Friday, April 08, 2005

Half Full? or Half Empty?

The last few weeks, with the judicial murder of Terri Schiavo, and the pageantry, grace and beauty of Pope John Paul II's death and funeral, a core difference in people became crystal clear. I don't think that these 2 events happened simultaneously by accident. I think they served as a perfect clarifier for the world to finally see two ideologies or world views that are completely diametrically opposed and therefore also identifying the differences in the people that espouse those points of view. Obviously there are many things that separate us from one another, and I believe that it's OK, and in fact good to have differing points of view to many issues, however there is a base level difference which tends to taint ones entire belief system, and thus all other issues are moved in a parallel direction because of this ground level ideology. This basic building block of life that became glaringly obvious over the last few weeks was that either a person has a theistic or God based worldview, or an atheistic or secular humanist worldview. Around this basic foundation, all people must formulate their thoughts, feelings and opinions on the rest of the issues confronted day to day.

On the theistic side you have people who have a belief that they are not alone in the world, that there is a purpose for their life and that there is something more than just this life. I believe this to be an optimistic, glass half full, kind of ideology. These people obviously would primarily side with the preservation of life such in the Schiavo case, or celebrating the life and accomplishments of the Pope. Similarly, these folks would be less likely to support abortion, and would support ideas and policy that would promote quality of life issues for the majority of people. This could include issues such as lower taxation, less governmental regulation, a fairer judicial system, and free markets. People with a theistic worldview for the most part, have a sense of duty to apply a higher moral code to their life. They have a moral compass. They see the good in all life and seek to make it available to others. With this in mind however, a Theist also has a realistic view of the world, which acknowledges that evil exists and can't be ignored or made better with a discussion group or negotiations. Because of the desire to preserve and promote a higher quality of life for themselves and others, the theist will actively defend their quality of life against the evil that exists as a threat to that life.

Conversely, the atheist or secular humanist, has a belief that we are here as a complete accident and that life is now and once gone, is over. This worldview can't help but make issues like Terry Schiavo and abortion more palatable. It makes sense then that man is but one organism among the thousands of others on this planet and therefore why should man take precedent? I believe an atheist is inherently a selfish and egomaniacal person. They have a problem thinking that there is anything greater than themselves and their own, personal thinking on any given issue. Since a person without a God based ideology must rely on their own sense of intellect and reason, they view themselves as intellectually and academically superior to those that don't share their views. This makes their loathing of Christians and religious Jews possible, and in fact, completely sensible. An atheist tends to view a theist as an intellectual rube, leaning on the crutch of ancient mythology to carry them through the trials of their pathetic, simplistic existence.

Sadly, because the growing chasm between the two worldviews has widened in the past 30 years, there probably won't be any reconciliation or common ground politically or socially any time soon, or ever. If the country can't get together after the most vicious and deadly attack on our citizens in history, unification cannot happen. Think about it: after we are attacked, within a year, Democrats in congress are looking to blame Republicans for the barbarism, and as we launch a war against those who sponsored and planned it, liberals are fighting their own PR war against our own country for bringing this on ourselves, and blaming the president! This basically comes from the fact that one group of people have a God based world view that seeks fairness, justice, security, opportunity and freedom for Americans and others throughout the world, and the other group of people, those without a God based world view, views the world through their own eyes, thus leading to a secular moral relativism and desire to force their view of fairness on others. this fairness is based on an intellectual ideal of forced equality to create a utopian society. If everyone is the same, all will be fair and therefore, there will be nothing to fight over which will result in peace. Of course this defies human nature, and has been proven a failure everywhere it has been tried, but that doesn't seem to matter to those who hold this ideology. Without a moral compass, when facts and history get in the way, you either ignore or change it.

I know that generalization is many times unfair and is a dangerous thing to do. There are many wonderful atheists, some of them, very good friends of mine, and there are terrible theists, responsible for horrible things. But, generalization is still reasonable to do in this case to identify the extreme differences we find today in our country and throughout the world. In all the major moral issues of our time such as abortion, war, taxation, and justice and as in smaller cases where morality is at the core of the issue such as the Terri Schiavo case, opinions can be boiled down to the root ideology of the individual. Ones feelings on any one of these issues, large or small, can be defined by whether the individual has a God based worldview, or an atheistic worldview. Or, in other words, is the glass half full? Or, is it half empty, and since it probably leaks, let's take a hammer and smash it!

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