A Moment of Clarity, Please   Reading the blogs and comments by this site's members has been a rewarding, satisfying, enriching experience; thank you all. You've helped me to a clarity I'd like to il…

A Moment of Clarity, Please


Reading the blogs and comments by this site's members has been a rewarding, satisfying, enriching experience; thank you all. You've helped me to a clarity I'd like to illustrate with the following true story.


Some years ago I did business with a certain printing vendor.  We worked together on several projects over many months. He always conducted himself professionally and seemed like a regular guy. One day after going over some proofs, he pulled me aside and confided that extraterrestrials lived among us disguised as humans. He revealed that they had landed on the pyramids thousands of years ago and conducted experiments in alien-human hybridization. I listened thoughtfully, nodding so as not to annoy the crazy person, got him out of the office as fast as I could and managed to never see him again.


Now imagine yourself in a similar situation; a seemingly normal person whom you've known for some time feels that you're trustworthy enough to let you in on their secret.  Although they have no empirical evidence to support their contention, they believe with all their heart that thousands of years ago a woman got pregnant without having had sex. If that wasn't amazing enough, the resulting person could transmogrify matter, turning water into wine and materializing bread and fish out of thin air. And as if that wasn't incredible enough, he could reverse death itself! Indeed, he came back to life after being dead for three days and then levitated into the clouds.


Now, I ask you: why on earth would any sane, rational human being not put as much distance between themselves and this obviously deluded individual as possible, just as if they had been spouting about alien abductions?!


Humans have been searching for understanding of the world around us since we gained sentience. Luckily, we've answered many perplexing questions.  Do horses pull the sun through the sky each day in a chariot? No, nuclear fusion inside a gravitationally bound ball of plasma a couple million kilometers away comes into view as the ground below our feet spins on a planetary axis. Even if we can't see the hydrogen atoms collide or feel the globe spin, pretty much everyone agrees about that it is real.


Unfortunately, despite thousands of years of inquiry by billions of brains, there are still some very vexing issues that we haven't yet answered.  What happens to us after we die? Are we alone in the universe? Is there a purpose to our existence? We can speculate all we want and believe anything we dream up but the fact remains that we don't know.


It is possible that space aliens walk among us and it is possible that that Jewish girl wasn't just pulling one over on her parents. We may never know for sure. One thing that I am pretty sure of, though, is that killing each other over life's imponderables isn't going to get us any closer to the answers we seek.

Views: 27

Comment by CJoe on January 22, 2011 at 7:56pm
Comment by Katie Roberts on January 22, 2011 at 8:27pm
Deservedly so.
Comment by Radu Andreiu on January 23, 2011 at 3:08am
Not that it's important to the message of your blog, but I think you might like to know that the Sun isn't just a couple of millions of kilometers away. It's actually almost 150 million km away, the distance that light travels in about 8 and a half minutes. Therefore, when you look at a sunset, you are actually seeing the Sun as it was 8 and a half minutes ago.
Comment by Jaume on January 23, 2011 at 3:23am

Agreed that mutual extermination does nothing to forward knowledge.


Hmmm... the stirrup? Ballistics? Nuclear fission?

Comment by Albert Bakker on January 23, 2011 at 3:24am
This would make for a nice christmas message to a pro-lifer. I'd advise to deliver it dressed with sufficient body armour though.
Comment by Jason on January 23, 2011 at 10:17am

“despite thousands of years of inquiry by billions of brains, there are still some very vexing issues that we haven't yet answered”

And isn’t something that in just the last hundred years the human species has gained more knowledge then the thousands of years and billions of people that have lived before it. We have learned so much so fast, I’m hoping we will learn even more in the next 30 – 50 years. Hopefully I will be around to see it.

Comment by Snowcrash on January 23, 2011 at 12:17pm

I had no memory prior to being born why would i have any after death ?

And yes i hope to be around for at least another 50 to 60 years to see religion die and science grow faster and faster.


Comment by Heather Spoonheim on January 23, 2011 at 6:40pm
I have to admit that I have no idea of there is any potential for our consciousness to somehow continue after our biological death, but to date no one has managed to communicate back from the other side, no matter how many boutique mediums claim otherwise.  As near as I can tell all the people claiming any knowledge of what might be 'on the other side' seem to be endowed with such incredible knowledge that it perplexes me why they are so awful with financial matters and need my donation.
Comment by M on January 23, 2011 at 7:12pm

This is eloquent.  (I'd like to point out that atheists don't go around killing to defend disbelief.) 


Also, I was thinking just last night: "How can it be that you can present a religious believer with a sensible, rational argument and they just won't believe it?"  I realized that everyone processes information in anywhere from slightly different to radically different ways, and what it really comes down to is that there is a large percentage of people who are just not bright enough to grasp sensibility and rationality.  They just literally do not have the necessary amount of neural connections developed to "get it."  There will always be stupid.  We just have to fervently hope they are not all stupid and violent.  It's kind of demoralizing.

Comment by Jarrod Payne on January 24, 2011 at 12:42am
All i can say is i agree. Love this post. I encourages my classes to imagine if they would have the same religious beliefs they if they grew up completely alone on a island and generally even the religious ones agree that they wouldnt. But ask them if what they believe, virgin birth etc., and they insist it is. They dont see the contradiction or the craziness of it!! As you say, it just seems sad that despite this and the massive progress of science people will still kill each other because of thier particular crazy story...


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