Monday, September 19, 2011

Existential Christian

I'm not sure whether this works as a description of what and where I am.

The Dean of King's College, London, Sydney Evans, in my time there as an undergraduate and trainee Anglican priest, encapsulated his own existentialist approach to life and faith in the three questions: Who am I? What may I hope? What should I do?

I'm currently more drawn to the prior question, 'Is life, my life, human life, worth living? Is human survival and reproduction a good idea? The New Darwinian Atheists I've read seem to sign up enthusiastically to propagation of the 'selfish gene'. I'm not convinced. Something missing. Religion? Transcendence? Medication?


MadPriest said...

The most selfish, most cruel thing that we do as human beings is create new life. We take two things that have no awareness and turn them into one thing that does. It is guaranteed that our children will experience pain and suffering during their lives. If there is no heaven then we condemn them to death at their conception. An atheist who conceives a child is a murderer.

goodfornowt said...

Can't see how the possibility of heaven morally justifies such a cruel experiment.

MadPriest said...

I agree. But I would consider a believer's defence of childbirth based on such an argument as it has some logic to it. But atheists have no defence that doesn't rely on a purely arbitrary valuation of the importance of the propagation of the species.

I am an utilitarian. I believe in minimising the amount of pain suffered (although my practice does not live up to my beliefs). If we applied triage to our desire to procreate the utilitarian decision would be "don't do it."

goodfornowt said...

Couldn't agree more. I wonder why so many otherwise thoughtful people don't even see the decision to reproduce as problematic?

MadPriest said...

I think people don't want to face up to the selfishness of procreation. Humans conceive progeny for their own benefit not for the benefit of the person conceived. We may patronisingly laugh at it, but the teenager reminding her parents that she was their decision is extremely valid.

Anonymous said...

Yes there is a lot missing but at least this chap was asking the right questions.

Of course it all comes back to the meaning and significance of death.

References on the nature of Reality and how to live Right Life