It’s fantastic to know and understand what you think, and how you feel about life, the universe and everything. It gives you identity and helps you make decisions quickly, without agonising over the possibilities. For example, if a friend suddenly turns to you and suggests you steal something from a shop, you understand whether that is acceptable to you or not and can quickly reply with “yes, that’s a great idea!” or “no, that’s ridiculous.” Without this self assurance, it can become very difficult to know what to do in such situations. People start to default to whether the loyalty they have to their friend is stronger than that of the loyalty to someone with the opposing view – they conform to the views of the person they like rather than searching for their own opinion.
Whether we care to admit it or not, pornography has become a huge part of western society. Here are just a few statistics provided by familysafemedia.com:
- Every second – 28,258 internet users are viewing pornography.
- In 2006, 23% of all internet users who searched the word ‘porn’ were under 18.
- 12% of all internet websites are pornographic.
- The average age of a person’s first exposure to internet pornography is 11.
- 1 in 3 visitors to adult websites are female – this affects people from both genders.
- And, perhaps most shockingly, 80% of 15-17 year olds have multiple hard-core exposures to pornography.
I’m unsure as to how unconventional my view of altruism is among Christians but, for me, when I logically attempt to derive a conclusion as to whether the phenomenon truly exists, I only ever come to one answer. I should be clear that when I talk about altruism here, I am referring to the idea of complete selflessness; an ability to ultimately and definitively put someone else’s needs above one’s own.
One of the most common arguments used against the concept of a perfect, divine entity is that there is so much evil and suffering in the world. You don’t have to look far away to see pain, anguish and horrific mistreatment and to many people this is conclusive evidence that if there is a God; He cannot be both good and omnipotent. I’ve heard responses to this point that have been awful, and have seen some that completely dodge around it, ignoring the object and instead feeding you a decoy lined with uncommon theological jargon.
I think, certainly in the UK, people see Christianity as a form of life insurance, something that old people turn to in order to feel safe for their future. People have a very traditional view of what it means to be a Christian, and what church is like and see it is somewhere to go to when your mind is slowly deteriorating that gives comfort and peace in those final years. It is true that this aspect of Christianity exists, this is undeniable, but anyone who takes any of the teachings seriously will tell you that faith in the Christian God is far more complex, and far more relational than just a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Too often in this world, people are judged by their desires. It’s easy to criticise something that you can’t relate to and makes very little sense to you, particularly if it appears to damage people’s lives. Heavy smokers, sadomasochists and drug addicts are just some of the people that fall into this broad category. The majority of people in the Western world struggle to comprehend why anyone would participate in recreational drug use or sadomasochism and so the people that do are stereotyped, just as all minorities, whether that’s sexual preference, religious belief, ethnicity or anything else for that matter.
People make snap judgments about almost everything, it’s a perfectly logical natural instinct that prevents you from coming into contact with the same bad thing twice and, equally, leads you to do something pleasurable again and again until you lose interest. I am of course making an overgeneralisation and oversimplification of something that’s influenced by a number of other factors but the principle remains. I know this because I do it myself all the time, we just can’t help it. A good way of testing this point on unsuspecting individuals, provided they are in a talkative mood, is to ask them about their recent holiday destinations, provided they’ve recently been on holiday. You’ll find people saying things like “Oh yes! ‘insert-country-here’ is a lovely country, beautiful scenery, the food’s not too great though,” despite having visited the capital city for just four days, eating at the hotel restaurant every night and visiting two museums and a temple.
If you’ve seen any of my blog posts before you’ll have noticed that my interests ultimately lie in ‘the big picture’; I’m fascinated by things that can never be fully explained, confirmed nor denied. I thought I’d use this post to explore some of the reasons why I think it’s important to consider things that many people dismiss because of their woolly, impossible-to-prove nature.
So, philosophy in my edition of The New Oxford Dictionary of English philosophy is defined as thus:
“The study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence…”
What could be more interesting than thinking about the very foundations of our existence, than forming opinions on the meaning of life, what everything comes down to? The word comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘philosophia’ meaning ‘love of wisdom’ and, to me, there is a clear reason why the Greeks considered such a discipline as wisdom.
I decided to write this blog because I believe that a life without religion is depressing and unfulfilling. I write, not to convince you or to win you over, but to present a point of view that you may not have previously considered. I simply aim to aid you in forming your own views and opinions because I believe that life is something worth contemplating to the full. So I encourage you to give this a read regardless of your current religion or viewpoint.
To give you some idea of my background, I am a British male living in South-East England. Before I came to religion I was a nihilist. Nihilism is a subsection of atheism believing that, not only is there no world beyond the natural world as we see it, but that after death your consciousness ceases to exist and your being becomes extinct – you cease to exist. Many people hold this view without recognising its implications and I intend to explore this in greater detail on this blog.
A couple of years ago, I became a Christian. I am not going to lie and say that these blogs will be completely objective because I don’t believe that is possible. This blog’s primary objective is to convince people of the validity of religion but, of course, as a Christian I would love for followers of this blog to come to Christianity over other religions. Although, please be put at ease, because I am not going to be blogging about Christianity as a focus.
I welcome criticism and counter-arguments to my page. I hope you understand that I, being human, have not fully formulated my opinion on life, the universe and everything and can be both incorrect and convinced of other views. This, to me, is the only way to live my life – with an open mind.
I hope that you decide to follow me as I explore some simply mind-blowing and thought-provoking topics to encourage a naturally philosophical mind.