you have no future in politics. :-)

Do you suppose that's why a certain political party likes to pander to the Fundy types? They're just so used to it that they don't notice anymore?