July 31, 2014

Our Means For Hope

Posted in atheism, faith, science, secular humansim tagged , , at 7:05 am by Jerry

“There is no better method.” I agree.

I suppose the challenge is that, despite the “wonder” (or awe) we may experience through humanity’s use of the scientific method, it’s still not as personally satisfying for a lot of people unless “God” is considered to be a part of our reality.

But this is where I think humanism also plays a strong role in the lives of the non-believer. It’s about encouraging ourselves (and others?) to seek and find what is personally satisfying in our natural world. And it’s more than just satisfying our fives senses. It’s also about finding new perspectives in life that change our priorities or highlight different values.

The longer we live, the more we see that personal satisfaction is not always easy, or simple. Discovering our own place in the bigger picture of inclusivity and diversity leads not only to finding purpose and meaning for one’s own life but also leads to an awareness of various de-humanizing actions against one another. Being faced with a myriad of social responsibilities are overwhelming and not something we had in mind when seeking personal satisfaction.

Hope in a “God” may ease this burden for a lot of people and inspire them to keep moving forward – a result that I think is worth appreciation. But what also needs appreciation is how non-believers build up the courage to move forward without that ethereal belief.

We find hope in all sorts of places for all sorts of burdens. It can start with simply hearing the words, “It gets better” from those with similar burdens, similar stories that can help us get through the next day. We may find hope by taking action, getting involved by creating public awareness, and supporting a grass roots movement to bring about change. We may find hope through the pursuit of educating ourselves, learning more about the burdens we face, where they came from, who’s involved, how has the matter evolved over time. We might seek political change through our votes, and letters to our representatives. Or maybe we just need to step back a bit, read a book or go to the lake, have a beer with friends and then return to face our burdens with a little more strength.

For a lot of people, no matter how unrealistic “God” may seem to be, he is still the ultimate default in times of trouble, the cherished “go-to” when things get tough. God may not be the only go-to, mind you, but anything else is too weak for personal satisfaction. Maybe it’s all just a different version of “stepping back”, an escapism or respite from the natural world? I don’t know. The result is that people find a way to move forward one way or another. And that’s nothing to scoff at.

In the end, when we feel less burdened, I think we need to remind ourselves to reflect on the different means we turn to in order to gain new found courage. Because it’s an opportunity to evaluate and keep in mind our best options for seeking inspiration and hope during those times when we need it most.

Not surprisingly, I prefer the natural reality over a supernatural one, and I encourage others to do the same. Because, along with the scientific affirmation of it’s true existence, we know it works. We know that somewhere, in our natural reality, we can find hope, and so can anyone else.


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